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This Growing Organization Guides Hispanic Medical Students To A Future In Medicine

Hispanics make up the largest minority group in the U.S. with between 17% and 20% of the total population. But they make up only about 5% of the physician workforce, according to the American Medical Association.

In the past 30 years, the number of Hispanic/Latino U.S. physicians per 100,000 people has declined by 22%. This means that while the general Hispanic/Latino population grows dramatically, their representation in the medical community is shrinking.

Dr. Pilar Ortega knew there needed to be an organization that supported the regional networking of Hispanic Physicians as well as recruiting local students into the field and mentoring those already in med school or in training.

The non- profit organization that would accomplish all of that was created in 2017 and is known as the Medical Organization for Latino Advancement (MOLA) and the first chapter is open in Chicago.

Dr. Ortega is the President of MOLA and is also assistant clinical professor with dual appointments at the University of Illinois Chicago Departments of Emergency Medicine and Medical Education, where she directs and teaches the Medical Spanish program for the College of Medicine’s Hispanic Center of Excellence.

“Many local Latino/Hispanic providers have long been searching for a group that represents us, unites us, and helps us advance in our careers, support our students, and improve our local Hispanic community,” said Dr. Joaquín Estrada, one of the group’s co-founders and colorectal surgeon at Advocate Illinois Medical Center.

The target group is Physicians and Doctors-in-training, but MOLA is open to anyone who wishes to advance the health and safety of the Hispanic/Latino community.

“We cannot do it alone,” says Ortega. “It is a great privilege to do what I do as a Doctor and to serve my community, but we need to support each other as fellow Latinos in healthcare to increase our impact and numbers.”

To learn more about MOLA, click here.

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