Minority Women Interested in Medicine empower female pre-med students

Gabriella Pinos/Assistant Entertainment Director

Volunteering in a rainforest in Puerto Rico during Winter Break may not sound related to medicine, but for the Minority Women Interested in Medicine, it’s all part of enriching and giving back to the medical community.

Founded in 2017, MWIM is a female pre-medical organization that empowers members to pursue medicine. While the name suggests only women can join the club, MWIM welcomes all FIU students.

“I’ve joined a bunch of pre-med clubs, and MWIM is the most inclusive one,” said Izma Nadeem, director of creative design at MWIM and a senior majoring in biology.

The organization offers meetings, workshops and events, many of which provide firsthand training of all things medicine.

“We do things that are hands-on to really encourage these female students to want to pursue medicine,” said Everest Turner, president of MWIM  and a senior majoring in nutritional science.

MWIM also offers volunteering opportunities throughout the year, which are organized by Volunteer Coordinator Jocelyn Briones. Briones, who is also the president of the Sexual Health Alliance Revolutionizing Positivity at FIU, organizes events such as “packing parties” for We Care Chemo Kits Cancer Foundation, where members create care packages for cancer patients, and blessing bags for the homeless.

“I have a passion for improving others’ lives. I want to improve mine, but if I can improve mine while improving others, that’s what I’m going to do,” said Briones.

For Turner, giving back plays an important part in the organization and within the medical field.

MWIM President Everest Turner and Director of Creative Design Izma Nadeem at the Love Yo’ Self Health Fair on Friday, Feb. 22. Photo by Gabriella Pinos.

“I think that the students actually understand that if you want to be a doctor, that means that you have to have a heart for helping people, and it doesn’t matter what aspect of the person you’re helping,” said Turner.

In December 2018, the MWIM participated in their first mission trip to Puerto Rico, where members volunteered at various places across the country. Those places included El Yunque National Forest, where members painted signed and picked trash in the rainforest, and Hospital del Niño, where members played games and interacted with young patients.

“I think it causes them to be more holistic in their approach of wanting to be helpful in any way that they can, whether that’s picking up weeds and picking up trash or whether that’s actually putting a band-aid on someone,” said Turner.

Viviana Crespo, vice president and co-founder of MWIM, also believes that the organization’s volunteer opportunities encourage members to think of medicine beyond just one location.

“There’s so many people in this world who need medical attention. It’s not just Miami, it’s not just in Africa, it’s everywhere,” said Crespo.

Turner also hopes that the MWIM will not only build strong leaders and boost its members’ morale but bridge the gap between men and women in medicine.

“There’s a huge gap between physicians that are male and female, and I think it’s important that we build this enthusiasm about getting in the medical field and wanting to be doctors and dentists,” said Turner.

Many upper-level medical positions are occupied by males, according to Briones, something that the organization hopes to change by inviting special guests from the medical field to their meetings.

“I feel like representation in really important because if you don’t see somebody else in that position, sometimes you don’t think it’s an option…” said Briones.

Crespo believes that an equal rate of men and women are currently in medicine and women should not be afraid to pursue something because of their gender.

“Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean that you can’t pursue the same career that a man can. You just have to believe in yourself that you’re able to do it,” said Crespo.

In the future, MWIM wants to continue spreading their message of inclusivity across campus by encouraging different perspectives from all ethnicities to contribute to their organization.

“The overall goal is just to try to increase diversity in those health fields and work environments because it’s absolutely necessary, and also just create a supportive environment for minority women here at FIU to feel like they have a shot at medical school, that they can achieve great things no matter their backgrounds,” said Briones.

For more information on MWIM, you can follow their Instagram @FIUMWIM.

Featured photo courtesy of Jocelyn Briones.

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