Evaline X., M2
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!
Alyssa R., M1
Becoming involved in the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) was definitely one of the best decisions I made after coming to WashU School of Medicine. AMWA puts on a ton of events to help develop the next generation of strong female leadership in medicine. So far, there have been several lunch talks that touch on topics such as salary negotiation, work-life balance, and how to draft a successful CV. I’m also really looking forward to the spring, when AMWA puts on a workshop for female faculty to come in and sit down with students to give personalized feedback on their own CVs. Additionally, AMWA puts on small group breakfasts with some awesome female physicians, which really give students an opportunity to get to know faculty and potentially even find a mentor. Hearing from these female powerhouses in medicine has been deeply inspiring and has provided me with some amazing career advice, as early as the moment I set foot in the medical school. Besides connecting students with female faculty, AMWA is also involved in the community through teaching workshops at Almost Home, a transitional housing facility for teen moms, and through introducing medicine to middle school students at the Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls. AMWA is an amazing organization and I would 100% recommend getting involved in any capacity.
Stephanie Z., M1
Clara and I were excited to discover that WashU School of Medicine has Art to Heart, a visual arts-based student group founded just the year before us. The goal of Art to Heart is to create a welcoming space for members of the WashU community to pursue visual arts projects and use art as a tool to connect with community partners. Most of all, we hope to encourage students to seek fun and creative outlets of expression and stress relief. Past events have included a Bob Ross paint night, jewelry-making with a local artist, and a collaborative art piece with the COVID-attestation stickers WashU used to hand out.
Wendy D., M1
WashU School of Medicine’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. We provide opportunities to receive individualized mentorship from a paired Asian Pacific American physician mentor and to learn medical vocabulary in Mandarin from our Medical Chinese classes. APAMSA also regularly hosts health screenings through its Chinese Clinic, as well as various health fairs, hosted in partnership with Saint Louis University School of Medicine’s APAMSA chapter, during which students get to practice taking a history and physical exam. The student group also hosts fun social events and cultural festivals open to all, such as Diwali and Lunar New Year. If you’re interested in helping the underserved Asian Pacific American community and hope to find a welcoming and supportive group of people who support that passion, APAMSA is definitely the place for you!
Isabella G., M1
The Association of Women Surgeons (AWS) at WashU School of Medicine is an incredible organization that focuses on bringing together female students with an interest in surgery, along with female surgical residents and faculty. Through presentations, panel discussions, and mixers, the group gives students the chance to learn from the unique experiences and opinions of residents and faculty, all while promoting enthusiasm for the field among female students. Some exciting programming in the past has been inter-class AWS families; panels focused on specialties like ENT, ob/gyn, neurosurgery, and more; “A Day in the Life” features on social media; and surgical skills workshops, like suturing.
Maida D., M1
Choosing Healthy Options In our Community, Environment, and Schools (CHOICES) for Youth in Detention is a student group dedicated to educating young people at the St. Louis Juvenile Detention Center on important topics in physical and mental health. With weekly opportunities to help teach, medical students get a unique perspective on barriers to health literacy and education, and get to help improve the well-being of youth in St. Louis. So far, my experience with CHOICES for Youth in Detention has been very powerful, and I have learned a lot about the importance of educating incarcerated kids and teens. Not only do I feel that I am helping to improve the overall future health and well-being of these young individuals, I also feel that I am giving them the opportunity to engage with and ask questions of someone they can trust.
Kevin N., M3
Christian Medical Association (CMA) is a non-denominational, student-led organization at WashU School of Medicine dedicated to helping students grow in their faith walk. Other students may want to join simply to hear select topics from guest speakers. We are made up of students from the the PT, OT, PhD, MD, and MSTP programs at WashU Med, as well as PharmD students from the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy. Our hope is to build community, foster relationships, and provide opportunities for mentorship and service. We meet on a weekly basis and provide opportunities to attend national conferences.
Jacob S., M2
They say that laughter is the best medicine, and we take that seriously here at WashU School of Medicine. The 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’ 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.
Fiona P., M1
ClimbRx is WashU’s graduate climbing club. It offers a discounted membership for students who go to a local climbing gym, Climb So iLL, with two locations 10 and 30 minutes away from the Central West End. Students often go together in groups, and the climbing community is very welcoming and supportive of climbers at all levels. Climbing itself is an excellent full-body workout that also tickles one’s brain without involving textbooks or Anki cards, so it’s pretty popular among medical students.
Favour G., M2
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, WashU School of Medicine Dance Club 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 Dance Club, I was excited to know that I will still have access to my “get away from stress” card. Even with the pandemic, this 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.
Wendy T., M1
(You’re reading it right now.)
