Prehealth Advising Offers Drop-ins at OME

Meaghan Shea, Prehealth Advisor, GECD

In the spring of 2017, the Office of Minority Education (OME) and Global Education and Career Development’s (GECD) Prehealth Advising team collaborated to offer drop-in services on-site at OME. In this pilot effort, Prehealth Advising staff met with students interested in medical careers and answered their questions.

With 16 students participating over three days, it was a successful initiative. “Having pre-health drop-ins in the OME was very convenient,” says Hermoon Worku ’17. “Because I’ve worked with and been a part of the OME community/family for the last four years, it was also a place I felt comfortable and supported, which was nice because sometimes the task of applying to medical school can feel daunting and make me feel out of place. I think the sessions also showed the Prehealth Office’s clear dedication to all MIT students interested in medical professions, and their willingness to partner with the OME emphasized their support of students of color, who are typically underrepresented in medicine and medical schools.”

Prehealth Advising offers regular drop-in hours during the academic year at GECD’s office to discuss topics ranging from course selection to deciding where to apply to medical school. Recognizing that these services could be made even more accessible, especially to underrepresented populations, Prehealth Advising eagerly accepted OME’s proposal to offer advising services in their office space.

“The OME is always looking for ways to better serve students. In fact, the students were the first to recommend that the OME engage more deeply in Prehealth Advising,” notes OME Director and Associate Dean DiOnetta Jones Crayton. “This is how the idea for Prehealth Advising hours in the OME came to fruition. We are looking forward to offering the program again during the academic year.”

Senior Assistant Director for Prehealth Advising Aleshia Carlsen Bryan adds, “I was really looking for different ways for the Prehealth team to reach different populations on MIT’s campus and the opportunity to provide drop-ins at OME seemed like a great way to achieve this. Students seemed excited and enthusiastic about seeing our team in a different space.”

To launch the service, Prehealth Advising and OME staff met earlier this year to better understand each other’s missions, programs, and services.  The teams from both offices found they gained new insights on improving outreach to students. In particular, OME’s Laureates and Leaders program emerged as a key area where Prehealth Advising and OME can collaborate. The program supports a cohort of highly motivated and talented underrepresented MIT undergraduates interested in obtaining a MD/PhD degree or a PhD in STEM fields.

At a Laureates and Leaders lunch in March, the Prehealth Advising staff met with prospective MD/PhD students to discuss strategies for applying to these competitive programs. “This event presented an invaluable opportunity for our students to learn from the experts how to best prepare to apply to medical school,” says Lilen Uchima, assistant dean at OME and lead for Laureates and Leaders. “I have no doubt that the continued collaboration between Prehealth and the OME will greatly enhance the guidance we provide for their graduate school preparation.”

The Prehealth Advising and OME teams are pleased with the success of these ventures, and look forward to partnering further to assist students.