The Region 7 APAMSA conference for 2010, “Building our West Coast API community” was held on May 8th at Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California’s Health Sciences Campus. The conference was advertised though flyers around school, class emails, and facebook groups at USC as well as all the schools of all the invited chapters, withach individual chapter responsible for advertising the conference to their class. To invite medical schools in Region 7 that did not have an APAMSA chapters, we contacted students we knew at these schools or their student affairs representatives and asked them to pass on the flyer and invite to the class.

The conference started off at 8:30 when check-in begin. A continental breakfast from Milanos Catering was provided as the early birds checked in and socialized. After a brief welcome message from the USC APAMSA’s co presidents Lucy Gong and Ohmar Myint, the first talk of the day begun. The keynote speaker was Dr. Raquel Arias, speaking on cultural sensitivity, based on her experience working with the Hmong population in Merced. This set the tone for the conference and reminded us about the main goal of the conference. Next we broke out into smaller group sessions for the workshop. The choices for the workshop were: 1) careers in the Navy, a Q&A session featuring Dr. Hui who is an Ob/GYN in the Navy. In addition to this workshop the Navy was provided with a table near the check-in area in order to make it easy for people to talk and learn more about joining the Navy throughout the conference representatives of. 2) Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) Workshop, run by Western University and 3) a how to session on student lead health fairs run by UCLA APAMSA. Equal attendance at each of the workshops was ensured by encouraging people to go to a different workshop when one workshop gets too crowded. After the workshops, the group came back together for a talk by Dr. Astrid Heger, a professor at USC and the founder of the Violence Intervention Program at LA County+USC hospital. Dr. Heger gave a very open and personal talk about how we as future physicians can help victims of domestic abuse.

Next, lunch from Thai Kitchen, was served. The student longue in McKibben Hall was open up so that attendees could socialize and enjoy their lunch there. Onehr and 30 minutes was scheduled for lunch in order to provide ample time to relax, eat and socialize. After lunch, the afternoon session of the conference begin with a Residency Panel. Despite its name, this panel included not just residents but also 3rd and 4th year medical students. In total, there were six residents from various fields. Dr. Mike Lim is a 1st year resident in orthopedics, Rebecca Sadun is an MD/PhD at USC who just placed into a Meds/Peds residency, Dr. Alice Cheng a 4th year resident in psychiatry.  Dr. Hui from the Navy was also on the residency panel. Dr. Christina Earhart is a resident in radiology and lastly, Dennis Hseih who is a 3rd year medical student with a JD and working as a paralegal. The panel was moderated by two USC APAMSA members, Andrea Lu and Carrie Li. In addition to asking general questions such as “how to prepare for residency”, more specific questions such as “how depression can be effectively screened in Asian populations” were directed to individual members on the panel. The last 15 minutes of the panel was open for questions from the audience and the residents gave out their contact information. After the residency panel, Dr. Koy Parada from UCLA gave a talk about the Hepatitis B bill in congress and what we can do to advocate for it. The last 45 minutes of the conference was spent on individual APAMSA chapter presentations. Each school that attended the conference was encouraged to conduct a 10-15 minute presentation on the activites of their chapter. USC, Stanford, UCLA, and UCI presented. These presentations helped us come together to learn and share expertise and ideas about the future of APAMSA chapters in Region 7. Some of the main areas of concern brought up though these presentations was how APASMA can better South Asian health issues in the future and get more South Asian representation in APAMSA, how to screen minority SE Asian populations for Hepatitis B since there is a language barrier and a shortage of translators, and how to recruit more members for next year.

Fifteen minutes of buffer time was scheduled between each session and we were able to finish the conference on time at 5 PM. Overall the conference was a success, everything ran very smoothly, and all the speakers were prompt and inspiring. The lectures and workshops were very well received by the attendees as well. Most importantly, this conference provided us with an opportunity to network with other APAMSA chapters in our regions and create a strong sense of community for API students in medical school.

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