The club held a conference in January for OSU students interested in learning specifically about LGBTQ+ issues in medicine. Dr. Christopher Terndrup from OHSU’s Transgender Health Program served as the conference’s keynote speaker. Members of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) also spoke, including the past president and founder of MAPS at OSU, Ranya Guennoun, who now serves as an SNMA board member. Speakers also included trans members of the Corvallis community and public health graduate students, who spoke on specific issues affecting trans communities.
In addition to the LGBTQ+-specific sessions, the conference offered practical workshops to help premedical students complete their medical school applications and interview practice and tips. More medical schools are now turning to a new interview technique, called the Multiple Mini Interview, or MMI, instead of traditional interviews with just one representative of the medical school.
“MMIs are a more encompassing assessment on different interview topics,” explained Toren Ikea-Mario, a biochemistry and molecular biology senior and MAPS committee chair. Much like speed dating, interviewees rotate between a circuit of interview panels every few minutes, answering questions on a variety of topics, from ethics to role-playing patient-doctor scenarios. The January career development conference offered an opportunity to practice the MMI format and receive feedback on their responses and interview styles from OHSU medical students.
Ikea-Mario has wanted to pursue medicine since his identical twin brother’s recovery from Hodgkin's lymphoma at age five. “That experience allowed us to go to a children’s cancer camp together, Camp Millennium,” he said. “I’ve been involved with the camp now for fifteen years, either as a camper or as staff. Being in that community opened my eyes to the good, the bad and the ugly of cancer, and opened me up to the concept of going into medicine. I want to specialize in oncology. It would be awesome to see a lot more people in remission, and to have a camp not just for children that have cancer, but for children in remission,” he added.
MAPS also partners with the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), which supports underrepresented minority medical students to get into and succeed in medical school. A major club event each year is attending SNMA conferences. “We’re trying to encourage more members to attend. We had a good group signed up to go this year,” said Zavala, though this year’s April conference was moved online. The conferences “are awesome because we can talk to medical students and recruitment chairs from across the country. It was amazing to be in a huge conference room with people of color attending and thriving in amazing schools. It was very empowering,” she added.
“Before the SNMA conference last year, I was set on OHSU for medical school, said Vice President McDowell, “and it’s still my top choice. But thanks to the conference, I can now picture myself going to other institutions.”
McDowell, a biochemistry and molecular biology major from Hood River Oregon started at OSU in computer science. “I did two internships and realized that wasn’t for me. Then I ran into a doctor. I never knew any doctors growing up, and found a special place in my heart for helping people and resolving health disparities,” he said.
This term, the club is still trying to keep its members engaged. “We’re adapting our meetings to Zoom,” said Zavala, “and we’ve postponed some of our more interactive meetings. But other than that, our meetings will be based more on our mission and values. We hope to get medical students or physicians to give talks and continue to encourage our members,” she added.