February 18, 2020

Wayne students bring medical education to Cesar Chavez Academy students

A group of outreach-minded medical students at Wayne State University is taking their new knowledge outside the confines of the university to encourage the next generation to follow in their footsteps.

Amigos at Cesar
Wayne State University medical students work with high school students at Cesar Chavez Academy on Feb. 4. The Medical Interest Group meets monthly.

Latin Medical Student Association/Amigos Medicos, a School of Medicine student organization, now hosts a monthly after-school program for high school students at Cesar Chavez Academy High School in Detroit.

The aim of the Medical Interest Club is to get students from the underserved Hispanic community in Detroit excited about medicine and science, said first-year student Angelina Palacios, the LMSA’s president and Amigos Medicos’ co-chair.

“We hope to encourage them to pursue their goals and let them know they are achievable. I am from southwest Detroit and was so excited to be able to volunteer at a high school from my community,” Palacios said. “Growing up, I didn’t meet anyone who looked like me or who was from my community that went into medicine. At times it seemed impossible, but as a first-year student at the School of Medicine, I hope to show to these students that they can do it too. Seeing their enthusiasm for learning makes me excited to keep coming back and helping the club.”

This month, the group held a sheep heart and kidney dissection walkthrough for the students, who learned about the functions of the organs, anatomical positions and gross anatomy. They also discussed relevant clinical correlations such as kidney transplants and myocardial infarctions.

The club meets monthly depending on the high school students’ schedule.

“The best part about working with high-schoolers is they’re right on the cusp of figuring out who they are and what they want to be. I remember having no idea what to do around that age, so it’s refreshing to see these students take the initiative to really explore their options. We'd love to see even more students engaging with Medical Club in the future,” said Amigos Medicos Co-Chair and first-year student Erin Leestma.