My name is Teresa Khoo. And, I am a 4th year Biology major.
Well, first of all, I wanted to tell you a little bit about what I have done over these past four years at UCR. This is my first year as a MHCP Peer Mentor. I am also an Honors Peer Mentor, a Supplemental Instruction Leader/Mentor for Biology and Chemistry, a research volunteer under Dr. Ameae Walker, and an Honors Resident Advisor at Pentland Hills. I have been involved with Clinical Care Extenders Internship as an intern and Department Coordinator, Student Run Health Clinic, and International Service Learning.
I just wanted to talk about a couple opportunities that you can take advantage of during your undergraduate career. I will post more opportunities as I go.
I believe that everyone should try to research at one point or another. UCR is a research institution, and there are many opportunities for you to find research. One common misconception that many people have is that they must do research in the sciences. But, you do not have to. Research in what you are passionate about. If you prefer to be more interactive with people, you can do clinical research. If you are interested in Anthropology or English, do research in those fields.
2. Clinical Experiences
Clinical Care Extenders Internship
This is an internship that works with the hospital staff at Riverside Community Hospital to increase the quality of patient care. There is an extensive selection process in which applicants are required to complete an application, attend a group interview, and attend a mandatory three-day training. During this experience, you will learn how to take vitals, assist with a patient’s daily needs – such as changing linens, feeding patients, and bathing patients. Occasionally, you will have the opportunity to observe various procedures. Every three months, you rotate to a different department. Departments range from basic nursing units to the operating room.
Student Run Health Clinic
This is a student organization that provides free medical clinics for the homeless and uninsured populations of Riverside. It is run by the UCR/UCLA Thomas Haider Medical Students, UCR undergraduates, and various physicians who volunteer their time to oversee various exams and treatment options. There is an extensive selection for this organization as well. Applicants are required to complete an application and must a _____ interview. Once a part of the organization, you will have the opportunity to learn how to establish good communication and a trusting relationship with patients. You will have the responsibility of taking patient history and basic vitals.
Emergency Medicine Scribe Systems
This is a paid employment in which you work alongside emergency medicine physicians, creating their medical-legal documentation. During this program, you will learn the physician’s process of determining treatment plans while continuously anticipating the next step in patient care. Applicants are required to complete an application and go through an interview process. After being accepted, applicants will be extensively trained. Training will consist of at least 40 hours of both classroom and bedside training, in which you will learn basic medical knowledge and comprehensive medical terminology. Fast typing skills are required. EMSS scribes chart every component of a physician’s charts including: History of Present Illness, Review of Systems, Physical Exam, ED summary, Medical Decision making, Recheck Notes, and Lab/Radiology interpretations.
There are many more opportunities you can take part in. You just have to find it. One thing that I always say is to do something that you are passionate in. It will make whatever organization, research, club you are a part of more fun and interesting. And, when it comes time to interview, your passion will shine through.
“Life without passion is like watching a sunset with no colors.”
The past few months have been very exciting for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to be offered admission to some of the best Schools of Public Health in the United States. I found it difficult to sleep on the red-eye flight to begin my tour of these fine institutions, which is surprising considering I had just finished a grueling finals schedule that same day. Perhaps it was because my head was racing with questions about what to expect? What do I ask? Am I dressed appropriately? Will I be able to stay awake considering I’m landing at 5AM and the “Admitted Student Day” begins at 8AM in a city about 45 minutes away from the airport? Will the student body, faculty, administration, campus, and city be as culturally and intellectually rich as I hope? Finally, I fell upon an important topic, one of reflection. I find that most people I know, including myself, rarely reflect upon the series of events that have led them to where they are. How did I get on this plane? About one year ago, I was sure that I was going to pursue medicine directly after my undergraduate career. Sit back, relax, and let me take you on a journey (I’ll try to keep it short and un-boring if possible)
Why did I want to be a physician? In short, I wanted to diagnose and treat patients. With what hope? In hopes of improving the overall health and well-being of a community/population. I realized that medicine is not necessarily an efficient method of approaching this problem. Through countless extracurricular activities and in my academia I saw that a public health approach provided a viable and, more importantly, sustainable solution to many of today’s health issues.
