October 23, 2023

WSU students host Detroit Youth Health Expo for local high schoolers

A group of Wayne State University students hosted earlier this month the first-ever Detroit Youth Health Expo, a free event aimed at inspiring Detroit high school students to consider careers in the healthcare industry.

Concerned about what they see as a shortage of students from urban communities pursuing careers in medicine, the student leaders decided to organize the expo to expose students to health care professionals early and to outline the numerous career opportunities available. The expo was held in the ballroom of the Student Center Building on Oct. 13.

“The Detroit Youth Health Expo leadership team was inspired to organize this event because of our search for a way to positively encourage youth to pursue careers in healthcare,” said James Wairagu, chair of finance of the Detroit Youth Health Expo and a Wayne Med-Direct scholar. “We wanted to host this event on Wayne State’s campus so students could realize the variety of opportunities in healthcare.” 

James Wairagu

The expo featured two educational panels with healthcare professionals that include a physician, pharmacist, registered nurse, X-ray technician, dental hygienist and others.  The expo also hosted breakout sessions where high school students were able to connect with resources such as the Wayne Medicine BCAP and WSU’s financial aid department.

“These types of events are crucial because it is our responsibility to inform the youth of their potential and empower them to chase after that potential,” Wairagu said.

Students interested in attending the expo had the opportunity to reach out to their high schools and encourage them to become partner schools to support the event.

Mohammad Muntakim

Additionally, local businesses, volunteers, and organizations had the opportunity to sponsor and contribute to this year's event. 

“We [collected] undergraduate and graduate student volunteers from Wayne State,” said Mohammad Muntakim, a Wayne Med-Direct scholar and another expo organizer. “Local businesses and organizations [were able] to become one of our fundraising sponsors as well as provide healthcare professionals to speak at our annual events.” 

The sponsors of the event included the WSUSOM Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; the WSUSOM Department of Orthopedic Surgery; and the Kresge Eye Institute.

Andrew Robinson

The Irvin D. Reid Honors College also supported partnership.

Andrew Robinson, who oversees outreach for the expo, said he and the planning team hope to make the expo an annual event that continuously educates and inspires young people to choose professions in healthcare.

“We hope to expose Detroit high school students to the different careers in healthcare and inspire them to choose the career route that meets their specific situations,” Robinson said.

Subscribe to Today@Wayne

Direct to your inbox twice a week