Donning white coats and carrying stethoscopes, nine P&S students spent the afternoon in a first-grade classroom in Inwood this month, teaching kids about the human body and what it is like to be a doctor. These students, as part of Black and Latino Student Organization’s (BALSO’s) “Young Docs” program, visit local schools once a month in collaboration with the Office of Government and Community Affairs.
Read more about the program from a recent Young Docs participant, Alani Gregory P&S ’15.
by Alani Gregory P&S ’15
“When I grow up, I want to be just like you,” the third-grader exclaimed as he peered up at us, a diverse group of P&S students clad in white coats and carrying stethoscopes. Young Docs has been visiting local classrooms and hosting workshops in the Washington Heights, Inwood, and Harlem communities since 2010, when it was founded by Jack Angiolillo P&S’15. As minorities continue to be under-represented in medicine, the mission of BALSO’s Young Docs program is to expose school-age children to the medical field and encourage them to become life-long learners and leaders within their communities.
My first introduction to Young Docs was as a first-year medical student in a classroom full of eager third graders. As I looked around, I saw the students smiling in amazement at the sound of their own heartbeats as they played with stethoscopes and giggling as they came face-to-face with our life-sized skeleton. By the end of the session, many students were telling us that they wanted to become doctors. Whether or not these children end up working in health care, we hope our visits help them dream big and think about ways they can give back to their communities.
As a former coordinator of Young Docs, it has been wonderful to be a part of the growth of this unique program. Since its inception, we have expanded our outreach to include adolescents in the community by hosting events such as a Medical Skills and Health Careers workshop and a high school science competition. Through support from the Office of Government & Community Affairs, Office of Diversity, and the Student National Medical Association Pipeline Mentoring Institute, the program continues to allow P&S students to become a part of the surrounding community while serving as mentors to the younger generation of leaders.