BHPSA welcomes new School of Medicine students
On Thursday, August 4, 2005, the School of Medicine welcomed 170 new students to Loma Linda University. Among the many groups helping to welcome these students was the Black Health Professional Students’ Association (BHPSA).
“The day began with a hectic morning of setting up our booth,” says Teka-Ann S. Lawrence, BHPSA president. “This was our first effort as the new officers of 2005-2006 and we had wavering expectations.”
Ms. Lawrence introduced the club to attending students. School of Medicine representative, Tenisha Mitchell, a second-year medical student, presented words of guidance for the academic year ahead and assured them that she was only an e-mail away for any concerns or problems they might have.
“At our booth, each student was greeted with smiles and introductory words. There, they collected and read information about the organization and diversity here at Loma Linda University,” Ms. Lawrence says.
Attending to each student were BHPSA officers LaQuisha Burks, general vice president; Ken Stewart, treasurer; Robin Ferguson, community service director; Teleka Patrick, graduate representative; Tenisha Mitchell, School of Medicine representative; and Teka-Ann S. Lawrence, president.
Each student was presented with a BHPSA bag containing items such as a BHPSA pen with a calculator, two diversity handouts for additional reading, a BHPSA water bottle, a salient personalized BHPSA bookmark, and a variety of sweets.
“So what exactly is BHPSA all about?” was a recurring question. Answers ranging from “BHPSA is one of the three student-run diversity organizations of Loma Linda University” to “Our organization’s aim is to provide a community of individuals that can be a source of support and encouragement, as well as to create a ‘home away from home’ for many students who have traveled far to study to become health professionals” were among the answers.
Although the focus of the group is service to the Black community of Loma Linda University, it cannot be over-emphasized that BHPSA is an organization that is inclusive and not exclusive, according to Ms. Lawrence.
“In being inclusive we celebrate diversity and welcome members from all cultural backgrounds,” says Ms. Lawrence.
Opportunities for student interaction planned by BHPSA during the coming school year include Sankofa (a showcase of community talent), the All White Party (a formal dinner event), Late Night Friday Nights (a monthly interactive vesper service), the Christmas Toy Drive (a community service activity), an annual retreat, and the Island Fest (a showcase of the Islands represented here at LLU; a collaboration with other student-led organizations).
In the area of academic development, BHPSA sponsors a mentoring program with the 2005–2006 theme, “We Are Accountable.”
“We recruited 17 new members along with six others filling out our interest forms,” Ms. Lawrence says.
Henry Lamberton, PsychD, associate dean for student affairs in the School of Medicine, presented a donation to the organization.
“The day was a very successful one as we helped to welcome the School of Medicine class of 2009, especially our new members,” Ms. Lawrence recounts.
“BHSPA expresses thanks to the office of diversity, the School of Medicine, and LLU Printing Services for making this day such a great success,” she adds.