|Mentor of the Year Award|
Announcing the 2016 Dr. Phil DeChavez Mentor of the Year Award: Dr. Rebeccah Rodriguez.
The Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) has proudly awarded Dr. Rebeccah Rodriguez the Dr. Phil DeChavez LMSA National Mentor of the Year for 2016. Her work with the LatinaStrong Foundation has qualified her as an excellent candidate for this award, as well as the impact she has had on students interested in sports medicine. Dr. DeChavez was a longtime mentor, friend, and inspiration to the leaders of LMSA. The annual award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated excellence in mentoring and a commitment to fostering leaders that are working towards the main missions of LMSA. The nomination process for Mentor of the Year 2017 has closed at this time, but nominations for Mentor of the Year 2018 will open in the Fall. So watch here later this year in order to show your support for a significant mentor in your life by nominating them for LMSA Mentor of the Year!
This award was first given at the National Conference 2013 in Miami, Florida. Dr DeChavez received the first award posthumously. He was the LMSA National Executive Director for several years and as such advocated for the growth and advancement of this organization. Therefore, the award will be in Dr DeChavez’ name. His family was able to accept this on his behalf. LMSA will continue to honor its mentors with this award each year at the National Conference Gala. Mentor of the Year will be awarded towards a mentor who shows dedication to the mission of LMSA, much like Dr DeChavez.
2013- Dr. Philip DeChavez, MD MPH
2014- Dr. Ruben Font Jr, MD
2015- Dr. Fernando Mendoza, MD
2016- Dr. Rebeccah Rodriguez, DO
Mentor of the Year Award in Honor of Philip DeChavez, MD MPH
Philip M. DeChavez M.D. M.P.H. was born of humble beginnings. His experience growing up on the west side of San Antonio, Texas was a driving factor in his life, as he both experienced and bore witness to the hardships Latinos face in education and the everyday. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Army and served as a combat medic in Operation Desert Storm. The first in his family to attend college, he received his Bachelor’s of Science degree from Morgan State University, graduating Summa Cum Laude as valedictorian. Dr. DeChavez then went on to pursue his medical degree and complete his internship at the University of Pennsylvania. After completing his residency in Family Medicine, he received his Masters of Public Health at Harvard University as a Commonwealth Fund Fellow in Minority Health Policy.
Throughout his career, Dr. DeChavez maintained a dedication to helping Latinos in both higher education and the world at large. His commitment to social justice drove him to research and develop educational programs aimed at increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in higher education and grants such as an National Institute of Health study of minority drug use. During his time at Penn, he was influential in the development of the Center for Hispanic Excellence: La Casa Latina, and for his service to the minority community he was awarded the Helen O. Dickens prize. At Harvard, he acted as an Executive Committee Member and Graduate Student Advisor for Concilio Latino, an umbrella organization for Latino associations at the university that provided a forum for these groups to come together and discuss issues critical to Latino students. Dr. DeChavez also worked at the Boston Public Health Commission, focusing on the Mayor’s effort to reduce racial and ethnic disparities throughout the city. While serving as Medical Director at MCI-Framingham, a medium-security correctional facility for female offenders, he volunteered his time as the primary medical care doctor at the Justice Resource Institute Swansea Wood School, a specialized school serving adolescents who have struggled with significant medical and mental illnesses.
Dr. DeChavez is remembered as a champion of the underdog, always rooting for the successes of those who had the world against them and advocating for the voiceless. For more than a decade, he played an active role in LMSA, joining as a medical student and serving as its National Executive Director until his death in 2012. His legacy lives on in those he mentored throughout his life, including middle schoolers, high school students, undergraduates, medical students, and his own brothers and sister.