Washington University School of Medicine encourages and supports student organizations and programs that provide learning experiences beyond the classroom and the medical center.
The Office of Diversity Programs works very closely with the following groups on issues such as promoting effective health care delivery to underserved groups, exposing younger students to opportunities in science and medicine and promoting a rich learning environment for medical students that celebrates personal differences and affirms the benefits of multiculturalism.
For more information, select an organization below.
- Family Plus Nutrition Program
- Health Professions Recruitment and Education Program (HPREP)
- Health Screenings
- Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA)
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer MED (LGBTQ MED)
- Minority Association of Premedical Students (MAPS)
- Public Health Interest Group (PHIG)
- Student National Medical Association (SNMA)
- Young Scientist Program (YSP)
The Public Health Interest Group (PHIG), in conjunction with the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), designed the Family Plus Nutrition Program, which is a four-week program to address the overwhelming rates of obesity and diabetes within our community. The program includes both a nutrition class and a cooking class and enrolls parents and their children. Students aim to address the importance of a healthy lifestyle, to dispel common myths that eating healthy is neither affordable nor appealing, to demonstrate the link between diet and health, and to empower participants to make better food choices.
HPREP introduces high school and middle school students to basic anatomy and the medical field, while providing an avenue for students to get excited about science and continuing education. The classes include cadaver demonstrations, demonstrations on the use of medical instruments and interactive stations to get students thinking about their own health knowledge. The classes also provide an avenue for medical students to offer college and career-development advice to high school students.
In conjunction with PHIG, this group conducts weekly health screenings to identify individuals at high risk for hypertension and diabetes. Additionally, participants receive health and nutrition counseling on site and are linked to health care resources. This year, the group has implemented a follow-up protocol to assure that community needs are met.
The position of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) liaison was created within SNMA to cover an important and expanding field: Latino health.
The LMSA national organization seeks to:
- Unify all Latino medical students into one organization
- Provide a voice for underrepresented medical students
- Actively promote recruitment and retention of Latino students at all levels
- Educate medical students on Latino health issues
- Advocate for the rights of Latinos in health care
- Provide leadership opportunities for Latinos
- Promote volunteerism in the Latino community
The role of the LMSA representative is to coordinate volunteering opportunities at Casa de Salud (House of Health) and be the point person for any Latino health care events at WUSM.
Casa de Salud is a community health and wellness center for uninsured and underinsured Hispanic immigrants located on Saint Louis University’s medical campus. The medical clinic is staffed by volunteer physicians, nurses and undergraduate and graduate volunteers from Saint Louis University and Washington University.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer MED (LGBTQ MED) group focuses on improving health care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients.
The group’s objectives include educating medical students on:
- Health disparities in the LGBTQ population
- Factors affecting LGBTQ access to and quality of care
- Importance of establishing safe zones in the health care setting
- Ways to build trust in the physician-patient relationship
View the video below: “It Gets Better” – A message of solidarity and hope from LGBTQ and allied students, faculty and staff of the medicine, physical therapy, and PhD programs at Washington University School of Medicine and affiliated health clinics.
Through this link to minority premedical students at Washington University, medical students serve as mentors, participate in panel discussions and provide information about the MCAT, the medical school application process and classes.
The Public Health Interest Group (PHIG) is a student organization committed to advocating for and partnering with the St. Louis community in an effort to improve health care outcomes, particularly among its most underserved citizens. It creates, facilitates and supports student involvement in local and Washington University organizations that provide opportunities to address dilemmas in public health. Efforts include health screenings, patient navigation, nutrition outreach, public policy discussions and, more recently, a community needs assessment and resolution effort grounded in established community engagement models that resulted in the development of a chronic illness curriculum for mental illness, asthma and metabolic syndrome (diabetes, hypertension, obesity).
The Student National Medical Association (SNMA) is the oldest and largest medical student organization focused on the needs and concerns of medical students of color. Established in 1964 by medical students from Howard University and Meharry medical schools, the SNMA has contributed to more than 40 years of service to communities.
The mission of SNMA is to promote an environment in which minority medical students can excel, to increase social consciousness within the medical community and to improve health care delivery to the medically underserved.
At the School of Medicine, SNMA plans many events around racial and social justice including forums, wine and cheese discussions and panels. In addition to hosting these events, Washington University School of Medicine’s chapter of SNMA highlights the achievements of minority physicians during Black History Month and volunteers in St. Louis through the HPREP program for high school students. We also host community and social activities for underrepresented minorities at all levels at the School of Medicine, including students, house staff and faculty. These activities allow for mentoring and forming networks within the community.
The Young Scientist Program (YSP) is designed to provide elementary school children with a fun and exciting introduction to science. Medical students have done several modules with the children, including a bone module and an introduction to chemical reactions.