Back when I was an applicant, the Dis-Orientation (Dis-O) Guide was one of the main attractions that drew me to WashU School of Medicine. A collection of articles, photos, and videos that represent the community of the school and city, the Dis-Orientation Guide is a collaborative effort across all classes and faculty, put together by the current M1 class. Personally, I still turn to last year’s Dis-O Guide whenever I need recommendations on where to eat or new places to explore. As an editor-in-chief this year, I’ve loved working with the other editors to brainstorm how to best display our identity as a class, from sharing our unique perspectives to divulging the best places to take a date. 😉 The Dis-O Guide is an extremely gratifying tradition that we hope to pass on to next year’s class!
Tim H., M1
The Health Economics & Policy Interest Group (HEPIG) collaborates closely with Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP). The aim of HEPIG/SNaHP is to teach about the changing landscape of health-care economics and public policy in relation to issues that we will all face as physicians someday. These issues can have a huge impact in enabling or preventing patients from accessing and affording care. Previous events have included lunch talks, book clubs/giveaways, and panel discussions with more events on the way!
Rachel K., M1
Are you coming into medical school with no idea what specialty you want to pursue? Or have you known you’re an ortho bro from the start? Either way, there are interest groups (IGs) to support you in pursuing any and all interests you may have across the many fields of medicine. IGs are a great first stop for learning about different specialties, and WashU School of Medicine currently has 22 (and counting) IGs representing a vast majority of those specialties. These groups put on all kinds of different programming, from residency panels to learn about specialty culture to procedure nights where you can try your hand at some of the skills you would learn in that field and more. They provide many low-pressure ways to learn more about different careers in medicine and to gauge your own passions. They are also a great way to start building connections with faculty, which can lead to a variety of opportunities in mentorship or research. We encourage you to try some IGs on for size when you start in the fall and start to learn more about where your interests really lie! Who knows? You might just find out you want a totally different path than you thought you would, or that you’re just where you have always wanted to be.
Jacob S., M2
When I was first accepted to WashU School of Medicine, I wasn’t sure what kind of Jewish community was present in St. Louis. I have been delighted to find that WashU and St. Louis actually have a vibrant and diverse Jewish life that is easily accessible. Central Reform Synagogue is only a 5-minute drive from the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center (FLTC), and Chabad Central West End is similarly distanced. JGrads, an organization for Jewish graduate students and young professionals, is run through Chabad Central West End and holds events, get-togethers, and services fairly frequently. This has included providing Erev Rosh Hashanah dinner, Sukkot services, and Hanukkah gift bags. The rabbi and his wife are exceptionally kind and interested in building relationships with Jewish graduate students, and they’ve certainly made me feel welcome in the Jewish community at WashU. At WashU School of Medicine specifically, the Jewish Medical Student Association has held multiple events including a shabbat dinner with faculty and residents, a Yom Kippur break-fast meal, and a Zoom challah bake. We also have a JMSA group chat that we’ve used to coordinate hangouts and check in with each other over the holidays. The opportunities are definitely here for the taking, and how much you choose to engage is completely up to you! WashU is a great place to be Jewish and to dive into this aspect of your identity.
Priscilla C., M1
The goal of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA), both nationally and at WashU School of Medicine, is to empower and support medical students working to promote the health of the Latin community. Folks from all backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to join; for many of us, LMSA membership helped foster an early support system during our first year. Our social events, such as dance nights and Charlas, help strengthen our sense of community, and our engagement and service events for the Latin community in St. Louis allow us to return that sentiment to the area as well. LMSA also coordinates Medical Spanish, a popular elective course that allows medical students to learn Spanish in a clinical setting and eventually become certified as interpreters. We look forward to seeing some of you join us this year!
MaeMae H., M2
LouHealth is an organization that was created as a policy and public health advocacy response to COVID-19. Our model is to partner with local organizations that work in three main areas: health access and equity, criminal justice reform, and intimate partner violence survivor advocacy. I’ve really enjoyed working with this organization over Phase I and have gotten the opportunity develop tangible skills related to advocacy work. In particular, I was able to support LouHealth’s work on the Missouri Medicaid Expansion campaign as well as phone-bank and calls to local policymakers, and I wrote an op-ed with some classmates. This organization is a great way to learn more about how we can advocate to create structural-level change in our communities. Additionally, LouHealth is a cohort of students across graduate programs (MD, PT, OT, PharmD, etc.) and across different schools (WashU School of Medicine, Saint Louis University, University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy), so it was a great way to connect with peers outside of the MD program and collaborate with others who are passionate in these areas. Feel free to visit our website (louhealthstl.org) or social media platforms (@louhealthstl) to see some of our current work.
