Happy Friday! This week, I’m pleased to introduce my guest blogger, Sarah Mowery, a pre-dentistry student who serves as president of the Medical Careers Club at her university. In this article, Sarah shares her experience of participating in a summer program that includes tracks for several pre-health professions. Enjoy!
Getting hands-on experience at the dental school!
This summer, I was given the privilege of attending the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP), a free six-week summer program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). This program is designed to strengthen and enrich the academic and career development of underrepresented students and is offered at 13 different universities around the United States. I was accepted into the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) dentistry track, as I’m applying to dental school next summer. The program at UAB offered four different tracks: dentistry, medicine, optometry and physician assistant.
The UAB School of Dentistry.
During my time there, I gained clinical exposure in both a health care setting and through many different simulation experiences. For me, it was amazing to shadow current dental students and dentists within the UAB School of Dentistry. I was exposed to various specialties that I had never shadowed before! Also, it was great having the opportunity to talk with and ask current dental students advice on how they got into dental school, what they liked about the school and about their career choice. It was extremely beneficial! Those who were on the medicine and physician assistant tracks did their rotations at the UAB hospital, while the pre-optometry students went to the UAB School of Optometry. I heard nothing but good things from students in those tracks as well.
Not only did we gain exposure in our desired health professions, but we also participated in various academic classes, seminars, and workshops. We typically spent our mornings in the academic classes taught by professors at the medical school. These included biochemistry, human anatomy, biopsychology, and biostatistics. My favorite by far was human anatomy! Not only was the teacher amazing, but we were also able to see and touch a human cadaver. At the time, I couldn’t believe I was holding a human heart! Being able to see first-hand the intricate design of the human body was a privilege. After class is when we would attend the various seminars and workshops. The topics covered included suturing, how to make fillings and impressions, study skills, the admission process, career development, professionalism, cultural competency, diversity, health policy, financial literacy and many more.
A few of us at the UAB School of Medicine after our patient encounter workshop.
All of these things I listed were wonderful opportunities, but if I had to pick my favorite part of this entire program, it wouldn’t be the classes or workshops. It would be the people I had the privilege of spending those six-weeks with. SHPEP promotes diversity, and our group could not have been more diverse. There were students from all over, including California, Texas, New York, Chicago and even Puerto Rico and the Bahamas! We learned a lot from one another, and as a result, grew in our understanding of different cultures and beliefs. During our free time we went to baseball games, museums, restaurants, the park, the movies, etc. SHPEP provided me with the opportunity to meet these amazing individuals and develop lasting friendships and memories. For that as well as the knowledge I gained from this program, I am grateful and honored to be a scholar of SHPEP.
For more information about this program and how to apply, please click here.
Enjoying the SHPEP Formal!
A couple of friends and I at closing ceremony!