Written by Elham Bassam- Student Journalist
The Minority Association of Pre-Health Students is an organization on campus that serves minority pre-health students in finding opportunities, community service, resources for graduate entry exams, and overall a community for the pre-health student community. This past weekend they had a conference aiming at “decoding addiction” which intended to provide pre-health students a more comprehensive understanding of addiction and how they, as future healthcare providers, can bring awareness and change when it comes to addiction.
With guest speakers like Chancellor Nancy Cantor, Dean Erica Williams, Dean Jacequeline Mattis, Dr. Natalie Roche, and so much more, the pre-health students at Rutgers were inspired to tackle the addiction crisis. From learning about the importance of individual patient care, including both physical and mental health care, to understanding the importance of equitable care, pre-health students were given tools to become better healthcare providers. In beginning to understand the magnitude of the addiction crisis, which is on the rise in many communities, especially Newark, future healthcare providers can begin to treat patients suffering from addiction to various drugs like alcohol, stimulants (cocaine, methamphetamine, Adderall), depressants (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium), opiates (OxyContin, Vicodin,Percocet). This is a short list of the drugs in which people are becoming dependent on, and it is through healthcare providers who have a strong understanding of these dependencies that we can begin to battle these issues.
At the conference, there were also breakout sessions that emphasized developing applications for graduate schools and more opportunities to learn more about addiction. Students learned how to suture like a surgeon or provide life-saving care to an overdose patient like an EMT. They got a chance to network with Medical Students, PA students, Dental Students, etc. to gain mentorship and guidance from people who were once undergraduate students like them.
This conference provided pre-health students the opportunity to learn about an important cause, while also acquiring the skills to become more than efficient healthcare providers. This is especially critical, in times where we need a diverse and motivated field of healthcare providers to provide everyone equitable and quality care.