Pre-Med Student Finds Her Community at a National Medical Conference

At the 2022 Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) National & Northeast Regional Conference last month, pre-med biology major Amy Ruiz Plaza ’23 presented a poster covering her work at a mobile health clinic initiative dedicated to serving migrant workers in Minnesota.

By Katie Johnson ’19, content specialist

April 18, 2022 | 10:30 a.m.

Pre-med biology major Amy Ruiz Plaza '23 presented her research at the 2022 LMSA National & Northeast Regional Conference in March.

Pre-med biology major Amy Ruiz Plaza '23 presented her research at the 2022 LMSA National & Northeast Regional Conference in March.

Dedicated to advocating for women’s health—especially for women of color—pre-med biology major Amy Ruiz Plaza ’23 plans to attend medical school after graduating from Bethel. She’s taking advantage of every impactful opportunity to set herself up for success, including attending a conference in Philadelphia last month. The 2022 Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) National & Northeast Regional Conference provided an opportunity to not only learn from experts in the field, but to see herself reflected among them. “As a Latina woman that has always been surrounded by a predominantly white community, I have never seen a group of people that look like me in the profession that I want to pursue unless it was on social media,” Ruiz Plaza says. “To be a part of the conference made me feel seen and supported by a great community that would back me up in my journey to medical school.”

Ruiz Plaza was one of the 80 future and current Latinx healthcare professionals who presented a poster to the 800 attendees of professors and providers across the United States. The best part, according to Ruiz Plaza? “What was really cool was that all attendees were Latinx and Hispanic." The LMSA conference offers a chance for Latinx, Hispanic, and Spanish origin (often called LHS+) medical professionals and students like Ruiz Plaza to develop their skills and learn to better advocate for their patients. This year’s conference centered on the theme "Cincuenta Años de Comunidad: Fostering Service, Health Equity, and Leadership," which has proven to be a crucial topic in healthcare throughout the pandemic.

“I thought it was very inspiring to be able to present my work among people from a community that I would one day be a part of because it showed me that I could make it.”

— Amy Ruiz Plaza '23

Ruiz Plaza titled her poster: "Utilizing Community Outreach Mobile Clinics to Increase COVID-19 Vaccine Rates Amongst Latinx Communities in Southern Minnesota." Her presentation highlighted her partnership with the University of Minnesota and their mobile health clinic initiative to serve migrant workers last summer. They provided access to the vaccine, blood pressure checks, A1C screenings, physicals, dental care, eye care, and more in the Twin Cities and southern parts of Minnesota.

They worked with nonprofits like Tri-Valley Opportunity Council and Black Nurses Rock, which were both included in Trusted Messenger, a documentary that shows disparities in Black and Latinx communities regarding COVID-19 and the history behind distrust for vaccines. Collaborating with the United Cultures of Bethel group Voz Latinx, Ruiz Plaza presented the documentary during a film forum funded by the Interfaith Youth Core grant last fall.

Pre-Medicine and Healthcare Professions at Bethel

Adding a pre-medicine emphasis to your major will prepare you for success in professional healthcare programs. You'll gain the skills and knowledge you need to pursue careers in medicine, nursing, dentistry, physician assistant, physical therapy, pharmacy, and other healthcare fields. 

Our pre-med and pre-health professional program advisors can help you navigate your choices as you consider future service as a health professional. You can also contact the department chairs of the departments offering pre-med and pre-health professional majors.

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