Latino Medical Student Association
The Latin0 Medical Student Association (LMSA) is run out of the Juntos offices on the KUMC campus. The president of this organization is the young Ruth Pedraza: A University of Kansas first year medical student. Her office is first through the doors, and appropriately so, as the organization represents a large part of the Juntos message.
“LMSA is an organization that promotes Latinos in higher education. Those in medical school, and those trying to make it,” Ruth explains from behind her desk. The organization provides leadership opportunities and Latino health education for KU’s medical students. “Ultimately we aim to grow the number of Latino doctors in a growing Latino population.”
Juntos is excited to promote a message empowering minority students. LMSA participates in Ventanilla de Salud Health Fairs. Hand in hand, both Juntos, and LMSA promote disease prevention for Latinos in the area. “[At Juntos] we get support and space for meetings, offices: it’s where we work from. The support from Juntos allows us to stay strong.”
For Ruth, there is a very personal connection with the organization’s message. “We are a minority, but though there’s not many of us, we make a difference,” she explains from her office, which is lined with art representing Latino culture. Portraits of Frida Khalo watch over the room where most days, Ruth can be found studying. The space feels focused, resourceful, speckled with the color and liveliness of the culture she is devoted to.
“By having faculty, by having support, we can make a difference in the community, and have a voice in the Medical Center,” Ruth adds. “Now we are known. Represented.”
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