Western University of Health Sciences served as the medical school stop for a group of Los Angeles middle school students participating in Kaiser Permanente’s Hippocrates Circle Program.

The mission of the Hippocrates Circle Program is to provide youth from underrepresented communities and diverse backgrounds with awareness that a career as a physician is possible, according to the program website. About 50 Gage Middle School students visited WesternU on April 22, 2017, learning about anatomy, osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM), and wilderness medicine.

The event was organized by third-year College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific student Syed Abbas Naqvi, MS. He did a rotation through Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center, where he met Milagro Ramos, MD, one of the Hippocrates Circle organizers.

“We’re showing them (the students) it is possible to go into a career in medicine,” Naqvi said. “Many doctors who volunteer come from a similar background and upbringing as the students.”

Naqvi wanted to invite the students to campus because many of them did not know about osteopathic medicine.

“They didn’t know about this avenue for becoming a doctor,” he said. “We let them know about a local school they may potentially be interested in.”

The students also visited Downey Medical Center and participated in other activities organized by Hippocrates Circle Program volunteers.

Naqvi said he comes from a similar background, and relates to the students.

“I also didn’t have a lot of opportunities,” he said. “I didn’t know what the medical field was. I didn’t have access to medical care growing up. It’s a good way to give back and provide something to students I didn’t have.”

The visit to WesternU with the Hippocrates Circle students was great, Ramos said. Naqvi put together a well-organized event, and students got to see real anatomy.

“The students will benefit from this event because it has exposed them more into what medicine entails, and hopefully motivates them to pursue a career in medicine or anything else related to health care,” Ramos said. “The student panel was great because they got to hear from students and their journey to get to medical school, and hopefully that can inspire them too. I think it’s very important for students to actually get to visit a real medical school and to get a chance to listen to student panels and hear from recent students and to interact with them during the visit, because it makes going to medical school more real than me just talking about it during one of our meetings. Hopefully some of them can picture themselves being there someday.”

“I would love to continue bringing our students to the WesternU campus,” Ramos said. “We have a different group of kids every year, so I would love to do this again next year.”