Affinity Groups

The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (OEDI) is dedicated to establishing an environment where all students, staff, and faculty are welcome and feel safe at SIU School of Medicine. The OEDI office has a number of affinity groups available to the SIU community to participate in as we continue to move the needle forward on becoming an institution that is fair and equitable to everyone. Listed below are a few of the affinity groups with a brief description.

The new Marginalized Student Network (MSN) is comprised of students from the GLMA, LMSA, SNMA, and organizations for women: the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), the Alliance for Women in Medicine and Sister to Sister (S2S), which supports minority women in medicine.

Each group has a national organization that helps coordinate its local chapters; some have regional boards, as well. The GLMA is the newest to campus, started in 2018. It advocates for LGBTQ+ members in health care and health professions. The oldest is the SNMA, the largest independent, student-run organization that focuses on the needs and concerns of Black and Latinx medical students in the United States.

Currently, ethnic minorities make up 40 percent of the U.S. population but are underrepresented in medicine. Approximately 7 percent of all medical school students are Black and 6 percent are Hispanic. About 11 percent of current practicing U.S. physicians and 9 percent of professors at medical schools are from underrepresented ethnic minorities.

Within SIU School of Medicine’s Policy and Plan for Diversity and Inclusion, the administration cites the benefits of diversity strategies for the continuing success of its missions:

A diverse and culturally competent student body cultivates student interest in caring for these populations. It increases patient satisfaction with health care, as patients who are ethnic minorities are more likely to see a doctor if he or she is of the same ethnic group and rate themselves as more satisfied with the care they receive. And it can help increase the number of underrepresented faculty.


The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association is an organization dedicated to expanding visibility, rights, and awareness of LGBTQIA+ individuals in health care and health professions through discourse, action, and policy. At SIU SOM, we aim to analyze the curriculum for bias or exclusion and create helpful solutions to address these concerns. We are proud to be actively involved with other minority student groups in the coalition known as the Marginalized Student Network (MSN) to promote a stance of solidarity in defeating discrimination and hate against sexuality, gender-identity, and race. We annually participate in Springfield Pride Fest to provide resources on healthcare access and education for LGBTQIA+ individuals.


The Latino Medical Student Association unites and empowers medical students through service, mentorship and education to advocate for the health of the Latino community. Our vision is unifying medical students to promote Latino health. Part of our objectives include: providing a voice for underrepresented medical students, actively promoting recruitment and retention of Latino students at all levels, advocating for the rights of Latinos in health care, and promoting volunteerism in the Latino community. Our local SIU School of Medicine LMSA chapter has just begun to establish its presence on campus and we welcome all students, regardless of race or ethnicity, who are passionate about advocating for minorities in health care.


SIU Student National Medical Association Chapter’s priority is to support and address the needs of the under-served surrounding communities in the Southern Illinois Area both rural and urban via community service, advocacy and health literacy. The most important goal of this chapter is to build a powerful support system for the minority medical students at SIU while increasing the number of clinically excellent, culturally competent and socially conscious physicians.


SIU Medicine Alliance for Women in Medicine and Science (AWIMS), established in 2018.

The vision of AWIMS is a strong and meaningful alliance among all members of the medical community, with the common purpose of working harmoniously in an equitable environment to support the mission of SIU Medicine. The mission of AWIMS is to provide a supportive forum to promote honest discussion and positive change in the realms of gender equity, career advancement, work-life balance, and community service, and to champion professional development and promotion of women in medicine and science. AWIMS was recently a recipient of the 2020 Insight into Diversity Inspiring Affinity Group award.


The mission of the American Medical Women’s Association is to advance women in medicine, advocate for equity, and ensure excellence in health care. Our chapter at SIU SOM works closely with the AWIMS group for opportunities in mentorship, professional development, and community outreach. We also sponsor Nurse Family Partnership events to support new and expecting parents in the community. We are proud to be a part of the Marginalized Student Network (MSN) on campus and work alongside our fellow student groups to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives at SIU School of Medicine.