Celebrating Diversity

Einstein Hosts Regional Student National Medical Association Conference

This year’s Student National Medical Association (SNMA) Region IX Medical Education Conference, “Embodying Black Excellence: Scholarship, Service and Self-Care,” was hosted by Einstein’s SNMA chapter in November, featured programming focused on professional development, skill building and empowerment.  Workshops ranged from “Channeling Your Inner Excellence” and “Coping with the Trauma of Institutional Racism” to “Ensuring an Excellent Match” and “Medical Specialty Speed Dating.”

Members of the SNMA Regional Board, led by Einstein’s Elise Mike (third from left) planned the conference
Members of the SNMA Regional Board, led by Einstein’s Elise Mike (third from left) planned the conference
This year’s conference was held in conjunction with Einstein’s annual Diversity Open House, which welcomes pre-medical students from the tri-state area to learn more about the College of Medicine, its students and the medical school application process. Within the scope of this massive undertaking, the joint conference/open house welcomed more than 350 attendees, representing dozens of medical schools, universities and high schools along the Eastern seaboard. It included an inaugural research symposium, coordinated by Einstein M.D./Ph.D. candidate Natalie Ramsey, who served as the SNMA’s regional research liaison.

“Our aim was to have attendees leave the conference feeling empowered and with a sense of community,” said second-year M.D./Ph.D. student and Einstein SNMA chapter president Tonya Aaron, who served as vice chair for the event. “We also hope that, through networking, they met mentors who can offer them invaluable guidance throughout their careers.”

Tonya Aaron, president of Einstein’s SNMA chapter, welcomes attendees
Tonya Aaron, president of Einstein’s SNMA chapter, welcomes attendees
Ms. Aaron, who serves as a mentor to City College biochemistry major Md Kabir, recalled a special moment of the day for her: “I was so proud to learn that Md won the oral presentation held during the research symposium, and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for him. It’s gratifying to see someone you work with achieve goals and excel.”

“It’s our hope that this conference will energize students to be the most well-balanced versions of themselves so that they can have a lasting impact on the communities that they serve,” added Elise Mike, a fellow Einstein M.D/Ph.D. student and SNMA Region IX associate regional director who chaired the conference planning committee.

Ms. Mike, Ms. Aaron and Ms. Ramsey teamed with SNMA Region IX representatives from Long Island University, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine and Barry University to coordinate the day's events, which sought to offer a variety of experiences promoting learning, networking and active participation.

Captivating Presentations and Activities

With the next generation in mind, Dr. Phillip Murray, chief resident in child and adolescent psychiatry at New York Presbyterian, used a character analysis of Marvel’s “Luke Cage” to demonstrate how both the comic book hero and the conference attendees can embody black excellence. He focused on embracing both strengths and weaknesses, while never forgetting one’s own origin story—a message well received by the young audience.

Dr. Robert Fullilove leads a discussion
Dr. Robert Fullilove leads a discussion
Attendees also listened intently to an in-depth discussion led by Dr. Robert Fullilove, associate dean for community and minority affairs and professor of clinical socio-medical sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health, about government-sanctioned disenfranchisement of black and brown people in the United States.

Later in the day, attendees enjoyed an exhibitor hall set up in the lower level of Einstein’s Education Center, where residents, physicians and directors representing numerous residency programs and medical school admissions offices were available to network with students.

The day closed with physician Q&A panels that allowed students to ask questions, and an awards ceremony recognizing students’ research posters and scientific presentations.

“Seeing high-quality student research, hearing from successful physicians at every level of training and getting pre-medical students excited about their future careers leaves you with a sense of optimism about the future of medicine,” said Dr. Irene Blanco, associate dean for diversity enhancement and faculty advisor to the SNMA students.


Photo Gallery

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Members of the SNMA Regional Board, led by Einstein’s Elise Mike (third from left) planned the conference Tonya Aaron, president of Einstein’s SNMA chapter, welcomes attendees Dr. Robert Fullilove leads a discussion Ms. Mike presents keynote speaker Dr. Phillip Murray with a plaque Attendees interact in the Exhibitors’ Hall of the conference Judges evaluate a student’s poster during the poster session portion of the conference

Posted on: Friday, March 3, 2017