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SACNAS-UMMS student chapter receives national recognition

  The SACNAS-UMMS student chapter executive board

The SACNAS-UMMS student chapter executive board

For a second year, the UMass Medical School student chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science has been recognized as one of the best within the national organization.

The SACNAS-UMMS student chapter, founded in 2017, was recognized as an Outstanding Chapter for Development during the organization’s annual conference recently held in San Antonio, Texas.

“To receive this national award reflects the commitment of the students to increase diversity at their home institution,” said Teresita Padilla-Benavides, PhD, assistant professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology and faculty advisor and advocate for SACNAS at UMMS.

“It is a clear recognition of our own emerging leaders in STEM and the support that we have obtained from UMass Medical School,” said Aurian Garcia-Gonzalez, MD/PhD candidate and president of the UMMS chapter.

In a statement, SACNAS Executive Director John D. Winnett said chapters like the one at UMMS are “the force behind the movement to diversify STEM in the United States at the grassroots level, contributing to the changing face of science in their respective communities.”

SACNAS is a national organization focused on fostering the success of Chicano/Hispanic and Native American scientists, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers and positions of leadership in science. Each SACNAS chapter develops programming on its respective campus focused on networking, professional development, scientific engagement and community service.

For the past two years, the SACNAS-UMMS chapter has organized and held a series of community seminars meant to improve health education and public awareness of the importance of biomedical research. Chapter members have also participated in community events focused on mentoring the next generation of STEM professionals.

In April, the chapter hosted the SACNAS-New England Regional Conference, which drew nearly 200 people from 10 academic and scientific institutions for the daylong event.

“We strongly believe that over the past year we have exceeded our own expectations. We continue to be focused on our mission to promote scientific and professional development and foster diversity efforts across our institution,” Garcia-Gonzalez said.

Related stories on UMassMedNow:
UMMS establishes chapter of national organization to advance Latinos/minorities in science
SACNAS-UMMS inaugural workshop will explore implicit bias in science
Teresita Padilla-Benavides recognized for mentorship with SACNAS award
SACNAS-UMMS student chapter to host New England Regional Conference