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Collaborative Medical Student Organizations Response to Texas Tech's Decision to Eliminate Race from Medical School Admissions

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 18, 2019
Updated: Thursday, April 18, 2019

On Tuesday April 9, 2019, Texas Tech University Health Center Sciences Center came to an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to cease using race or national origin as one of the many factors involved in their admission process. As organizations who support, encourage, and uplift students who are underrepresented minorities, we are concerned with the outcome of future admissions cycles for underrepresented minority applicants going forward and fear this decision could have damaging effects on the health of communities of color. Previous literature has estimated that programs that banned race-conscious admissions led to a 17% decline of underrepresented students of color enrolling in medical school at public institutions in those states, underlining the consequences that the Texas Tech decision and similar policies will have on the diversity of future in-coming medical school classes and the health of their surrounding communities.1


Diversity is important not only for the medical community but for the ever-changing patient population these future physicians will be treating. The US. Census has predicted that by 2020 more than half of all youth under the age of 18 will be part of a racial or ethnic minority, and by 2060 the minority population in the United States will be 56% of the entire population.2 This majority of people of color will become the majority of our nation’s working age population, voting basis, consumers and tax base. Our medical provider workforce should reflect this changing landscape, yet we are still behind these numbers: in 2018-2019, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reported that 8,014 accepted medical students reported being a racial or ethnic minority compared to 11,198 white accepted medical students.3  It is important that future physicians both identify with these racial/ethnic minorities and have some experience in caring  for these changing populations, which can best be achieved by  diverse medical school classes.


There are many reasons to actively recruit a diverse physician workforce. Minority physicians are more likely to treat minority and underserved patient populations, and affirmative action in medical school admissions has been shown to increase medical practice in these areas. 4-8  Medical students find that training at diverse medical schools made them more comfortable treating a diverse patient population and increased their concern for health equity and access to care for underserved populations.9 Previous literature has found that the majority of medical students support using race as a factor in the admissions process. Furthermore, patients report greater satisfaction with healthcare when they see a physician with the same racial background, emphasizing the need for a diverse physician workforce that reflects our diverse communities.10


Race conscious admissions that strive to increase diversity in medical schools are supported by the American Medical Association.  In  November 2018, American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates’ approved  the amendment to Strategies for Enhancing Diversity in the Physician Workforce (D-200.985)  which affirms the AMA will  oppose legislation that would undermine institutions’ ability to properly employ affirmative action to promote a diverse student population. The AMA has previously supported creating a diverse medical student population, noting that “racial diversity is a vital component of a successful medical education and that medical school admission officers should be allowed to consider applicants’ race in order to achieve the school’s educational goals.” 11The vice chancellor of the Texas Tech University System, mentions the university "strongly believes that diversity in academic medicine is not only a necessity at [the medical school] but is a necessity nationally as well.12 By pressuring medical schools to eliminate race or national origin from their admission process, the U.S. Department of Education jeopardizes medical schools’ ability to reach their educational goals.


At a time where physician shortages are becoming a pivotal concern, we should make sure our matriculants into medical school are being exposed to a diverse medical school class. This diversity will not only enhance their medical education but will prepare them for our changing nation that is in need of well-rounded physicians.


American Medical Student Association (AMSA)

Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA)

Student National Medical Association (SNMA)  

Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA)


