Empowering the Next Generation of Female Healthcare Providers

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May 04, 2023 | Glendale, AZ

On April 17, MWU student mentors from the Midwestern University Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS) Mentorship Program invited their undergraduate mentees to the Glendale Campus for an exciting, hands-on evening in the brand-new Clinical Skills and Simulation Center. Mentees from ASU, GCU, Estrella Mountain Community College, and the Maricopa Community Colleges attended the event, which was the second on-campus activity as part of the new WIMS program that started in October 2022.

In total, 15 MWU student mentor and mentee pairs attended together, and wore their matching WIMS t-shirts. The event began with mentors and mentees mingling and enjoying hors d’oeuvres, many of them meeting face-to-face for the first time. Jacqueline Spiegel, M.S., PA-C, Professor and Director, Clinical Skills Simulation Center, spoke to the group about pursuing careers in healthcare and provided an introduction to clinical skills and simulation.

The undergraduate students were all previously sent a survey regarding activities they wanted to participate in during the event. Based on the responses, it was clear that getting to work with actual medical technology and practice patient encounters in a simulation setting was a clear winner. In the United States, the percentage of female medical students only just crested over 50% in 2019. Despite this push in the right direction, women are still vastly underrepresented in STEM and healthcare-related fields as a whole, meaning that finding these hands-on experiences can be difficult for undergraduate students, leading to an even bigger disparity in the gender ratio of female healthcare professionals.

With the help of MWU student volunteers and the Clinical Skills and Simulation Center, the undergraduate mentees practiced taking vital signs and histories of patients during an examination, as well as writing SOAP notes and filling out prescriptions. Perhaps the most exciting part was utilizing the advanced technology that Midwestern students use on a daily basis to simulate and train for real-life patient encounters. The mentees learned how to intubate, and ran through a patient simulation with the high-fidelity mannequins.

“This event is important to me because I was able to showcase to a fellow woman in medicine and science the amazing things I get to do as a medical student and future physician! Our day-to-day curriculum doesn’t always allot us the opportunity to mentor the next generation of healthcare students, so getting the chance to do that at this event was really exciting,” said BreAnna Boyle (AZCOM ’26).

Over the 2022-2023 school year, more than 185 MWU students and 150 local undergraduates participated in this inaugural WIMS year, which also included mentor training, monthly mentoring sessions, check-ins with faculty, and a welcome panel with four MWU female deans and directors.