2019 MOLA Outcomes

The Medical Organization for Latino Advancement (MOLA) is a non-profit association of Hispanic/Latino physicians and health professionals working for career advancement, linguistic and cultural competency, personal wellness, and health equity for the good of the entire Hispanic/Latino community.

Our mission is executed by means of five core programs: Education & Research, Mentorship, Public Health, Advocacy, and Wellness & Advancement. We measure our own success through metrics that demonstrate our ability to collaborate, unite, and impact the community of Latino physicians as well as the Latino community at large.

2019 has marked a historic year for our young organization, in which we have united and elevated more Latino health professionals, touched more Hispanic/Latino lives, made an impact in Latino youth through a pipeline approach, and collaboratively developed innovation and productive academic and community projects.

MOLA is proud to present our 2019 Outcomes report. We invite you to review how far we have come in our third year as an organization through the measurable outcomes of each of our programs, and we welcome your involvement moving forward in making an impact for next year’s even greater successes!

Pilar Ortega, MD | MOLA President

2019 Quick Facts

3 years since founding
24 Board Members
693 Members
7 Programmatic Committees
15 Events Conducted
855 Lives Touched
185 Volunteers
$81,000 Invested in Education and Advancement
  • In 2019, the Mentorship Committee established a relationship with Junior Achievement of Chicago. Together, MOLA and Junior Achievement of Chicago hosted Doctor’s Day for Chicago Public School students.
  • In 2019, the Wellness & Advancement Committee participated for the first time at Northeastern Illinois University’s (NEIU) Golden Eagle 5K to support students in scholarships, emergency funds, and student pantry programs.
  • In 2019, the Advocacy Committee supported Yanina Guevara, MOLA Medical Student Representative, on her initiative. Yanina joined Doctors for Camp Closures on a three-day-long campaign in San Diego at the Border Patrol’s headquarters and detention facility where a free pilot influenza vaccination program was proposed by the group.
  • In 2019, the Public Health Committee partnered with MOLA’s Mentorship Program and participated in the 23rd Annual Día del Niño event hosted by the National Museum of Mexican Art, which was sponsored by University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System (UI Health), MOLA, and other organizations.
  • In 2019, the Education & Research Program hosted the third Latino Health Symposium. The theme was “Moving Forward, Hacia Adelante” to signify the purpose of this academic event in defining, directing, and disseminating positive strategies and best practices for Latino health and advancement.
  • In 2019, the International Medical Graduates (IMG) Committee had their inaugural event, “Building a Successful Curriculum Vitae (CV): Beyond United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) – Construyendo un CV Exitoso”. This event was also MOLA’s first webinar.
  • In 2019, the Medical Student Committee launched “MOLA Cenas” dinner events to facilitate getting to know MOLA physicians and health professionals in a casual setting.

Mentorship Program

2019 Co-Chairs: Luis Rivera, MD and Margarita Mankus, MD

The MOLA Mentorship Program aims to build a pipeline to health care careers for motivated high school and undergraduate students.  Mentorship is provided in a team-based structure across all levels: Health Care Leaders, Physicians, Resident Physicians, Medical Students, Undergraduates, and High School Students. The MOLA Mentorship program goal is the engagement of new Latinx leaders for the benefit of the health and future of our community, and the career advancement and success of more Latinos in medicine.

