MEDCAMP Provides Transformative Experience for Kent State Students
Every year, the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) organizes an impactful three-day program known as MEDCAMP, aimed at nurturing young minds interested in pursuing a career in the medical field. This year, thanks to a new scholarship program, a group of 16 Kent State University students registered to attend the program and 14 attended the camp from July 6-8, free of charge, and got hands-on experience and insights into the world of medicine.
This was made possible by Felix Kumah-Abiwu, Ph.D., the founding director of the Center for African Studies and an associate professor in the Department of Africana Studies at Kent State. Kumah-Abiwu came across the MEDCAMP program while searching NEOMED's website. He quickly decided that he wanted to support the program and provide opportunities for underrepresented students at Kent State to attend. His decision to support the program was inspired by two factors.
“First, the experiential learning opportunity MEDCAMP provides students, especially students from groups that are underrepresented in the medical professions,” said Kumah-Abiwu. “Second, the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on many black and brown communities amid the social justice protests that occurred across the country after the death of George Floyd. These factors shaped my motivation to find ways of giving back to my community and help address racial disparities in health.”
Kumah-Abiwu submitted a grant proposal to the Social Justice Grants Initiative of Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, and was awarded the grant with the support of the Kent State University Foundation to undertake the project.
“With this extraordinary opportunity, I expect the interest of the students in the fields of basic science and medicine to be enhanced,” Kumah-Abiwu said.
The transformative impact of MEDCAMP was evident in the heartfelt testimonials shared by some of the Kent State University participants.
"Overall MEDCAMP was a significantly impactful experience," Brianna Adjei, a Kent State senior Biology major, said. "The Grand Rounds provided the opportunity for me to understand physical diagnosis, clinical and laboratory data, as well as the treatment and care plan."
"MEDCAMP was an incredible experience for me, not only in helping me get some hands-on experience in the medical field, but also nurturing my passion for the sciences," Sonia Chirravuri, a Kent State junior Neuroscience major, said.
"Attending MEDCAMP has been a transformative experience that has left an indelible mark on my life and shaped the trajectory of my future," Abdulmuqeet Mohammed, a Kent State sophomore Chemistry major, said. "This unique program not only provided me with invaluable insights into the medical field but also instilled in me a sense of purpose and passion for making a difference in the lives of others. Throughout my time at MEDCAMP, I have gained essential knowledge, developed critical skills, and cultivated lasting connections that will undoubtedly propel me towards a successful and fulfilling future.
"I was incredibly grateful for the chance to experience NEOMED’s MEDCAMP program," Achante' Pasek Perry, a Kent State sophomore Nursing major, said. "My favorite part of MEDCAMP was the hands-on experience of the labs. We got to look at different strains of pneumonia in microbiology, look at and touch real organs in the anatomy lab, and learn how to use a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff and pulse oxygen monitors on a patient. We learned how to interview a patient and ask questions that lead to a diagnosis."
Kumah-Abiwu plans to help keep the MEDCAMP cohort together to build an informal “medical learning community” and provide peer-to-peer mentoring supporting for them at Kent State and beyond. He hopes these students enter the health professions and become changemakers in our underserved communities. He also plans to continue seeking funds for students to attend this camp in future years.
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Jim Maxwell, 330-672-8028