Learners

SOM Health Justice Center

Opportunities for students and residents

OHSU School of Medicine provides many opportunities to support and connect diverse learners including student organizations, mentoring programs, events, as well as the Health Justice Co-op and opportunities through the OHSU the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

Jump to:  Student interest groups |  Support programs | Health Justice Co-op | Resources | Courses 

Our commitment to learners

The School of Medicine is committed to increasing the diversity of our student body for learners from rural backgrounds, underrepresented racial groups and those who have faced significant disadvantage or adversity. Learn more.

We partner to support diversity in recruiting and sustaining learners across our academic programs because we believe a diverse learning community helps us move closer to a future in which our community of health care providers mirrors the diversity of our patients.

Student Interest Groups

AVIDS student group
Alliance for Visible Diversity in Science (AVDS) graduate students

Student interest groups are a great way to get involved and connect with a community of learners and faculty. OHSU is home to local chapters of distinguished national student organizations and other diverse student interest groups including: 

  • The Alliance for Visible Diversity in Science (AVDS), which aims to increase visible diversity within graduate programs at OHSU. Read the AVDS newsletter.
  • Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) 
  • Association of Native American Medical Students (ANAM)
  • Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA)
  • Middle Eastern and South Asian Association (MESAA)
  • Students for LGBTQ Health

A full list of student interst groups is maintained by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.  Learn more.

Support services for students

The School of Medicine provides a range of retention and enrichment support services for students across its academic programs including mentoring opportunities and a leadership committee. 

Faculty members Anthony Cheng, M.D.. Amy Garcia, M.D.  and Donn Spight, M.D. serve as the SOM’s diversity navigators. SOM M.D. program students who self-identify as belonging to diverse or underrepresented groups can reach out to them for support and mentorship.

The SOM Undergraduate Medical Education program launched a partnership in the spring of 2019 with Northwest Permanente (NWP) to expand the pool of physicians who can mentor diverse M.D. students. NWP is the largest independent, multispecialty medical group practicing in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Medical students who belong to various interest groups are eligible to participate in the program.  Physicians and students are paired up and receive guidance on how to build professional relationships. The program also provides a valuable outlet for physicians to connect with diverse and URM students. Dr. George Mejicano and Leslie Garcia, Assistant Chief Diversity Officer, lead this program.

The HOADC and the Graduate Medical Education (GME) Office implement the SOM Diversity Mentorship Dinners. These gatherings take place quarterly to support our diverse medical school students, residents, fellows, and faculty. They offer a venue to network and discuss topics of interest in a casual environment. The primary purpose of the program is to address inclusion and retain diverse learners at OHSU. Each dinner features a panel, which is usually a mix of faculty, fellows, researchers, and residents. The HOADC leadership and medical students select the topics to discuss.

The SOM Dean’s Office host quarterly meetings where students across programs can inquire about SOM status reports and data related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. SOM students can share concerns, successes, and updates on diverse interest groups.

Health Justice Co-op

SOM Alicia Morland 1
HJC mural designed by Portland muralist, Rudy Serna, and painted by students features both historical figures and contemporary leaders from OHSU, such as Alisha Moreland-Capuia, M.D., director of the OHSU Avel Gordly Center for Healing (pictured).

Opened in December 2019, the Health Justice Co-op provides a safe space for students from marginalized communities, designed to foster collaborations that will advance justice in health care and education. The HJC was developed by students of color and of the LGBTQ community and faculty out of a clear response to students' experiences of racism and marginalization on campus and a need for a place designed to support community and collaboration.

The HJC space prioritizes diversity and justice-related programming and includes a health justice resources library, projector set up to display health justice films and documentaries, and an event calendar for students to stay connected to the community. 

  • Open to all OHSU learners.
  • Open daily, space can be reserved through the OHSU Library. 
  • Location: RLSB 4A005

Resources for learners

Undergraduate Medical Education offerings

The undergraduate medical education program developed a new method of teaching medical students about the ways that social, economic, legal, and cultural structures impact health. During the fall semester, a course explores how issues such as immigration, gender, trauma, substance abuse, and racism affect patient care.

OHSU’s SOM is one of the few U.S. medical schools teaching this unique course led by medical students.  A faculty-taught companion course covers such areas as cultural competency and implicit bias.

Second-year medical students choose the topics, design, and lead six small-group sessions required for all first-year students. We are in our third year that the SOM has delivered this curriculum.  

A Medical Spanish course was proposed and implemented by the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA). The LMSA Medical Spanish Elective increases Spanish medical fluency and cultural competency among medical students providing a foundation for success as residents and attending physicians. Likewise, learning about Latino/Hispanic cultures offer a forum to enhance interprofessional education and clinical effectiveness.