The Latino/a/e/x, Hispanic, of Spanish speaking and additional intersecting identities (hereafter LHS+) population in the United States represents over 18% of the total population (1). However, Latinx representation in the physician workforce is merely 5.8 % (2019) (2). The representation is low at every level of education: 6.1% of medical school graduates identified as Latinx from 2008 to 2019 (3), and 9% of internal medicine residents identified as Hispanic/Latinx in 2020-2021 (4). The Medical Organization for Latino Advancement MOLA, was founded to increase representation, reduce the inequities that LHS+ students, professionals and community experience in medicine and across healthcare fields. Ultimately, MOLA aims to improve the health and well-being of the LHS+ community and all.

The Medical Organization for Latino Advancement (MOLA) was founded to create programs and solutions to increase representation and reduce the inequities that Latinx students and professionals experience in medicine and across healthcare fields. Ultimately, MOLA aims to improve the health and well-being of the Hispanic/Latinx community and all.


MOLA is a non-profit association of Hispanic/Latinx physicians and health professionals working for career advancement, linguistic and cultural competency, advocacy, personal wellness, and health equity for the good of the entire Hispanic/Latinx community.


MOLA measures its success through metrics that demonstrate our ability to reduce educational inequities, increase representation throughout the pathway of medical and health professions careers, and produces and supports academic and leadership projects addressing the health disparities the LHS+community experiences. Additionally, through partnerships and collaborations, we increase our impact on LHS+ physicians and health professionals in the communities they serve.


MOLA’s mission is carried through two organizational areas: MOLA Academic Pathways and MOLA Leadership Pathways.

MOLA Academic Pathways

Is a dedicated effort to build a pathway for physicians and health professionals in academia and includes the following programs:

  • Education & Research (E&R)
    • MOLA-MRF Scholars
    • LHS+ Health Conference
    • Faculty Scholar
  • Mentorship
    • Sexual and Gender Minority Health SGMH
    • International Health Graduates IHG
    • DACA Aves del Paraiso
MOLA Leadership Pathways

Aims to create a pathway for students, physicians, and health professionals pursuing and thriving in leadership roles, includes the following areas:

  • Financial
  • Governance
  • Communications
  • Membership Engagement
  • LHS+ Health Leadership

The Academic and Leadership Pathways areas have associated Fellowships. One fellow for each Pathway is selected in a competitive process for one to two-year periods.

MOLA Wisconsin: A separate entity under a licencing agreement is an extension of MOLA in WI with several members from the University of Wisconsin and other healthcare organizations.




  • 7 years since MOLA’s founding (May 2017).
  • 1,792 members (December 2023).
  • 7 Academic Pathways and 6 Leadership Pathways Committees (Volunteer run), a Program Manager and two Fellowships.


  • $ 68,500 were given in scholarships to 10 MOLA-MRF Scholars (with the support of the Michael Reese Research and Education Foundation, MRF, principal sponsor for the MOLA-MRF Scholars).
  • Mentorship: 27 casas: 63 mentees and 27 mentors finished our Mentorship program in August 2023.
  • 58 Core Volunteers.
  • 116 MOLA Wisconsin members.
  • 15 Mentorship Advancement Educational Sessions.
  • Two Successful Networking Events.


MOLA’s membership base practices primarily in the Midwest (Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, and Ohio) and its diaspora reaches Puerto Rico, Florida, New York, Texas, California, and New England states.

MOLA members’ health fields include Behavioral Health, Physicians, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Public Health experts, and Healthcare Management professionals.

MOLA’S 2023



Co-chairs: Ana Mauro, MD and Yesenia Chávez, medical student and former MOLA-MRF Scholar.

The Mentorship Program was organized with the Casas model to provide a more personalized and focused mentor/mentee pairing. This approach is structured around monthly mentorship events that provide mentees the tools to achieve the next stepping stone in their career advancement.


In 2023, we started and finished our program with 64 mentees from 27 Casas.


As part of the program, a curriculum was implemented to build skills and provide resources to our mentees. The 12 sessions covered topics on: Transgender Health, Student Loans, My History-Dr. Rosalinda Alvarado, How to make a professional CV, ERAS Blueprint: Empowering Latinx for Match Success, Environmental Racism and the basics of Family Law.

