September 27, 2022 — Each year, the U.S. recognizes Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month, paying tribute to generations of Americans with Spanish or Latino ancestry and celebrating the cultural contributions of Hispanic Americans. The recognition is especially important in medical schools across the country, where Hispanic and Latino student enrollment has been increasing but students are still underrepresented.
According to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges, students of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin accounted for 12.7% of U.S. medical school matriculants in the 2021-22 school year — up from 12% the year prior and 10.7% in 2018-19. While not equivalent yet, the number is rising closer to the percentage of Hispanic and Latino Americans estimated in the country’s 2021 population: 18.9%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
In honoring our Hispanic students and their heritage, the University of Florida College of Medicine spoke with two first-year medical students about their cultural identities and experiences as Hispanic Americans in medical school so far. Hear from Daisy Valle, who was born and raised in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and Henry Peraza, who grew up in Cuba, below.