by Tricia Duke '19
Four students from Knox College received academic enrichment, gained practical experience, and formed crucial professional connections through the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP).
Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for establishing a culture of health, SHPEP represents a collaborative effort between 13 institutions of higher education aiming to support members of historically underrepresented groups in the medical field.
Mary Jane Shroyer, pre-health advising coordinator, said that the mission of SHPEP aligns closely with Knox's historically progressive mission of inclusivity.
"Together, institutions like Knox and SHPEP are working to develop healthcare providers who mirror the growing diversity we see in our communities."
Neha Motwani '20 and Ravi Ibrado '20 both attended SHPEP at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Motwani described how the immersive experiences helped provide her with a simulation of life as a medical professional.
"The internship included clinical opportunities such as emergency simulations, triage, shadowing doctors, identifying murmurs, suturing, learning how to perform a checkup, and being exposed to cadavers," she said.
Ibrado said he walked away from the program with American Heart Association CPR and AED certifications. He emphasized his exposure to professionals in different fields and stages of their careers.
"I had the opportunity to shadow an obstetrics and gynecology doctor and talk with current medical school students," he said.
Motwani said she formed valuable connections with students studying a variety of medical interests including dentistry, physical therapy, and nursing.
"There was a huge focus on interprofessional education to foster the skills necessary to be successful in the field of medicine," Motwani said. Together, the aspiring health professionals took scientific and quantitative courses, a financial literacy course, and sessions on applying to and succeeding in medical school.
Ibrado said he was grateful for the preparation he has received at Knox prior to this experience, especially the support of the Pre-health Professions Advising Office.
"Not only are the classes at Knox challenging, but the professors have a genuine interest in helping you reach your professional goals," he said. "And Mary Jane Shroyer does a great job at providing pre-health students with the resources and opportunities to reach their goals."
Motwani said that, in her case, Shroyer's office collaborated with other Knox systems to support her. She said she was able to learn more about SHPEP through the student-run Pre-Health Club and the TRIO Achievement program.
"I know that at Knox, I will have a lifelong community of support," she said.
In addition to Motwani and Ibrado, Bryan Diaz '20 studied medicine at the University of Iowa and Hunter Baquet '21 studied dentistry at Columbia University through SHPEP.