Overall, participants reported that the objectives were clearly stated and accomplished, and all participants agreed that the session added value to their career objectives.

The Mentorship program engages expert speakers and presenters in the fields supporting the advancement of our mentees.

All participants agreed that the speaker had a good knowledge of the topic. The lectures focus on practicing what is explained during the lecture and most of the participants agreed that this is the part they value the most.

The average session attendance was 20 mentees.


Three subcommittees are part of the Mentorship Program: DACA Aves del Paraiso, International Health Graduates IHG, and Sexual and Gender Minority Health Committee. Our efforts aim to support existing community organizations and other MOLA programs, advocating for LHS+ participation in local health policy-making, implementing and supporting cultural and linguistically concordant healthcare, literacy resources, and research, and bridging the gap of LHS+ physicians.



Bryan Huerta, pre-medical student, Devin Barzallo, medical student, Ariana Carrillo, pre-medical student.


Gender-Inclusive Language in Spanish Healthcare Education. The Committee gained the ARCC Seed grant with the purpose of establishing a relationship with Northwestern University. With this grant, the committee did a literature review about Gender-Inclusive Language in Spanish Medical Education. The project will deliver an Spanish Inclusive Language training curriculum for healthcare providers to be deployed in academic and clinics across the country.

El Nido

Chicago AIDS Foundation continued funding our program focused on HIV prevention in the LGBTQ community through MOLA’s Mentorship. Engaged 12 volunteers.

The Committee led planning and execution of the LGBTQ Track within the VIII Latinx Health Symposium with sessions on Gender Affirming Surgical in Urology.



Isa Alvarez, Pre-Med Student The Aves Del Paraiso Committee provides an affirming space for undocumented individuals in healthcare and medicine. The group developed activities in a safe and inclusive environment.

Activities in 2023

Surviving Domestic Violence DV and Interpersonal Violence IPV and Being Undocumented Event (March 2023)

Event for health professionals about the resources available to undocumented individuals who are survivors of domestic violence and/or interpersonal violence. A supportive and inclusive space that included a guided editation/breathwork room. Co-hosted this event with Be Alright, a Chicago-based organization committed to building a resources database for DV survivors. 30 MOLA members benefited from this event.

Aves Summer Get Together and Volunteer Event (June 2023)

Brunch event hosted by Dr. Sonia Oyola, Aves Faculty Advisor, to help pack school supplies for students. Part of larger Be Alright campaign.

Grieving Juntos (June 2023)

Wellness space held to collectively process the U.S. Supreme Court Affirmative Action ruling in June 2023.

Underrepresented Minorities Applying to Medical School + Residency Event (August 2023)

Event co-hosted with Feinberg Medical School on “Applying to Medical School.” This panel talked about how to stand out as an underrepresented student applying to medical school, advice on the application/interview process, and what students can start doing now if they are applying in a few years.

Immigrant Health and Wellness:

Furthering Health Equity (October 2023) Part of the MOLA Symposium. Open-dialogue session for Chicago leaders, including health professionals, about the newly arrived migrants from a public health perspective: what is going on? what are their needs? what role can our community serve?

Aves Publications in 2023:

Caring for Asylum Seekers Infographic:

Infographic shared throughout clinics in Chicago to help connect providers with additional resources and general information of what this unique population is facing.


Co-Chairs: Janeth Cristina Castaño, MD, Miguel Aristizabal, MD

The IHG Program provides continued professional development and educational opportunities through mentorship, a specific curriculum and networking for LHS+ IMGs (International Medical Graduates). The IHG program supports those seeking to practice to the full potential of their international education and experience in the US. The IHG Program implemented the following programs in 2023:

Beyond USMLE Series

Conducted three sessions covering the following topics “Alternative Career Paths for International Medical Graduates”, “Buenas Prácticas de Redacción Científica para Publicaciones de Alto Impacto”, and “El Rol del Revisor”.

Exam Preparation Grants

Three members received a subscription to Uworld to continue learning and preparing for the USMLE Steps with MOLA funds.

Research opportunities

The committee sponsored and supported a study on exploring the barriers and challenges faced by LHS+ International Medical Graduates in academic career development and research. The barriers most commonly identified were: Lack of mentorship & role models (40%), collaboration & networking (19%), institutional support (15%), funding & grants (14%), and cultural & social adjustment (12%). The project was presented at the VII Annual Health.

