Brown’s Latines in Pre-Med, a student group established this semester, hopes to empower Latine students interested in medical professions with community building, mentorship and networking opportunities.
BLiP President and Founder Noah Urrutia ’25 said the idea for a Latine pre-med organization came to him last fall. He cited the revitalization of La Alianza — Brown’s first pre-law society for Latinx students — as motivation for creating BLiP.
“I quickly noticed that just as there was a pre-law gap for Hispanic students that needed to be filled, there was also a Latine pre-med organization that could be established,” he said.
Similar groups at Penn, Columbia and Yale provided helpful insight in the beginning stages of planning the club, Urrutia added. He also spoke to the Latinx Medical Student Association at the Warren Alpert Medical School and Clinical Assistant Professor of Medical Science Deborah Gutman ’93 MD’99, who is involved in pre-health advising at the University.
The Activities Fair rapidly boosted the club’s growth, Urrutia said.
“By the end of the club fair, we had 60 members, which was very unexpected,” he said. “I was hoping for maybe 15 to 20. It just really demonstrated that there was a need for this organization.”
Now, the club hopes to host events like community dinners to foster a sense of belonging among Latine pre-med students, Ayala said. He added that BLiP hopes to continue building connections with the Warren Alpert Medical School and other related organizations.
He hopes that one day, members of Latine pre-med groups across the Ivy League can form an “intercollegiate Latine conference.”
But Urrutia cited difficulties in funding the organization’s events given limited financial support from the Undergraduate Finance Board. Despite these difficulties, the club hosted its first event, “Cafecito con Consejos,” on Nov. 3. At the event, students were encouraged to meet upperclassmen and discuss plans for pre-registration and fulfilling pre-med requirements.
BLiP Finance Chair Michael Calixto ’24 said the event offered a unique opportunity for upperclassmen to share about their experiences as Latine pre-meds.
“I came out of that meeting with so much more information,” said BLiP Pre-Professional Development Chair Lilia Duque ’27, who attended the event as a mentee seeking advice.
“Providing that sort of space and student lens — especially with people who look and talk and think like me — is really nice,” she added. “It can really help you navigate an open curriculum and a campus where it's really up to you to decide what you're going to do.”
Calixto said that as a first-year, he did not have a community like BLiP to help navigate life at Brown as a Latino, first-generation pre-med student. “My experience was: ‘Okay, I'm here, I'm at Brown, I'm the first person in my family to go to college, I don't know what to do,’” he said.
Vanessa Araujo ’24, vice president of BLiP, explained that the student group can provide support to those trying to navigate questions and uncertainties.
Urrutia also highlighted BLiP’s commitment to supporting mental health. “As an organization, we’re trying to destigmatize the struggles that go along with pre-med,” he said, citing impostor syndrome in the classroom as an example.
“Being a pre-med student is no joke,” Duque said. “Having a community to support you along the no-joke, crazy rollercoaster journey … almost makes it feel doable.”
Tom Li is a senior staff writer covering environment and crime & justice. He is from Pleasanton, California, and is concentrating in Economics, International & Public Affairs and French & Francophone Studies. He is an avid RIPTA enthusiast and enjoys taking (and criticizing) personality tests in his free time.