Penn students to co-host second annual virtual pre-health conference in August



Alejandra Bahena, senior at Rising College, is the founder and president of the annual National Pre-Health Conference, which supports students interested in careers in healthcare. (Photo by Alejandra Bahena)

Penn students are sophomore co-organizers National Pre-Health Conference Support students interested in health professions.

The conference will take place virtually from August 4th to 6th under the theme “Unity in Healthcare”. The conference will attend health professionals from a variety of medical backgrounds, including guest speakers, Associate Dean of Admissions at the Perelman School of Medicine Neha Vapiwala, and prominent dentist Bill Dorfman.

The conference will consist of briefings on various health professions, applications for medical schools and how to deal with stress in a health care career. Some of the events include a case study session where participants work with medical students to understand the process of approaching specific diseases, a mindfulness workshop, and a research exhibition featuring projects from selected students from universities across the country.

Alejandra Bahena, Senior of Rising College, the founder and president of the conference, pointed out the importance of having access to different perspectives in healthcare. As a first-generation, low-income student, she said that undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds struggle to pursue careers in healthcare.

“Students with underrepresented backgrounds really face a lot of challenges not only to navigate their career path, but also to figuring out if it’s right for them,” she said. “That’s why we offer this perspective to show students many different career paths so that they can get to know a little bit about each one.”

Bahena and Alexia Childress, an aspiring senior at Arizona State University, co-founded the Pre-Medicine Conference in 2020 to overcome the barriers the COVID-19 pandemic has created for students interested in careers in the healthcare field

“The sheer breadth of resources is something that will be really useful to the students attending the conference,” said Lauren Davidson, aspiring college junior and co-director of digital design for the conference.

Bahena said she envisions the conference as a way for health care students across the country to access the resources that have helped her.

“I realized that I wasn’t the only one dealing with these issues, of course, and across the country it was a real problem that not just pre-clinical students, but basically anyone from this type of low income background , was “across,” said Bahena. “So I started thinking about my career as a pre-health student and all the resources I had, and I wondered if it was [are] other students out there who may not have that kind of support. ”

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