Latino Symposium and gained second place in the MOLA Poster Award.

Certified Reviewers Development

Dr. Evelyn Frias-Toral led a webinar on “The Peer Reviewer Role” and actively involved five MOLA members as certified reviewers. The experience contributed to the development and refinement of scientific writing skills. Through the creation of insightful peer review reports, mentees gained expertise in effectively communicating their research across diverse mediums, including posters, conferences, and papers.

From left to right: Janeth Castano, MD, Josselyn Velepucha, MD, and Evelyn Frias-Toral, MD, presenting their work at the VII MOLA Annual Health Symposium.

International Health Graduates Committee members: Melissa Rodriguez Mendoza, MD, Janeth, Cristina Castano, MD, Alicia Olave Pichon, MD, Evelyn Frias Toral, MD, Josselyn Velepucha Iniguez, MD, Miguel Aristizabal, MD


Co-Chairs: Francisco Iacobelli, PhD, MSC; Arielle Guzmán, MPH

7th Annual MOLA Latinx Health Symposium

“Bridging the Gap through Connections – Cerrando la brecha a través de conexiones”

In partnership with the National Association of Medical Spanish NAMS and The Latino Medical Student Association and RUSH University.

  • Total attendees: 652
  • 49 Moderators and Volunteers
  • 25 Speakers
  • 12 oral presentations
  • 65 Poster Presentations
Educational tracks:
  • Cancer: Towards Health Equity: Cancer Outreach Strategies for Latinx and Hispanic Communities.
  • LHS+ Sexual and Gender Minority Health (LGBTQ+): Communicating effectively and safely in LGBTQ Health.
  • Immigrant Health and Wellness: Furthering Health Equity.
  • LHS+ MDs Communicating in the Media.
Medical Spanish Tracks:
  • Understanding Language Access & interpreting Experiences.
  • Connecting curriculum to research and culture.
  • Improving Curriculum & assessment.
MOLA Poster Presentation Awards
  • First Place

Authors: Grecia Quiroga and Angélica García.

Project Title: The Alianza Washtenaw Project – Evolving Strategies for Improving Health and Social Services Access for Latinx Residents in Michigan.

Institutional Affiliation: University of Michigan Medical School.

  • Second Place

Authors: María F. Osorio, MD; Janeth Cristina Castaño Jiménez, MHA, MD; Josselyn Velepucha-Iñiguez, MD; Bernardo Donery López Samayoa, MD; Evelyn Frías-Toral, MD, MSECR, MHA.

Project Title: Exploring Barriers and Challenges Faced by Latinx International Medical Graduates in Academic Career Development and Research in the US: A Comprehensive Survey

Institutional Affiliation: Universidad Espíritu Santo, Samborondon, Ecuador. Division of GI/Hepatology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana. Indiana University Health. West Lafayette, Indiana. Department of Health Sciences. Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (UTPL), Loja, Ecuador. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland. School of Medicine, Universidad Catolica Santiago de Guayaquil, Av. Pdte. Carlos Julio Arosemena Tola, Guayaquil.

  • Third Place

Authors: Lisa Aponte-Soto, PhD, P. Vergara-Rodriguez, M. Del Rios, M. Zapata ,M. Simon, A. Giachello.

Project Title: Illinois Unidos: Commitment of Community Health Workers during COVID-19.

Institutional Affiliation: DePaul University.

Post-Conference feedback from attendees:

  • 100% of survey participants agreed that the 2023 VII Annual Latinx Health Symposium met the learning objectives.
  • 95% of participants strongly agreed or agreed they obtained knowledge that will impact their profession and training.
  • 95% of participants strongly agreed and agreed that they would apply what they learned to impact patient care/ or performance.


Faculty Scholar: Mónica E. Bianco, MD Faculty Scholar 2022; and Marco Bonilla, MD Faculty Scholar 2024.

  • 10 scholarships Awarded. Graduated 11 MOLA-MRF Scholars.
  • $68,500 In scholarship awarded. Most of the funds from principal sponsor, The Michael Reese Research and Education Foundation (MRF).
  • 8 academic institutions with scholars’ affiliation.
  • 11 research projects presented at the VII Annual Latinx Health Symposium, 2023 .

