The Student National Medical Association (SNMA) is the nation’s oldest and largest student organization focused on the needs and concerns of medical students of color. Established in 1964 by medical students from Howard University and Meharry Medical Schools, SNMA has contributed over 50 years of committed service to communities. SNMA represents thousands of medical and premedical students consisting primarily of African Americans; however, our dedication to minorities in medicine appeals to all groups of students and professionals. Thus, our membership also includes Native Americans, Africans, West Indians, Latin Americans, Asians, Middle Easterners, and Caucasians, all of whom bring a global perspective to the medical education and health care issues that our organization addresses.
The Washington University School of Medicine chapter of SNMA is committed to promoting an environment in which minority medical students can excel by encouraging recruitment and admission of underrepresented minority students and supporting the employment of more minority physicians as faculty, increasing social consciousness and awareness of issues of diversity within the medical community, and improving healthcare delivery to the medically underserved by advocating for preventative healthcare and medical education programs within minority communities.
We focus on recruitment and admission to the medical profession through three programs which encourage minority high school and premedical students to enter health professions:
- Health Profession Recruitment and Education Program (HPREP) — This program is designed for middle and high school students who are interested in entering an allied health care field. Medical students visit these schools and give demonstrations on the cardiovascular system and respiratory system as well as having a field trip day at the medical school. Local students also have the opportunity to interact with medical students, residents and attending physicians who share their stories about why they entered the medical field and offer information about how to get into college and medical school.
- Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience (CSMB) — This program is a mentorship with the newly established high school magnet program. Medical students act as mentors to students in the school interested in medicine and healthcare specialties. These one-on-one relationships are meant to facilitate the development of the high school students and to get medical students accommodated with being in a mentor role. Relationships will last two years in duration with communication done both through email and in person.
- Minority Association of Pre-health Students (MAPS) — MAPS is our link to minority premedical students at Washington University. Medical students serve as mentors, participate in panel discussions and provide information about the MCAT, medical school application processes and classes.
Our chapter is also committed to the promotion of diversity in medicine within our medical school community. We strive to promote open dialogue about diversity issues impacting our medical school campus by hosting discussions to encourage open dialogue, as well as by being involved on a regional and national level via SNMA conferences to make our students aware of larger diversity initiatives throughout the country. We also aim to create a strong sense of community by hosting regular social events for our students and by creating opportunities for students to meet and be mentored by physicians from underrepresented backgrounds.
SNMA and the Public Health Interest Group also created a joint initiative known as the Health Outreach Program (HOPS). Programs under HOPS include:
- Schnucks Screenings — This weekly health screening is run and organized by students as a way to provide healthcare to people in the community. Students perform blood glucose tests and blood pressure readings and encourage those with worrisome findings to establish a relationship with a primary physician for follow up.
- Culinary Medicine — Students educate community members about proper nutrition and the consequences of unhealthy eating and show them how to cook a nutritious meal during the class. We give people the knowledge they need to make informed food decisions as well as the tools to prepare healthy meals.
Student National Medical Association: email@example.com