A Wayne State University School of Medicine medical student has been selected for the GE-National Hispanic Medical Association’s Health Professional Student Leadership and Mentoring program, designed to develop future national health care leaders.
Dominique Sanchez is one of 50 medical students nationwide who will participate in the program, which seeks to connect students with Hispanic physicians and leaders, to investigate the challenges and transformation of health care, and to develop foundational leadership skills in participants.
“I was delighted to be selected for the NHMA mentorship program because it’s an invaluable opportunity to connect with an NHMA-affiliated mentor and network with other senior members, including physicians and lawmakers, nationwide,” she said.
Emma Olivera, M.D., a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and now a general pediatrics resident at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, will be Sanchez’s mentor in the program. “I’m really looking forward to collaborating with her on a research project as well as learning from her experiences in selecting a medical specialty,” Sanchez said.
The second-year medical student, originally from Lapeer, Mich., now lives in Southfield with her fiancé and three pets. While uncertain of the medical field she wants to practice, Sanchez is considering obstetrics and gynecology, dermatology and otolaryngology.
She serves as treasurer for the Class of 2017. She also is a member of the Student Senate’s Technology Committee and Career Advisory Committee.
As part of the program, Sanchez will attend the NHMA’s 19th annual conference in Washington, D.C., which will include visiting Capitol Hill and the opportunity to meet with politicians and express her views and opinions on health-related matters. “I feel blessed to have been chosen for this program and I believe that this will no doubt be an invaluable experience for which I will be able to utilize my other strengths, including what I have learned about advocacy as a part of Medicine and Political Action in the Community here at the School of Medicine,” she said.
Sanchez joined MPAC to learn how to navigate the world of politics to advocate for her future patients. “I have a specific interest in the health of Hispanic women and children, stemming a lot from my experiences this past summer as a public health extern. I also had hoped to learn more about the Affordable Care Act and how it is anticipated to affect physicians and patients alike. I believe that as we move toward a more social health care model, lawmakers and physicians will be inextricably linked, and I want to be prepared to navigate those relationships.”
Lisa MacLean, M.D., assistant dean of Student Affairs and Career Development for the School of Medicine, nominated Sanchez for the program. “Since entering medical school, Ms. Sanchez has demonstrated both her ability to lead and mentor as well as to be led and mentored. Her experiences make her uniquely qualified for this program as she grows and develops into the physician leader she will become in the future.”
In 2013, Sanchez went on her first of two mission trips in support of a Montessori school in the Dominican Republic. She and other volunteers brought school supplies and worked with the students, many of them descendants of Haitians brought into the country to work sugar cane plantations.
“Our hope in helping with this program is that these kids, although a small group, will have pride in their community and continue this work for other children of the community once they are adults,” Sanchez said. “It’s a very grassroots approach. We work to show these kids that they are important and can achieve great dreams outside of sports with the proper determination.”
In August 2014, Sanchez began sponsoring a child who attends the school. She hopes to visit the school again this summer.
As a member of the Amigos Medicos Friends in Medicine student organization, she teaches fellow students Spanish language basics. Last summer she worked as a public health extern with Centro Multicultural La Familia, a non-profit Detroit organization working to provide culturally-competent support services to families in a holistic approach. Sanchez assisted educators with Early Head Start home visits and disseminated health information to Hispanic immigrant families.