Some MTSU students have a unique way of combining public service with preparation for their future careers.
Ella Morin is president of the MTSU chapter of the American Medical Student Association, and Daviesha Carter is president of the MTSU chapter of the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students.
They and other pre-med majors at MTSU and other universities volunteer for Medical Mission at Home, sponsored by Ascension, the corporate parent of the Saint Thomas hospital chain.
These missions help low-income and uninsured populations obtain health care in Murfreesboro and Nashville. Earlier this fall, hundreds lined up for a medical mission at Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium. Medical missions have been held in Murfreesboro at Central Magnet and Hobgood Elementary schools.
“If they do it in Nashville, they rent out a big amphitheater … and set up there,” Morin said, “and they will fly people in to do dental (care) and all sorts of things. When they do them in Rutherford County, they’re typically smaller.”
The missions always need plenty of volunteers, the students noted, and they always have huge turnouts.
“As presidents, we reached out to our members and told them about the opportunity, and we all decided to do it together,” Carter said.
Most students perform nonclinical care for prospective patients, including triage, translation services and helping them find providers. Health care practitioners provide dental work, vision services, comprehensive physicals, outpatient procedures and prescriptions.
Morin, a senior biology and Spanish major from Knoxville, Tennessee, said she’s encountered some patients who’ve seen better days, including a person who was once a music journalist and is currently homeless.
Morin observed that the clients seemed quite grateful for the services, regardless of their circumstances.
Carter, a senior psychology major from Knoxville, said it isn’t unusual for the caregivers to meet entire families taking advantage of this one-stop health care experience.
“One lady, she had four kids with her,” Carter said. “She was pregnant, and she was trying to get treatment for her kids and for herself.”
In addition to the spiritual and emotional benefits of their volunteer service, both Carter and Morin said consider this experience will pay off as they continue preparing to become doctors.
“I feel like it will make us better physicians in the future,” Carter said. “When you’re a physician, I feel like you’re not only their health care provider, but … you’re also an advocate for better health care.
“It definitely strengthens my commitment to service,” Morin said.
For more information about the student groups, contact Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org or Morin at email@example.com.
— Gina Logue (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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