The Amherst College Pre-Health Peer Mentoring Program seeks to build a sense of community, and help younger pre-health students feel at home here. The program is intended to reach a specific group of pre-health students (low-income, first generation, and students of color) who are exploring their passion for health and a potential career in the health professions, and come from historically under-represented groups in the health professions.
The program brings together Amherst students at all stages of their Amherst education in two ways:
1. Pairing an older group of trained peer mentors with a younger group of mentees (first and second year students) for one-on-one informal support, guidance, and conversation about a wide variety of experiences and issues that come up during their exploration of the health field, and adjustment to Amherst College. The mentors are an excellent resource as younger mentees pursue their academic coursework, seek clinical experience, community service, and research. This is not an academic tutoring program, nor does it serve as a replacement for the pre-health advising of the health professions advisor, but rather it aims to complement the advising and the wide array of help currently available for specific courses.
2. Gatherings of the mentors and mentees, on issues of broad concern, and encouragement of mentors to bring mentees to exciting events on campus, as announced in the pre-health newsletter from the Health Professions Office.
The program recognizes that the pursuit of a health profession, especially for students who may find the academic coursework initially very challenging and come from high schools offering less preparation. The difficulty they encounter in adjusting to Amherst and to the pre-health courses in the first two years may lead to confusion and doubt, and feelings of not measuring up to peers. The idea underlying this program is that by bringing peers (mentors and mentees) together in a supportive and respectful way, students will not only gain more knowledge of what is involved in this journey but also gain confidence in their ability to take it on...all for the common goal of making the world healthier. As mentioned, the particular focus of this program is to encourage and support young students who may become anxious and even demoralized as they encounter, in particular, a difficult adjustment to the Amherst academic environment.
The program emphasizes a non-judgmental and open and respectful approach to all, and seeks to further enrich the foundation for the diversity of Amherst to thrive, so that all students, regardless of social and economic background, will have the opportunity to realize their aspirations to serve the world through health.
Students who are interested in being in the program as mentees should contact Dean Richard Aronson at firstname.lastname@example.org