Students Start Club for Future Health Professionals

The health science course Core Concepts of Population Health brings students from the College of Health’s health sciences, nursing, kinesiology, and public health minors and College of Arts and Sciences natural and biological sciences together. Students have this course on their regular curricula or as electives and come from different programs—but most have a common goal of preparing themselves for health care-related careers and graduate programs.

Realizing they had similar aspirations across disciplines and programs, undergraduate students in Assistant Professor of Health Sciences Lisa Schwarzburg’s section of the course came together at the beginning of the Spring 2020 semester with the idea to form the Health Professionals Student Organization (HPSO)—a cross-college, cross-program club to help initiate a platform for comradery and support of their common interests.

Ideas for club involvement run the gamut from academic-related activities (like study groups and group advising) to career-development activities Students in the new organization pose in a brightly lit spacelike discussions with representatives from the university's MEDEX, WAAMI and AHEC programs, or with current professionals like physician assistants, physical therapists, nurse practitioners or EMTs. The HPSO founding officers include President Matt Cosby, from the health sciences program; John Pineda, from natural sciences; and Mohammad Khan, from health sciences. They are hoping to have involvement from students across the College of Health and other colleges, where students like Naomi Freeman will feel like the HPSO club is a place for them to share their interests, and gain more knowledge about their respective programs and chosen health professions. They also hope to have a presence in the larger UAA student government body as the club participates in university-wide activities and connects with other groups. 

Currently, the HPSO meets on Wednesday evenings at 5pm at the Health Sciences Department Conference Room in the Bragaw building (1901 Bragaw St). Schwarzburg is serving faculty advisor, and welcomes faculty from other programs to share or rotate in this capacity. The officers are gathering weekly at this time, but as formational items are taken care of, the time and frequency of meetings may change. For now, the acting officers invite all students in healthcare profession programs interested in getting together to join them at their meetings.

For questions, please contact Lisa Schwarzburg at llschwarzburg@alaska.edu

Pictured: Back row (l-r): John Pinesa, HPSO Vice-President; Naomi Freeman, Founding HPSO Member; Front Row (l-r): Muhammad Khan, HPSO Secretary/Treasurer; Matt Cosby, HPSO President