Edith [Eh-deet] Hernandez, Class of 2023 (MD/PhD)
Undergraduate school attended and major
The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP); BS in Biomedical Sciences, BA in Psychology, and a minor in Chemistry
Why did you choose the University of Minnesota Medical School and what do you like about it?
As a dual degree applicant, the University of Minnesota was my top choice mostly due to the Medical Discovery Team in Addiction (MDT-A) on campus, an interdisciplinary initiative that aims to link basic research in the addiction field to new therapeutic developments for clinical application. As a physician scientist, my main focus lies in translational work in addiction focused on underrepresented minority populations that are heavily impacted by addiction, addictive behaviors, and the long-term impact associated with recovery. The MDT-A has shown me the incredibly collaborative nature of the Neuroscience, Pharmacology, and Psychiatry departments that work together to tackle this issue. I have no doubt that I made the perfect choice when choosing the University of Minnesota for both my medical and graduate studies through the University of Minnesota Medical School's MD/PhD Program.
Have you participated in any student organizations? If so, why did you select those organizations and what has been your experience?
Throughout my first year in the Twin Cities, I found a very supportive familia within the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA). The older medical students included me in various social events and outings that gave me a sense of community and an overall sense of belonging and pride in my background. This year as LMSA Chapter President, I aim to not only foster our community for the latinx students at UMN, but also open our familia to all who are interested in learning more about latinx and immigration-related issues in healthcare. My dream for the future of LMSA at UMN is to set an example as a welcoming ally community to all BIPOC individuals who seek mentorship throughout the rigors of medical training. I have also become involved in White Coats 4 Black Lives and am the co-founder of the Addiction Medicine Student Interest Group.
What is the relationship between the students and the surrounding community?
Although I am new to Minnesota, I have recently become very close to the community here, which has faced many heavy obstacles over the past year. After Mr. George Floyd's murder by Minneapolis Police Officers, I joined my colleagues, friends, and neighbors on the streets as an active protestor, organizer, and street medic as the cities mourned and demanded justice. I reflected on my own gaps in knowledge and attempted to educate myself in the hopes that I can better serve my future BIPOC patients as they deserve to be treated by their physicians. As I learned to listen to the community's concerns, I also became aware of the need to amplify those whose needs go unheard. Although the University of Minnesota Medical School may struggle to establish formal connections and programs to the community, many medical students have succeeded in this effort through donation drives, community clinics, mentorship programs, etc. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from such forward-thinking peers and humbled to find myself with a seat at the table among future leaders.
And for all desert dweller's considering UMN, the winters are not that bad! Si se puede!
Languages you speak?
Originally from the sister cities of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and El Paso, Texas, I speak Spanish and French
Favorite activities to do in the Twin Cities?
I love the bike lanes and greenways in the cities! They are amazing for getting around without a car. I also love to visit the lakes to swim, canoe, or kayak and visit the many climbing gyms in the area. My goal by the time I am done with my 8-year program is to be able to ice skate decently and be able to go skating on the frozen lakes often throughout the winter.