On February 13th, 2016 Loyola University's Chicago Stritch School of Medicine hosted the Region VI conference "Breaking the Silence"
The central theme of the conference was to address important issues facing the APIA community as well as cultural barriers or beliefs that contribute to the health disparities present today. Attending the conference were students from several schools in the region, as well as individuals curious about the topic and the organization.
The conference began with an address from APAMSA president Kevin Riutzel, reinforcing the ideals of the organization and appreciating the conference's role in exemplifying them.
Headlining the conference was keynote speaker Dr. Joseph Chen of DePaul University's School for New Learning. His message, titled "Advocating for the Model Minority: Remodeling the Myth" spoke to important issues confronted by Asian Americans in all walks of life. Speaking through his experiences in healthcare, academia, and industry, Dr. Chen addressed the central theme from a wide breadth of viewpoints. Drawing from his unique perspectives, Dr. Chen discussed his own journey through medicine and society and how that affects how he views patients and clients today.
This was followed by a presentation by Dr. Karen Kim from University of Chicago Medicine titled "Making the Invisible, Visible: Asian Americans and Health". Drawing from her experience in practice and research, Dr. Kim discussed issues in medicine that affect Asian Americans that are too often overlooked in general American medical practices. Dr. Kim cited her extensive research on medical issues prominent in Asian American communities as well as extending her research to health disparities and cultural acceptance to show how important and multifaceted this issue was and how small steps we can take at our level as medical students go a long way towards the future of multicultural healthcare in America.
On the far side of lunch we welcomed Dr. Hong Liu, Dr. Hideki Shikata, Dr. Phuong Tran, and Dr. Joseph Lee in a panel discussing "A conversation with Community Advocates". A wide breadth of topics were addressed from individual tips in community outreach and interaction all the way to how a national organization like APAMSA can help communities across the nation.
We were pleased to continue in more personalized settings in breakout sessions featuring Dr. Juliana Chan, Yoonsun Pyun, Dr. Namratha Kandula, and Dr. Helen Lam to reflect on the ideas and perspectives of the day. We also welcomed Dean Sunny Nakae who led a panel with pre-med students.
Dr. Joseph Lee returned with closing remarks concluding the conference. He spoke looking towards the future and with hope that the unique ideas and perspectives we gained from the plethora of individuals and experiences would be integrated into each attendee as they approached medicine in the future.
We thank all our speakers, sponsors, organizers and attendees for making this a successful conference! We look forward to continuing to interact with everyone and hope that the connections made and perspectives gained at our conference continue to grow from here!