A Reflection on the SOAAR Experience

By Rohan Jain ’20

On Tuesday, May 16, Parker’s Medicine and Research student group went on a field trip to experience an exciting tour featuring medical students and doctors from a variety of fields. The Parker Medicine and Research program was initiated to provide students with the opportunity to nosedive into the world of community engagement, medicine and public health. This program allows students to get a strong feel for their interests in these topics and engage with the community to learn about what we as a group can do to help. In our latest visit to the Northwestern Medical campus, we came across people who have already made a difference within their respective fields and continue to do so.

We first met with Dr. Karen Sheehan, an ER physician, who runs SCY (Strengthening Chicago Youth). Her goal is to decrease violence in Chicago by strengthening communities that have fewer resources and higher crime rates. She wants to make Chicago a less segregated city so there are fair opportunities for all. Next we took a tour of the Medical School with Monica Mehta, who is a first year medical student. She showed us the ins and outs of the medical school, including their library, auditorium, study rooms and more. We also got to see the Cadaver lab, which was a very eye opening experience!

After we finished the tour with Monica, we went to Lurie Children’s to meet with Anna Brower. Brower runs the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) whose goal is to confront the childhood obesity epidemic by promoting healthy and active lifestyles for children throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. When we went to Englewood for a field trip earlier in the year, we discovered that obesity was one of the main health concerns for people in that area. It was cool to be able to witness the problem and hear from a professional about what she is trying to do to fix it. Lastly, we met with Dr. Susanna McColley, a pulmonologist who taught us about how new prescription drugs are developed. She also explained the whole clinical trial process to us and how it can be hard to get people to volunteer due to the amount of time it takes and because of the danger it may cause. But she is doing her best to make the experience as pleasurable as possible by making picture books for younger patients so they can relate to the process.

Overall, this field trip was a huge success, educating students on all different aspects of medicine, public health and community engagement.

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