I wanted to improve the overall health of a population and treating patients after they get sick is not an efficient means to approach this goal. Treating patients after they get sick only keeps people from getting sicker, while the public health approach identifies and attacks the root of the issue and handles it upstream. This is beneficial to society because public health can be considered a public good, for instance, requiring industrial manufacturers to adhere to strict emissions guidelines… that clean air is, theoretically, equally accessible to everyone no matter your socioeconomic standing, whereas, affordable healthcare may not be.
I’d also like to cite another example that may be near and dear to many of your hearts, the Clinical Care Extender Program. This program is a hospital volunteering position that allows volunteers to get right into the middle of all the action in a clinical setting. One thing that I observed while on a high acuity medical surgical floor that treated pre and post operation patients was that of the 34 patients on the floor being prepped for various procedures, at any given time 27 of them were clinically obese and had type II diabetes as an accessory health problem tacked on to, and maybe indirectly causing, many of the issues that patients were being seen for in the first place. This experience, along with several other extracurricular and academic experiences, led to my interest in understanding the multi-faceted issue that faces socioeconomically disadvantaged communities and the built environment that hinders them from becoming healthier. Take for instance a poorer urban community in Denver: there is a higher density of liquor stores and fast-food restaurants than there are healthy food markets. This is partially attributable to the fact that fast-food is cheaper than healthy food, easier, tasty, and filling! When you’re money is tight and you’re hungry, it’s only natural to think about the present and not the future repercussions of your food choices. The field of public health can approach this issue through many avenues:
- Public Policy and City Planning: requiring accessibility in certain neighborhoods to cheaper healthier food and limiting fast-food chains and liquor stores to a certain maximum quota per capita
- Epidemiology: Identifying disease occurrence in large populations and identifying causes.
- Behavioral Sciences and Health Education: Understanding why people make decisions that they do and educating them to make healthier life decisions
- The list goes on…
So as you can see, public health is interdisciplinary, complex, and widely applicable. It can, and is very regularly, combined with other degrees such as MD, JD, MBA, PhD, PharmD, PsychD, RN, RD and countless others. In the next blog installment, I will discuss the incredibly wide range of career opportunities available to MPH students as well as dual degree candidates. Until next time bloggers, keep it real.
In this post I will be discussing my experience with the International Service Learning Program. Many pre-health students are looking for an opportunity to go abroad and expand their horizons, while getting hands on clinical experience. The ISL program incorporates all of this and more, in several countries throughout the world.
The team was comprised of undergraduate and graduate students who attended universities along the west coast. Each member of the team brought unique experiences, and it was an invigorating experience working solely with people who shared a similar passion to help humanity. Our group began with an intensive medical Spanish course designed to get the team at least communicational with patients. Along with this, the group was bombarded with information on dozens of tropical diseases and treatments options. The team also practiced proper doctoring techniques and skills such as suturing and administering an injection. The first days of the trip resembled medical school and I found each day to be an exciting learning experience.
During our trip, the team conducted several clinics in both Costa Rica and Panama, and the differences in healthcare between the two countries were vast. Before each clinic our group would conduct a public health survey in hopes of fulfilling the community’s most pressing needs during our clinic. It was an eye opening experience going into the homes of these under-served populations and discussing their struggles due to the lack of healthcare in the region.
It helped me to realize that life for the uninsured and underserved populations in America was not very different and this healthcare disparity needed correction. I also was able to observe the significant difference between the quality of healthcare between Costa Rica and Panama. Costa Rican patients were much healthier and received sufficient medical care, while in Panama patients suffered from a multitude of diseases compounded by a healthcare system that leaves women and children without adequate funds to afford healthcare. It was at this point I began to have important questions about healthcare, and realized I needed a deeper understanding of the subject. Thus, this volunteer experience opened my eyes to the plight of the medically underserved and possible solutions to this difficult dilemma.
