Why Immersive Summer Programs Are Important for Healthcare Students
The Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Arizona focuses on developing diversity in the medical profession and preparing students for success in graduate school and medical school. Two of her students, Emma Gallardo Martinez and Tawanda Zvavamwe, gave us a glimpse into their 10-week experience.
Emma Gallardo Martinez is a public health major at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.
The reason I am studying public health is the same reason I want to go into the medical field. We want to work with people who are often not included in the statistics to close the health inequality gap. After medical school, I aim to work where I grew up in South Phoenix and help underserved people.
The Focusing Research in the Borderlands (FRONTERA) program combines community volunteering, virtual clinical shadowing, writing workshops and many other great experiences in one summer. When you’re in the pre-health track it can be hard to do all the things you need to do, but working in the lab was great.The faculty and researchers are happy to have us there. I would like to continue working in this laboratory.
I am working in Dr. Paloma Beamer’s lab on a research project focused on reducing exposure to volatile chemicals in small businesses such as beauty salons and car dealerships. A highlight of the research project was testing air quality and talking to people in beauty and auto shops.
Lab people speak Spanish. This is important because it focuses on Hispanic and minority owned businesses. They need to know that their work shouldn’t hurt them. Usually they don’t know how toxic a particular product is until we start working with them. It provides stylists and mechanics with individualized results so they can understand what contains toxic chemicals and consider replacing them with alternatives. There is a feeling of satisfaction.
A trip to help clean up in the community of Winchester Heights, near Wilcox, Arizona, was enlightening. I learned more about how health inequalities exist. Many people in that community could not go to a nearby hospital.
The experience of talking to people and learning about the harmful effects of local medical care is what made me want to do FRONTERA in the first place.
Tawanda Zvavamwe is a physiology major with minors in emergency medicine and biochemistry at the University of Arizona.
Aim to attend medical school to pursue a specialization in emergency medicine, trauma surgery, or transplant surgery. These specialties provide the opportunity to connect with individuals and perform technically challenging procedures. This is why I first became interested in the medical field.
When I’m not in the lab or in class, I typically volunteer as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with the University of Arizona Emergency Medical Services. Through my volunteer work, I have seen patients on site before they arrived at the hospital. Every future doctor should have the experience of helping someone in critical condition recover in the short time you are with them.
The Border Latino and American Indian Summer Exposure to Research (BLAISER) program was a hidden gem. Although initially focused on research, the program had other benefits. From MCAT preparation and virtual clinical shadowing to all the support from program coordinator Genesis Garcia and program director Dr. did.
On my research project, I work in Dr. Brian McKay’s lab. There, they are researching ways to cure age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people. My role is to investigate how and why clinically proven medicines can help treat disease. I am fortunate to be involved in research that makes an impact.
My impressions were particularly memorable when I visited Wilcox, Arizona for a community cleanup event. I was particularly impressed by the sight of a young girl who was translating between Spanish and English when she worked for a neighborhood street cleaning group.
I grew up in Zimbabwe until I was about eight years old, and seeing her reminded me of myself. I was a bilingual kid helping her parents navigate a new country. But what stood out the most to me was that even though I was in another country with a foreign language, I felt like I was back in Zimbabwe. but filled with a sense of community and love for fellow men and women.
Reflecting on my goal to revolutionize the treatment and healthcare of age-related macular degeneration, experiences like those at Wilcox remind me of small deeds like picking up trash and giving voice to small communities. remember that even is just as important. .