2019 outcomes

7 Mentorship Events

30 Engaged Volunteers

260 Lives Touched

  • Mentees built a strong curriculum vitae and got their professional headshot taken at MOLA’s CV Workshop and Headshots Session.
  • Mentees learned new skills using the manikins at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center’s state-of-the-art simulation center. Mentees also benefited from a joint event with Illinois Heart Rescue to teach a Basic Training: Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) Class skills class.
  • Partnership with a mentorship focused organization: I Am Abel, and presentation at their annual conference.
  • Kicked off the Mentorship Program successfully at the 3rd Annual Latino Health Symposium with the MOLA Mentorship Breakfast. Committee members engaged the audience in a talk titled, “How to be an Effective Mentor and Successful Mentee”.
  • Partnered with Junior Achievement of Chicago to host Doctor’s Day. Chicago Public School students were exposed to amazing doctors through panels and participated in workshops that highlighted finances, career success, and basic life support.
  • Partnered with University of Illinois College of Medicine Hispanic Center of Excellence to provide MOLA’s Mentorship Program an opportunity to hear the stories and advice of residents and MDs. Dr. Celeste Cruz closed the event with her inspiring story on how she became a breast surgeon and the work she currently does.
MOLA Medical Student representatives Samuel Meza and Maribel Muñoz from Rush spoke to youth about joining MOLA's Mentorship Program during the I Am Abel Conference on May 18th, 2019. The I Am Abel organization mentors underrepresented youth in careers in medicine.
Dr. Pilar Ortega and Dr. Pilar Guerrero are the mentors of the Ortega-Guerrero Casa of the MOLA Mentorship Program. Here they are shown excited to meet their mentees.
Dr. Pilar Ortega and Dr. Pilar Guerrero are shown breaking the ice with new mentees of the Ortega-Guerrero Casa of the MOLA Mentorship Program
Kathryn Ospino is a member of the MOLA Mentorship Committee and a mentee of Casa Ortega-Guerrero.
Dr. Joaquin Estrada, MOLA’s Vice President and a member of the MOLA Mentorship Program, is shown here speaking to a room full of eager pre-health Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students.
Dr. Jonathan Moreira at MOLA's Saturday Mentorship Programming: "You might be the first physician in your family...in your community, but if you are not making the time to spend time with your family, friends, and loved ones then you are doing yourself a disservice."

Wellness & Advancement Program

2019 Co-Chairs: Geraldine Luna, MD, Benito Ibarra, and Sandy Salas

The Wellness Program aims to create opportunities for Latino professionals to interact and expand their networks, minimize provider burnout and add educate on ways to ensure their personal, family, financial, and career wellbeing.

2019 outcomes
5 Wellness Events
45 Helpful Volunteers
330 Relaxed Attendees
  • Celebrated the 2nd Anniversary of MOLA and 1st MOLA Scholarship Awards
  • Enjoyed Friends & Family at the MOLA Family Picnic
  • Enjoyed a ball game with Los Cubbies
  • Members participated in the NEIU Golden Eagle 5K to support students in scholarships, emergency funds, and student pantry programs
  • Said thank you to all of MOLA’s volunteers at the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner: ¡Solaridad y Logro!

Dr. Pilar Ortega, MOLA President and emergency physician, states, “It is a great privilege to do what I do as a doctor and to serve my community, but we need to support each other as fellow Latinos in healthcare to increase our impact and numbers.”

Wellness event
Wellness event

Advocacy Program

2019 Chair: Joaquín Estrada, MD

This committee is focused on highlighting locally relevant issues in healthcare education, access and provision, particularly for the Hispanic/Latino community as well as lobbying and having Latino voices heard by local policy makers.

2019 outcomes
20 new MOLA Activists
  • Invited Dr. Yessenia Castro-Caballero to lead the Refugee and Immigrant Chicago Health Initiative Education Program
  • Partnered with ¡No Esperes! Cancer screening public health campaign
  • MOLA Signed Family Separation and Spanish language government sites petition
  • MOLA Signed Statement Against a Border Wall and Continued Family Separations/Declaración Contra un Muro Fronterizo y la Separación de Familias
  • MOLA Signed to Reinstate the Spanish Links on Whitehouse.gov/Que Reinstalen los Enlaces en Whitehouse.gov
  • MOLA became a Member of Empower Illinois
  • MOLA Board of Directors went through Asylum Training
  • Medical Student Representative, Diego Valenzuela, wrote “Sanctuary Hospitals: MOLA researches policies that support healthcare access for undocumented patients” article
  • Medical Student Representative, Yanina Guevara, joined Doctors for Camp Closures three-day-long campaign in San Diego at the Border Patrol’s headquarters and detention facility where a free pilot influenza vaccination program was proposed by the group.
Organizers in San Diego at the Border Patrol's headquarters and detention facility

Public Health Program

2019 Co-Chairs: Katya Cruz Madrid, MD and Pilar Carmona, MBA

MOLA’s Public Health Program emphasizes meaningful-impact activities in Chicago’s under-served communities in coordination with MOLA’s Mentorship program. Through this program, mentees and students become community health ambassadors in their own families, schools, and neighborhoods.

