Volunteering in Outreach Clinic Prepares Student for Career in Medicine

Melissa Peden | Undergraduate | Neuroscience (pre-medicine)

Melissa Peden has a big goal: to become a practicing physician, partaking in research and training medical students. Did we mention she also wants to travel the world so she can be involved global health policy and medical care? It’s a lot to take on but Peden has already gained valuable experience in global health, clinical medicine and research.

Global Health

Peden’s interest in medicine developed when she studied abroad in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, South Africa and Botswana, where she gained a deeper understanding of global health and what healthcare is like throughout the world. These experiences drew Peden to the Timmy Global Health chapter at IUPUI. For Peden, global health is about “finding attainable ways of bringing fundamental health care to those in need.”

Clinical Medicine

As a member and officer in Timmy Global Health at IUPUI, Peden is involved in the Indiana University Student Outreach Clinic. Peden’s roles in the clinic include managing the front desk, fundraising and giving lectures on proper blood drawing technique. In her free time, Peden also knits scarves for the patients, many of whom she has become friends with after working in the clinic for over a year and a half.

Volunteering at the Indiana University Student Outreach Clinic solidified Peden’s desire to not only practice medicine in a clinic, but also to one day teach future generations of doctors.

“Teaching first year medical students at the clinic how to draw blood was an amazing experience because not only did the students learn a new skill, it also showed the patients that not all blood draws are painful,” Peden said.

Research

Peden participates in medical research at the Stark Neuroscience Research Institute. As an assistant to Dr. Andy Hudmon, Peden has learned how to carry out literary reviews, perform many laboratory techniques and present research findings. She is now starting her own research project, which will look at how gene expression in neurons affects learning and memory.

Neuroscience at IUPUI

All of Peden’s experiences and goals are complemented by the IUPUI Neuroscience program, which allows her to study her two passions: the human brain and medicine. After graduation, Peden hopes to attend medical school and also receive a master’s degree in public health. Until then she will keep finding creative ways to help patients and gain exposure to medicine.