  1. Garces, L. M. & Mickey-Pabello, D. Racial Diversity in the Medical Profession: The Impact of Affirmative Action Bans on Underrepresented Student of Color Matriculation in Medical Schools. The Journal of higher education 86, 264 (2015).
  2. William H. Frey analysis of U.S. Census Population projections,  2018
  3. Association of American Medical Colleges Table A-14.2: Race/Ethnicity Responses (Alone and In Combination) of Acceptees to U.S. Medical Schools, 2014-2015 through 2018-2019
  4.  Kington, R, Tisnado, D, Carlisle, DM. Increasing racial and ethnic diversity among physicians: an intervention to address health disparities? The Right Thing To Do, The Smart Thing To Do: Enhancing Diversity in the Health Professions. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2001:57-90.
  5.  Walker, KO, Moreno, G, Grumbach, K. The Association Among Specialty, Race, Ethnicity, and Practice Location Among California Physicians in Diverse Specialties. J Natl Med Assoc. 2012;104(0):46–52.
  6.  Marrast, LM, Zallman, L, Woolhandler, S. et al. Minority Physicians’ Role in the Care of Underserved Patients: Diversifying the Physician Workforce May Be Key in Addressing Health Disparities. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(2):289-291.
  7. Smedley, B. D., Stith, A. Y., Colburn, L., Evans, C. H. & Medicine (US), I. of. Increasing Racial and Ethnic Diversity Among Physicians: An Intervention to Address Health Disparities? (National Academies Press (US), 2001).
  8. Lakhan SE. Diversification of U.S. medical schools via affirmative action implementation. BMC Medical Education. 2003;3(1).
  9. Whitla, D. K. et al. Educational benefits of diversity in medical school: a survey of students. Acad Med 78, 460–466 (2003).
  10. Cooper-Patrick, L. et al. Race, Gender, and Partnership in the Patient-Physician Relationship. JAMA 282, 583–589 (1999).
  11. American Medical Association , Strategies for Enhancing Diversity in the Physician Workforce  D-200.985
  12. Jaschik,S OCR Tells Med School to Stop Considering Race in Admissions, Inside Higher ED, April 2019

Tags:  AMSA  APAMSA  LMSA  Medical School  Race  SNMA  Texas Tech 

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Hurricane Harvey Affects Region III

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Thursday, August 31, 2017

Our hearts go out to those affected by the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. Our Region III Director has been in contact with those chapters affected by the storm, and is keeping the organization updated on ways the SNMA can help on a national level.

The SNMA is currently seeking out ways in which we can provide relief for those affected by the storm. Below, you will find the link to a resource guide complied by HPLA Co-Chair Joniqua Ceasar. While it mostly caters to the Houston area, it lists important phone numbers, shelter information, and ways for our members outside the area to get involved. We have also included another link to resources provided by the Texas State senate website. Additional information will be shared via social media as it becomes available, and our Community Service committee is actively finding ways to help individuals in the affected areas.

Please know that we are committed to helping our members through this difficult time. Our prayers are with all of those directly affected by the storm, as well as the friends and family members of those individuals. Please feel free to let us know if we can be of assistance in any other way, and know that the SNMA is here for you.

TS Harvey Resource Guide:

Hurricane Harvey Resources (TX):


Yours in SNMA,
Danielle M. Ward, MS
National President, 2017-2018
Student National Medical Association  


Tags:  HPLA  SNMA 

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Channel Your Grief Into Action

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Monday, September 26, 2016
SNMA Family,

It pains me to have to address you concerning such tragedies yet again. Many of you are aware of several recent shootings of black males by law enforcement officials that have been in the news. Our hearts go out to their families and our minds have stayed on the consequences that each of these deaths have for our local communities, nation and world at large. Statistics consistently show that Black people and other people of color are disproportionately killed by law enforcement officials. This loss of lifeinevitably becomes a mental health issue for loved ones and the affected communities left to relive this trauma time and time again.

In my last statement on this issue, I assured you that the Board of Directors are working diligently to make sure that we are both present and professional when addressing these types of issues that deeply affect both the communities that we serve and for many of us, the communities from which we come.While we cannot stop the pain, grief and anger that some feel, there are some actionable and productive steps that we have taken. Following board approval at our National Leadership Institute this weekend, we will be able to provide the Mobilize and Activate Advocacy Manual. As a part of my executive agenda, a committee was formed and a manual was created to guide you in your advocacy efforts.This manual includes an explanation of a policy created for how our organization responds to these types of events, a policy for you to gain approval to use the SNMA name during advocacy programming, and an outline of safe and professional practices for activism as a student physician.This will also include all of our position statements for your review.

