Students interested in medical careers had the opportunity to explore another side of the field last week, at the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) sponsored Natural Medicine Talk on Thursday, Oct. 22. The University’s chapter of the AMSA strives to create a community for students interested in the medical field and public health.
“AMSA aims to help pre-medical students build a larger community of physicians-in-training, voice their concerns about the pre-health professions track, and ultimately improve medical training nationwide,” said secretary of AMSA Vaishvi Jhaveri ’18.
While supporting pre-medical students, the University’s AMSA chapter works to keep community members actively engaged in the topics that they care about outside of the classroom.
“It is a organization that not only serves to help students on their path to medicine, but also allows new concepts and ideas to transform into institutional change,” Jhaveri said.
The talk focused on the medical program at Bastyr University, located in Kenmore, Wash. and San Diego, Calif. It is a private nonprofit institution, which offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields related to natural medicine.
“Bastyr was started as a naturopathic medical college,” said Bastyr Admissions Advisor Kai Wise. “It was our first program; it is still our largest program—it is about half the school.”
This medical college focuses specifically on the mind, body, and spirit all coming together in order to create a wholesome and healthy person.
“The school was founded with the idea of transforming the health and well-being of the human community,” Wise said. “All of the programs that have been added on since then all have that sense and goal of working towards health and wellness.”
Wise spoke at the University not only to inform students about what Bastyr was about, but also to show students various options that were open to them in the field of health.
“I thought this event would be educational to students interested in medicine or the sciences to inform them of the copious opportunities in the field of medicine beyond the most recognized path of allopathic medicine,” said AMSA President Serena Shimshak ’17.
There are many options to pursue post-graduation, and part of AMSA’s mission is ensuring that University students are as well informed about these options as possible.
“While I did not have a personal connection to the talk while organizing it, I was definitely interested by the presentation,” said Redwan Bhuiyan ’17, a member of the AMSA executive board. “Before the talk I was not particularly knowledgeable about this field of medicine, and so I came away from the seminar with a renewed appreciation for the diverse approaches toward healing and medicine.”
This talk was the first big talk that AMSA sponsored this academic year, but there is plans for more events to come later in the semester.
“While it is difficult to narrow down the list of great event ideas, our predominate mission is to bring awareness to medical issues to the Wesleyan and Middletown community and to provide opportunities for members to get involved in the field of medicine,” Shimshak said.
In the coming weeks, the association is planning to host a bone marrow drive; they are also expecting to have a talk with Dr. Rauch of Choosing Wisely—an initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine designed to foster conversations between physicians and their patients. Lastly, there will be a MCAT Question & Answer session with students who have taken the 2015 MCAT.
The Q&A is similar to a previous AMSA talk, “Ask a Med Student,” which took place last March. Two medical school students, one of whom was a University alumnus, spoke about their experience applying to medical school.
“During the talk, the panel and attendees also discussed in detail how medical students’ interviews and essays were evaluated.” Bhuiyan said. “Many interested students attended, and we definitely had a productive and interesting conversation about many different aspects of the medical profession.”
Although no two talks are the same, each event has a overarching health theme tied into it. Through hosting these diverse activities, the members of AMSA hope to create a community of health-minded students.
“Thank you to all of our members and the attendees of our events for making our work worthwhile,” Bhuiyan said. “And we hope to see you all in our next events as well!”