NJMS Student Leads the Way at AAMC

In a tumultuous (to say the least) election year, NJMS celebrated its own success at the polls. At the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) 127th annual meeting in November, second-year student Jose Medina was elected to the Medical Education National Committee as Medical Education Delegate for the Northeast Region for the AAMC’s Organization of Student Representatives (OSR). He is the first NJMS student to hold a national leadership position within the AAMC OSR.

Since last year Medina has served as NJMS’s representative, an interesting experience that prompted him to run for office when a regional delegate position became open. “I believe a strong factor in swaying fellow representatives to vote for me was my background in social work and my role here at NJMS creating informal learning opportunities, via the Humanism Center, for topics related to social determinants of health and humanism in medicine,” he says. “I’m excited about this opportunity to connect with other students and learn about innovations and best practices at other medical schools.”

The OSR, the student branch of the AAMC, represents medical students nationwide, giving them a strong voice in academic medicine at a national level and providing them an active role in advancing the AAMC mission to improve the nation’s health. Each medical school may select one primary designate and up to three alternate representatives, with the expectation that they be well informed of issues facing medical education and the larger academic medicine community. Following an application and interview process, the NJMS student council selected Medina as the primary OSR representative.

Medina, a native of Miami, is the son of Cuban émigrés who came to the U.S. in the late 1960s to escape the Castro regime. He’s always had an interest in helping others. He obtained his undergraduate degree in public health at Johns Hopkins University, taught in Guyana for a year, then returned to the U.S. to complete a Master of Social Work and a Master of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. Medical school was next on his agenda, so he applied as an early decision candidate to NJMS.

He was well acquainted with NJMS because his wife, Ellina Hattar-Medina, is a 2016 graduate. She’s currently a resident in neurosurgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. Drawn to NJMS because of its commitment to community engagement, he volunteers with the Department of Family Medicine’s Student Family Health Care Center and is a fellow at the Healthcare Foundation Center for Humanism and Medicine.

“I want to do all I can to help improve access to medical and mental health care for populations in need,” he says.