Written By: Kendra Martinez
The future of public health lies in the hands of up and coming medical professionals who will enter the field during a pandemic. The pressure is on for pre-medical students nationwide, including those at BC, to help shape public health leaders and provide them support to overcome novel challenges like COVID-19. For Alvin John and Moksha Mehra, the president and secretary of BC’s American Medical Student Association (AMSA), their ultimate goal is to inform pre-med students about medicinal issues and address concerns related to BC’s pre-med education.
“The precautions professionals took are very motivational and very inspiring for us students just to work for that goal one day and make as much of a difference as they are making right now,” said Mehra.
Both John and Mehra are Psychology majors at Brooklyn College, looking to attend med school and become physicians. John describes their experience in preparation for their career as different from students in previous years because they are learning through an active crisis.
“This is different because we are literally experiencing it as of now,” he said, “And the fact that we are literally seeing it as it happens and we are seeing people in the field that we are pursuing make advancements.”
Besides the spread of COVID-19, both John and Mehra have major concerns about the widespread misinformation shared during the pandemic.
“I do think there has been a decline in believing in science, if the administration doesn’t believe in science then I think people would be more likely to not believe in science either,” said Mehra.
“We have a responsibility right now and as future physicians to not only patients but to people inside the field and outside of the field to use our talents and our knowledge to spread facts and not misinformation that can persuade people otherwise,” said John, who believes facts and science are immensely necessary in public health.
The pandemic has not discouraged John and Mehra from pursuing their career paths, nor led them to have any doubts during this crucial time. Mehra says that watching researchers and scientists work through the pandemic has been inspiring and motivating. “In times like this, this really shows at the end of the day it is the compassion that you need, and other characteristics than just doing well in school that I think are even more imperative now than ever before,” said Mehra.
To help BC students gain exposure to the medical field, AMSA carries out Q&A sessions with doctors every Monday. Pre-med participants can get credit for these “e-shadowing” sessions and put it on their resumes. With the pandemic, and education transitioning to online learning, John and Mehra say that collaborating with other clubs has been harder, and their events have been limited to hosting guest speakers. Despite these challenges, AMSA has had several virtual events since the fall semester started including, Impacts of COVID-19 on Homelessness Populations, Virtual Involvement Fair for AMSA, and information sessions with medical practitioners.
Through their club outreach, these students have provided support and a network for pre-med and pre-health students to move forward in their careers. John and Mehra strive in their efforts to establish their determined attitudes in making a difference in public health. The future of our public health is here, and these students are ready to take that responsibility on.
“I think we know more about the virus and know more about how to handle it, so with other pre-health students going forward, I would definitely say stick with what you’re doing because the world needs us now more than ever,” Mehra said.