Our Month of Service next month has been dedicated to violence prevention.Along with chapter community service projects, we will be having town hall meetings across the country to open the dialogue between physicians, medical students, and community members as to how violence directly impacts our communities. Further we are hosting four (4) national webinars, the first being The Effects of Violence on Mental Health given by one of our founding members, Dr. Gilbert Parks on our Founders’ Day. More information will be released soon.

The SNMA Statement on Gun Violence and Statement on Policy Brutality can be found on the this website. Our hearts and our prayers are with all who have been touched by these acts of violence. As we take the time to mourn the loss of beloved lives gone too soon, channel your grief into action that promotes discussion and seeks prevention of such events. Please look for ways that you can get involved and stay informed in the coming days.

Stay Safe SNMA,

Christen Johnson
National President, 2016-2017
Student National Medical Association

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Congratulations to Jordan Research Forum Winners

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Student National Medical Association proudly announces the winners of the annual Dr. Wilbert C. Jordan Research Forum. Congratulations to the following members who were awarded up to $1,000 of their efforts.

Ruka Aderogba (Pre-Med) 

Umaru Barrie (Basic Science)

Eric Walker (Dual Degree)

Crystal Nnenne Azu (Dual Degree)

Gadini Delisca (Clinical Science)

Amber Anders (Social Science) 

Research categories included basic science, clinical science, social science, and obesity or health complications of obesity. Abstracts were submitted and displays of work were presented and reviewed during Annual Medical Education Conference by a panel of judges that interviewed each participant.

The Research Forum is named for Dr. Wilbert C. Jordan in honor of his commitment to the SNMA and his significant personal and financial support of the forum. Dr. Jordan is an internationally renowned leader in the research community for his work in infectious diseases, particularly in tuberculosis and small pox. He is especially noted for his research on AIDS in the African American Community.

Look for upcoming “Grand Rounds” containing more information about member benefits, SNMA programs, alumni activities and much more. If you have an idea for “Grand Rounds,” email

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Tags:  amec2015  snma 

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A Vision to Uphold the SNMA Legacy

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Thursday, April 30, 2015

I am honored to take on the role of National Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Student National Medical Association. The organization has truly been formative during my medical school career. It is my hope to help the SNMA continue to flourish; and to have an impact on current and future medical students and the communities in which we serve.

My vision is to uphold the legacy of the SNMA. Those who have come before us have paved an incredible path of achievement. It is now our duty to protect all aspects of the SNMA including its finances, brand, members and the communities it serves so that we can continue to support future and current underrepresented minority medical students, help underserved communities, and increase the number of culturally competent, socially conscious and clinically excellent physicians.

While upholding the legacy that has been laid before us it will be important for us to continue to strengthen our foundation. Society is always changing. We must stay current and make sure that we are using the most technologically efficient and savvy ways to connect with our membership – past, present and future. We must also continuously assess and come up with solutions to address the needs of underserved populations. This means better documentation of our events, establishing creative partnerships, increasing funding opportunities and approaching problems by thinking outside of the box.

It is also important that we cultivate an environment for the success of our mission and SNMA members. I plan to have a strong focus on Board Development to ensure that our members are well equipped with the skills needed to actively participant in governing a nonprofit organization, to advocate for healthcare and medical education policy, and to plan and execute events that will help to mitigate health disparities and impact the lives of millions. This training will take place during our National Leadership Institutes and various webinars throughout the year.

One of the largest projects that we’ll be undertaking this year is the creation of a new three-year strategic plan. This plan will be a blueprint for success for the next three administrations to follow that hopefully will continue to develop and fortify the SNMA.

I am excited to work with the new Board of Directors and can’t wait to see all of the amazing progress that we can accomplish over this next administrative year.


