To celebrate the final day of Pride Month, AACOM invited Daniel Rosa Collado, rising second-year osteopathic medical student at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Bradenton (LECOM-Bradenton) and co-founder of the LECOM-Bradenton chapter of the Medical Student Pride Alliance (MSPA), to take over AACOM’s Instagram account. Throughout the day, Daniel posted Instagram stories discussing topics important to the LGBTQIA+ community, including what it means to be an ally and to identify as LGTBQIA+, gender and sexual identity and common vocabulary.
When Daniel came to LECOM-Bradenton, he saw that multiple steps had been taken to create a safe community for LGBTQIA+ students on campus, including a Safe Zone training program for faculty and staff as well as a diversity work group comprised of both faculty and students. However, he also noticed a lack of student involvement and connection among LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies on campus. That is why he, along with fellow LECOM-Bradenton medical student Anthony Ruiz, reached out to the MSPA to found a LECOM-Bradenton chapter of the national organization.
Together, Daniel and Anthony went live on Instagram to discuss how they began the college’s first student-led LGBTQIA+ organization and what it meant to have that space on campus. They also discussed recent activities that the group organized, such as an implicit bias test for students and faculty with a facilitated discussion afterwards, and events that they are currently organizing for the future, such as local outreach to youth pride organizations.
When asked about what advice they would give to medical students who want to start a similar organization at their school, Anthony says, “Find that one faculty member to believe in the vision that you have for creating this type of organization at your campus and it will go far.” Daniel adds, “We were lucky enough to have a lot of friends who wanted to help us, who wanted to join our e-board and raise us from the ground up … you can’t do this alone and you should look for help wherever you can whether that is from you fellow students or organizations like MSPA.”
Daniel hopes to share his experience starting an MSPA chapter at his college with other osteopathic medical student leaders to encourage them to found more chapters at other schools. Watch the takeover