Office of Recruitment & Multicultural Affairs

The Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs (ORMA) is located in TMEC Suite 252 with the Office of Student Affairs. ORMA recruits and provides support services to students underrepresented in medicine and dentistry and students who are economically disadvantaged. ORMA fosters an inclusive and respectful environment that is supportive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, faculty and staff.

The Faculty Associate Dean for Student Affairs, the Faculty Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, and the ORMA staff are available to students for personal as well as academic counseling.

ORMA coordinates monthly meetings of the Inter-Society Multicultural Fellows Committee (MCFC), which reports to the Dean. The MCFC is composed of faculty and students from all Societies charged with facilitating diversity training and awareness in the HMS medical community.



Harvard Medical School seeks diverse student populations. Harvard’s commitment to diversity is not only reflected in the variety of institutions from which students are accepted, but also in the ethnic and economic backgrounds of the student body. In 1969, the Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs (ORMA) was established. ORMA is responsible for recruiting and providing support services to students from groups underrepresented in medicine and students who are economically disadvantaged.

Since 1969, Harvard has graduated more than 1,350 physicians from groups underrepresented in medicine. The School currently has 159 students enrolled from underrepresented groups (African Americans, Native Americans, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and other Hispanics).

Please see HMS Admissions and the AAMC website for additional information.

Poussaint Prematriculation Summer Program

The HMS Poussaint Prematriculation Summer Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (PPSP) will be held July 1-26, 2019.

The PPSP gives entering medical students from underrepresented groups the opportunity to explore topics in oncology. Through coursework and seminars, clinical shadowing, and mentorship, students will gain a better understanding of exciting career options in oncology, a field that covers a variety of sub-specialties and in which research and treatment options are rapidly expanding.

The PPSP is open to students who have accepted admission to Harvard Medical School, and is held for four weeks each summer. The 2019 program will be held from July 1-26. Program enrollment is limited to 12 students. Students will take courses in the morning on the HMS campus and attend seminars and shadow with mentors in the afternoon at DFCI.

Program Highlights

  • $2,000.00 stipend
  • $500.00 towards travel to/from Boston.
  • Housing in Vanderbilt Hall (across the street from HMS!)
  • Health insurance for the summer, if needed.
  • Social events throughout the summer.
  • The Poussaint Prematriculation Summer Program does not require prior clinical or research experience
  • Entering first-year students to Harvard Medical School are eligible to apply to the PPSP
  • Applicants must be African American, Hispanic or Native American/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian

Application Process

Complete the full application, available online here. The application will require the following:

  • Two 150-word essays, one on your research/clinical experiences and one describing how you would benefit from PPSP and what you hope to gain from the experience.
  • A copy of your CV including any research/clinical experiences.

Completed applications must be submitted by Monday, May 6, 2019. Applicants will be notified regarding their acceptance on May 13th.

For more information, please contact: Christopher De La Cerda

Student Organizations

Multicultural Student Alliance

The Multicultural Student Alliance is comprised of Harvard Medical School (HMS) student organizations (listed below). The Alliance implements programs and addresses issues related to diversity at HMS and Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM). Membership is open to all students.

Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA), Harvard Chapter

The Latino Medical Student Association, HMS/HSDS regional chapter, is dedicated to the empowerment of the Latino community. LMSA seeks to achieve this goal through a multifaceted approach, which includes academic support through medical school, education about social and health-related issues concerning the Latino population, community projects for underserved Latinos, and the recruitment of Latinos to Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine. LMSA also organizes social and cultural events to celebrate and promote awareness of the great diversity that exists in the Latino communities of the US, Mexico, Central America, South America, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba. LMSA collaborates with and supports other minority groups at HMS as well as in the Boston community. Finally, LMSA is committed to the pursuit of social justice, health equality, and human rights; membership is open to all students interested in these issues. Please see the LMSA website for more information.