Mackenzie C., M1
Being an at-large member is a great way to get experience with Medical Student Government (MSG) without being overwhelmed. You attend meetings with your fellow M1 MSG representatives and get to take part in important discussions that frame your class’ learning experience. You can either be COMSE (more academic-feedback focused, where you attend large meetings with administrations) or Equity and Anti-Racism (focused on ensuring representation among other equity-related items that may present themselves). Either way, the position offers a unique opportunity to get involved in MSG and enhance your time at WashU School of Medicine.
Savannah S., M1
As the community engagement representative (CER) of Medical Student Government (MSG), I help connect WashU School of Medicine students with the other WashU graduate programs and the larger St. Louis community. I have the unique opportunity to attend meetings with medical school administrators as well as with interprofessional teams of students and faculty from multiple WashU graduate programs. I also work closely with our Health Equity and Justice course directors to assess student involvement in the St. Louis community. This includes sharing service-learning activities and evaluating student group community involvement to help students engage in high quality, community-centered activities. As CER, I have most enjoyed the emphasis on bursting the “medical school bubble.” I am reminded every day that we are not learning medicine in a vacuum, and that there is a wealth of knowledge to be found in the community surrounding us.
Sam B., M1
The IT liaison role in Medical Student Government (MSG) is pretty cool. My responsibilities include communicating between the class and the administration about issues with the education tech. There are even opportunities to help improve the software and fix some bugs. I attend a few meetings as well, including with the education technology office and Medical Student Government.
Tim H., M1
The Gateway Curriculum will be turning three soon, and like most three-year-olds, it needs a bit of work to reach its full potential. As the medical education representative (MER) of Medical Student Government (MSG), you’ll work very closely with faculty and administration in matters big and small with the ultimate goal of improving the curriculum, both for your class and for future classes. It can be a lot of work at times, but I’ve found it immensely satisfying to play such an active role in making Gateway better for all of us. And thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone; the MER also works with student liaisons who help out with different components of the curriculum. For anyone interested in medical education or seeking an active role in MSG, I would definitely recommend keeping this position in mind; it’s a unique opportunity at an especially exciting time and place!
Kirill M., M1
I ran to be the Organization of Student Representatives (OSR) rep in Medical Student Government (MSG) to make sure that my classmates have everything they need to harmonize our professional, social, and personal lives while adjusting to the rigors of medical school. As an OSR rep, I engage with the student body, my fellow MSG members, and the WashU School of Medicine administration to find ways to best address students’ concerns and feedback. The OSR position, just as any MSG position, is what you make it to be. To give a sense of projects there are to work on, here are examples of some initiatives that I have been heavily involved in so far.
- Fueled directly by students’ feedback, I — along with my fellow MSG members — advocated for having only optional or remote sessions on days before exams which was met by the WashU School of Medicine administration with compassion and understanding, and the change was implemented in the new curriculum.
- In an interdisciplinary project with the Program in Physical Therapy, co-led by the class president and me, we organized free, one-on-one physical therapy evaluations for medical students performed by senior physical therapy students. Being in MSG is a very serious commitment and a part-time job in and of itself. However, having the opportunity to help shape the program and make medical school a little easier for students is a privilege, and in my experience, well worth the time and effort.
Joe R., M1
At WashU School of Medicine, Medical Student Government (MSG) social chairs provide unique study breaks, social events, and fun excursions for students. The possibilities are virtually endless, and the events can range from a gingerbread-house-building study break to a trip to Six Flags. Our goal is to provide students with outlets to have fun and take a break from medical school. We provide events that everyone can participate in, which further promotes class unity. Overall, we’re four students that want to make the most fun out of medical school for our classmates!
Jenna B., M2
Pediatric Lifesavers is a student-run group that partners with the St. Louis Children’s Hospital to teach infant CPR to caregivers with babies in the NICU. Everyone in PLS takes a class to get infant CPR certified, so it’s a great way to get a head start on basic life support (BLS) training. We hold the classes for caregivers at the SLCH twice a week and teach the participants life-saving skills that give them peace of mind for when they get to bring their baby home. It is a wonderful way for Phase 1 students to start sharing their medical knowledge and give back to the community!
Nicolette P., M1
The Perinatal Project is a program where interested first-year medical students are matched with pregnant women in the Antenatal Care Unit. The goal of the program is to foster relationships through which medical students can learn more about the experience of pregnancy, and expectant mothers can build longitudinal relationships with students, gaining an advocate throughout their pregnancy and delivery. We also host regular lunch talks for students to learn more about a variety of topics related to prenatal and women’s health. The Perinatal Project is a great opportunity for students who are interested in obstetrics/gynecology or women’s health as well as students interested in getting experience building relationships with patients and becoming a patient advocate.
