Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Student Organizations & Diversity

ODII supports a number of SKMC and TJU student groups that eliminates health and education disparities, enhances cultural competency education, and increases the diversity of the student body. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives supports the following organizations. 

Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association

The Asian Pacific Medical Student Association (APAMSA) is a national organization that unites medical students interested in the health issues that affect Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. The Jefferson chapter strives to promote the well-being of Asian communities through direct service locally and nationally. Ongoing projects include APAMSA’s Hepatitis B Initiative at Jefferson, a lunchtime seminar series and variety of health screening events for Philadelphia’s Asian population. Activities have also included notable invited speakers; dim-sum; trips to the APAMSA National Conference in Las Vegas, NV and Hepatitis B/C Conference in Boston, MA; a Lunar Chinese New Year Celebration; participation in the “Expressions of Asia” program, and attendance at the APAMSA Region III Conference in Baltimore, MD.

Diversity Council

The Diversity Council’s mission is to seek participation and input from Jefferson students in bringing forth educational programs, events and activities that fosters cultural awareness and sensitivity. In addition, it provides students with a safe environment to discuss and voice concerns. The Diversity Council is composed of the following committees:

  • Minority Affairs
  • Multicultural Events and Activities
  • Education and Curriculum
  • Community Service and Outreach
  • Grants and Research
Each committee develops programs that are unique to that specific area and designed to meet the overall mission.

International Medicine Society

The purpose of the International Medicine Society (IMS) is to assist students in obtaining a health education experience abroad. The society maintains a network of students, faculty and alumni that enable members to share insight, resources and contacts concerning medical education in an international setting. Members also work with other medical students across the country on the “Remedy Project” in which developing countries around the world benefit from unused medical equipment donations. Seminars and general meetings are held to present experiences by faculty and students in international health care and to educate students regarding health issues and current healthcare challenges abroad. The International Medicine Society also helps raise diversity awareness through various cultural activities on campus.

Jeff LGBTQ

Jeff LGBTQ was created to serve as an educational resource, a support and outreach group, and as a social/professional networking organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer students. It is a University-wide organization open to all students regardless of sexual orientation. JeffLGBTQ coordinates a number of educational events to increase awareness within the Jefferson community regarding LGBTQ issues such as healthcare disparities, community outreach and professional development. Additionally, the group provides support for LGBTQ identified individuals and their allies.

Jeff SAMOSA

Jeff South Asian Medical Student Association (SAMOSA) fosters interest in and increases awareness of the South Asian culture at Jefferson. In addition, Jeff SAMOSA provides a peer support group for persons of South Asian descent.

The Diwali Festival is held in the fall and includes a cultural show to celebrate the Festival of Lights. Speaker and discussion panels are held featuring renowned healthcare professionals in the South Asian community. Other events include National Gandhi Day of Service, Bollywood movie screenings, and South Asian mixers.

Jefferson Jewish Students Association

The Jefferson Jewish Student Association (JSA) is an organization devoted to allowing Jewish students on campus to stay connected with their culture, educating the community about Jewish practices, and working towards improving the experiences of Jewish Patients.

Jefferson JSA welcomes students from all backgrounds across all programs at the University, and hosts many types of programs to increase understanding and community.  Many of these occur as a lunch time talk or some other form of celebration (like reading the megillah or building a sukkah) right around the time of a holiday. During these events, students of the Jefferson community are invited to join us in learning about the holidays and their significance, as well as to enjoy delicious kosher food. Throughout the year we host Friday night Shabbat dinners for the Jefferson community, and collaborate with other medical Jewish student groups from across the city to host a meal and increase friendships with other medical student colleagues.  In order to enhance patient experience, recent efforts by JSA have brought kosher food to hospital cafeterias at Jefferson, and we are looking to further enhance options available to those in the hospital.

The Jefferson Jewish Student Associations welcomes all questions, comments, and ideas in order to create a better learning experience and environment for all people associated with Jefferson, and can be contacted at JeffersonJSA@jefferson.edu.