Though I enjoyed learning in the classroom and conversing in people’s homes, it was the clinics and working side by side with the doctors that truly made this volunteer experience special. During these clinics I would meet with a patient and discuss their symptoms followed by a full check-up. Upon finishing my work with the patient I would formulate a diagnosis and possible prescription for the patient’s ailment. The supervising physician would then do a follow up with the patient and discuss my diagnosis and often would point out signs and symptoms of the patient.
Visit the site for more information:
I wanted to take this first blog to talk about a supplemental path that applies to any and all disciplines of medicine. That path is public health. I always find it useful to learn about things when comparing it to something you already know. To begin, I will give a brief comparison between public health and medicine.
- Primary focus on individual
- Personal service ethic, conditioned awareness of social responsibilities
- Emphasis on diagnosis and treatment, care for the whole patient
- Medical paradigm places predominant emphasis on medical care
- Well-established profession with sharp public image
- Uniform system for certifying specialists beyond professional
- Lines of specialization organized, for example, by:
- organ system (cardiology)
- patient group (pediatrics)
- etiology, pathophysiology
(oncology, infectious disease)
- technical skill (radiology)
- Biologic sciences central, stimulated by need of patients;move between laboratory and bedside
- Numeric sciences increasing in prominence, though still a Relatively minor part of training
- Social sciences tend to be an elective part of medical education
- Clinical sciences an essential part of professional training
- Primary focus on population
- Public service ethic tempered by concerns for the individual
- Emphasis on prevention, health promotion for the whole community
- Public health paradigm employs a spectrum of interventions aimed at the environment, human behavior and lifestyle, and medical care
- Multiple professional identities with diffuse public image
- Variable certification of specialists beyond professional public health degree medical degree
- Lines of specialization organizes, for example, by:
- analytical method (epidemiology)
- setting and population (occupational health)
- substantive health problem (nutrition)
- skills in assessment, policy development,and assurance
- Biologic sciences central, stimulated by major threats to health of populations; move between laboratory and field
- Numeric sciences as essential feature of analysis and training
- Social sciences an integral part of public health education
- Clinical sciences peripheral to Professional training 
I hope you can begin to see the applications that public health may have in each of your own field of interest whether it be Pharmacy, Medicine, Dentistry, etc. It is important to understand the sociological impact of your work. So if you are looking for more than just the myopic approach that is taken in professional school and want to expand your horizons, give public health a look. For more information on what is public health, check out: whatispublichealth.org
Also, if you are interested in hearing more, please feel free to contact me at my email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay tuned for more on public health and its applications, next time!
 Association of Schools of Public Health
I want to welcome everyone to the MHCP blog and I hope you enjoy the first post. Since many of you pre-med students are beginning to take this time to consider whether an MCAT course is necessary or not, I decided to share my knowledge in the matter. My first experience with MCAT prep was the course offered by the Learning Center at a very affordable rate. Though the instruction was excellent, the course centered on teaching test-taking skills and answering questions through various strategies. Though these skills are necessary for success on the MCAT, generally most students, including myself needed a refresher on the immense amount of material that is required for the MCAT. One of the biggest benefits of the learning center course was repetitive practice of the essay section of the MCAT. By the end, I had so much practice and feedback; it was hardly a concern as I approached my test date.
The Learning Center course concluded in the spring and I decided that my time would be spent the best if I took I took a more established course. From everyone I’ve talked too, both Kaplan and Princeton Review offer very good courses. It is my understanding Kaplan, offers a bigger database of practice questions. While Princeton Review offers the best content review, which ended up being the reason I choose Princeton Review. Also for any prospective students, with the help of a pre-health advisor you can get a major discount on your course, ask Gwen Hill for more details.
I thought the money I spent at Princeton Review was well worth it and all the teachers were very knowledgeable and approachable. They did go over more material then we needed to know and they didn’t spend any time on strategies, but they definitely make sure you know the material.
Also on a side note I also used the ExamKrackers series and Audio Osmosis, both are amazing tools, which can really boost your score. The MCAT requires a lot of hard work but figuring out what your weaknesses can help you pick the more efficient review course. Finally, self-study is also a good option here is a link for a possible three month study plan as well as tips for a 30+ MCAT score, both are super helpful.
30+ Study Habits: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=503250
3 Month Study Schedule: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=623898