Celebrating Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month 2022

25 Sep 2022

By Minerva Romero Arenas, MD, MPH, FACS

In an ongoing partnership between the Association of Women Surgeons and the Latino Surgical Society, we are proud to again bring you a Blog series for Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM).  In this piece, I hope to highlight some important points we hope to bring to light during HHM.

What is HHM?

Every year, the US celebrates the history, culture, and contributions of Americans who immigrated or whose descendants originated from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. What started as a weeklong celebration in 1968, has now expanded to observation of HHM from September 15 to October 15. This period was chosen due to the significance of many Independence Day celebrations in those countries occurring in mid-September and Día de la Raza (Day of Heritage) being celebrated on October 12th. You can find more information on the National HHM website.

How have AWS and LSS worked together?

Our two organizations have mutually benefited from ongoing collaboration. Two Latina surgeons have held the position of LSS Liaison to AWS (Dr. Chantal Reyna, 2020-21 and myself, 2019-20). We have laid the foundation for starting the partnership and building joint programming and collaborations between our organizations. 

Our partnership has included the ongoing support of the AWS Mentoring Program for Students who are Underrepresented in Medicine. This program paired URM medical students with surgical mentors to help explore and develop their interest in careers in surgery. 

We are also proud to have initiated the AWS DEI Awards in 2020. The awards are presented to students and residents to attend the annual AWS Conference. The inaugural awards were granted in 2020 and included awards adopted by our partners the Society of Black Academic Surgeons, the Society of Asian Academic Surgeons, and the Association of Academic Surgeons. The awards were again granted in 2021 and the 2022 winners will be announced soon!

HHM social media profiles and blog series – We were very proud to start highlighting LSS and AWS members through our social media campaigns. We also partnered with the AWS Blog Team to invite blog pieces for HHM. The LSS identified current and future surgeons to share with you their perspectives on being Hispanic/Latino in surgery. You can find the past blog pieces listed below and keep an eye out for the upcoming series between now and Oct. 15th.

AWS Celebrates HHM 2020

It’s a vast wonderful world: National HHM begins

It takes a village

Diversity in Strengths and Strengths in Diversity

There all along

Fixing the leaky pipeline

Future Directions

We are excited to have a return to in-person events and our partnership will continue to drive this. The LSS will have a presence at the upcoming AWS conference and we are collaborating with other surgical societies to co-host an information booth at the ACS Clinical Congress to follow the AWS Conference. We are looking forward to the upcoming appointment of a new Liaison to the AWS. We would love to hear from our members how you think this partnership should move forward.

Dr. Minerva A. Romero Arenas is an Endocrine & General

Surgeon at NYP Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. She is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Dr. Romero Arenas completed a fellowship in Oncologic Surgical Endocrinology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. She completed her General Surgery Residency at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. She earned her Medical Doctorate and Master of Public Health degrees from The University of Arizona College of Medicine and the Zuckerman College of Public Health. She studied Cell Biology and French at Arizona State University as an undergraduate. 

Her interests include benign and oncologic endocrine neoplasms, hereditary syndromes, health disparities, quality improvement, global health, and genomics. 

A native of Mexico City, Mexico, Dr. Romero Arenas is passionate about recruiting the next generation of surgeons and is involved in mentoring through various organizations, such as the Association of Women Surgeons, Tour for Diversity in Medicine, Latino Medical Student Association, National Hispanic Medical Association, and Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians. She is a Founding Member of the Latino Surgical Society

She enjoys fine arts, films, gastronomy, and sports. She enjoys jogging, swimming, and kickboxing. Most importantly, Dr. Romero Arenas treasures spending time with her family and loved ones.

Our blog is a forum for our members to speak, and as such, statements made here represent the opinions of the author and are not necessarily the opinion of the Association of Women Surgeons.