Denise Monti, a second-year student in the MD/MPH combined degree program, helped organize the Chicago programming for the National Youth Leadership Forum program, whose other locations included the University of California-Los Angeles, Harvard Medical School and Georgia Tech University.
In Chicago, high school students participated in a hands-on medical school experience during the week-long career exploration program hosted at Northwestern.
Read a Q&A with Monti below:
What drew you to the MD/MPH program at Northwestern?
I decided to enter the program because I am interested in helping my patients from multiple perspectives. I want to treat the biomedical illnesses that bring my patients into the hospital, but I also want to understand the social and cultural factors that may have impacted or exacerbated their illnesses.
The Master of Public Health, therefore, will allow me to approach patient care from a multifocal lens. In addition, I would like to continue to conduct research throughout my career and may consider teaching at some point. I feel the MPH in addition to the MD will give me the background knowledge I need for this career path.
How did you become involved in the National Youth Leadership Forum?
I found out about National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF) through Feinberg’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. I was interested in getting more involved with the NYLF programming at Feinberg because I wanted to get high school students excited about medicine and a career in healthcare.
I think medical school and a career as a physician can seem very daunting, so I wanted to help students feel comfortable in their abilities and help them understand that they are capable of becoming physicians if that is their dream.
How did you give the NYLF participants a medical school experience?
We went through several activities that medical students participate in as part of our curriculum. With the high school students, we went through a problem-based learning case and an ethics case and taught the students how to use a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs.
I particularly enjoyed teaching the students how to listen to their heart and lungs. When they used the stethoscope after I taught them the correct places to auscultate, their faces lit up. It was a nice reminder to appreciate all that I have learned over the past year and how amazing it is to be one step closer to becoming a physician.
As the chief organizer of this course, I had to be flexible and update the curriculum as I learned about what most interested the students. They all perked up once we began talking about clinical skills and the heart sounds, so we ended up putting a greater focus on this section of the day.
Is this kind of outreach something you’d like to do in the future?
A few months ago, I participated in Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program (HPREP), which is a similar program for high school students from Chicago to learn about careers in healthcare. I greatly enjoyed this experience and it was one of the reasons why I wanted to become involved with NYLF. I have loved serving as a mentor and teaching high school students about medicine, and therefore would like to continue participating in similar programs in the future as well.