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Maria Elisa Smith Gonzales (center) was one of three Latino students awarded a scholarship at the annual SILAMP Gala. (Photo courtesy of Luz Selenia Salas)
Maria Elisa Smith Gonzales (center) was one of three Latino students awarded a scholarship at the annual SILAMP Gala. Also pictured are SILAMP President Natalia Ortiz (center-left), President and CEO of the Philadelphia College of Physicians Dr. George…

Latino Medical Professionals Honor Local Students

The Society of Ibero Latin American Medical Professionals (SILAMP) held its annual gala in November. 

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A local group is doing its part to help boost Latino representation in the medical fields. 

Members of the Society of Ibero Latin American Medical Professionals (SILAMP) gathered on Nov. 18 for the group's annual gala at the Hilton Hotel on City Line Avenue in Philadelphia. The gala was emceed by Leticia Nixon of PhillyCAM.

As SILAMP has done every year since 2000, the group awarded scholarships to exceptional Latino students. This year, three students received scholarships of $1,000 each. 

  • Karina Grullon-Perez, a pre-medical student at Pennsylvania State University. She was introduced by cardiologist Dr. Maribel Hernandez.

  • Maria Elisa Smith Gonzales, a student of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She was introduced by Dr. George Wohlreich, President and CEO of the Philadelphia College of Physicians.

  • Nahaly Rodriguez, who attends the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. She was introduced by Dr. Erik Juarez.

In addition, runner-ups for the scholarship were also honored at the event: Larissa Flores of the Kornberg School of Dentistry at Temple University and Camilo Zulaga, a pre-medical student at Temple University. 

“We want to help these students to have advantages,” said SILAMP President Natalia Ortiz. “To open the door for them so they can get connected with key leaders that can help them, or guide them and mentor them through their career so they can succeed.”

The group also recognized area doctors who have worked to assist Puerto Rico after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, including gynecologist Dr. Lissette Gutierrez, who traveled to the island to provide medical services after the hurricane, as well as Dr. Xilma Ortiz, a pediatric neurologist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia who coordinated an ongoing effort to send medical supplies to Puerto Rico.

Paintings by Mexican artist Ana Rosa Hernandez were also on display at the gala. 

Founded in Philadelphia in 1991, SILAMP is a group comprised of medical professionals and healthcare providers in the Delaware Valley, as well as New York, who aim to share ideas and promote Latino achievement in the medical world.

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