Juntos from the eyes of a student and Research Assistant -Stefany Paredes
Carolina “Stefany” Paredes Molina, one of our Post-Bac Students and Research Assistants tells her story of her work at Juntos, take a moment to celebrate her accomplishments and progress into medical school this Fall as an M1 student:
“As another academic year ends and I finish my Post-Bachelorette Program, I find my happiness at odds with nostalgia. Throughout this past year, I worked at Juntos as a research assistant and was able to participate in the recruitment and education of rural Latinos in the state of Kansas. We focused on topics of cancer and cancer clinical trials. Increasing the awareness of medical research in cancer related issues is of great importance to underserved groups throughout our communities. It is with great honor that I served Dr. Paula Cupertino as part of the Juntos team. Juntos has opened many doors for students like me to succeed and find passion in the improvement of Latino health.
Serving as a secretary of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) has also provided me the opportunity for personal growth, networking, and service to the Latino community in Kansas City. I was lucky to participate in the LMSA National Conference, along with my teammates, which was held on April 25-27, 2014, in Houston, TX. These conferences validate our dream to become great physicians and serve our patients selflessly. Attending these conferences would not have been possible if our organization had not received the funding from Juntos, Preventative Medicine Department, and Travel funds from KUSOM. Thanks to these offices, students can grow as individuals and professionals.
Another very important project in which I was honored to participate is the creation of a new pilot project to produce a Medical Spanish curriculum for students in health professions at The University of Kansas School of Medicine. This is an exciting project in collaboration with the Office of Cultural Enhancement and Diversity (OCED), whose ultimate goal is to help interested students to become certified in Medical Spanish while receiving elective credits for their language fluency. It is imperative to increase the number of Spanish-speaking health professionals to serve our growing Latino population in the United States. There is a clear need for bilingual medical providers and this is one way to tackle such deficiencies.
Juntos allowed me to participate in many other events such as Health Fairs and Affordable Care Act certification to provide service to Spanish-speaking people free of charge. Volunteering my time to improve the lives of future patients, as an aspiring physician, is only possible with the help of a great team of researchers, interns, and medical and graduate students.
Concluding this year full of new rewarding experiences, I want to motivate all students and professionals to support the efforts of the Juntos Center for Advancing Latino Heath due to its great impact on people at so many different levels. I would like to give special thanks to my mentor Dr. Paula Cupertino for guiding and shaping my growth as a student leader. Thanks to everyone who is involved in this ever-growing group of people in search of diversity and equal representation at KU Medical Center.
¡Que Viva Juntos!
Stefany Paredes Molina”
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