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Student Organizations

Daniel Hale Williams Society (DHWS)

Photo of Daniel Hale WilliamsThe Daniel Hale Williams Society (DHWS) is SUNY Downstate's chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA); an organization dedicated to healthcare education, leadership development, networking, and community outreach. Our chapter is part of Region IX, which is one of the largest regions in the SNMA, encompassing all the medical schools in New Jersey and New York. DHWS was created with the understanding that medical students, despite their diverse backgrounds, have common needs. It is a democratic organization of underrepresented medical students charged with providing resources and mentorship to its members, and science–related programs and seminars for youth and pre-medical students. DHWS is more than just an organization, they are a family. Members support each other emotionally, as well as, educationally. Prominent physicians and professional guest speakers are often invited to Downstate by DHWS to share their experiences. Each year DHWS hosts a senior reception. This celebration serves as a special opportunity to highlight the experiences and accomplishments of our graduating seniors over the last four years.

Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA)

The Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) unites and empowers medical students through service, mentorship and education to advocate for the health of the Latino community. The objectives of LMSA include:

  • actively promoting recruitment and retention of Latino students at all levels 
  • educating medical students on Latino health issues
  • advocating for the rights of Latinos in health care
  • providing leadership opportunities for Latinos
  • promoting volunteerism in the Latino community

In 2019, LMSA sponsored a lecture for Hispanic Heritage Month. The members invited Débora Silva, MD, FAAP, M.Ed, Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Puerto Rico, School of Medicine as keynote speaker. Dr. Silva’s lecture was titled “Taking Care of Puerto Rica Patients: Historical Perspectives, Health Status, and Health Care Access”.

lmsa lecture 2019


The PRIDE Club works with faculty to create an environment of support and open celebration of diverse identities. In recent years, the club hosted a Queer Peer Panel discussion during the annual Sex In Medicine Week. Four students of different identities on the gender and sexuality spectra answered questions that were submitted anonymously from those attending the event. Topics included the individual instances of subjective, conscious LGBTQ+ experience and how these identities impact healthcare professions.

The PRIDE Club participates in Dr. Merlino's LGBTQ+ mentoring group — which is open to the entire Downstate community. In Spring 2019, the club hosted its largest event to date - the inaugural Lavender Graduation ceremony. The PRIDE Club hosts monthly coffee-hour meetings where it discusses medical journal articles pertaining to the LGBTQ+ community.

pride eboard pose for group photo