MOLA’s Public Health Committee partnered with MOLA’s Mentorship Program and participated in the 23rd Annual Día del Niño event hosted by the National Museum of Mexican Art, which was sponsored by UI Health, MOLA, and other organizations.

Families were invited to an exciting day of fun and interactive activities that included: games, hands-on art projects, fitness activities, free health screenings, and live performances. This was an initiative to keep children healthy and happy. We had about 50 niños y niñas come to our table!

El Día del Niño is an annual celebration that was created in Mexico in 1925 as a day to honor children. In Mexico, Día del Niño is celebrated in April when children spend the day playing games, having fun, and eating their favorite foods.

Pictured above are Dr. Katya Cruz Madrid (Co-Chair of the Public Health Committee) and Dr. Margarita Mankus (MOLA Membership Secretary and Co-Chair of the Mentorship Committee).
Pictured above is Dr. Margarita Mankus
Pictured above are some of the children that enjoyed the activities at MOLA’s table.

Education and Research Program

2019 Chair: Pilar Ortega, MD
2019 Scholarship Sub-Committee Chair: Jonathan Moreira, MD
2019 Symposium Medical Student Co-chairs: Matías Pollevick and Erika Arias

The Education & Research Program develops strategies to support our members’ career development through education and research. We are interested in addressing the health disparities that Latino community experience with a local, regional, national and international reach.

The symposium gathered medical experts and provided educational opportunities for physician, health professionals, and student attendees. The 2019 Symposium theme was “Moving Forward, Hacia Adelante” to signify the purpose of this academic event in defining, directing, and disseminating positive strategies and best practices for Latino health and advancement.

The conference objectives were for participants to be able to: (1) identify how Latino physicians and health professionals can create positive impact to address gaps and barriers in Latino health, (2) describe innovative strategies that are being realized in current academic work to improve Latino health and Latino health professional advancement, and (3) create connections with fellow health professionals and students as a step in future collaborative work, mentorship opportunities, and career development.

Key 2019 Facts
  • Over 40 volunteers
  • Over 250 attendees
  • 28 Poster Presentations
  • 18 Oral Presentations
  • 10 MOLA Scholars
  • $40K Scholarship Dollars Awarded
  • 63.4% of MOLA’s Latino Health Symposium were first-time attendees, demonstrating a growing audience
“The Latino Health Symposium in Chicago is a model of community, students and practitioners working together to better the health of Latinos in Chicago and beyond. MOLA has raised the bar with professionalism, academic rigor, and assertiveness, paving the way to health equity for Latinos and non Latinos alike. I am proud to be part of it.”
Óscar Zambrano, MPH, MBA
Key Note Speaker: Dr. Mónica Vela, Associate Vice Chair for Diversity, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
Key Note Speaker: Dr. Elena Ríos, President, National Hispanic Medical Association
Lunch Plenary Speaker: Dr. Aletha Maybank, Chief Health Equity Officer, American Medical Association
Poster Presentation Awards:
  • 1st Place: Nayelí Langarica, “Scholarship at a Level-1 Trauma Center: Social Determinants of Gun Violence”
  • 2nd Place: Erika Becerra-Ashby, “Bridging the Gap: Creation of The Spanish Ambassador Program (SAP)”
Post-Conference Feedback from Attendees:
97.6% of attendees felt that the 2019 Latino Health Symposium helped them obtain new knowledge which can impact their patient care and/or performance
Oral Presentation Awards:
  • 1st Place: Ana Reyes, “Moving FQHCs toward value-based care: Health risk assessment of patients receiving pregnancy care at Erie Family Health Centers”
  • 2nd Place: Samuel Carbunaru, “Minorities in Living-Donor Kidney Transplantation: Where Do We Stand?”
Ten 2018-2019 MOLA Scholars:
  • Jonathan Alcántar
  • Virgina Alvarado Jones
  • Jacqueline Bellefontaine
  • Angélica Cabrera
  • Mariel Galván
  • Elizabeth García
  • Nelly González-Montes
  • Itzel López-Hinojosa
  • Kryztal Peña
  • Noé Vázquez
MOLA’s 2019 Latino Health Symposium attendees were asked what makes them happy. This word cloud captures their sentiments.
“Excellent quality speakers. High degree of professionalism and valued the effort to have a diverse set of topics, speakers, institutions, gender, and nationalities represented”
Symposium attendee anonymous post-event feedback
MOLA Scholars Mariel Galván, Virgina Alvarado Jones, and Jonathan Alcántar receiving their scholarship awards.
Samuel Carbunaru presenting his award-winning oral presentation “Minorities in Living-Donor Kidney Transplantation: Where Do We Stand?”
2019 Symposium Volunteer Ingrid Zambrano networking with MOLA Symposium attendees
MOLA’s Board Members gather after a successful MOLA Latino Health Symposium and the election of new board directors

