LatinMed Tips

Promoting healthcare workforce diversity!

We have collected a number of tips to help parents, students, and teachers navigate through the complexities of becoming a physician in the United States. Additionally please share with us any tips or concerns that we have not addressed so that we can continue to support our community.


We have established a link that will serve as a great general reminder of the opportunities you have to create a successful learning environment for your child/children.

Positive Health (exercise, food, mind)
  1. Welcome and congratulations for taking the first step toward a wonderful journey for you and your child. It is never too early to prepare for your child’s education. I have collected some important pillars of information for you to consider, including the topics of health, learning, and finance.For parents of newborns and toddlers, there are some routines that you should establish:
    1. Build a reliable and stable relationship with your pediatrician, characterized by frequent communication (as needed) and attentive listening by both parties!
    2. Breastfeeding is strongly recommended as a proactive step in your newborn’s health.
    3. Stimulate your child by speaking, singing, and reading to this infant, as stimulation and engagement is key to development.
    4. Do what you can to promote physical activity; it is never too early!
    5. Embrace a healthy diet (say, “no” to sodas and, “yes” to fruits and vegetables). is a good place to go:
    6. Stay involved in your child’s educational journey from the very start, and enjoy the journey.

    Web Resrouce



How can you engage your students of color in thinking through the what ifs of their career and life possibilities?

Chances are, your class demographics are showing an upward trend of this important part of our society: In 15 years (2001 to 2016) the ratio of students of color went from 40 to 51%, according to the National Center for Education Statistics!

The challenge to engage and educate students from diverse backgrounds is daunting. I don’t claim to have all the answers. But I do believe that interests in science, health, and biology can be sharpened when these subjects become relevant to children. Dreams that seem possible to achieve help to make seemingly remote subjects more relevant, and The Little Doctor is all about letting Latino children know that dreams such as becoming a doctor can indeed become realities for them. I want to share resources with students interested in science, health, and biology. We need more physicians from diverse backgrounds: Studies show that when patients engage health providers with language and cultural congruency, health outcomes improve. In California, where about 40% of the population is Latino, we have only 5% Latino physicians (data from California Health Care Foundation, 2016). Medicine is a rewarding, exciting, and humbling profession allowing its members to innovate, heal, and engage with other members of humankind. As with The Little Doctor, the path to becoming a physician can begin very early in a child’s educational journey. You can use this book to sow the seeds for future impact on the diversity of the physician work force!

Here are some resources that may help you achieve some of your goals as educators:


Read Make It Stick by Peter C. Brown




Early Exposure to Science:


Your Student is Interested in Medicine?

The AAMC has great resources:

Applying for medical School


Please share with our community any suggestions and resources that you have found helpful!

Middle School Students

So You Are In Middle School (6th, 7th, & 8th grades) and considering a career in the health sciences, here are some things you can do to help reach your goals.

Are you having fun? Is school an environment that encourages you to learn?
  • Surround yourself with supportive friends and teachers!
  • Make sure you are doing this for yourself! No need to pursue a career path for someone else (parents, e.g.).
Have you identified which learning styles work best for you?
  • Work with your school staff or independent learning centers to identify your strengths and to work on your weaknesses.
  • Learn time management skills
Have you visited your physician for a check up to make sure that your physical and emotional health is at its best?
  • If you have been diagnosed with a condition, work with your healthcare team to keep well!
  • Remember that poor academic performance may be due to a physician or emotional problems.
  • Include your support team as you adjust with emotional and physical changes in your life.
Do you have the appropriate resources?
  • Tutors, learning programs (e.g. Sylvan, Kumon) and mentors are great to start learning about should you need help.
  • When interviewing a tutor, ask: references, years of experience in the area you seek help for, and training in time management skills.
  • Do you know which standardized tests you will be taking in the next few years? As a 7th grader, do you have an idea about what 8th grade is about?
  • Work with your teachers to gather information about the upcoming academic year. Plan ahead!
    Are you starting to imagine what high school is all about?
  • Surround yourself with people that will encourage you and create a positive learning environment for you.
    Check out this wonderful site for tweens and teens:
Are you gravitating toward a future in the arena of science?
  • Explore what’s out there as early as you can and as often as you can!
  • You might want to read books about science basics (e.g. Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Math) and read about careers in Medicine, Engineering, Technology, and Math.
  • If you know people in any of these fields, go out and ask them why they chose their field, what they like most about, and what they find most challenging with their field. I did not meet my first physician until I was a senior in college! Meeting someone that I could relate to who was a physician was an extremely motivational and life-changing experience for me.

Web Resource

Are you a decent writer?

