Evaline X. M1
Joining WashU’s chapter of the American Medical Association (AMA), which also represents our chapter of the Missouri State Medical Association (MSMA), is a great opportunity to get involved in health policy and advocacy at the regional, state, and national levels. As part of the AMA, you get to learn from the many educational events that our chapter hosts throughout the year, connect with other advocates at conferences, and write resolutions to help directly shape policy. Although these events obviously look a little different this year, advocacy has been more important than ever. I recently had the chance to attend the first virtual AMA Medical Student Section (MSS) national meeting and was incredibly inspired by hearing fellow medical students voicing concerns about everything from bias in clerkship grading to health access and equity issues exacerbated by COVID-19. If you are excited to learn more about health policy and to find a welcoming community of people who share that passion, definitely consider joining the AMA!
Sai P., M1
One thing I have always known about WashU is that this institution values strong female leadership. As an applicant, I met our various female deans and medical students who told me stories about hanging out with Dean Ratts after an American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) dinner at her house. As a high schooler, I used to drive up to WashU for research with Dr. Susan Mackinnon, former Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and the Mini-Medical School lecture series led by Dr. Cynthia Wichelman, an emergency medicine specialist. To bring things full circle, one of our first AMWA talks this year was also by Dr. Wichelman, who taught us invaluable lessons about self-advocacy, salary negotiation, and how to “squinch” our eyes. (Look it up!) One of my favorite parts about Dr. Wichelman’s renowned lecture was that her lessons were important for all of us to learn, and many students of all genders and classes tuned in. Another great talk was from Dr. Vicky Fraser, chair of the Department of Medicine, who gave us tips for our CVs and lots of great book recommendations. Though COVID-19 has made it difficult for the student-run organizations to have in-person events, hearing from these female powerhouses has always been insightful and left me with practical advice. Not only has AMWA connected us to amazing medical leaders, but we’ve also had fun social events like flower arranging and a book club, as well as opportunities to introduce medicine to students at Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls. In addition to mentoring young women interested in STEM, I am excited to become a mentee myself when we get paired with our AMWA faculty mentors. Time and time again, WashU has proven to be a strong pipeline for women in medicine, and I am grateful to both be a part of it and continue building it for those who will come after me.
Amanda L. and Kouen L., M1
Koeun L. and I connected the summer before arriving in St. Louis over our shared interest in visual arts. When we discovered that a student group dedicated to visual arts didn’t already exist at WUSM, we were excited to build it ourselves. We touched base with the Student Affairs Manager, Andy Wiegert, and the existing Arts Commission group to see how to get our group started, and then it was smooth sailing. Upon the start of the semester, we also recruited a fellow art lover, Eve Moll, and founded WUSM Art to Heart — a new group of medical students who come together to appreciate visual arts and use arts as a tool to connect and serve St. Louis and the surrounding community. Our goal is to create a space and community for members of WUSM to pursue visual arts projects, perform community outreach using art as a medium with community partners, foster a community to appreciate visual arts, and collaborate with other WUSM groups such as those hosting the yearly Art Show. I remember being struck by how easy the school makes it to host events in terms of funding and support. We had an idea for a virtual paint night and within two weeks, we collaborated with WUMS Wellness and it happened! Along with the fun virtual paint nights, we also have an initiative to collect face masks made by our very own student body to donate to local health-care facilities! If you like winding down with arts and crafts and are interested in using visual arts to serve the St. Louis community, Art to Heart is here for you!
Amanda L., M1
WashU’s chapter of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) provides opportunities for students of all backgrounds to promote health advocacy and outreach to the Asian Pacific American populations of St. Louis. Even with COVID-19, APAMSA has had opportunities for us, such as pairing students with an Asian Pacific American physician mentor, having students teach a virtual class on diabetes to elderly Chinese participants, and hosting virtual Medical Chinese classes! Normally, APAMSA would also regularly host health screenings via its Chinese Clinic or health fairs that are run together with Saint Louis University School of Medicine’s APAMSA chapter, where students get to practice taking a history and physical exam and brush up on their medical vocabulary in Chinese. Even though we haven’t been able to host cultural festivals like Diwali and Lunar New Year this year, we’ve still had virtual and socially distanced events (with free snacks!) to build our own Asian Pacific American community here at WashU. If you’re interested in learning more about what you can do to help the underserved Asian Pacific American community, APAMSA is definitely the place for you.
