Taking the P.U.L.S.E.May 16, 2012
When Cooper Medical School of Rowan University opens this fall in Camden it will emphasize urban healthcare – the special needs of people in cities.
But this summer, premedical students interested in urban medicine have come to Camden to study with C.M.S.R.U. faculty and explore career options before they even apply to medical school.
Associate Dean Dr. Jocelyn Mitchell-Williams, director of the six-week Premedical Urban Leaders Summer Enrichment program, or P.U.L.S.E., said it enables students to not only study with renowned physicians and educators but to commit part of their summer to medical research or a service learning project.
"There is a wide spectrum of urban health issues, issues specific to people who live in cities, that need to be addressed," Dr. Williams said. "They include a lack of health insurance, language barriers, homelessness, nutrition, exercise, educational issues, and the prevention of sexually transmitted disease. C.M.S.R.U. is one of several organizations across the country specifically working to address urban health issues."
Aspiring docs: Crystal Ramos (St. Joseph's), Adaorah Iboko (Rutgers Camden), Shalane Crudup (Rowan), and Edward Egan (Rutgers New Brunswick)
The competitive P.U.L.S.E. program, which is free to accepted students and provides a small stipend, was limited to 26 students this summer, many of whom come from urban areas and/or financially disadvantaged backgrounds. Students do not earn credits but gain educational enrichment, insights and mentorship that could prove invaluable in a medical career.
Program highlights include coursework in microbiology and pathophysiology, discussions about health, economic and educational disparities affecting urban communities, and a capstone poster symposium in which students present observations on what they learned.
Now in its second year, the program also enables students to observe clinical procedures, work with high-tech medical simulation equipment, and take part in a variety of seminars and discussions, from cardiac health and antenatal diagnostics to the benefits of yoga and meditation.
"They really get to do some very cool stuff," Dr. Williams said.
Attendees include students from a wide swath of area colleges and universities including Rowan, Drexel, St. Joseph's, Rutgers and Rider.
Mina Soryal, a first-year graduate student in Drexel's biomedical engineering program, said in just two days of P.U.L.S.E. his desire to become a physician was confirmed.
"They're placing an emphasis on nutrition and prevention and that's what I believe we should do," said Soryal, 24, of East Brunswick, a former personal trainer. "In this country we tend to spend so much on the latter stages of life but I believe we need to focus on keeping people healthy before they get sick."
Crystal Ramos, 21, of Camden, a May St. Joseph's graduate, said the focus on urban health speaks to her, not in small measure because she grew up in Camden and understands its needs personally.
"It's important to dream big, to know you can make a difference and then to go out and do it," said Ramos, who seeks a career in obstetrics and gynecology. "There's a need for physicians in this community and I want to be one."