New Pre-med Society Formed on Campus

The 622 pre-med students at the University of Utah now have another resource to help them enter medical school.

The American Medical Student Association will grant the U a pre-med chapter ?any day now,? according to pre med student Chris Dodgion, who has been driving the application process on campus.

Dodgion said the chapter will help members find research opportunities, mentorship with medical students and physician-shadow programs.

?Those are the things you need to get into med school,? said pre-med student Jared Fairbanks, who has been overseeing public relations for the new chapter. ?But not everyone has good contacts.?

An existing pre-med student group, the Alpha Epsilon Delta honor society, already serves the campus, but members need to be at least a sophomore and have a minimal GPA of 3.0. The pre-med AMSA will be open to anyone interested in the health-care field.

?We know a lot of pre-med students who are not in the [honor] society because of GPA and class standing,? Fairbanks said. ?Or they just don?t know about it.?

?It?s always a good idea to have options,? said Marilyn Hoffman, coordinator for Preprofessional Advising, who counsels pre-med students on campus. ?We can always use additional opportunities for students.?

Hoffman feels that AED?s 3.0 GPA requirement is ?fairly liberal,? and added that AED also has a physician-shadow program and collects information about research opportunities.

Fairbanks emphasized that the pre-med AMSA is not competing with AED, which has about 150 members, and that the two organizations will ?work together and cooperate? to help their constituents.

?There are so many things that can be done and need to be done,? said Dodgion. ?Students can be members of both groups.?

Dodgion, who graduated last year and is now applying to medical school, first heard about pre-med AMSA through friends at the School of Medicine, which is already a chartered member of AMSA. He recruited Fairbanks and Jairo Vanegas, both fellow pre med students, to help start a pre-med chapter on campus and offered them leadership experience, which is valuable for medical school application. The three began recruiting during Redfest when the semester began, and about 45 students have signed up so far.

The chapter members had their first meeting early this month where their adviser, Dr. Marc Babitz, a faculty member at the medical school, spoke about current health-care issues.

The membership due for pre med AMSA is $30 annually, $20 of which goes to the national association. AED charges $55 for a lifetime membership.

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