Founding a League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) council in a U.S. medical school: A new blueprint for Latino medical student organizations to enhance their public health outreach efforts.
Background: In the next 40 years, the Hispanic population will represent 29% of the U.S. population. Hispanics living in the U.S. face cultural and economic barriers to receiving healthcare. To address the health disparities faced by Hispanic populations at the local level, an inter-professional group of Hispanic students from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) founded the first League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) at an academic medical center.
Methods: This article represents a descriptive guide to the methods we utilized to establish the organization, the health fairs, a mentoring program, and a medical Spanish curriculum. Additionally, this article demonstrates how our partnership with LULAC facilitated each of the activities we organized by enhancing public awareness, increasing available resources, and enabling community partnerships with local businesses and media outlets.
Results: Since the organization was established in 2017, 87 students from the Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, and Health Professions have become UAMS LULAC members. Together they screened 194 uninsured Hispanic patients at health fairs, mentored pre-medical students at local colleges, and designed and implemented the curriculum for a medical Spanish course in which 64 students participated.
Conclusion: Becoming a LULAC council is an innovative and highly beneficial avenue for both new and existing Hispanic medical student organizations. By following a similar methodology, and by partnering with local LULAC councils and their pre-existing networks, Hispanic student organizations may also increase their access to support, resources, and volunteers to ultimately enhance their educational experience and public health outreach efforts.