Explore these new interest groups
Posted on September 9, 2022 by Carol McPhail
From reproductive health to endurance sports, new interest groups at the Whiddon College of Medicine give medical students the opportunity to explore their clinical interests and provide outlets to pursue community service and enhance student wellness.
Three new organizations were formed this year: the Family Planning and Reproductive Health Interest Group, the Endurance Athletics Club and the Global Surgery Student Alliance. The Culinary and Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group was created in 2021, adding to the more than 30 interest groups already established.
“In the Whiddon College of Medicine, we are fortunate to have a wide variety of student interest groups,” said Kelly Roveda, M.D., associate dean for student affairs. “Whether students are interested in gathering to learn more about surgery, providing services to the local Spanish-speaking community or learning more about fitness and nutrition, there really seems to be an interest group or organization that provides the background for shared camaraderie.”
Family Planning and Reproductive Health
Natalie Simpkins, a second-year medical student, said the goal of the new Family Planning and Reproductive Health Interest Group is to highlight different aspects of family planning and to serve as a rallying point for students to learn about advocacy and volunteering.
“Currently, we are working on a couple of projects, including presenting a sexual health course for recent immigrants and hosting a menstrual product drive,” Simpkins said. “Every month, we have meetings on a different aspect of family planning such as contraception, infertility, abortion, intimate partner violence and vulnerable groups in reproductive health.”
Simpkins said student leaders in the group serve as liaisons between other students and curriculum directors to provide input on how to address and frame family planning and reproductive health in the educational modules and clinical rotations.
For more information on the Family Planning and Reproductive Health Interest Group, contact Simpkins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Endurance Athletics Club
Third-year medical students Robert Rella and Brenna Katz, meanwhile, launched the Endurance Athletics Club this past February to create a community and provide opportunities for students to exercise with friends and classmates regularly. David Weber, Ph.D., assistant dean of medical education and professor of physiology and cell biology, serves as adviser to the group.
“People with all levels of experience are welcome and encouraged to come,” Rella said. “We feel it is important to practice what we preach to our patients and believe that those who lead healthy lifestyles will be better equipped in the future to help others do the same. That’s the long-term goal of this group.”
The club meets when and where workouts are hosted, Rella said. Medical students can learn more about the group by joining the EAC groupme to stay up to date with announcements and workout times.
For more information on the Endurance Athletics Club, contact Rella at email@example.com.
Global Surgery Student Alliance
A new chapter of the Global Surgery Student Alliance was created this year at the Whiddon College of Medicine. The alliance is a national organization with chapters at 61 medical schools across the country.
Global surgery is a field that aims to improve health and health equity for all who are affected by surgical conditions or have a need for surgical care, with a particular focus on underserved populations in countries of all income levels, as well as populations in crisis, said Chandler Hinson, a second-year medical student who serves as president.
“Our group focuses on these issues and understanding from a systematic perspective how surgery can be offered in a sustainable manner in low-resourced settings,” he said. “This can be applied both abroad and to our own community here in Mobile.”
The group meets monthly with a range of activities including book clubs, guest lecturers and volunteer opportunities. Jon Simmons, M.D., associate professor in the department of surgery, serves as chapter adviser.
For more information about the Global Surgery Student Alliance, contact Hinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Culinary and Lifestyle Medicine
The Culinary and Lifestyle Medicine Interest Group was launched in January 2021 to help medical students increase their knowledge of personal nutrition habits in order and educate and apply what they learn to future patients’ lifestyles.
“We try to meet at least two times a semester at the College of Medicine,” said John Paul Saway, a third-year medical student who serves as co-president. “Meetings typically involve a guest speaker who discusses nutrition, lifestyle habits and barriers as they relate to their career or patient population.”
In addition to meetings, the group started a monthly cooking class for medical and graduate biomedical students to help them learn quick, healthy recipes for themselves and to share with patients and family.
At a class in August, participants prepared recipes for whole grain banana yogurt muffins and healthy breakfast tacos, said Weber, who serves as the group’s adviser.