This article originally appeared in the fall 2012 edition of Bridges, the School of Medicine’s alumni magazine.
Born in Mexico and raised in rural Washington amid a tightly knit Latino community, Manny Mendoza, M.D. ’10, understands the uphill battle many young Latinos face in launching professional careers, especially careers in medicine.
“In rural areas, in particular where I grew up, access to resources such as advising, mentors and role models is almost nonexistent,” he said. “As a result, many friends in my community – Latino students who had the potential to become doctors and nurses – never really considered health care as a career choice.”
As a first-year medical student, Dr. Mendoza was introduced to the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA). “I knew right away that this was not only a group I wanted to be very closely involved with, but an organization that would be beneficial to help feed the pipeline as well as assist current Latino students at OHSU.”
During the next three years, Dr. Mendoza, in conjunction with OHSU’s Center for Diversity & Inclusion, developed a LMSA chapter at OHSU. Since then, chapter members have participated in student interviews, organized blood donations and sat on panels, most recently at the Latino Health Equity Conference. Members also support the annual "OHSU Hills for Humanity" run and "Cover the Uninsured" week.
“Manny’s efforts have helped lay the groundwork to ensure that all sectors of society receive quality access to health care,” said Leslie Garcia, assistant chief diversity officer and vice provost.
Dr. Mendoza, now a resident physician in family medicine at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, points to lessons of leadership, outreach and workforce diversity as key components of his growth as a student at OHSU.
Today, he’s building on that growth, serving as the West Coast representative for the National Hispanic Medical Association Committee of Residents. “Diversity enhancement in medicine is a work in progress, and I want to continue to take part in this important effort.”
Pictured: Manny Mendoza, M.D.