Today@Sam Article

Hispanic American Medical Association Scholar Represents SHSU-COM And Her Community

Jan. 31, 2024
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd

Serving as president of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) at Sam Houston State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (SHSU-COM), student doctor Arelys Hernandez upholds their mission of uniting and empowering current and future physicians through service, mentorship and education along with advocating for the improved health of the Hispanic and Latino community in the United States.

In addition to maneuvering SHSU-COM’s rigorous curriculum as a second-year student, Hernandez continually acts upon her personal resolve that reflects LMSA’s mission. Under her leadership, Spanish and cultural competency workshops have been held for SHSU-COM’s student doctors. LMSA hosted a Latino resident to speak to other students about medical school and residency as a member of the Latino community, and the organization has secured research opportunities for the COM. HernandezColorAdjusted.jpg

“We are currently in the process of establishing an LMSA Plus chapter on Sam Houston State University’s flagship campus to increase mentorship and resource opportunities for Hispanic/Latino undergrads interested in attending medical school,” Hernandez said.  

Recently, Hernandez and other LMSA members collected and distributed toys to a Houston non-profit organization that serves Hispanic children. The toy distribution allowed Hernandez to connect with not just her peers but her roots as well.

“As a child of Mexican immigrants, I had the opportunity to assimilate into American culture while still honoring my cultural roots. I experienced the world from two distinct perspectives. One of the most eye-opening moments was when I accompanied my grandparents to their medical appointments. It became evident how challenging it could be for non-English speaking patients to navigate medical visits. The language barrier is a challenge I have personally witnessed, and I am committed to alleviating this burden for Spanish-speaking patients to ultimately promote better health outcomes,” she said.

These life experiences motivated Hernandez to apply to medical school in 2020, and she was accepted into SHSU-COM in 2021. In 2023, The Hispanic American Medical Association of Houston (HAMAH) recognized Hernandez’ accomplishments by awarding her one of six medical student scholarships in the Houston area for exemplifying a strong commitment to community service, leadership and academic achievements.

“I hold a deep appreciation for the entire faculty and staff at SHSU-COM, as it's evident that their genuine desire is to see their students succeed,” Hernandez said. “Whenever I reach out for assistance, they are consistently willing to go above and beyond to provide help. I am looking forward to the next two-and-a-half years here at SHSU-COM and getting better prepared for residency and, ultimately, my goal of becoming a physician.”

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