Favour G., M1
If you are looking for a school that will support you as a student and as a Christian, WashU is the place for you. I love being Christian, and having a fellowship of people who share the same faith is very important to me. Therefore, I am very grateful for the Christian Medical Association (CMA), which encompasses students from different fields of medicine who share the Christian faith. The weekly Monday meetings have been a blessing to me during these COVID times, as sharing the Word and praying with WUSM Faculty and other students have helped me manage my stress and expel any negative vibes or energy. I especially appreciate how the CMA leaders were able to organize socially distanced events at Forest Park, where we could sit on the grass and enjoy the gift of nature while sharing our experiences and reflecting on the Word together.
Jacob S., M1
They say that laughter is the best medicine, and we take that seriously here at WashU. The WUSM Class Show is a long-standing tradition in which each class hosts and performs an original production based on their experiences that year. Each show consists of various acts and skits, which highlight the class’s creative talent and unique character. Many of the recent years’ class shows can be found on YouTube. Medical school has its ups and downs, but through it all you will be relying on and making memories with your classmates. Participating in the show is a great way to laugh about and celebrate these unique times.
Favour G., M1
If you are the kind of person who loves to dance (whether you know how to or not), or loves to learn new skills, or wants to do something different to relieve the stress that comes from being a medical student and a million other things at the same time, WUSM Dance is the place for you. I was part of the dance team at my undergrad, where I enjoyed dancing as a therapy to get away from life’s stressors. When I learned about WUSM Dance, I was excited to know that I will still have access to my ‘get away from stress’ card. Even with the pandemic, this dance club did not disappoint. The club leaders have done a great job of organizing online dance classes for the students, and I love how the dance classes reflect the diversity of the St. Louis community. This year I learned how to salsa and bachata. I am very grateful for this experience because I would not have learned them on my own.
Frances A.S., M1
If you’re reading this section, then you probably already know what the Dis-Orientation (Dis-O) Guide is. The Dis-O Guide was an invaluable resource for me when I was deciding on a school, and it even helped me out after I committed to WashU in helping me look for an apartment! Knowing how important it can be for prospective students, I didn’t hesitate to be an editor-in-chief for the guide. As one of the editors-in-chief, I’ve had a great time brainstorming with the other editors about how we could make this guide unique to our class — especially given our circumstances of starting a new curriculum in a pandemic. Recruiting people to write was also a breeze considering our class is so engaged and collaborative! It has been an incredibly fun experience to learn about my classmates’ perspectives, hobbies, and lives outside of the classroom and to see this guide come to life, so I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it!
Sarah V.S., M1
The Histones is an a cappella group that welcomes students throughout the Medical Campus. The group has historically performed for the WashU community and for patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Although COVID-19 has made things a little difficult, we have continued to hold rehearsals outdoors in preparation for a virtual concert. All students are welcome to join regardless of experience. It is a great way to learn a wide variety of music and meet some interprofessional colleagues!
Miguel S.M.B., M1
In short, the mission of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) at WashU is to empower medical students of all backgrounds to advocate for the health of the Latinx community. Everyone is welcome to join and be involved, whether that be through our social events like our Welcome BBQ or WashU/SLU meetup, our Medical Spanish program for teaching and certifying medical students to be bilingual providers, or our community outreach efforts, which include our bi-monthly health screenings at El Torito, a local Latin American supermarket. As is to be expected, COVID-19 has limited some of our usual activities this year, but we’re looking forward to restarting our monthly Spanish charlas with faculty (and food), health screenings at El Torito, and dance outings soon! We’re so excited to meet you, whatever your interests in LMSA or the Latinx community at WashU and in St. Louis may be. Follow us on Instagram at @lmsa.washu!
(Back row of photo) Marina P. (M2), Miguel S. (M1), Eve M. (M1), and Frances A. (M1) meeting up at Art Hill with some LMSA students from SLU!
