Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA)  

Our History

The Stanford Chapter of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) was founded by Jolene Nakao ('08) and Bory Kea ('08) in January of 2004 after they attended the 2003 APAMSA National Conference and became Western Regional Directors of the national APAMSA organization. While the Stanford Asian American Medical Students (SAAMS) and the Association of Asian Medical Students (AAMS) existed at the medical school prior to the creation of APAMSA, their influence and presence diminished in recent years. As a result, APAMSA has subsumed these organizations in a united effort to advocate the needs and interests of Asian Pacific American (APA) students attending Stanford University School of Medicine. More specifically, APAMSA seeks to: 1) address the educational and social issues pertaining to APAs in medicine, 2) promote cultural awareness and sensitivity within Stanford’s medical community, 3) provide resources and education as advocates for improving APA health in communities at large, and 4) foster participation in community service and outreach programs.

To this end, together with the Asian Health Caucus at UCSF, the Stanford Chapter of APAMSA organized and sponsored the 2004 Western Regional APAMSA Conference at Stanford. The goal of the conference, entitled “Stepping Up: Actions to Improve Asian American and Pacific Islander Health” was to educate students, health professionals, and community members on health issues pertinent to the APA community while providing concrete ideas to implement action in dealing with these issues. The 2004 conference not only provided a platform for discussing pertinent issues of Asian health status, but also provided a liaison between professionals and the broader community, thus laying the groundwork to further galvanize the community in recognizing APA health issues.

The success and positive publicity of the 2004 Western Regional APAMSA Conference served as a stepping stone for the Stanford and UCSF APAMSA chapters to co-host a second regional conference in 2006. Entitled “Taking Action: Responding to the Health Needs of the Asian Pacific American Community,” the 2006 Western Regional APAMSA Conference was very well received and generated much positive feedback from the medical community, drawing over 100 participants as well as numerous speakers. Among the presenters were prominent leaders of the medical field, including Dean Philip Pizzo, MD, as well as Anmol Mahal, MD, the President-elect of the California Medical Association (CMA). Topics and workshops addressed a gamut of issues pertinent to Asian health, with a particular focus on three broad areas: 1) the epidemiology of diseases that disproportionately affect the APA community, 2) ways to effectively bridge differing perspectives, language, and customs to provide APA patients with the best care possible, and 3) principles of community-building, organization and outreach.

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