LGBTQ and Allied Harvard Medical/Dental Students (LAHMS)

LAHMS is the Harvard Medical School lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied student organization. The goals of this organization are to provide visibility of the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) people and awareness of the needs and concerns of LGBTQ patients; to provide a forum for the LGBTQ community to discuss issues particular to being gay and to provide a doctor for organization members; to involve LGBTQ and other faculty and local hospital house staff members in activities to serve as allies and mentors. The organization sponsors films, speakers, workshops, and social events. Please see the LAHMS website for more information.

Native American Health Organization (NAHO)

The Native American Health Organization was formed to establish a foundation for unity among Native American students in the medical area. Through a variety of special programs, NAHO seeks to improve the health status of Native Americans by encouraging and recruiting Native American students into medicine and increasing the awareness of Native American heritage and health-care issues. NAHO works closely with the Harvard University Native American Program (HUNAP).

Student National Medical Association (SNMA)

The SNMA is the oldest and largest medical student organization dedicated to people of color and underserved communities. Community service is the heart and soul of the SNMA. Eliminating disparities in health-care delivery, disease, morbidity, and disease mortality are among our highest priorities.

Our programs are designed to promote healthy living and stress the preventative nature of health-care delivery. Committed to increasing the number of culturally capable and sensitive physicians, the SNMA is also dedicated to the academic and clinical success of medical students and premedical students. Through our signature MAPS, HPREP, and YSEP programs, SNMA members work with youths from elementary school to college, introducing them to science and serving as mentors. In this way, the SNMA strengthens the educational pipeline that leads from elementary school to medical school. SNMA members also support each other through various social activities, networking, and providing a note/book exchange. Please see the SNMA website for more information.

LGBTQ Resources

LGBTQ Advisors

Jennifer Potter, MD 

Dr. Jennifer Potter is a clinician educator and innovator whose scholarly work focuses on reducing health disparities among populations of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, enhancing the competency with which clinicians communicate with regard to “sensitive” topics, such as sexuality, and implementing clinical quality improvement (QI) initiatives. Currently, Dr. Potter is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, directs women’s health programs at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Fenway Health, and is a Population Scientist at the Fenway Institute, a research facility dedicated to studies focused on optimizing the health of LGBT populations. Dr. Potter serves as a Faculty Advisor for the LAHMS student group.

Alex Keuroghlian, MD, MPH

Dr. Alex Keuroghlian is a clinical psychiatrist, educator, and researcher. He is primary course director for the fourth-year elective clerkship, “Care for Patients with Diverse Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities,” and the national continuing education conference, “Advancing Excellence in Transgender Health.” His clinical practice and research focus on sexual and gender minority health. He directs two federally-funded centers for sexual and gender minority populations, The National LGBT Health Education Center and the Evidence-informed Interventions Center for Coordinating Technical Assistance. Dr. Keuroghlian is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at HMS, the Public & Community Psychiatry Curriculum Director for the Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean psychiatry residency program, and Director of the Division of Education and Training Programs at The Fenway Institute. Dr. Keuroghlian serves as a Faculty Advisor for the LAHMS student group.

LGBTQ and Allied Harvard Medical/Dental Students (LAHMS)

LAHMS is the Harvard Medical School lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allies student organization, formerly known as the Kinsey 2-6ers. The goals of this organization are to provide visibility of the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and awareness of the needs and concerns of LGBT patients; a forum to discuss issues particular to being gay in medicine; and a community of local faculty and house staff to serve as allies and mentors. The organization sponsors films, speakers, workshops, and social events.

Guide for Healthcare Providers

Terminology Related to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and More

About Us

Story of Diversity

HMS Commitment to Diversity

ORMA History 

In 1968, the Black American enrollment at Harvard Medical School (HMS) was less than one percent. HMS was not alone in being a predominantly white institution. At that time, only four percent of all first-year medical students nationwide were from underrepresented groups (2.8 percent were Black). Until the early 1970’s, most Black American doctors were educated at Howard and Meharry medical schools.

The social climate of the late 1960’s sparked the first nationwide efforts to bring underrepresented students into medical schools. After the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., HMS Dean Robert H. Ebert created the Committee for Disadvantaged Students, charging it with increasing the number of disadvantaged students at HMS and Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM).