Evaline X., M1
LouHealth is a new advocacy organization that was started last summer by WashU students in response to issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It now includes almost 200 students from different graduate and professional programs across St. Louis working together with local community organizations on issues such as health access and equity, criminal justice reform, intimate partner violence survivor advocacy, and environmental justice. Recent initiatives have included promoting the Missouri Medicaid expansion ballot initiative (which passed over the summer!), supporting the Close the Workhouse campaign, and helping register voters for the November 2020 election, just to name a few. LouHealth is really driven by the ideas and motivation of students, so if you are interested in advocating for a cause not already listed here, LouHealth is a great place to find the support to do so!
Lili B., M1
Pediatric Lifesavers is a student-run organization that works with the St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Phase 1 students are given the opportunity to go in twice a week and lead sessions to teach infant CPR to parents of infants in the NICU. This year, we were able to get CPR certified but have not been able to go in and teach yet due to COVID-19 guidelines. We are hoping to get this back up and running in the spring.
Jared G., M1
The student interest groups at WashU are incredible, and they have excellent faculty support. They can help facilitate research and shadowing, and they’re a great way to get to meet people in your class and the class above, as well as some of the faculty. The Student Interest Group in Neurology (SIGN) has been one of my favorite extracurriculars to participate in since coming to WashU. While everything has had to be virtual, we’ve had presentations on the neurological signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and on the life of an attending neurologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. The faculty mentor is amazing. After our first meeting, I wrote her an email asking if she had any recommendations about who to talk to for my particular interests. Within a day she’d set up a Zoom call with another physician for me, and given me the names of three other physicians who I should talk to in order to best explore my interests. Later, when I had questions on various aspects of academic medicine, such as compensation, hours/work-life balance, research, and teaching, she sent me an incredibly thoughtful email with a thorough discussion of all of my questions and the names of two more physicians who I should talk to. While the pandemic has made it harder to build relationships, the student interest groups have been a great resource to start!
Micheal R., M1
The Student National Medical Association (SNMA) is a national organization committed to meeting the needs and concerns of medical students of color, especially those of the Black community. Our local chapter’s mission is to generate a close-knit, well-resourced community of underrepresented students, amplify cultural humility within our broader school body, and confront disparities in health and education. We are also involved in student recruitment and provide mentorship for minority students throughout the schooling pipeline. We lead a number of programs dedicated to the above including the Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience (CSMB) program, the Minority Association of Pre-health Students (MAPS) mentorship program, and, in conjunction with the Public Health Interest Group (PHIG), the Health Outreach Programs (HOPs). In our free time we host faculty dinners, panel discussions, hangouts, open forums, and whatever else our community needs to thrive. Our dedication to minorities in medicine appeals to all groups of students and professionals, so please feel free to reach out and discover how you can be a part of our initiatives! Follow us on Instagram @washu.snma!
Members dressed spicy red at the annual AMWA Red Dress Affair; SNMA members huddling for a photo at the 2020 March MedBall
Believe it or not, people actually do have the time to game in medical school. I definitely was anticipating having to give up gaming once I got into medical school, but a lot of other students and I have found time to keep it as one of our hobbies. WUSM-GO is a gaming group with fellow students and even faculty who are down to play. People play on all consoles and play all types of games (Smash, League, Among Us, even the console exclusives). We organize game nights open to any game throughout the year. Whether you are a try-hard (we respect the grind, don’t worry) or just newly interested, everyone is open to play. I definitely recommend WUSM-GO to anyone trying to pick up a new game, flex on your classmates, or just have a good time.
Rebecca L., M1
Practicing yoga is a great study break that lets you release any stress and tension that may have built up during the week. The WUSM Yoga Club is open to people of all levels of experience and programs of study (MD, MSTP, PT, OT, etc). This year, the club has met every Tuesday evening for an hour in Hudlin Park when the weather permits (and otherwise over Zoom). In the past, classes took place indoors in the King Center, which has floor-to-ceiling windows and a beautiful view of the sunset. Yoga Club rotates teachers from the community to allow students to sample different types of yoga, such as vinyasa flow and Kundalini yoga. In order to compensate the teachers, dues are typically $25 per semester, which is about $2 per class and significantly cheaper than most yoga studios. The first class is free, so I highly recommend trying it out to see if it’s right for you!
Phase 1 students participating in a yoga class at Hudlin Park during Orientation Week