Club for medical, health students chartered on Downtown campus

Still waiting on caption, but I'm pretty sure these are the student members of AMSA (Johanna Huckeba/DD)
The American Medical Student Association Downtown Phoenix campus chapter meets in the NHI-2 building before touring Northern Arizona University’s Occupational and Physical Therapy School. (Johanna Huckeba/DD)

The ASU Downtown Phoenix campus launched its own chapter of the American Medical Student Association Pre-Health this semester.

The club is designed to support students who plan to attend a medical-related graduate program. The 132 members of the club come from a variety of programs such as physical therapy, pre-medical and pre-dentistry.

Helping students with the process of getting into grad school is one of the club’s main objectives.

“A lot of students have trouble understanding the path to get to those different professional schools and programs,” said Nathaniel Wade, the organization’s faculty adviser and director of student outreach.

Now that many of ASU’s medical programs are located at the ASU Downtown campus, there is greater demand for the services American Medical Student Association offers.

“This is the first big extracurricular opportunity for health majors downtown,” said Anjali Agrawal, the vice president of the Downtown campus chapter of American Medical Student Association.

The club’s founding officers wanted to make pre-health support organizations more accessible to the growing number of students who attend classes at the Downtown Phoenix campus. Getting involved with American Medical Student Association as a health student is now more convenient for those students who spend time downtown.

“We’ve had a very steady turnout for the first semester,” Agrawal said.

The club held a variety of events spanning multiple topics this semester.

In December, the club will host a panel of speakers to discuss the process of becoming a physician. The speakers will include a student in the graduate school application process, a current medical school student, a resident physician and a surgeon.

The purpose of the panel is to give club members a road map to getting into graduate school, as well as to make them more aware of the commitment the process requires.

American Medical Student Association also gives students the opportunity to gain firsthand experience with different medical procedures. This semester they participated in a suture clinic at the University of Arizona College of Medicine — Phoenix, where club members learned how to suture open flesh using realistic medical test dummies.

The club officers aim to expand the event catalog as their membership grows.

“We don’t plan on repeating anything we’ve done this semester so that people who are still with us will continue to learn new things,” Agrawal said.

By participating in American Medical Student Association events, students often get the opportunity to connect with medical professionals in various fields.

The top 10 medical schools in the nation accept less than 4 percent of their applicants, according to a survey by U.S. News & World Report. The chance to network with professionals is critical to undergraduates who want to bolster their application with letters of recommendation or experience working for a physician or other professional.

“AMSA offers a lot of connections. They can give you ways to talk to doctors about shadowing or starting clinical trials, which is important experience to have when applying for med-school,” said Mikayla Erickson, a freshman health sciences student.

The club’s objective as it moves ahead is to continue to grow support for downtown pre-health students.

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