A successful alliance

by Kalani Simpson, UNMC public relations | April 29, 2013

Image with caption: From left, Angela Reynolds, Kate Durst and Joseph Schanbacher of Westside High School, Emma Nice of Omaha Burke and Austin Stacey of Bellevue West work with Mary Huerter, UNMC M4, at right.

From left, Angela Reynolds, Kate Durst and Joseph Schanbacher of Westside High School, Emma Nice of Omaha Burke and Austin Stacey of Bellevue West work with Mary Huerter, UNMC M4, at right.

Joseph Rohr, M2, at first thought he was doing something to help himself.

He and a handful of other med students were asked to serve as role models for a UNMC High School Alliance class. The med students would assist the alliance students with suture practice - by suturing bananas.

(Don't laugh. It's like Rocky chasing the chicken. If you can sew up a banana without it falling apart, you've got it made.)

Alliance students come from high schools around the Omaha area and take college-level classes at UNMC to explore health careers.

Rohr thought this was cool - as a second-year med student, working with these high school students would be a great chance to review material and skills before being hit by a barrage of med-school exams at the end of the year.

"We love it. And the high school students seem to enjoy it."

Joseph Rohr
M2, Alliance volunteer

Besides, he would get credit for community service hours, too.

So Rohr volunteered to help out regularly. As did several other members of the Pathology Interest Group.

But a funny thing happened along the way.

Of course, Rohr and the other med students knew they were doing a good thing. Of course, they felt good that they were "giving back."

But they hadn't counted on the connections they would make with the alliance students.

They hadn't realized how good it would actually feel to give back. How enthusiastic they would become about this partnership.

"We love it," Rohr said. "And the high school students seem to enjoy it.

"We ask them questions. They ask us questions."

Several Pathology Interest Group volunteers help out at each alliance session. The group has occasionally set up tutors for the high school students, Rohr said.

It's fun seeing the excitement in the teenagers' eyes when something clicks.

And, oh yes - the med students get something out of it, too.

They brush up, as they give back.

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