How Georgetown University School of Medicine raised awareness of barriers to healthcare access for immigrants

November 21, 2022

A chapter event with purpose

As of 2020, 26% of documented immigrants and 42% of undocumented immigrants lacked health insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Faced with striking statistics like these, the Georgetown University AMSA chapter held a panel to raise awareness of these issues so future physicians can better understand how to help vulnerable populations.

With panelists Dr. Eileen Moore and Dr. Paul Lozano, the AMSA e-board discussed barriers that prevent immigrants from accessing healthcare, including language, health literacy, and socioeconomic status. The e-board also shared their own stories related to immigration and healthcare. For example, Chapter President Inochi Gonzalez Calvo (see right, M.D. Candidate, Class of 2025) shared that when her family moved to the U.S. when she was 12, she had to act as an interpreter for her parents at appointments, underscoring the barriers to communication that many immigrants face today.

Although the Georgetown SOM AMSA chapter is relatively small, with less than 15 members, the dedicated chapter leaders put together a successful virtual event with roughly 20 highly-engaged attendees — no small feat during this era of zoom-fatigue for medical students. 

Inochi credits the success of the event to these efforts. As a chapter, they:

  • Started planning early
  • Drew on their personal contacts to find experts to serve as panelists
  • Emphasized the panelists as people to lend credibility
  • Promoted the event widely through Georgetown’s weekly newsletter, class presidents, and their own friends and contacts.

Are you looking to plan an event on your campus?
Let us know how we can help — AMSA’s national leaders have a trove of ideas to lend if you like. Email members@amsa.org 

*Kaiser Family Foundation source