Willingness to Engage

This might be my favorite thing about med school so far.

In early September we had an introductory meeting for the organization Students for Global Health. After the meeting, five or six of us remained behind and continued discussing for the next two hours what we as med school students can do in global health. We all agreed that we wanted to hold a forum for first-year students to come and talk about some of the current issues in global health as well as exchange interests. About 30 students showed up to the forum and again several of us remained behind for the next two hours talking, this time more specifically about projects we could work on. In the end we felt strongly about and decided to rally around Obama’s recent cut in HIV/AIDS funding through PEPFAR and Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria because it was current and relavant to all of us regardless of our respective global health interests.

The next few weeks were a blur with meetings after meetings. We had general meetings and also divided into committees that included people working on an op-ed, video, rally and consensus statement. Our goal is to get the word out as soon as we can before World AIDS Day on December 1, 2010 and before Obama finalizes his budget on December 15, 2010. Needless to say, it’s been incredible just stepping back once in awhile and seeing how a casual discussion in the hallways can generate all of this force and momentum. We’re not anywhere close to being done yet, but no matter what happens it’s awesome to see how quickly and efficiently people in our class can rally together for good.

Even on a smaller scale you see a strong willingness of people engaging and exchanging ideas with each other on a daily basis. For instance, last week a bunch of us stayed after social med tutorial to talk more about obesity, food stamps and their underlying social factors. But these are most of the time not academic or intellectual but instead sharing about each other’s lives.

Although we’ve only been in school for a little over a month, I can safely say that I have never been around a group of individuals so passionate and hardworking. My friend Vipul and I were talking the other day about what we thought was different about med school vs college, and we both agreed that the main difference was the willingness of people here to engage each other in discussions, collaborate, and work towards a common goal. Of course in college you get some of that too, but the combination of a small class and a group of relatively like-minded individuals has a lot of potential to create a pretty powerful movement.

While we med school students are often pressed for time, I love that many of us are willing to welcome these “interruptions” into our regimented daily schedule.

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