While you will learn a lot of interesting science in medical school, sometimes you need a chance to satisfy your artistic side, or better yet, break into song. The Histones, WUSM’s very own a cappella group, is a great way to do so. We are composed of students who meet for an hour a week to sing together and enjoy each other’s company. The Histones do not require tryouts or even prior experience to join, so it’s a low pressure, low time commitment way to do something you enjoy while making new friends. We perform throughout the year for our fellow students at coffeehouse performances as well as go caroling in the hospital during the holidays. One of my favorite things about the group is that we are not only made up of students in the MD program. We also have students in other programs of the medical school such as Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, so it’s a nice way to get connected to the greater WUSM community. If you’ve got an interest in music and feel excited by the chance to sing with a group, then I highly recommend joining Histones.
– Hayley M., M1
As an athlete coming to WUSM, I wasn’t sure what kind of sports/fitness scene to expect. Fortunately, it totally exceeded my expectations! While getting started here, I first made my way to Olin Residence Hall’s full-court basketball court (something that is pretty amazing for a graduate residence hall to have!) and to the weights and cardio facilities, which contain all the equipment you need and then some. Then, as I began getting to know my classmates, I found many similarly-minded athletic people and more opportunities to get active than I could manage! I regularly play tennis, badminton and basketball with my classmates, and many of us play soccer, flag football, ultimate Frisbee, softball, golf and dodgeball, both casually and intramurally. I also love to take runs with my classmates in Forest Park about once a week, which is a very accessible escape from the concrete jungle! In a similar vein, I know that several of my classmates cycle in the park and swim at the Danforth campus as well. As a final word, there is no reason to be concerned about having enough time to stay athletic. I comfortably dedicate about 10 hours per week to it.
– Reece C., M1
American Medical Women’s Association
The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) at WUSM exists to promote women in medicine, as well as address the issues women face in society as a whole. The group organizes volunteer activities, awareness weeks, lunch talks, a book club, the Red Dress Affair (a fundraiser for the American Heart Association) and the Vagina Monologues. You also have the opportunity to be paired with a physician mentor. AMWA is a fantastic way to advance your own professional development and learn more about women’s health — which, of course, will affect many of your patients.
– Maya S., M1
Student National Medical Association
The Student National Medical Association (SNMA) is a national student-run organization committed to diversifying the face of medicine by supporting underrepresented minority medical students and increasing the number of culturally competent, socially conscious physicians. SNMA programs are designed to serve the health needs of underserved communities and communities of color. The WUSM chapter coordinates initiatives centered around mentorship and health outreach that allow students to be actively engaged in the St. Louis community. SNMA pipeline programs include: Minority Association of Premedical Students (MAPS), Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program (HPREP), Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience mentoring, and Schnucks Screenings. Our chapter gives students the opportunity to interact with minority residents and physicians, promote diversity within the medical school community, and be involved on a regional and national level by attending annual SNMA conferences. If you want to serve the St. Louis community, SNMA is for you!
– Nick P.l, M1
Community Service and Outreach
There are an incredible number of ways to get involved with community service here at WUSM. My first experience with community service at WUSM started literally on the first Saturday that I was in St. Louis for orientation, in the form of a bone marrow drive at a local back-to-school fair. Since then, I have been involved in a huge amount of community service work, both as a volunteer and as a part of leadership teams. Two of the biggest ways to get involved are the Saturday Neighborhood Health Clinic, our student-run free clinic, and Schnucks Screenings, a free blood pressure and glucose screening program held at local grocery stores. Almost everyone in the class participates in these programs to some degree, with commitment ranging from volunteering once or twice during the year to taking on large leadership roles. Outside of these, there are groups targeted toward a variety of interests including public health outreach, science education and mentorship, and specialty topics like HIV, skin cancer, and neonatal health and development. The diversity of opportunities means that whatever your interests are and whatever your desired level of commitment may be, you’re bound to find a project that suits your personal needs.
– Jessica H., M1
Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association
Look no further than the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) to see that Asian-Pacific communities are alive and well in St. Louis. Throughout the year, APAMSA holds cultural events as well as community service events in collaboration with Saint Louis University’s APAMSA chapter. Want to practice your clinical skills, make use of your proficiency in a second language, and help connect immigrant populations to the health-care system? Volunteer at grocery screenings and health fairs organized by APAMSA! We offer measurements for blood pressure, blood glucose and BMI. At health fairs, to be held this year at the International Institute of Saint Louis as well as at several churches, we also provide consultations with volunteer physicians, consultations regarding health insurance enrollment and screening for hepatitis B, which occurs with a high prevalence in Asian-Pacific countries. Not yet medically proficient in a second language? Take the monthly Medical Mandarin class! On a lighter note, if you care to dance, dance away at the Diwali and Lunar New Year celebrations! These are some of the biggest festivities of the year. APAMSA also hosts smaller socials with board games, ping pong and karaoke. All are welcome to come out to these events for some great food, great music and great company!
