The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) presented the Bean Elementary School Mentoring Project Thursday, April 20 in Lubbock.
The mission of the project is to inspire and inform fourth graders from Bean Elementary to experience the life of a medical student. Akwasi Opoku, SNMA president and a first-year medical student, said the organization wanted to create an interactive and fun way to expose students to the field of medicine.
“We wanted to get students thinking about medicine as early as elementary school,” Opoku said. “This project with the students at Bean Elementary hopefully will spark an interest in them to one day become physicians, especially for underserved and underrepresented minorities.”
The two diverse medical student organizations began the project this year and have dedicated time once a month to help fourth graders understand the meaning of becoming a physician. Medical students wear scrubs and white coats and have inspired the students to consider the medical field, helped them write an oath of their own, and taught the fourth graders how to use a stethoscope, reflex hammers and pen lights.
“Our goal is to make this fun and interactive for the students,” said Karla Samaniego, LMSA president and first-year medical student. “Many students may have never imagined that they too can go into this profession. Our hope is that the students will walk away knowing they too can become doctors.”
SNMA and LMSA will have a conversation with the students about the journey to medical school.
“Students have really been enthusiastic during classroom activities and are full of many intriguing questions,” Samaniego said. “We are thankful to the teachers for fostering curiosity in their minds and allowing us to interact with their students.”