Yours in SNMA,


DaShawn A. Hickman

Chairman, SNMA Board of Directors



Tags:  snma 

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New Leadership on SNMA Board

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Tuesday, April 21, 2015

AMEC 2015 in New Orleans is a fond memory for many of us. The election of officers has taken place. A hardy welcome to the SNMA 2015-2016 Board of Directors. Student National Medical Association (SNMA) is committed to supporting current and future underrepresented minority medical students, addressing the needs of underserved communities, and increasing the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent and socially conscious physicians. The following board members are list by position, name and school.





Chair of the Board

DaShawn Hickman

Case Western Reserve University SOM


Anthony Kulukulualani

Tufts University School of Medicine


Christen Johnson

Wright State University- BSOM


Cortlyn Brown

Yale University School of Medicine


Kevin Anderson, Jr

Duke University School of Medicine


Adeolu Aromolaran

Yale School of Medicine


Dantwan Smith

Ross University School of Medicine

Speaker of the House

Ashley Matthew

University of Massachusetts Medical School


Jacob Marshall

Saint Louis University School of Medicine

Immediate Past Chair

Brittney Phillips

Howard University College of Medicine

Immediate Past President

Topaz Sampson

Wright State University Boonshoft SOM

Regional Directors

Region I Director

Amarachi Okoro

University of Los Angeles, Los Angeles

Region II Director

Nailah Cash-O'Bannon

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Region III Director

Tiffani Houston

University of Texas HSC at San Antonio

Region IV Director

Camilla Mills

Morehouse School of Medicine

Region V Director

Martha Dua-Awereh

University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Region VI Director

Robert Wardlow

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Region VII Director

Asia Matthew

University of Massachusetts Medical School

Region VIII Director

Katrina Castille

Drexel University College of Medicine

Region IX Director

antoinette Leonard-Jean Charles

Touro College Of Osteopathic Medicine

Region X Director

National Committee Chairs

Academic Affairs

Rachel Odeyemi

Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine

Hope Taitt

SUNY Downstate COM

Community Service

Thayne Dalrymple

Univeristy of North Carolina School of Medicine

Shakirat Salvador

Florida State University College of Medicine

Diversity Research

Abner A Murray

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Debra Dixon

Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of CWRU

External Affairs

Brittany L. Jackson

Howard University College of Medicine


Jara Crear

Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University

Valerie A. Pierre

Creighton University School of Medicine

Internal Affairs

Adesuwa Ighodaro

Yale School of Medicine

Tsion Aberra

Yale School of Medicine

International Affairs

Nkiru (Kiki) Osude

U. of Missouri-Kansas City Sch of Medicine


Michele Holman

The Commonwealth Medical College


Kimberly Dike

Drexel University College of Medicine


Danielle M. Ward, MS


Kristyn J. Smith

Rowan Univeristy School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM)


Jasmin Scott-Hawkins

Wright State University Boonshoft SOM

Comfort Elumogo

Case Western School of Medicine

Jonathan Batson

Barry University

Professional Board Members


Courtney Scrubbs DO, JD

Locke Lord LLP


Candrice R Heath, MD

Mt. Sinai-St. Luke's-Roosevelt Dermatology


Jennifer Walton, MD, MPH

Nationwide Children's Hospital, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics




Tags:  snma 

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National Chair and President Reflect on Successful Year

Posted By Cynthia Bell, Thursday, April 2, 2015

Brittney Phillips 

Brittney Phillips Reflects on SNMA Accomplishments and What the Future Holds

It is truly a bittersweet feeling to have my term come to a close as National Chairperson. I’m really going to miss working with this board next year and appreciate the wealth of knowledge and experiences that serving as chair has brought me this year.  I am however, really excited to see what the new administration will bring the organization and am confident that SNMA is left in more than capable hands.  

