Leaders in Medical Education

Dr. JP Sanchez, Founder of Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians

Robert Trevino
Jun 9, 2016

Dr. Sánchez has worked extensively to promote diversity and inclusion in the physician and academic medicine workforces. Dr. Sánchez serves as President of the Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians Inc. (BNGAP); developed initially as an initiative between Einstein’s Hispanic Center of Excellence (HCOE), AAMC Diversity Policy and Programs, and numerous national medical associations and academic health centers. BNGAP’s mission is to help diverse medical students and residents become aware of academic medicine as a career option and to provide them with the resources to further explore and potentially embark on an academic medicine career. In 2015, BNGAP launched 6 regional academic medicine career development conferences for diverse trainees across the country.

In 2014, he joined Rutgers New Jersey Medical School as the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. Dr. Sanchez also recently completed terms on the Boards of the Latino Medical Student Association, the National Hispanic Medical Association, and the Hispanic Serving Health Professions Schools and currently sits on the Board of the Callen Lorde LGBT Community Health Center, NYC.   He received his medical degree from Einstein, completed his residency training at Jacobi/Montefiore, and is Board Certified in Emergency Medicine. He also holds a Masters of Public Health, with a concentration in the epidemiology of infectious diseases, from the Yale School of Public Health. He is of Puerto Rican ancestry, gay-identified and was raised in the Bronx, NYC.

How did you first become interested in emergency medicine? Medical education?
My interest in teaching, and now medical education, stems from observing my parents at work – my father was a Spanish language professor and my mother English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher. I marveled at their patience and willingness to help others with their learning challenges.

During 2nd year, I was offered the opportunity to rotate through the Emergency Department as a part of my physical exam course. I was amazed and excited by the variety of clinical cases, opportunity to perform procedures, and to work with a variety of specialists.

Can you share your background on how you got to where you are right now?
Exceptional role models, mentors and champions have helped guide my career decision-making. As an adolescent I was curious as to why HIV/AIDS disproportionately effected Latinos and gay men but it was not until I met Dr. Kenneth Dominguez that I decided to acquire my MPH and become an epidemiologist.

Dr. Elizabeth Lee-Rey, co-Director of the Hispanic Center of Excellence at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, inspired me to serve as a patient, attentive, and scholarly faculty member. Her drive and efforts led to great discourse and movement on diversity and inclusion, beyond race and ethnicity, at my medical school.

Dr. Maria Soto-Greene, Vice Dean at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, has worked tirelessly to create a learning environment at Rutgers NJMS for all students to excel. In everything that she does, she exhibits a passion and commitment to diversity and inclusion and in meeting the needs of the patient population of Newark. She is poised, approachable, patient, a critical thinker, and determined. Her personality and leadership style drove me to pursue a position at Rutgers NJMS and follow in her footsteps.

Where did the idea for BNGAP first originate? What are some of your goals for the program moving forward?
The idea for the Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians Initiative arose from Dr. Lee-Rey’s efforts in promoting the success of Hispanic and Black faculty. In discussing her work, it became clear that in order to increase the number of minority faculty, greater attention needed to be paid to raise medical students’ and residents’ awareness of, interest in, and preparedness for academic medicine careers.

What are 2-3 changes you would like to see in the current medical education system? Healthcare system?
In terms of the medical education system, greater engagement of community members and patients in informing and teaching curriculum. In terms of the healthcare system, more emphasis on prevention, especially nutrition, fitness and mental well-being and stress management.