Newswise — MAYWOOD, Ill. – Ray Mendez, third-year medical student at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, was named a 2013 Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarship recipient.
The Nickens awards, administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), consist of five scholarships given to outstanding students entering their third year of medical school who have shown leadership in efforts to eliminate inequities in medical education and health care and have demonstrated leadership efforts in addressing educational, societal, and health care needs of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. Each recipient receives a $5,000 scholarship.
As president of Loyola’s chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA), Mendez helped reinstate the chapter that has now become a vibrant part of the medical school culture. Under his leadership, Loyola served as host for the 2013 LMSA regional conference.
In his second year of medical school, Mendez was selected as a Chicago Area Schweitzer Fellow and began working on a community-based project that combined his passion for community empowerment with preventative medicine. His goal was to provide minority students from low-income backgrounds with tools, skills, and confidence to pursue a career in medicine.
With the support of the Schweitzer Fellowship, he launched the Loyola chapter of the Health Professionals Recruitment and Exposure Program (HPREP), a bi-annual, six-week program aimed at decreasing health and health care disparities through the recruitment of underrepresented minorities into health care careers. Each six-week cohort includes workshops on health/health care disparities, preventative medicine, nutrition, study skills, career guidance, mentoring from medical students, and panels with minority health professionals. Mendez worked with school administrators to institutionalize the HPREP program within the Stritch Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Mendez grew up in Chicago, and attended Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., where he received a B.S. in biology with a minor in chemistry. He’s preparing for a career as a community physician to provide high quality and accessible care to minority groups.
The AAMC presented the Nickens award to Mendez and fellow recipients in a ceremony last November in Washington, DC.
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The Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division (HSD) advances interprofessional, multidisciplinary, and transformative education and research while promoting service to others through stewardship of scientific knowledge and preparation of tomorrow's leaders. The HSD is located on the Health Sciences Campus in Maywood, Illinois. It includes the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, the Stritch School of Medicine, the biomedical research programs of the Graduate School, and several other institutes and centers encouraging new research and interprofessional education opportunities across all of Loyola University Chicago. The faculty and staff of the HSD bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and a strong commitment to seeing that Loyola's health sciences continue to excel and exceed the standard for academic and research excellence. For more on the HSD, visit LUC.edu/hsd.