In 1969, the school began an active recruitment program. Sixteen Black students matriculated at HMS and Alvin F. Poussaint, MD, was appointed Associate Dean of Students during that year. The Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs was established with Dr. Poussaint as the director. Although the medical school initially focused on increasing Black representation, it soon broadened its efforts to include applicants from other underrepresented groups (Puerto Rican, Mexican American, and Native American). The school officially committed itself to admitting a diverse student body with a significant percentage of students from underrepresented groups.

The first challenge facing those who wished to increase HMS’s underrepresented population was convincing prospective candidates that their applications would receive serious consideration. Students already enrolled at HMS and HSDM were recruited to help meet this challenge. The Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs currently contacts 60 to 75 undergraduate institutions each year to share information. Current HMS and HSDM students from underrepresented backgrounds also meet with interviewees, conduct tours, and address questions from prospective candidates over lunch.

In 1970, HMS implemented its Pre-Matriculation Summer Program for students from underrepresented backgrounds. Participants were exposed to major basic science courses at the Cambridge campus. This eight-week bridge between college and medical school was designed to ease students’ transition into HMS/HSDM and to enhance the likelihood of their academic success.

In 1983, the Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs broadened the scope of the Pre-Matriculation Summer Program to give students the chance to do full-time research in the laboratories of medical-area faculty during the summer preceding their matriculation. In 2014, the office partnered with the HMS Center for Primary Care with a focus on primary-care placements. Students in this program attend a series of seminars expanding understanding of and opportunities within primary-care medicine. In 2016, the summer program partnered with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to sponsor a four-week program exploring aspects of careers in oncology.

While ORMA has always been supportive of LGBTQ activities, in 2011 we officially became the institutional home for LGBTQ students and their advisors.

The Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs is actively involved in the Revisit Weekend and other quality-of-life programs that affect underrepresented students. Members within the Black, Latinx, and Native American student organizations have traditionally worked very closely with the office in these areas.

Older students from underrepresented backgrounds have also helped ease the assimilation of new students by serving as peer advisors. While social, cultural, and recreational events help bring upper-class students and new students together, the older students also provide a support network and share tips on preparing for the major clinical rotations and the National Residency Match. Students also serve on the various Admissions subcommittees.

These efforts by HMS have produced impressive results. In 1969, HMS accepted 16 Black students for the class of 1973. Since that time, HMS has graduated over 1,350 physicians from minority backgrounds. Many of our alumni have assumed leadership roles in different fields of medicine. The Medical School currently has 159 students (22%) enrolled from underrepresented groups (73 African Americans, 33 Mexican Americans, 7 Native Americans, 8 Puerto Ricans, and 37 other Hispanics).

We would like to salute all of the HMS and HSDM alumni, students, staff, and faculty who have contributed to the many years of success of the Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs.

Inter-Society Multicultural Affairs Committee

The Inter-Society Multicultural Fellows Committee is a group of faculty and student representatives from all Academic Societies charged with facilitating diversity training and awareness in our medical community. The Committee itself represents diverse ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. It is the Committee’s belief that we all see ourselves as members of a broad spectrum of different identities, such as ethnicity, race, class, sexual orientation, gender, age, ability, religion, and nationality, and that in each of these identities we may experience ourselves in certain contexts as being part of a minority or a majority group. Membership in some of these groups may result in the experience of discrimination and the denial of social benefits. The Committee invites all individuals to join in a discussion of their identity as members of different groups.

The Committee believes that the best possible medical community is one in which the maximum heterogeneity is found. We believe that the best research and medical care occurs in a context where differences are highly valued; that “hybrid vigor” is relevant and fundamental to the structure and optimum functioning of human groups. We do not advocate a homogenization of our differences, however. Our natural tendency to cluster into our group identities is also essential to the nurturing of each of our unique cultures. Multiculturalism is the search for an appreciation of the richness gained by the coexistence of our differences, as well as an acknowledgment of our similarities. We feel that these values are fundamental to the development of competent physicians.