200 Days in the Life of the College

Monday, January 10

A rare chance to see medicine close to the bone

By Rebecca Behrens ’11

Many students arrive at college with the intention of applying to medical school. They take required courses, engage in community service and do laboratory research. Yet most get no exposure to clinical medicine as undergraduates.

Hamilton, though, offers students an intensive Health Experience Learning Program (HELP), during which they shadow medical residents at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica. As the winter break nears its end, Temiwumi “Temi” Ojo ’11, a biology major and pre-medical student from Chicago, is taking part in the weeklong program. “I have always been around medicine,” she says, explaining that family members, who are doctors and nurses, often share stories of intriguing ailments and diagnoses. The stories, she says, have always kept her spellbound, fueling what has been a longtime fascination with medicine.

Shadowing physicians not only offers a glimpse into a variety of fields such as family medicine and obstetrics but also allows Ojo hands-on experience. Today she works with patients, taking blood pressure, documenting medical histories and testing EKGs. In addition to offering a glimpse inside the hospital walls, HELP solidifies her interest in pediatric surgery. Ojo says the field offers a good fit because it meshes her love of children with her interest in surgery. Intrigued by how the body works, surgery offers her a way to improve a patient’s life. “Surgery is one of the most invasive parts of medicine,” she says. While HELP offers Ojo perspective on the medical field, “surgery,” she says, “allows you to see everything from the inside out.”