International Medical Graduate (IMG) Program

2019 Co-Chairs: Miguel Carabaño, MD and Shojanny Salazar, MD

The IMG program developed an event titled “Building a Successful Curriculum Vitae (CV): Beyond USMLE – Construyendo un CV Exitoso,” which launched the International Medical Graduates Committee programming. This workshop was the committee’s inaugural event as well as MOLA’s first webinar.

The event aimed to provide attendees skills to achieve residency matching through learning best practices in building a successful curriculum vitae. In addition, the IMG committee aimed to identify challenges the IMGs face throughout the United States residency matching process as well as providing effective solutions. The USMLE is the US Medical Licensing Examination and represents an important hurdle for IMGs aiming to become certified to practice in the US medical system. This event provided space for recent IMGs and new MOLA members to network among MOLA’s practicing MDs, including several successful IMGs.

Key 2019 Facts
  • 10 Volunteers
  • 45 Event Attendees
IMG Program’s Inaugural Webinar Event “Building a Successful CV: Beyond USMLE - Construyendo un CV Exitoso”

Medical Students Representative Program

2019 Co-Chairs: Nicolás Francone and Rachel Bruckman (through June, 2019); Richard Gómez and Itzel López-Hinojosa (starting June, 2019)
Key 2019 Facts
  • Over 60 Volunteers
  • Over 220 Impacted individuals by Medical Students
2019 Outcomes
  • Over 30 Volunteers at the 3rd Latino Health Symposium
  • Launched “MOLA Cenas” Dinner events to facilitate getting to know MOLA physicians and health professionals in a casual setting
  • Welcome Dinner with Medical Student Committee hosted by MOLA’s Executive Board
  • Participated in the Power of We: Black and Latina Women in Medicine Forum
  • Participated as an Exhibitor in the 2019 Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) National Conference
Power of We: Black and Latina Women in Medicine Forum. MOLA Medical Student Committee Co-chair Itzel López-Hinojosa was one of the organizers for the event, and MOLA President Dr. Pilar Ortega was one of the physician panelists.
Inaugural “MOLA Cenas” event with Dr. Pilar Ortega and Dr. Joseph Cooper on the topic of Couples in Medicine
Social Media Stats

LinkedIn: 668 connections

Facebook: 471 followers

Twitter: 351 followers

Instagram: 256 followers

MOLA members involved in MOLA Board Leadership Roles in 2019:

