November 17, 2023 by
Janet Essman Franz
SNMA executive board members gathered for a selfie with faculty advisor Margaret Tandoh, M.D., FACS (clockwise, from top right): Jacquelyn Ferguson, Shani Legore, Ian Minearo, Adama Aja, Manny Ogunlana, and Meron Yishak. (Photo: David Seaver)
The University of Vermont's Student National Medical Association chapter held its first conference ever this November, bringing more than 100 medical and pre-medical students from throughout New England to the campus of the Larner College of Medicine. The conference theme, “Uplifting Voices: Celebrating Diversity in Medicine,” reflected SNMA members’ passion for ensuring that people from populations underrepresented in the profession of medicine are empowered to pursue medical careers.
Larner Class of 2026 medical students Emmanual “Manny” Ogunlana and Meron Yishak, co-presidents of SNMA at UVM, served as conference chairs, working alongside their SNMA executive board colleagues to offer a robust program of speakers, workshops, and presentations. Participants explored how to align research with their own identities and goals, how to respond to microaggressions in the medical workforce, and how to empower patients to be self-advocates in the face of a hostile medical system. They also considered the experiences of People of Color practicing health care in a predominantly white area, and the importance of prioritizing self-care and finding a healthy work-life balance.
Read more and see photos from the conference.