2023 Faculty Scholar Program

Mónica Bianco, MD, assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Endocrinology) at Northwestern Medicine, guided and supervised MOLA Scholars’ research projects and was responsible for implementing the educational components and providing one-on-one support to the MOLA-MRF student scholars.

Student scholars also benefit from a preceptorship provided by a researcher or professional who specializes in their respective fields of project work. This comprehensive support system ensures that Students and Faculty scholars receive expert guidance throughout their research journey and helps foster their academic and professional development.

Tamara Dominguez, MFR-MOLA Scholar presenting their poster to Dr. Monica Bianco Faculty Scholar.

MOLA Scholars Feedback:

  • 100% agreed: The program met its objective to increase my academic interest in Hispanic/Latino health and health disparities research.
  • 100% agreed: The experience will be useful in my future work.
  • 100% agreed: The program improved my academic writing skills.
  • 100% agreed: Improved my oral presentation skills.
  • 90% agreed: The program provided individualized mentorship and guidance.
  • 100% agreed: The program taught me the academic and/or research skills needed to apply evidence-based research.
  • 100%: Of Scholars recommend the program.
  • 100% agreed: they have the skills to apply research to their career as a health professional.
Isabella Perez Pecchio , Medical Student and 2023 MOLA-MRF Scholar.

“Pilar Ortega MD” Scholarship Recipient

In recognition of his passionate leadership, intellectual curiosity, and for being an agent of change to make an impact in the community, Devin Barzallo, Medical Student was awarded the 2023 “Pilar Ortega MD” Scholarship .

Devin Barzallo, Medical Student and 2023 MOLA-MRF and "Pilar Ortega" Scholar.



The MOLA Fellowships are unique opportunities for LHS+ young professionals to gain practical knowledge, valuable skills, and insights through an experience that covers areas such as program management, non-profit governance, strategic planning, financial management, fundraising, grant writing, and organizational leadership, as well as identifying areas of need within medical education of LHS+ students, conduct needs assessments, curriculum design, program management and evaluation.

Josselyn Velepucha Iñiguez, MD

Programmatic Fellow

David Martinez Vicenttin, MHA

Leadership Fellow


Co-Chairs: Oscar Ivan Zambrano MPH MBA, Geraldine Luna MD MPH, Benito Ibarra

The main goal of this committee is to increase MOLA’s membership base, create opportunities for LHS+ health professionals to interact and expand their networks, minimize burnout and reinforce their personal, financial, and career well-being.

Out of a total of 1682 members:

  • Professional Members: Comprising 510 individuals, accounting for approximately 30.05% of the total membership base.
  • Health Professional Memberships: This category includes 100 members, constituting approximately 5.89% of the total membership.
  • International Medical Graduate (IMG): With 193 members, IMGs represent a significant portion at 11.37% of the total membership.
  • Physicians: There are 132 physicians within MOLA, making up 7.78% of the membership.
  • Residents: 85 members fall into the category of residents, making up about 5.01% of the total membership.
  • Students: The largest contingent within MOLA, students account for 1187 members, representing approximately 69.95% of the total membership.

Distribution of MOLA Members by Nationality

Distribution of MOLA Members by States of Residence

This breakdown demonstrates MOLAs inclusive approach, encompassing professionals at various stages of their medical careers, from students and residents to established physicians and IMGs. It also reflects MOLA’s commitment to supporting and empowering LHS+ healthcare professionals across different career paths, states, and countries.

Leadership and Networking

  • Residents Welcoming Event in partnership with NHMA IL Chapter in June 2023. Over 60 new and current residents from several academic and teaching hospitals gathered for a night of networking and connecting with peers to better transition to their new home for 3 years or more.
  • Cafecito Webinar on Financial Wellbeing as a Medical Student, Resident and Practicing MD. By Benito Ibarra.
  • Volunteer Appreciation Fiesta. MOLA hosted a party. December 7th with more than 70 participants.



We are grateful for the generous support of sponsors, executive members, board members, and donors, contributing to our total revenue of $189,047.80 in the past fiscal year. A significant portion of this income is attributed to the Michael Reese Education and Research Foundation, which plays a pivotal role in supporting our scholarship program.

