Every year since 1988, the United States has devoted National Hispanic Heritage Month between September 15 to October 15 to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Hispanic and Latinx people to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. This time period also coincides with the independence celebrations for a number of Latin American countries.
Below, read reflections from second-year medical students in the Latino Medical Student Association and view a presentation about notable Hispanic/Latinx figures in the history of medicine from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and beyond.
Notable Hispanic/Latinx figures in medicine at SMPH and beyond
Medical student reflections
Happy Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month! ¡Feliz mes de la herencia hispana/latinx!
As we celebrate Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month, we invite you to read some reflections from three of our Latinx medical students:
Alexa Figueroa Baiges
Growing up in a different country, I never really thought much of my “Hispanic identity”, since everyone around me shared it. However, when I moved to the United States where there were so many different people from all sorts of backgrounds, I started to realize what it meant to be Latinx. Being Latina means that there is always a cause for celebration where dancing, music and good food are involved. It means to have a community of people rooting for you to take up space in places where we aren’t typically seen (i.e. medical school). During Hispanic Heritage Month, we celebrate not only the countries our families came from, but all of the cultures in Latin America. We celebrate our differences by eating each other’s foods or dancing each other’s music but know that we have much more in common than what separates us. Most importantly, during Hispanic Heritage Month, we support each other, whether that means buying from local Latinx businesses or showing up to events hosted by Latinx folks. Being Latinx means that you are part of a community that uplifts each other.
Cristian Anibal Ambrosio
In my own experience, the Hispanic identity in Wisconsin for me is vastly different from other Hispanic identities in different states. An identity that I am continuing to grow and solidify and trying my best to learn from other Hispanic cultures to further understand my own. Attending UWSMPH for me has been an environment that has a more diverse population in an educational system than I have been part of. However, that is not true for everyone, and we must do our best to welcome Latinx and non-Latinx in our community to grow and promote love. The Latinx identity to me means just that, promoting love to our classmates and neighbors. Supporting each other and not leaving an individual behind. The Latinx identity to me means that we treat each other like family. During the good and tough times, you can always count on your Latinx friends to be there for you.
Ana Isabel Torres
Growing up as a Honduran American has been a defining factor of who I am today. To me, being Latina reflects the beautiful culture that I grew up with. A culture where we take pride in taking care of our family, being loud with our storytelling at family parties, and recognizing the smell of our abuela’s sazón in her cooking from a mile away. In medical school, being Latina means sharing that culture with our peers, wanting them to enjoy some of our food and music while also sharing some of our life experiences. Belonging to the Latino Medical Student Association has given us an avenue to grow our community, strengthen our bonds with each other, and share our culture with UWSMPH as a whole. As I move forward in my career, being Latina motivates me to become the best doctor that I can be so that my future patients feel taken cared of by someone who understands their culture and speaks their language. Overall, I am excited and hopeful to continue sharing and celebrating each other’s culture at UWSMPH. Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!