MAPS conference to include focused spotlight on LGBTQIA+ community

Mason McDowell(third from the right), MAPS conference lead organizer this year, standing with attendees of the 2019 conference. The 2019 MAPS conference focused on minorities in general, moving forward, there will be a spotlight on a specific minority groups each year. The 2020 conference will focus on the LGBTQIA+ community in the medical field. 

William Ross, News Contributor

The Minority Association of Premedical students will be hosting their second conference since forming, this upcoming Saturday. Unlike last year’s conference, this 2020 event will have a focused spotlight on the LGBTQIA+ community.

The MAPS Career Development Conference: LGBTQ+ spotlight will be a full day event, beginning at 9:30 a.m., and wrapping up at 6:30 p.m.

The event last year was aimed at assisting minority students going through premedical, to reach their next step of joining the healthcare system successfully.  

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This will be the second MAPS conference taking place at OSU, but this year, the LGBTQIA+ community will be at the center of this January conference. It will highlight health issues in the LGBTQIA+ for all those attending the event. 

OSU student and an organizer of the conference, Julila Zavala, has spent months implementing the LGBTQIA+ spotlight to the MAPS conference.

“This year we are making it a point to make an LGBTQ+ spotlight, so we can talk about issues and disparities in healthcare, especially among the LGBTQ+ community,” Zavala said. 

To make the spotlight fit in with the rest of the MAPS conference, a keynote speaker and panel will take place for those attending. Christopher Terndrup, Ph.D from Oregon Health Science University will be speaking on his personal experiences when it comes to practicing medicine in the LGBTQIA+ community. OSU’s Pride Center will also have a panel in which representatives will talk about their personal experiences when it comes to seeking out healthcare. 

According to the lead organizer of the event and OSU student, Mason McDowell, said that having the spotlight on the LGBTQIA+ community integrated with the current MAPS conference will benefit students as they enter the workforce. Allowing for students looking to enter the medical field to improve the way LGBTQIA+ individuals receive health care.

While the spotlight is focused on the LGBTQIA+ community, MAPS will still include its workshops to help all minority students be prepared to enter the medical field. 

“We will have workshops throughout the day that will center on career development…we’ll have a personal statement workshop, mock interviews, a personal branding workshop and a workshop on determining your wants versus needs in your career. We’ll also have panels on internal medicine and emergency medicine,” McDowell said.   

This event aims to reach the goals MAPS has set out from the beginning, with the goal being aiding minority students to get into medicine to benefit their respective communities.. At this step, MAPS will be trying to help minority students get into medical school, according to McDowell.

“The conference last year was very helpful to all students, especially since a lot of them got to network with medical students who are in school,” Zavala said. “I know a lot of people who got their contact information and all of them are super helpful and willing to help pre-med students.” 

For the MAPS event, OSU alumni and a premedical board member for the Student National Medical Association, Ranya Guennoun, will be keynoting the conference. 

While MAPS is primarily a minority conference, all students are welcome to register for the event. The conference will have a dress code of business or business casual. Once registered for this event, all people will have to do is bring themselves. Notebooks will be handed out at the start of the event for note-taking, and lunch and informational brochures will be provided as well, according to McDowell.

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