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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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New student group to advise peers on medical professions

Students who hope to be part of the health care field but don’t have their sights set on medical school have a new campus group to turn to for advice.

Organizers of a new group on campus say that with most students opting to focus on getting into medical school – the most lucrative option – students can forget that there’s more than one way to join the medical field. Leaders of the newly formed GW Pre-Health Association hope to inform students about all possible options in the medical field through peer-led discussions and have guest speakers who can talk about the breadth of the field.

Caitlyn O’Conor, a senior and psychology major, is on the pre-health track. She hopes to be a physician’s assistant and is the president and founder of the group.

“I think the campus doesn’t necessarily have an all-encompassing organization for pre-health students. There are a lot of specific pre-med organizations, but nothing for people that are pre-physician’s assistant, or pre-nursing or a pre-nurse practitioner,” she said.

There are 10 different health and wellness tracks offered at GW that don’t require medical school, ranging from pharmacy to veterinary medicine.

Unlike other similar student medical organizations such as GW MEDLIFE and GW Red Cross, GWPHA focuses more on advising students through faculty lectures and student-run panels, she said. Through this approach, they hope the approximately 500 to 600 students interested in finding a career in medicine at GW choose the right path.

O’Conor said she has personal experience with finding the right medical career, after choosing to focus on becoming a physician’s assistant in her sophomore year.

“I thought that my personal experience of finally finding what I wanted to do would be helpful for other students. I think a lot of people don’t realize that there are a lot of other options in the medical field than just medical school,” she said.

GWPHA Vice President Hannah Sofield, a junior and biological anthropology major, and public relations director Maria Gomez, a sophomore and psychology and biology major, said the group plans to hold a general body meeting to sign up members later this month, host a panel event with students and professionals from different fields of health and sponsor a community service event.

The community service event will most likely be a trip to the women’s homeless shelter N Street Village, where the students hope to teach the women about basic nutrition and how to include it into their lives.

“By the end of the year I hope we can get more people to know about us and bring in fresh ideas about what they want to see in the org and were they want it to go,” Gomez said.

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