Oscar Zambrano, MPH
Joaquin Estrada, MD
Immediate Past President
Jonathan Moreira, MD
Pilar Ortega, MD
Communications Secretary
Gabriela Saldaña
Arielle Guzmán, MPH
Recording Secretary
Janeth Castaño, MD
Board Member
Emma Olivera, MD
Board Member
Erik Tarula, MD
Board Member
Geovani Barraza, MBA, CPA
Board Member
Javier Macías
Board Member
Paulina Guzmán, MA
Board Member
Willaim J Sierraalta, MD
Board Member
Geraldine Luna, MD
Membership Secretary
Alicia Olave-Pichon, MD, MPH
Board Member
Francisco Iacobelli, PhD, MSc
Board Member
Benito Ibarra
Board Member
Alejandra Escobar, JD
Board Member
Honored MOLA Members
  • Pilar Ortega was awarded, on January 15, 2019, the Premio Real Academia Nacional de Medicina de España (RANME) de la Información, Comunicación y Difusión de la Salud (Spain’s Royal National Academy of Medicine Award for Health Information, Communication and Dissemination) for her work in 2018 in improving patient physician communication through Medical Spanish as a means of achieving global health equity.
  • MOLA committed medical students, Geraldine Shirzai and Esmeralda Rosales were recognized as recipients of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Medical Student Scholarship.
  • Jonathan Moreira, MD was recognized by the National Hispanic Medical Association as Young Physician of the Year.
  • Óscar Iván Zambrano, MPH, MBA was recognized at the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) conference for his leadership in MOLA.
  • MOLA student members, Esmeralda Rosales, Geraldine Shirzai, and Stephanie Turcios were inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS).
  • MOLA Member and nurse practitioner, Dr. María de los Ángeles Ordóñez was appointed to Health and Human Services’ Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s.
  • Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center
  • All of Us Research
  • American Medical Association (AMA)
  • Centro Cultural Segundo Ruiz Belvis
  • Chicago Latino Network
  • Esperanza Health Centers
  • Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois (HLAI)
  • Howard Brown Health
  • Illinois Transplant Fund
  • Junior Achievement of Chicago
  • Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA)
  • National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA)
  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
  • University of Illinois College of Medicine Hispanic Center of Excellence
  • YogaCare
MOLA in the News
  • On February 2, 2019, many MOLA members were featured speakers and exhibitors participating in the 2019 LMSA Midwest Regional Conference, titled “Únicos, Unidos y Orgullosos: Celebrating Diversity in Medicine” hosted by the University of Chicago.
  • MOLA pediatrician Dr. Castro-Caballero gave a talk in Spanish about a new advancement in monitoring babies in the intensive care unit, that is protective for the skin and eliminates wires to allow closer contact with parents and caregivers.
  • Carlos Zambrano, infectious disease specialist, spoke with Telemundo about the dangers of bacteria on cell phones and how to keep these devices clean.
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) hosted an inaugural Physician Diversity and Health Equity Summit on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 in which MOLA president Dr. Pilar Ortega and MOLA board advisor Dr. Jorge Girotti were among the featured speakers.
  • Pilar Ortega published a letter to the editor of a major medical journal highlighting the fact that medical research frequently intentionally excludes non-English speaking groups.
  • Itzel López-Hinojosa, MOLA medical student committee co-chair, was featured in National Public Radio (NPR) Latino USA to speak about her experience at the Community Health Clinic.
  • MOLA was featured by AMA in an article titled “Chicago group shows Hispanic medical students a path to medicine.” Dr. Pilar Ortega, MOLA’s President, and MOLA medical student committee co-chairs, Richard Gómez and Itzel López-Hinojosa are featured explaining the impact of MOLA in the Hispanic medical community.
  • 5/3 Bank
  • All of Us Research Program
  • Arturo Olivera, MD
  • AstraZeneca
  • Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP)
  • Gabriel Levi, MD
  • Joaquin Estrada, MD
  • Michael Reese Education and Research Foundation
  • New York Life/Benito Ibarra
  • Novo Nordisk
  • Oscar Zambrano, MPH, MBA
  • Symphony Care Network