Four members of the BCOM chapter of the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) visited Onate High School as part of SOMA’s National Outreach for Diversity in Medicine (NOD) program. Mariah Maestas, Michael Davis, Shaun Antonio, and Megan McCord presented to approximately 120 high school students enrolled in health program courses on the importance of diversity in medicine.

McCord explained, “We talked about how seeing physicians that may understand your culture better, whether it be because they are part of it or have exposure to it, can enhance the relationship between physician and patient. Most of the students stated that they like seeing physicians who look like them, can speak their language, and understand things about different cultures and their traditions.”

The medical students also addressed some of the younger students concerns about the financial aspect of going to school for health professions. “Hopefully, we eased some of their worries,” McCord said, adding that she enjoyed seeing how many students understood the message they were trying to get across about diversity. “I know I personally did not have much exposure to the importance of diversity until I reached college, so the fact that these younger students understand why it is important was incredible to see. I also loved seeing how passionate they were about medicine. One student said he wanted to be a cardiothoracic surgeon (woah!) and I think it’s great these students have such big dreams.”

NOD is an initiative of the National SOMA organization and medical school campuses all across the country hosted similar presentations at schools in their areas throughout the month of October. McCord added that the presentation went so well, she could see the BCOM SOMA continuing it on their own and presenting at other high schools in Las Cruces.