Jefferson Latino Medical Student Association

Jefferson Latino Medical Student Association

The Jefferson Latino Medical Student Association, formerly known as the National Boricua Latino Health Organization (NBLHO), is a student group representing medical, graduate and health professions students from the northeast region of the United States. The organization’s mission is to recruit Latinos into higher education, educate the public and one another about Latino health issues, advocate for increased Latino representation in medical, graduate and health professions Colleges, and promote awareness about social, political and economic issues as they relate to Latino health. It also serves to create a social network for Latino students and an environment for academic support.

Members of this organization seek progressive and equitable institutionalized changes and advocate for human rights as they apply to health care for the Latino community. Members network with other organizations at the local and national level to achieve common objectives. In addition, the organization serves to educate and sensitize the entire medical community to the specific needs and differences of the Latino patient regarding health and well-being.

LMSA collaborates closely with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives to promote lectures about issues important to Latino health and co-sponsors programs to further promote sensitivity and awareness during Latin Heritage Month and Diversity Week.

Jefferson Medical Interpreters

The Jefferson Medical Interpreters is composed of students fluent in a variety of languages and committed to reducing health disparities related to language barriers. They visit a variety of health care settings to lend their language skills in order to improve healthcare access and delivery in the Philadelphia area. The group partners with the Health Federation of Philadelphia, other medical schools, other Jefferson organizations, and a variety of community groups. The organization is committed to volunteering four hours each week at health centers throughout Philadelphia.

Jefferson Muslim Student Association

The purpose of Jefferson Muslim Student Association is to provide services for Muslim members of the Jefferson community and to educate the Jefferson community in the religious, social and cultural aspects of Islam and peoples of the Muslim world.

The Jefferson Muslim Student Association is actively involved in educating healthcare workers on culturally competent care of Muslim patients. The Association also organizes and participates in health education and screenings within the Philadelphia community. In addition to weekly prayer meetings, the Jefferson Muslim Student Association sponsors a weekly discussion series with informal dinners. During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the Association sponsors a campus-wide dinner; an annual Eid-ul-Adha dinner is held as well.

Puentes de Salud

The purpose of this organization is to ensure the health and wellness of South Philadelphia’s rapidly growing Latino immigrant community. It serves to educate future generations of community advocates, health care providers, educators and leaders by providing opportunities for responsible and respectful community engagement. Puentes de Salud believes that a comprehensive strategy to promote wellness in any community must also target the social determinants of health. This organization offers Jefferson students in all disciplines the opportunity to engage in this community.

Refugee Health Partners

The goal of the Refugee Health Partners is to improve and advocate for the health and well-being of refugees living in Philadelphia. Over the past two years, Refugee Health Partners has initiated yearly community outreach programs including flu clinics, health fairs, English as a Second Language and health education classes, picnics with refugee communities, and adopt-a-refugee.

Student National Medical Association

Student National Medical Association

The Student National Medical Association (SNMA), established in 1964 at Howard University, is the oldest and largest student-run organization focused on the needs and concerns of medical students of color. SNMA is a national organization with more than 60 chapters throughout the United States. Our mission is to support current and future underrepresented minority medical students, while addressing the needs of underserved communities and increasing the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent and socially conscious physicians.

SNMA has been in existence at Jefferson for more than 41 years. Our chapter strives to provide forums for the discussion of issues, service project development and organizational business. Members participate in the Diversity Council, student interviews, and host minority students for interview day. As a member of the national SNMA, we participates in national protocols, annual conventions and regional meetings.

Ongoing projects include: 

  • Undergraduate pipeline recruitment programs 
  • Community Service 
  • Lunch time talks 
  • Black History Month Celebrations 
  • National and Regional Conference attendance

Planned activities include: 

  • Student mentoring program 
  • Martin Luther King Service Day activities MAPS undergraduate chapter