New group created to increase representation and membership in the Latino community

New group created to increase representation and membership in the Latino community

Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons established the VP&S Latino Association, a group dedicated to fostering the development, presence, and belonging of the Latino community in the medical school.

VP&S faculty, department chairs, department diversity officers, students of the Black and Latino Student Organization and the Latin American Medical Student Association, as well as academics from the Lang Medical Program NYP Youth celebrated the founding of the VP&S Latino Association on Tuesday, November 15. the reception included remarks from Katrina Armstrong, MD, Dean of Faculty of Health Sciences and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Anne Taylor, MD, Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the VP&S. The leaders shared their vision for the future of the Latino community at VP&S and beyond.

Top row, left to right: Rafael A. Lantigua, Monica Lypson, Mercedes Martinez, Luz A. Matiz-Zanoni, Ileana Vargas, Ana Cepin Bottom row, left to right: Cristina Fernandez, Anne Taylor, Hilda Elena Fernandez , Diego Jaramillo, Linda Aponte-Patel, Lucille (Lucy) Tor
Top row, left to right: Rafael A. Lantigua, Monica Lypson, Mercedes Martinez, Luz A. Matiz-Zanoni, Ileana Vargas, Ana Cepin. Bottom row, left to right: Cristina Fernandez, Anne Taylor, Hilda Elena Fernandez, Diego Jaramillo, Linda Aponte-Patel, Lucille (Lucy) Torres-Deas, Mara Minguez, Katrina Armstrong, David Ramos.

The new association aims to improve the experience of Latinos at VP&S by assisting in the recruitment, retention and promotion of Latino faculty and interns and by providing mentorship to promote well-being and facilitate social connections. The association also intends to increase representation of Latinos in leadership positions and help shape VP&S policy; develop and facilitate partnership opportunities with Latino physicians; connect with and support other underrepresented groups in medicine; engage and advocate for the Latin American community as a whole; and reduce disparities and improve health outcomes for the Latin American community.

The VP&S Latino Association is led by co-chairs Ana Cepin, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of community women’s health in the VP&S Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Mara Minguez, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at VP&S.

Increasing the representation of Latino physicians, allied health professionals, and trainees is one of the organization’s primary goals. While about 20% of people in the United States identify as Latino, only about 7% of doctors and 9% of healthcare professionals overall are Latino, according to a recent report from the Pew Research Center. The report indicates that the lack of Latino representation among health care providers is one of many factors that can lead to poorer health outcomes for the Latino community. The lack of representation contributes to language and cultural barriers as well as the potentially differential treatment of Latinos.

β€œOver the past few years, and through the pandemic, there has been a light on health outcomes in communities of color,” Minguez said. “Now is a time for us to come together and support our faculty so that we can work to increase representation in the future.”

The association has identified priority areas of interest and formed committees to work on faculty affairs, social affairs and communications, external affairs, and community affairs. One of the main goals of the association is to increase the Latino community’s input into VP&S policies and leadership decisions, a goal that Minguez and Cepin believe will better serve the medical center community and our patients.

β€œAt VP&S, we have a critical need to ensure that we don’t let other generations pass without leading and creating the workforce that our patients and communities deserve,” said Armstrong. “I come here with commitment and hope and the will to roll up my sleeves and do whatever I can to take this journey with you.”

The association welcomes VP&S physicians and allied health professionals who support our mission to foster the development, presence and belonging of the VP&S Latino community. Please complete the form

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