One of my favorite things about going to school at Berkeley is the constant exposure to the hustle and bustle of a campus teeming with vibrant activity. By virtue of attending school at a large, prestigious public university in an urban setting—and, of course, by being surrounded by fiercely passionate and wholeheartedly enthusiastic peers—there’s always something exciting going on. This past weekend, that special “something” for me was the 2016 Minorities in Health Conference. This year’s theme: Owning Your Identity—A Self-Navigating Guide to Careers in Health.
Kinda long winded, right? Though it may sound pretty complicated, the purpose of the Minorities in Health Conference is simple: to provide education to the public about the health disparities affecting minority communities, and to decrease those disparities by encouraging and inspiring both high school and undergraduate students to strive toward higher education and ultimately careers in health. The conference, abbreviated as MIH, was the culmination of the many months of planning and hard work by a collection of student-run organizations including PAHC (my org—the Pilipino Association for Health Careers), CHE (Chicanos in Health Education), BSHA (Black Students in Health Association), and AAPIHRG (Asian American Pacific Islander Health Research Group). The conference consisted of amazing informational panels ranging from post-baccalaureate students to Berkeley alumni in health careers, esteemed guest speakers, engaging workshops such as the suture clinic and discussion about women’s issues in health, and networking opportunities with various graduate schools.
In addition to the awesome sessions offered during the conference, PAHC hosted MIH Shadow, a program that brought high school students from underrepresented communities in the Bay Area to spend the night experiencing college life at Berkeley before attending the MIH Conference the next day— completely free of cost to the students!
After working as an intern of the planning committee, hosting two of my own high school shadows, and attending MIH Conference as a curious and open-minded participant, I can say that MIH Conference was hands down one of the most informative and inspirational events I’ve ever attended. The experience was completely new and eye opening, and I’m so proud to attend school at a university that values such a beautiful sense of community and encouragement between student groups. Not only did MIH Conference help boost my confidence in my abilities, but reinvigorated my goals and dreams, reminding me despite the struggles I may face, I’ll never be completely alone. No matter who you are or how you identify, you can always find a community to support and inspire you here at UC Berkeley.