Congratulations to Niyi Soetan, rising M3, on his election as a regional director for region 2 of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). In this role, Soetan will oversee a regional executive board of 11 members that represent 23 SNMA chapters and 20 Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS) across 10 states in the Midwest. He will also be responsible for leading the planning of the region’s annual conference and leadership institute.
“My goal as regional director is to increase the feeling of connectedness through a mental health week program,” Soetan said. “Region 2 is such a large region and it can be hard to feel connected to so many chapters. I think that mental health in minority students is something that is often overlooked and I hope to chip away at the stigma that vulnerability amongst minority students is a sign of weakness.”
Established in 1964, SNMA is the oldest and largest student-run organization focused on the need and concerns of black medical students in the United States. The mission of SNMA is to support current and future underrepresented minority medical students, address the needs of underserved communities and increase the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent and socially conscious physicians.
“I chose to join Rush's SNMA chapter because I was looking for a sense of community that I had not experienced before,” said Soetan. “Growing up in Arizona, I would constantly be one of maybe three black students in advanced classes. When I went to undergrad at Arizona State University, I only knew one other black pre-med student in my cohort. Seeing a group of other black successful students when I got to Rush was a breath of fresh air. In my new role as regional director, I want to set a positive example that will encourage many students of color to strive for greatness and I hope I can help convince pre-medical students to consider making Rush their home!”
Accolades for the SNMA chapter at Rush
The SNMA chapter at Rush Medical College is also celebrating the completion of a successful 2019-2020 academic year. Rush hosted the region 2’s annual Regional Medical Education Conference in November 2019 that brought 250 attendees, 20 research poster presentations and representatives from 30 residency programs to the Rush campus. The group was also very active in the Chicago community through Rush’s annual MLK Day of Service, Westside Walks for Wellness and programming for Black History Month. These successful events earned Rush the award for SNMA’s Region 2 Chapter of the Year.
In addition, Darrius Chambers and Samiya Diawara, also rising M3s, were appointed to roles on the SNMA region 2 executive board. Chambers will serve as the parliamentarian and ensure that all regional operations fall within the national constitutional guidelines of SNMA. Diawara will serve as the region’s research liaison and be in charge of disseminating research opportunities to the medical students throughout the region.
Congratulations to all members of Rush SNMA on a successful year!