On Saturday, March 28, 2015, the Tufts chapter of the Minority Association of Pre-health Students (MAPS) held its fourth symposium on Diversity in the Health Professions. With generous support from the Tufts AS&E Diversity Fund, students planned a full day of speakers and discussions with a number of health professionals.

This year’s theme was “Integrated Care: Exploring Diverse Approaches to Health.” Approximately seventy students heard a keynote address by Dr. Ather Ali of Yale University School of Medicine, followed by a panel and breakout discussion rooms. Here is what some of the students had to say:

This past Saturday, I had the wonderful opportunity to be present with many different leaders in integrative medicine. At the MAPS Symposium, I spoke with a doctor of Osteopathy [who immigrated from China], an integrative M.D. from Peru, and an acupuncturist from Russia and was fortunate to hear about their stories as well as the story of a doctor of naturopathy and a dentist. Being present among five extremely well-traveled, dynamic, and passionate health providers was not only enlightening but also inspiring. These five individuals shared how they came to their positions today, their challenges, and what they love most about their jobs.

As an aspiring integrative physician graduating this spring, I found this the perfect place to collaborate with those who have been down the long path to medicine. It was a wonderful experience Tufts provided and I hope to stay in touch with those I met.

~ Leah Petrucelli ,‘15

Student speaking at MAPS Symposium

Danna Nisai ’15, President of Tufts MAPS

A significant take-away from the MAPS Symposium is that those medical professionals shared a strong sense of dedication to the communities they serve. For example, Dr. Timothe, the dentist, continues to focus her attention on underserved communities and community-based health promotion, over and above her work at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. No matter the direction these professionals’ careers have gone, there remains the same dedication to the core of medicine, which is helping to heal those in need. 

~ Jason L. Shaffer

The Director for Health Professions Advising speaking at the MAPS Symposium

The Director for Health Professions Advising speaking at the MAPS Symposium

I was really struck by Dr. Chang’s remark about being doers in whatever you do in life. His proactive and compassionate approach to medicine was both humbling and inspiring. It was excellent seeing so many professionals speaking about the diverse and holistic components of an integrated healthcare system.

~ Bryce Pepin, ’18 

Speaker at MAPS Symposium

Keynote speaker Dr. Ather Ali

Even in the healthcare profession, the path to your career is not set in stone. So be open to new experiences and opportunities that you might find yourself given.

It was a very interesting and informative session.

Tyler Chan, ‘15

Audience at MAPS Symposium

When I envision the future of medicine, I do not see a single individual. Keeping the best interests of my patients in mind I will have to collaborate with those who approach medicine differently. So maybe a patient needs to lose weight — I’d encourage them to work with a personal trainer, a nutritionist, a physician, a naturopath, and a case manager because all of these healthcare providers have something valuable to contribute. I really enjoyed what Dr. Ali said about complementary medicine going hand in hand with conventional medicine and will probably promote this in the future when I am a physician!

-Nathaniel Tran, ’17

More audience at MAPS Symposium

It was a pleasure to attend the event, and here are my greatest takeaways:

1. Do not meet antagonism with antagonism – verbatim from Dr. Napadow

2. The journey begins with a dream

3. The future of integrative medicine calls for “integration” itself of members of the low income community and underrepresented minorities within the existing system.

Palak Khanna, 18

Photos courtesy of Sydney Char