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Reaching Out to Women and Girls in Dona Ana County

During her first year of medical school, BCOM class of 2020 student Joya Singh founded a local chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA). “I believe it’s important for women to support one another and work together towards ending gender disparities in medicine,” Singh said. “In addition, it’s important to engage our male colleagues in the conversation and AMWA attempts to be inclusive of all of our colleagues.”

Singh added that one of AMWA’s missions is advancing women in leadership within medicine, and that’s right in line with the BCOM chapter’s goal of encouraging young girls to pursue careers in science and medicine. To that end, the group currently has a partnership with a local Girl Scout’s troop and last school year, they organized a fundraiser that raised money to support education for girls in developing countries. Plans are in the works for a mentoring program that will reach out to young girls in rural communities outside of Las Cruces.

“I love our BCOM-AMWA chapter and we’re thankful for the support from our classmates,” Singh said.

In October, to support Breast Cancer Awareness month, the BCOM-AMWA members visited La Casa Inc, a nonprofit organization that assists victims of domestic violence abuse in Dona Ana County. The future osteopathic physicians gave presentations in both English and Spanish about the risk factors for breast cancer and the importance of early detection. They also showed the residents how to do a self breast exam and demonstrated how tumors feel using breast models.

“We also provided them with brochures and local resources, including low cost clinics in the area,” Singh explained. “The attendees were engaged and asked lots of questions, and we were happy to provide them with answers and clarification. It was rewarding to hear some attendees say that they learned a lot about breast cancer after our session. It was such a good experience.”