Dominic M., M1
Getting involved in research with faculty, fellows, residents, other students, etc., has been one of my favorite ways to build community at WashU School of Medicine. Your research journey starts with Dean Chung, who heads up student research, and she is so kind and gives you lots of resources about past and current research projects and faculty requesting help. Opportunities to get involved also come to your inbox pretty frequently. Faculty are generally approachable, and if no one is doing a project you’re interested in, some are open to letting you initiate a project. In any case, faculty are pretty accessible, and if they aren’t doing something you want to do, odds are they can point you in the direction of someone who is.
Sam B., M1
Sling Health is a medical startup incubator. Basically, it brings together engineering, business, and medical students in project teams. The goal is to finish the year with a viable startup. You can participate as a team member, or even as a team leader if you have your own idea.
Mackenzie C., M1
Student National Medical Association (SNMA) is a great space for students, especially Black students and other students of color, to find social support, service opportunities and mentorship within the greater WashU School of Medicine community. Dean Ross, Dean Stevenson, and other faculty from the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are amazing allies and provide a safe, validating space for voicing concerns and feedback. Some activities from this semester included participating on a medical panel on the Danforth Campus, having dinner at Dean Ross’ house, and hiking with Saint Louis University Med’s branch of SNMA. My favorite part about SNMA was the welcoming environment that I felt at the first meeting I attended. I was instantly embraced by my peers and was able to find upperclassmen who were invested in helping me adapt and grow in my WashU School of Medicine experience.
Caellagh C., M2
Washington University in St. Louis as an institution provides a lot of support for students interested in sustainability and the environment. The Danforth Campus houses a large institute on climate change where past students have been able to take classes and partner up with premier researchers on projects around health and the environment. They host monthly graduate meetings to talk about sustainability across disciplines.
Our club works closely with the Office of Sustainability on the Medical Campus to push the hospital and administration to include more of the eco-medical model in our school curriculum and urge them to take responsibility for the waste produced in the health-care industry. This past year our group has formed partnerships with the local non-profit Great Rivers Greenway to host volunteer events, collaborated with New Earth Composting to provide discounted at-home composting for students, and convinced our administration to join the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education. There is a lot of work to be done here and in health care in general to do better for each other and the planet. Come join us in making things better!
Christina S., M2
Wilderness Medicine Interest Group (WMIG or WildMed) is a student group for students who love medicine and love the outdoors! As a part of the group, students can rent camping gear, take part in group hikes and outings, and get connected to other students who love all things outdoors. In years past, we have also sent students to MedWar to build wilderness medicine skills with a little competitive action. MedWar takes place at different sites across the nation and is a wilderness medicine race with wilderness medicine challenges/scenarios scattered throughout. We haven’t been able to send teams for the last two years due to Ms. Rona but have fingers crossed WashU School of Medicine will be sending students to compete soon!
Hayley Q., M1
WUSM-GO is WashU School of Medicine’s gaming club, dedicated to organizing fun on-campus gaming events. At WUSM-GO’s events, all years of WashU School of Medicine students and even faculty come to play, making it a great place to meet others and hang out. People play all sorts of games; in fact, favorites in the past have been video games like Smash and Mario Kart, as well as board games like Chess and Trivial Pursuit. I’ve also seen plenty of people bring new games to teach others. Whether you’re a gaming expert or just looking to hang out for a fun study break, I would definitely recommend WUSM-GO.
Clara H., M1
Yoga Club is a great way to destress! Every week, there is a free yoga class offered to students. The teachers rotate every couple of weeks, so you can try out a variety of yoga styles. When the weather is nice, the classes are outside in a park on campus. Yoga Club has been a fun and easy way to add physical activity to my week and hang out with my classmates!
Clubs and Extracurriculars Section Editor, Visual/Media Editor
Hello, my name is Jonathan and I’m from Northville, Michigan. I graduated from the University of Michigan in 2021 and went straight through to WashU. My hobbies include rock climbing, tennis, running, drawing, and napping. I hope the Dis-O Guide helps give you a glimpse into the amazing community here at WashU!
Co-Editor-in-Chief, Clubs and Extracurriculars Section Editor
Welcome to WashU and the magnificent city of St. Louis! My name is Isabella G. and I’m the first-year Class President for my cohort, as well as one of the editors-in-chief of the Dis-O Guide. Being at WashU has enriched my life in countless ways, but none more so than introducing me to a passionate, thoughtful group of peers. While a paper booklet certainly can’t communicate the amount of joy and support you’ll experience in this program, we hope this guide — which features many of our classmates’ thoughts and perspectives — illustrates how much we’ve enjoyed our time here. We hope you’ll have a chance to love it too!