The Somali Association for Pre-Health Students (SAPHS) is back on the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities campus. SAPHS works to connect Somali students at the University with mentorships, volunteering opportunities, and internships. With a big population of Somalis living in Minnesota, Umulker Ugas, SAPHS treasurer, says it’s a way to give back to the community.
“The whole medicine field and anything health [related] is a very tricky process, and a very tricky thing to do by yourself,” said Ugas. "So building that community for the students, and then also making it so that it's something that they can teach back to the community. Maybe they have younger siblings or community members also finding internships, or volunteering opportunities to help and give back to our community as much as we can.”
SAPHS has already begun to build these opportunities for students, recently co-hosting “Women in the Workforce” with The Sisters’ Circle, another student group at the University. “Women in the Workforce” was a networking event for Muslim students to connect with other Muslim women in various careers.
As a pre-PA student, Ugas said she learned important information about applying to PA school. She hopes that other students were also able to gain valuable input.
“You would get a perspective of someone like you already in this field, so what it feels like to be in that field or what it takes to be in the same position as them in the future,” she explained.
SAPHS currently has an ongoing mentorship program, where Somali students at the University are paired up with those already in the medical field.