Serving this year during the 50th anniversary of the SNMA and witnessing the 50th Founders Day Celebration and the I Heart SNMA Campaign simultaneously at chapters across the nation has me still in awe of the talents and power of our membership. I am so proud of what we have accomplished over the last 50 years and am eager to see what comes in the next 50.

Your board has worked hard all year to make the SNMA a better place than when we started a year ago.  One thing we accomplished is incorporating new board training modules into the National Leadership Institutes so that we are more prepared and better capable to serve both now and in the future. We also are completing a series of technological innovations, which have provided chapters with official email addresses and will speed up the process of documentation and day-to-day workings of the organization.

Additionally, we increased our social media presence on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in order to stay connected with our members across the country. We love hearing from members and if you see any of us at AMEC feel free to say hi and share any comments, questions, or suggestions that you may have.  

It has been a pleasure serving you this year! Enjoy AMEC and celebrate the end of another successful administrative year!


National President Prepares SNMA to Serve a Diverse Community

 "Wow, I really did it! And I think I did a decent job too!” These are some of my thoughts during AMEC 2015.

 My dream of being the National President manifested itself three years ago during AMEC 2012 in Atlanta. I vividly recall watching the then Board of Directors taking pictures and celebrating the completion of a successful year. I remember seeing past National President Michael Knight being congratulated on executing a phenomenal conference and triumphant programmatic year. I remember thinking "Hmmm, I wonder if I could do that?” Fast forward to the 50th Anniversary AMEC 2014 where I was so blessed to have been installed as the "Royal President” by Princess A.K. Ocansey of Ghana. What an experience!

As National President, I wanted to dispel the notion that the SNMA is simply "The black people club.” At my own institution and many SNMA chapters struggle to attract non-African American members interested in the good work we do in advocacy, service and pipeline programs. My desire was to use technology and social media to propel the SNMA mission to more than just our own membership.

I am very proud of our service to the underserved and felt more people should know about it. I wanted to celebrate the programs that were already created and liked to think that there is a treasure chest of excellent programming from past administrations and if I could revitalize one it would be a testament to the work that has been done in the previous 50 years.

Lastly, I focused on SNMA’s celebration of 50 years of diversifying the face of medicine and my administration launching SNMA into the next 50 years. Watching SNMA’s 50th year historical review, I considered how the organization would be remember the next 50 years. I developed a Back 2 the Future executive agenda that would keep our mission at the forefront. I chose the LGBT and Immigrant/Refugee population and from another angle of marginalized groups, I couldn’t ignore the lack of minority men in medicine. In prior administrations the Brotherhood Alliance for Science Education (BASE) was born although only being done at a few medical schools. My goal was for the SNMA to revisit this program, partner with the institutions successfully running BASE to develop an updated curriculum that chapters nationwide could implement through our pipeline initiative.

Lastly, I wanted to improve the use of social media. Our members were not only on Facebook, but on Twitter and Instagram, but I wanted to attract non-members, such as other organizations, potential sponsors, and future supporters of the SNMA by displaying our work. Internally, we encouraged the board and members to use Your Membership to create member profiles and targeted messages were sent specific member categories. We launched the SNMA’s Instagram page, showcasing our dedication to service on Founders Day and national day of service where chapters shared pictures serving underserved communities. That was great!

Lastly, I wanted to reach the membership on a more day-to-day basis so through Twitter I have constantly engaged members about what was going on in 160 characters or less. My @SNMANatlPrez account has increased in followers over 12% is getting the attention of other doctors, organizations and more members. Emphasis on marketing communications that supports our vision has increased visibility for the SNMA. The Grand Rounds Blog has provided the BOD and members with a sounding board to share more of their roles and the projects.

I am so blessed for a forward thinking vision in which the membership supported through the execution of the programs set forth this year. Hopefully, some of the strides will continue in coming years. My goal was to make the SNMA better than when I found it and I think it is a fair statement to say this goal was accomplished.


Tags:  #AMEC2015  amec  snma  unsilencingtheunheard 

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