Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia: Hispanic Serving Institute Scholars share their research at Honored Guest Experience in Philadelphia

On the morning of Sunday, November 12, the American Heart Association’s Eastern States Region hosted a special gathering and brunch for honored guests at Scientific Sessions 2023 called the Philadelphia Experience. Top supporters and donors shared brunch, a panel conversation and a champagne toast. Before the meeting began, we welcomed two scholars from the American Heart Association’s 2023 Hispanic Serving Institution Scholars program who were invited to share their research posters and answer questions about their research.

The two scholars are Kenneth Mosquera-Reinoso and Jeffrey Yumbla from Montclair State University. The two aspiring doctors became close friends as HSI scholars and as researcher collaborators in New Jersey. They have also become close as their families are both originally from Ecuador.  Kenneth presented his poster abstract about the role of specific acidic residue of mammalian cytochrome, and Jeffrey answered questions about his abstract, a comparison of substrate effects on wild type cytochrome p450 enzymes.

Kenneth with Dr. Larry Phillips of NYU Langone Health, previous president of the Association’s New York City Board.

Jeffrey with his abstract, a comparison of substrate effects on wild type cytochrome p450 enzymes.

The Hispanic Serving Institutions Scholars Program is an academic year-long opportunity for aspiring Hispanic researchers and health care professionals. During the course of the year, the undergraduate students enrolled in biomedical and health sciences at Hispanic Serving Institutes participate in academic and career-enriching experiences. Scholars, with the support of the American Heart Association, and committed and impactful mentors, learn about health disparities in Hispanic communities, how cultural sensitivity can provide safe and reassuring clinical spaces, and how inclusivity is essential in science.

NHLCC leaders Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, Dr. Carlos Rodriguez and scholar Frank Medina on the right

Before attending the Eastern States Honored Guest Experience, Mosquera and Yumbla, met with a member of inaugural class from the National Hispanic Latino Cardiovascular Collaborative Scholars program Frank Medina. Medina spoke with Mosquera and Yumbla about the medical school application process and about the importance of creating professional networks for aspiring Latino healthcare professionals. Mentorship is a significant component of the Association’s scholars programs. Medina says he is fortunate to have the AHA’s Chief Medical Office for Prevention Dr. Eduardo Sanchez as a mentor.

Jeff and Kenneth with Mitzi Cardona and new HSI scholars.

Frank Medina is a third-year medical student at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Frank was born and raised in Portage Park, Chicago on the Northwest Side of the city. After graduating with his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, and before starting medical school, Frank worked as a clinical research coordinator for Northwestern Medicine’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute where he helped orchestrate several phase-3 clinical trials aimed at combating heart failure and cardiac amyloidosis.

The Hispanic Serving Institution Scholars,  the National Hispanic Latino Cardiovascular Collaborative Scholars, the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Scholars and the Empowered to Serve Scholars programs are part of the wider American Heart Association Scholars initiative. Learn more about our commitment to the next generation of innovators by clicking on the links above.

Jeff, Kenneth, Frank and Gina (Left to right)

Mosquera and Yumbla were busy and also had a chance to meet another influential Hispanic leader from the American Heart Association, Gina Esparza, National VP of  Marketing  Communications who told them about her experience growing up in Orange County, California.  Esparza encouraged the scholars to work hard and work together to build a culture of health for Latinos and all Americans.

After leaving the NHLCC symposium, Mosquera and Yumbla then went to greet the new class of Hispanic Serving Institute Scholars at another celebration being held in honor of nearly 150 American Heart Association scholars who attended this year’s Scientific Sessions. They were welcomed by a familiar face, Mitzi Cardona, who oversees the HSI program for the Association.

In this short video interview we speak with Frank Medina about his experience as an American Heart Association scholar with the NHLCC, the importance of having more Latinos in health care and research and the impact of mentorship.