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Med students bust border barriers

Ginny Polin/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Hayley Roylance, a senior majoring in Public Health, talks about what she thinks is beautiful about the human body and how it fascinates her.  Roylance, the president of Pre-meds Without Borders, says, I would love to be a cardiothoracic surgeon when I grow up.
Ginny Polin
Ginny Polin/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Hayley Roylance, a senior majoring in Public Health, talks about what she thinks is beautiful about the human body and how it fascinates her. Roylance, the president of Pre-meds Without Borders, says, “I would love to be a cardiothoracic surgeon when I grow up.”

A new club geared towards pre-medical students aims to help the community in Arizona and beyond.

The UA chapter of Pre-Meds Without Borders’ began meeting this month. The club has plans to work in a medical clinic in Nogales and provide other service opportunities in the Southwest.

Hayley Roylance, a public health senior, had the idea to start the club after looking at existing options. Roylance said the UA lacked a club that “”focused less on doing good in general and more toward doing good as far as the medical community is concerned.””

Roylance searched Facebook and found the national organization Pre-Meds Without Borders this summer.

“”We want to strengthen our community, of course, but we’re doing a heavy focus on the medical side of things,”” said Roylance, who is president of the club. “”I think there’s a huge market for that, especially in Arizona.””

The club plans on starting with local volunteer opportunities through the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. Roylance is also organizing a trip to a medical clinic in Nogales in January, which she hopes will provide hands-on medical experiences.

“”They need volunteers to do basic things that they can’t pay physicians to do,”” Roylance said.

Roylance said her ultimate goal is to bring a group of about 40 students to work in clinics in Mexico.

“”That’s really what we’re trying to do,”” Roylance said. “”We’re using Nogales as a jumping point to go down to Mexico.””

Public health junior Janelle Thrasher, a club member, said she was interested in the club’s volunteer opportunities.

“”I’ve heard a lot about Doctors Without Borders, and I like what they do,”” Thrasher said. “”I figured this club would help me get more involved with the community.””

The club may also plan a medical school exchange where club members can visit schools in different states.

“”Basically, so it gives that ‘without borders’ emphasis,”” said Dale Karapanagiotides, a third year student majoring in opti-chemical engineering and music composition.

Karapanagiotides is vice president of the club.

The club had about 100 members after its first two meetings. Speakers from various medical fields give lectures at the meetings and answer questions. The first speaker was a pediatrician.

Roylance said the lectures give pre-medical students information about different fields.

“”If you walk in as a pre-med student and stop a random doctor, what are the chances they’re going to stop and talk to you about their specialty for an hour?”” Roylance asked. “”But if you come to our meeting, you can have an hour of talking to somebody who loves their job and says, ‘This is what it’s about.'””

Club members can request speakers based on their interests.

“”We’re talking to students,”” Roylance said. “”It’s a really big feedback thing.””

Physiology junior Jasmine Thrasher heard about the club from her advisor and attended the second meeting.

“”I want to go into medicine and just thought the club would have a lot of opportunities to help with my career,”” Jasmine Thrasher said.

Jasmine Thrasher said she learned a lot from the pediatric guest speaker.

“”I thought it was really good,”” she said. “”I have an interest in pediatrics.””

Roylance said this exposure is helpful for premedical students daunted by the field.

“”It’s still scary for me thinking about going to medical school,”” Roylance said. “”You don’t know what it takes. Exposure is a huge thing.””

Karapanagiotides said the club is especially helpful for new students who may only be taking general education classes.

“”Hopefully we can also provide the liaison for first and second year students, especially, to find research opportunities and internships,”” Karapanagiotides said.

Club directors also welcome students who do not see medicine as a future career.

“”Because you get so much exposure in a variety of areas, the club isn’t just limited to one major,”” Karapanagiotides said. “”We are in no way limited to people who are pre-med. Come down just because you like the volunteer work. Come because you like the culture.””

 

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