AED Southland

Courtesy of Alpha Epsilon Delta

by Purnima Gurung
The USC chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre-medicine honors society, presented the 46 th annual
Southland Pre-Health Conference on January 29, 2012, which focused on issues in medical ethics
through workshops discussing topics in medicine and medical school admissions.

Students were able to choose up to 5 workshops discussing women in medicine, organ trafficking,
global bioethics, a case study on hematology and sickle cell anemia, ethics in geriatric health care, and
challenges in pediatric ethics, to name a few. In addition, the conference held workshops for applying
to medical school, which included a personal statement and letter of recommendation presentation, a
medical admissions panel and a medical student panel. The medical admissions panel featured directors
from USC Keck, UC Irvine and Western University. The medical student panel featured students from
USC Keck, UC Irvine and UCLA.

Veronica Winget, co-chair of AED Southland, said that the conference “envisions creating a network of
people to prepare pre-medical students for interviews and learn about the big issues facing medicine in
the future…on ethics.” In addition, she said “I am really hoping it will get them to think about [the] big
issues. It is really sad sometimes when a lot of students say they want to be doctors but they don’t think
about all the issues…between now and what they will actually confront.”

Pragati Mamtora, a freshman at USC, said her reason for coming to the conference was “because [of]
the speakers, who are really knowledgeable on medical ethics, which is [a] really interesting [topic]. It’s
just like another way to expand your horizons.”

Caroline Win, a junior at USC, said, “I’ve been to 2 of the workshops, but I definitely like the workshops.
You actually get to meet those doctors, people in the career that we want [to hear from].”

Alexander Capron, a professor at USC Keck Medical School and co-director of the Pacific Center
for Health Policy and Ethics, presented a workshop on Global Bioethics and Organ Trafficking. In
response to his discussion, Mamtora said, “You wouldn’t think about it [a topic like this] otherwise.
You wouldn’t really research it [unless] it was brought up by experts [at the conference].” Win agreed,
saying “Learning more about the issues, about ethics…like the organ trafficking…I wasn’t really aware of
the details about that until now.”

USC Freshman Katherine Lee said , “[the conference presented on] what students think and the
admissions process as well. I think that was the two main points for us undergrads. It [is] better for
us to know what we’re going into [regarding medical school and the medical profession].” Lee also
commented on the medical admissions panel: “I really like when they brought the admissions officers
in because it’s probably the only time we’ll know what they’re actually asking for. Sometimes we don’t
really know what those officers are thinking so this was a pretty good opportunity to learn.”

In response to the conference, Lee said, “I realized that we might have bigger [ethical] problems even
though we’re [thinking about] going into medical school [right now] It’s better to be prepared [about
such issues] before applying to medical school.”

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