Medical Students, Leadership and Doctor Me Participants
By Hillary Angel - March 22, 2024

For the last three years, Loma Linda University has welcomed middle school students from Del Vallejo Middle School in San Bernardino for a firsthand experience of the life of a medical student as part of a program called “Doctor Me.” This year’s event took place on March 15, 2024, at Centennial Complex.

Doctor Me is a novel approach to engaging with minority middle school students and aims to bridge the gap between community and healthcare by increasing student exposure to healthcare professionals in several stages of training. In 2022, medical student leaders at Loma Linda University School of Medicine partnered with community leaders in the San Bernardino County public school system to expose at-risk middle school students to a vast spectrum of medical careers and acquaint them with the process of obtaining a professional degree. 

This year’s Doctor Me event featured an engaging clinical skills session at Loma Linda University School of Medicine’s Clinical Skills Education Center and Medical Simulation Center, where students were immersed in hands-on activities focused on learning reflexes, otoscopy, ultrasound, anatomy, and heart sounds—skills practiced by students at Loma Linda University.

The middle school students engaged with a physician panel featuring specialists in dermatology (Dr. Janiene Luke), pediatrics (Dr. Gabrielle Pina), pediatric neurology (Dr. Ochucko Diamreyan), and internal medicine-pediatrics (Dr. Dexter Frederick). Students were encouraged to envision their goals and reassured that they can pursue any path they choose. 

Following the physician panel, students had the opportunity to wear their very own white coat for a Polaroid picture—a cherished memento marking their memorable experience. They also engaged with student representatives from various healthcare fields including nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, and orthotics during the interprofessional mixer, gaining insight into the diverse career options available in healthcare and allied sciences.

The exploration of healthcare extended to the nutrition lab, where students learned and practiced healthy eating habits through hands-on experimentation with custom avocado toast and acai bowl recipes.

Lastly, students participated in a crucial session on adult and infant basic life support and CPR techniques, equipping them with essential skills to respond effectively in times of need within their communities.

The overarching goal of Doctor Me 2024 was to inspire and empower students to pursue careers in healthcare sciences and STEM fields by demonstrating that their aspirations are within reach. Through exposure to various disciplines and encouragement to follow their dreams, these students are poised to become the future health professionals they were destined to be.

Loma Linda University students from the School of Medicine, School of Pharmacy, School of Dentistry, School of Nursing and School of Allied Health Professions volunteered for the event.

The “Doctor Me” team are a group of medical students that are actively involved with Del Vallejo Middle School year-round.  Medical students engage with the middle school students with clinical skills and science activities during an after-school program at the middle school. Activities include ultrasound workshops, lava lamp creation, fire sugar snake experiments, science trivia, and more. These activities prepare the students with hands-on activities, so when they come to Loma Linda University it helps both students build trust and relationships.

This 2024 Doctor Me team is led by Monique Harding (Class of 2026), Jayde Frederick (Class of 2026), Marsha Wright (Class of 2026), Ethan Purnell (Class of 2026), Inès Ruzindana (Class of 2026), Jared Scott (Class of 2026), and Moriah Kennedy (Class of 2026).

Watch School of Medicine Instagram Reel recapping 2024 Doctor Me.

Doctor Me team submitted this article.