Center for Population Studies

University of Mississippi

UM Students Share Hospital Shadowing Experiences

Students followed health care professionals at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi

DECEMBER 2, 2016 BY EDWIN SMITH

UM Center for Population Studies Director John Green (left) chats with Assistant Professor of Religion Sarah Moses and BMH-NMS Chaplain Director Joe Young during the Medical Humanities students reception.Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

UM Center for Population Studies Director John Green (left) chats with Assistant Professor of Religion Sarah Moses and BMH-NMS Chaplain Director Joe Young during the Medical Humanities students reception. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – After spending several weeks shadowing area health care professionals, University of Mississippi students interested in similar careers shared highlights of their mentorship experiences this week.

The Tuesday (Nov. 29) reception for those enrolled in the fall 2016 Medical Humanities course was held in Bryant Hall gallery on the Oxford campus. Members of Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi who mentored the group joined UM administrators, faculty, staff and students for the event, which featured five of the 12 enrolled students making brief presentations.

“Our goal was for the students to gain a better understanding of how various factors shape the human experience in illness and in medicine,” said Sarah Moses, assistant professor of religion and course instructor. “Creating this class took lots of work, but hearing these students’ reflections today shows it was well worth the effort.”

John Green, professor of sociology and director of both the Center for Population Studies and the new Society and Health minor in the College of Liberal Arts, agreed.

“Listening to these students share their reflections is very rewarding,” he said. “We are definitely committed to making this course in the society and health minor a long-term investment.”

Medical Humanities, one of two advanced course requirements for the minor, is a combined readings and field experience course in a hospital setting to study the ethical, social and cultural issues in medicine. Additionally, students must take advanced elective courses.

“While only 12 students were able to take the course this fall, I already have 25 students on the waiting list for Medical Humanities in fall 2017,” Moses said.

Each of the presenters said that being in the course was more like a transformative “life experience” than a class.

“Being in this course made me a more well-rounded person,” said Josh Law, a senior religious studies and pre-med major from Birmingham, Alabama. “Ultimately, I believe I will be a more well-rounded health care professional in the future because of it.”

Sarah Robinson said she discovered how important addressing nonmedical needs and communication are to an ailing patient and his or her family members.

“Being in this course helped me to see both patients and those who work with them in various ways as whole people,” said the junior Spanish and pre-med major from Covington, Louisiana. “That understanding is critical to the effective treatment and care.”

Miller Richmond, a senior international studies and pre-med major from Madison, said Medical Humanities proved to be a perfect followup to his study abroad experience last spring.

“Being immersed in a different culture broadened my understanding of people as human beings,” he said. “Medical Humanities continued to expand my thinking. I now more fully understand that patient care goes much farther than physiology and medicine.”

Other student presenters were J.R. Markos, a senior from Jackson, Tennessee, who is majoring in public policy leadership, and Cayla Scott, a senior religious studies major from Mendenhall.

Green is slated to teach Society and Population Health, the other mandatory advanced course option for students entering the minor, during the spring 2017 semester.

“In Society and Population Health, students learn about health disparities in Mississippi and the value of interdisciplinary and interprofessional teams in tackling these issues,” Green said. “They also make field visits to medical/nursing schools and public health programs.”

Following the completion of Elementary Statistics and one of the advanced courses, Ole Miss students can apply to the minor program. It is also recommended that students take General Psychology and Introductory Sociology to complete the general education social science requirements.

Students must take courses from at least two different departments when completing the last requirement of 12 credit hours of advanced social science and humanities courses. They should note that the same course may not satisfy requirements for both the major and the minor.

Students who complete relevant internships, special topics, study abroad or directed study courses must consult with the director for approval before enrollment in the course.

“This unique and timely minor provides a social science and humanities perspective to the understanding of health,” said Lee M. Cohen, UM liberal arts dean. “I believe such a perspective will foster an appreciation and respect for team-based problem-solving to improve the delivery of health care.”