September 10, 2020

Latino Medical Student Association speaker series launches Sept. 18

Hispanic Heritage Month

The Wayne State University School of Medicine Latino Medical Student Association will present a series of speakers to mark this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month.

“As a leading future physician population, we need to be prepared to help people from diverse cultural backgrounds,” said Angelina Palacios, LMSA president. “We present this series as an opportunity to engage with and learn about the ever-growing Latino population in Detroit and the country.”

The presentations, open to all, will be conducted virtually via Zoom meetings because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We decided to have speakers from multiple professional backgrounds to engage with numerous facets of the Latino population,” Palacios, a medical student, said. “Each will bring their unique life experiences as a Latino in each professional field. Each has also strived to make change in the Latino community and will bring an understanding of the struggles the community faces.”

The schedule includes:

Sept. 18, 4 to 5 p.m.: “CHASS Center - Federally Qualified Health Centers,” Felix Valbuena Jr., M.D., FAAFP. As a bilingual/bicultural physician, Dr. Valbuena is committed to providing culturally proficient health care in one’s native language to ensure a better understanding of, and compliance with, medical treatment. He is an active supporter of Federally Qualified Health Centers, serving as clinician representative on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Community Health Centers and a board member of the Michigan Primary Care Association. He is a 2007 recipient of the Degree of Fellow from the American Academy of Family Physicians and is a diplomate of the American Board of Family Medicine. Dr. Valbuena is also a contracted academic faculty member in the Department of Family Medicine at Henry Ford Hospital.
Zoom Link:

Sept. 24, 4 to 5 p.m.: “An Orientation to Southwest Detroit’s Latino History and Some Considerations Re Health,” Osvaldo Rivera. Born in Puerto Rico and living in southwest Detroit most of his life, Rivera has been active in community advocacy and human services for more than five decades. He served as director of Community Engagement at Southwest Detroit, as Mental Health director for ACCESS, as the executive director of Latino Family Services and as dean of Students at Wayne County Community College. In 1998, he started a 10-year tenure as director of Multicultural Affairs and assistant professor of Social Work/Sociology at Madonna University. He also provided oversight of Children/Family Special Projects for the Wayne County division of the State of Michigan’s Department of Human Services. Recently retired, he consults with a number of social service and arts organizations, and teaches Social Work classes at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and Afro Latino History and Culture at WSU.

Oct. 9, 4 to 5 p.m.: “Politics and Identity: Latinx in Michigan,” Alicia Diaz, J.D. Díaz is an instructor at the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies at Wayne State University, where she strives to facilitate de-colonized learning spaces in which Latinidad is central to the American story. A third-generation Detroiter, she is committed to the proposition that Latinx stories are Detroit stories. A first-time filmmaker, she is director and executive producer of “Dangerous Times: Rebellious Responses,” which traces the 1980s rise of the Sanctuary Movement in Detroit. The graduate of the WSU Law School also is a collector of 16th to 19th century manuscripts related to the enslavement and indentured servitude of peoples of African, Indigenous and Asian descent.

Oct. 15, 4 to 5 p.m.: “Understanding Immigrant Rights,” Migladys Bermudez, J.D., Staff Attorney at Justice for our Neighbors. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in southwest Detroit, Bermudez attended the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. She has worked for Justice For Our Neighbors since 2014 and is a full-time staff attorney.

Email Angelina Palacios at to RSVP and to receive additional Zoom information.