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Stitch ‘Em Up!!!- Pre-Health Society Suture Clinic

Nikhil Jaisinghani, Feature Editor

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The season is upon us and Halloween just around the corner. But just before we jump out of our skin, perhaps we should learn how to fix it back up? At least, that seemed to be the idea of the Pre-Health Society, which was holding its first-ever suture clinic to help prospective medical students learn how to stitch up wounds and lacerations.img_2186

The room was abuzz with the chatter of students talking to their neighbors about what they had just seen up on the screen. Capt. Dr. Staffer, a reserve vet from the US Army led the suture clinic, which had come to Austin College for the first time ever, after visiting other schools such as UTD, UNT, and UT Arlington. She guided the participants, all of whom intended to go on med school, in the mostly-filled lecture hall through the process of stitching up wounds on their “patients”- bananas into which a lesion had been made- by demonstrating techniques on a projector with her own banana. The other military doctors on hand, Sgt. Book, and Colby Anderson walked through the rows of students, helping them.

Earlier that evening, Sgt. Book spoke to the room about her experiences in the medical field, both in the military and civilian sectors, drawing on 40 years of experience, and told the group about the military’s Health Professional Scholarship Program, which is an initiative that will cover 100% of college tuitions and offer a couple thousand dollars in a stipend to medical students who promise to serve in the armed forces later on.

img_2293The suture clinic is actually a partnership between the Princeton Review, which handles the planning and logistics and the US Army, which actually leads the clinic. I spoke to the program manager for the DFW area, Skye Harper, who told me that she had a lot of ideas for future initiatives with Princeton Review and AC, saying that they were looking at maybe running MCAT classes here on campus because of the high amount of student interest sparked by this event and because of how isolated Sherman is compared to the rest of the metroplex. She said that she had originally been planning to contact the college about setting up the clinic, when Nick Pernik, the president of the Austin College Pre-Health Society, got in touch with her first. Ms. Harper added that compared to the schools in which they’ve previously-held this clinic, the one here was handled smoothly, despite having to reschedule it due to a medic being unavailable at the original date, a fact which she attributes to Nick Pernik, the president of the Austin College Pre-Health Society. Of the 75 people who signed up- which is the maximum number allowed- 57 students attended the clinic, Mr. Pernik said, adding that they even needed to have a wait list because of the number of interested students. He said that this clinic was a way of helping students to gain some practical knowledge and get out of the books for a bit, so as to help them apply what they might have already learnt theoretically.

img_2321The AC PHS includes a wide variety of students, apart from those on the pre-med track, such as ones with interests in physical therapy, nursing, and becoming physician assistants. Their mission is to help people get through 4 years of college while providing them with direction in health services careers, social events, and the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals.

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Stitch ‘Em Up!!!- Pre-Health Society Suture Clinic