Regardless of the field, you decide to go into, chances are that there will be some writing expected of you (school application essays, job applications, high stakes examinations in the future).

    • Read as many books as you can get your hands on! Consider starting a journal (yes, you!) and write about your experiences, your thoughts, and your adventures!
    • Writing classes are a great foundation; most schools offer these so take advantage of them. Looking back, I sure wish I had read more books by the time I entered middle school.
    • Share what you write with teachers and colleagues, and learn to accept both positive and negative feedback.
Having trouble?

If you are having academic difficulties be sure to visit your school’s academic and learning center. If it does not have one, go on-line with your parents/support team and find tutors in specific areas that might help you.

  • Explore for on-line programs that help you with certain subjects.
  • You may find middle school tutors in your area via on-line searches, but there are larger groups offering help for a price:

High School Students

Welcome to High School! It is very likely that you feel different about the world than you did a year ago. Your body may have changed in the meantime, and you may be dealing with more distractions, but let’s stay on track!

Are you having fun? Is school an environment that encourages you to learn?

High school and your learning environment must continue to be positive.

  • Managing stress appropriately? Are you getting adequate sleep (8-10 hours), eating a balanced diet, and communicating with your support team (parents, teachers, counselors, and health care team)?
  • Web Resrouce
Be Positive, Work Effectively, and Have Fun.
  • Even when confusion may want to take over you, maintain a positive attitude and be confident to ask for help!
  • Preview clubs, sports teams, and all classes you may be interested in.
  • Work to your learning skill strengths.
    Web Resource:
Have the resources you need?
  • Time Management-make sure you are balancing study time with sports, student government or club activities.
  • Tutors-if you need help with certain classes, get help. Speak to teachers, counselors or go on-line and find a private tutor.
  • SAT Preparation-Are you a good test-taker? Find out and work on any weaknesses. Be proactive and learn how to learn!
College Applications—Where will you apply? What will you study? How will you pay for it?

Volunteer—if you are interested in a particular field, offer to volunteer your time to expose yourself to a particular environment (hospitals, law firms, tech company, labs, etc). Go out and explore.

Still Interested in the Sciences? Check out:

Stay Healthy!

Emotional and physical health is key!

Talk to your parents, health care providers and do your best to embrace healthy habits.



I attended an all-boys high school in Los Angeles where I played football, soccer and maintained a solid GPA. I regret not having done more reading and actively preparing for the SAT. Test-taking is a skill you can improve with practice!


Know what is expected of you. What is the premed curriculum?

I visited the campus of the college I was planning to attend just 4 days before the start of classes. Not good planning or preparation. Being the second person in my family to attend college (older brother was first), I had no concept about the nuances of preparation and utilizing resources early in the process.

Know the particulars at your institution but check out the AAMC’s website first:

What should I major in?

I was an economics major, so know that you can major in anything as long as you fulfill the requirements for the medical schools you will apply to. Check these links out, but also confer with your school’s premed advisors:

UC Berkeley Link:

AAMC Link:

Want to invite the AAMC to your school for an event to share information about premed/medicine with your fellow students?

AAMC Link:

When should I take the MCAT? What is the MCAT? What is a competitive MCAT?

What is the MCAT? What is a competitive MCAT?

AAMC MCAT Essentials: AAMC

More AAMC MCAT information: Students-Resigents


Weeding out?

Ever wonder why many students start as premed and then stop? Check out these resources and you will get a better idea. Start with this excellent article by my colleagues Dr. Barr and Dr. Matsui:


The premed journey is a tough one! I almost let it derail my dreams. Included are links to see other students’ opinions and challenges.

College Confidential Link:

Opinion (Don’t Be A Premed) Link:

Why should I even bother? It’s too tough?

We never said it was easy! When you get to this point and you are doubting whether to continue as a premed or not, get some help! How is your health? Do you have a support system around you of study mates, professors, and mentors? Or are you isolated, trying to continue with what got you through high school with high grades? Time to regroup!

Find supportive mentors and study partners to help you succeed. Identify your strengths and work on weaknesses. But in the end, if you find that medicine is not for you, start anew and enjoy your new journey!


Mentor Link:

Mentor Link:


What are post-baccalaureate (post-bac) programs? Who should apply to one?

  • 1-2 year programs that exposes students to concentrated premed coursework, research and MCAT preparation.
  • Designed for students deciding on a career in medicine after they graduated from a four-year college
  • Designed for students who applied to medical school but did not get in and seek to strengthen their application before applying again

Post-Bac Link:

AAMC Post-Bac Link:

AAMC Link:

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