– Tracie K., M1
Saturday Neighborhood Health Clinic
Missouri is one of the states that chose not to expand Medicaid, so far too many people are still uninsured. The goal of the Saturday Neighborhood Health Clinic (SNHC) is to bring these people into the health network. Every Saturday morning, a WUSM physician with a team of medical students staffs the primary care clinic. Once a month, the SNHC hosts a specialty night psychiatry clinic too. Almost everyone volunteers at some point during first year, since it’s such a great way to see patients. It’s powerful to think that, as a first-year medical student walking into a patient’s room to take a history, you could be the first contact they have made with the health care system for several years! If you want to get even more involved, you can take the SNHC selective course to actively improve the clinic and coordinate these clinic days — which is guaranteed to make your Saturday mornings exciting (sometimes a bit too exciting). I highly recommend the selective. Imagine being a month into medical school, when a team of M2s swoops in and tells you you’re going to be running a primary care clinic. It’s intimidating and amazing like that. For more info visit: snhc.wustl.edu
– Helena H., M1
Do you ever wish you could relax more? Be happier? Be more efficient? Here at WUSM we have a mindfulness meditation club designed to help you do all three at the same time! Mindfulness is the practice of being aware, nonjudgmentally, of your self, peers, actions and environment. Although it is an ancient practice, countless modern studies have proven its effectiveness for reducing stress, improving mood, focus, working memory and even workout recovery. Many patients with conditions ranging from tinnitus to cancer have been shown to benefit from mindfulness meditation, so understanding this powerful practice will even be a useful tool in our future careers. With meetings typically held in Farrell Learning and Teaching Center (FLTC) during weekday afternoons, it’s the perfect power study break.
– Chris T., M1
Whether you absolutely know you want to be a neurologist or you are uncertain where medicine will take you, medical interest groups at WUSM grant you numerous ways in which to explore your passions or discover new ones. Shadowing, networking with physicians in a specific field, and frequent lunch and dinner talks are just three of the ways medical interest groups help you explore different areas of medicine during your preclinical years. Alternatively, attend the annual Hunger Banquet or boulder at Elephant Rocks State Park with the Wilderness Medicine Interest Group to learn about medicine outside of the classroom and clinic. Whatever your interests, there is an interest group for you! If you don’t see a group that aligns with your interests, create one and share your interests with your classmates!
– Bronwyn B., M1
Innovation, Design and Engineering in Action Labs
If you’re a millennial, chances are that every time you use Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, you tell yourself: “Man, I totally thought of that idea 10 years ago.” But you didn’t act on it, and now you’re short a billion dollars. Fear not: here in St. Louis, we have an answer. Innovation, Design and Engineering in Action (IDEA) Labs is a platform to turn your ideas into a marketable product. Not only do you immerse yourself in an entrepreneurial project, you also meet some incredibly talented, passionate peers and mentors from a wide range of disciplines. You’re set up with a network of investors that help you navigate the startup life, complete with ramen, Easy Mac, and ice cream tubs for those late nights you’ll be staying up doing some hard-core innovation. Think Silicon Valley of the Midwest. Some of the projects that have come out of IDEA Labs are now startups with investor funding and are fundamentally changing the way we can practice medicine and improve patients’ lives. The next big idea could be yours.
– Robert C., M1
Latino Medical Student Association
In just the first three months of this year, the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month and attended the Hispanic Heritage Festival, shared delicious Latin food at a potluck with residents, and ate way too many pastries at meetings. It’s not all fun and food though; we do doctor stuff too! We’re a young organization at WUSM, but we’re already getting involved with community organizations to ameliorate Latino health disparities on a local and national level, attending regional and national conferences, and organizing and participating in health fairs and screenings directed toward the Latino population. Our Education Committee is working hard this year to build the school’s medical Spanish program to include greater depth and duration of study for different levels, standardized-patient sessions conducted in Spanish, clinical rotations in Spanish-language hospitals, and a certification process to work in the hospital in Spanish. Non-Latinos are welcome, too, even if you’re only in it for the fun and food!
– Jenny T., M1
For a full listing of Student Groups, visit Student Groups, Office of Medical Student Affairs.