  • Grants: We were awarded $22,500 from grant applications.
  • Donation and Sponsorship: We received a total of $73,703.88.
  • Memberships: We raised $12,491.17 from memberships.
  • In kind Donations: $22,352.75.
  • Scholarships: We received $55,000 from Michael Reese Foundation for scholarships.

Revenue 2023


In 2023, we invested a total of $184,120.02 into three key areas; program expenses, operations, and interns & fellows.

  • $99,198.75 in programs that help in the advancement of our members including scholarships, wellness events, the Annual Health Symposium, the international medical graduates grant, and the mentorship program, among others.
  • $60,221.27 in operating expenses including professional services (grant writer, communications manager), website expenses, marketing, subscriptions (zoom, Mailchimp), insurance, bank fees, licenses, and permits.
  • $24,700 for our interns and fellows who assist in managing the organization while learning.

Expenses 2023

Program Expenses 2023


Executive Committee & Board of Directors

  • Óscar Iván Zambrano, MPH, MBA, President
  • Jonathan Moreira, MD, Vice-President
  • Joaquín Estrada, MD, Immediate Past President
  • Arielle Guzmán, MPH, Recording Secretary
  • Geraldine Luna, MD, MPH, MBA, Membership Secretary
  • Pilar Ortega, MD, MGM, Communications Secretary, “Ex-Officio” Member
  • Gabriela Saldaña, Treasurer

2023 Continuing Board Directors:

  • Janeth Cristina Castaño, MD
  • Francisco Iacobelli, PhD, MSc
  • Alicia Olave-Pichón, MD
  • Alejandra Escobar, JD
  • Isa Álvarez
  • Benito Ibarra
  • Phillip Sierra

2023 Elected Directors:

  • Geovani Barraza CPA, MBA
  • Erick Tarula, MD
  • Emma B Olivera, MD
  • Javier Macias
  • Paulina Guzman, MA
  • William Sierraalta, MD



MOLA-WI Board of Directors

  • Patricia Tellez-Giron, MD. Founding President
  • Maria Mora Pinzon, MD, MS, FACPM. President Elect
  • Maria Daniela Martin Rother, MD. Secretary
  • Erick Tarula, MD. Treasurer
  • Reivian Berrios Barillas, PT, MPT, DPT, PhD. Board Member
  • Manuel Santiago, MEd. Board Member
  • Alejandra Torres Diaz, BS. Board Member
  • Christian Pelayo, BS. Board Member
  • Juliana Craig, BA. Board Member
  • Fernando Cano Ospina. Board Member
  • Michael Reese Research and Education Foundation
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
  • The Chicago Community Trust
  • Janssen- Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
  • Gift of Hope
  • Fifth/Third Bank
  • UIC – Medical School
  • Northeastern Illinois University
  • Cook County Department of Public Health – Cook County Health System
  • Latino Medical Student Association LMSA Rush University
  • State Farm
  • Be The Match
  • Great Lakes ADA
  • National Hispanic Medical Association NHMA IL-Chapter
  • CFAR


1 – Noe-Bustamante L, Flores A. Facts on Latinos in the U.S. [Internet]. Pew Research Center. 2019 [cited 2022 Mar 21]. Available from: https://www.pewresearch.org/hispanic/fact-sheet/latinos-in-the-u-s-fact-sheet/

2 – AAMC. Diversity in Medicine: Facts and Figures 2019 [Internet]. Association of American Medical Colleges. 2022 [cited 2022 Jul 18]. Available from: https://www.aamc.org/data-reports/workforce/interactive-data/figure-18-percentage -all-active-phphysicians-race/ethnicity-2018

3 – Hall JA, Chen W, Bhayana K, Lee P, Moroni EA, Butler PD, et al. Quantifying the Pipeline of Ethnically Underrepresented Medicine Physicians in Academic Plastic Surgery Leadership. Ann Plast Surg. 2021 Oct;87(4):e51–61.

4 – Brotherton SE, Etzel SI. Graduate Medical Education, 2020-2021. JAMA. 2021 Sep 21;326(11):1088.

5 – Duma N, Velazquez AI, Franco I, Kiel L, Levit LA, Schenkel C, et al. Dónde Están? Latinx/Hispanic Representation in the Oncology Workforce: Present and Future. JCO Oncol Pract. 2022 May;18(5):388–95.