A club at Canisius with a goal to benefit those underrepresented in the medical field
The Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS) will be having its first general body meeting of the year on Monday, Oct. 7. MAPS is the diversity branch of Canisius College’s Society of Pre-Health Professionals and is focused on providing students who are underrepresented in medicine the resources necessary to successfully establishing careers in the medical field. MAPS president, junior biology major Caleb Graham, described MAPS as an academic organization focused on providing minority students with a community. “We want MAPS to be like a support group or a family. It’s a way for Canisius to support people of color, ” he said.
Graham drew on his own experiences of feeling different from classmates. “When I first got here, I felt like I came from a different background, like I couldn’t relate to my classmates,” he said. He then explained that the classes required for professional schools in the health field are not easy. “School’s hard. Science classes are hard. You don’t want to feel alone on top of feeling stressed out from school. We want to make sure MAPS addresses that.”
Graham feels that organizations like MAPS are important for schools across the country, not just Canisius. “We need clubs like MAPS to make sure people from all backgrounds get a fair chance. These resources are important for students of color who may come from disadvantaged environments to make sure they are on par with their peers so they can put their best foot forward,” he said.
Many of these resources take the form of events where students can earn certifications relevant to the medical field, such as Stop the Bleed and QPR Suicide Prevention. In addition, MAPS will be hosting suturing clinics and will be attending conferences focused on addressing issues of diversity in medicine. “We want people who are a part of MAPS to hear from professionals why it’s important to have physicians that look like and can relate to their patients,” he said.
Graham explained that diversity is still an ongoing issue in the medical field. As the country is becoming more and more diverse, it’s important to have doctors who can sympathize and successfully treat their patients. “The face of medicine is changing. MAPS is here to make sure that students of color can matriculate into professional programs so that all minorities can receive a better quality of care,” Graham said.
Although MAPS is focused on diversity, the club is open to all people, regardless of if they consider themselves minorities. “We want to make sure that all students interested in the medical field are properly informed about issues facing minority communities throughout the country,” he continued.
Graham explained that there are many misconceptions and stereotypes about minority communities that still persist and that when these stereotypes make their way into healthcare, patients may not receive the treatment they deserve. “If we can inform people about these issues and make people more sensitive to these issues, we’ll have better doctors and healthcare across the board,” he said.
MAPS is excited to be welcomed by the community of Canisius College and hopes to collaborate with other student organizations focused on advancing the minority communities of Canisius. “We’d love to do work with groups like Unity or Women in Science. Our group isn’t just about people of color, it’s about diversity. We want to be inclusive,” Graham said.