This MLK weekend was important for a few reasons: 1) because it was a “Golden Weekend”, which in med school language means you don’t have any new material or an exam to study for, and 2) because it was an opportunity to celebrate service and diversity at New Jersey Medical School.
The Rutgers NJMS chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) hosted their annual Dinner Dance yesterday and it was an opportunity to honor individuals who give their lives to service and a chance to embrace our role in the community as medical students of color. It was nice to be around faculty, staff, and colleagues from different classes and just celebrate. It’s not often that everyone gets to see each other, so this was a wonderful opportunity to do so.
When looking at different clubs to join in med school please consider SNMA, which is the primary organization geared towards minority issues in medical education and training. If you’d like to learn more about the mission and goals of the organization please check out their website here for more information. Also, if you are a pre-med student check to see if there is a MAPS chapter (the undergraduate sector of SNMA) at your school and consider starting one if it doesn’t exist!
I always remind myself that being in medical school is and honor and privilege even during some of my rough days. I am able to learn medicine thanks to all the minority women before me who fought to attend medical school and make it through residencies where they were harassed and assaulted just because they wanted the same opportunities. I am eternally grateful to those women for fighting for what was right. Everything they went through has paved the way for me and my fellow minority med students to wear our white cords proudly, so that we can serve our communities now as students and in the future as physicians.
It is our duty as future physicians to advocate for our patients in any way we can because as Dr. King once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere“. My interactions with patients over the past few months have made it clear that I was meant to serve people and fight against inequalities in healthcare and the lack of diversity in medicine. I’ve had people around the hospital say they are proud of me just because I am a black girl in a short white coat and I even had a patient in the free clinic pray for me and my classmates of all different races. It is these kind of experiences that will continue to ignite my fire for service and diversifying in medicine.