Third-year medical student Arielle Rubin was recently selected as the southern director of the Latino Medical School Association West, a position that will allow her to represent the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix and further her efforts in providing a voice for underrepresented students in medicine.
“As medical school progressed, so did my interest in the organization,” she said. “I saw broader opportunities to learn about policy development and help motivate and teach others to advocate for Latino health. I thought the position as director would help educate me on how to unite a large group of people to address social, economic and cultural influences in Hispanic health.”
The Latino Medical Student Association, LMSA, is a nationwide nonprofit organization founded to represent, support and educate Hispanic medical students.
Rubin first heard of the group during medical school interviews and discovered the organization’s goals aligned with her own ambitions as a future physician. With the support of faculty advisors and fellow students, she established the first LMSA chapter on the College of Medicine – Phoenix campus.
Growing up in a strong Puerto Rican heritage, Rubin said she sought a similar sense of community and cultural understanding in medical school.
“I wanted to honor my heritage and expand it relevantly in medical school, and to find an academic outlet to give back to that same community and learn how to make it a part of my physician identity,” she said.
LMSA seeks to empower and unite medical students dedicated to Latino health in five regions of the U.S.: West, Northeast, Midwest, Southwest and Southeast.
The West region is the largest, comprising 16 medical school chapters in Arizona, Northern and Southern California, Oregon, Washington and Utah. Rubin will represent the southern institutions of the West region.
Rubin previously served as a chapter representative and a national internal policy chair for LMSA before deciding to run for southern director of the West Coast region, a position typically granted to fourth-year medical students. It is the most advanced position in the executive board, responsible for presiding over all meetings, formulating and implementing an agenda for the LMSA West, and enacting decisions of the Executive Board and the LMSA West Board.
“I want to create more scholarship opportunities for underrepresented racial and ethnic minority high school students to attend LMSA meetings, STEM summer programs and involve them in our volunteer activities,” she said. “As social justice is one of the core pillars of medical ethics, activism among members through community organizing and policy involvement is an essential plan for the coming year.”
Rubin became motivated to run for southern director of LMSA West through the encouragement of fellow members.
“Many fellow LMSA members, especially many women, encouraged me, saying it would be historic and meaningful to them to have a woman as the top leader of the region, a position that has traditionally been male,” Rubin said. “My newly elected co-director, also a young activist woman, has joined me to make LMSA history by having the first co-director pair of all-woman leaders.”
The two are planning next year’s theme, and “el año de la mujer” (the women’s year) is their tentative title for a year with plentiful workshops on Latina cisgender and transgender women’s health, struggles and advances. Rubin plans to partner with a fellow College of Medicine – Phoenix classmate, Stephanie Amaya, who founded the National LMSA Women’s Health Caucus.
“This position will provide me with numerous opportunities now and in the future,” Rubin said. “It allows me to connect with other students, pre-med, medical students and residents to continue peer mentoring and feel that unique sense of family and comradery among people who I feel I can be truly open with about my medical school journey.”
About the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix
The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix admitted its inaugural class of first-year medical students in August 2007 and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The College inspires and trains exemplary physicians, scientists and leaders to optimize health and health care in Arizona and beyond. The College is uniquely positioned to accelerate the biomedical and economic engines in Phoenix and the State by leveraging vital relationships with key clinical and community partners. For more, visit phoenixmed.arizona.edu/tenyears.