Summertime in the Chicagoland area always has a lot to offer, which left me with two busy weekends in a row. National University's Pride Medical Alliance had the opportunity to participate in Aurora, Illinois' first ever Pride Parade.
We were invited by Open Door Health Centers of Illinois to march alongside them, handing out information about the health services they offer. The organization works to provide education, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment services to those at risk for sexually transmitted infections without the fear of stigma. They want to make sure that the LGBTQ community has equal access to health care without discrimination. After losing family to the disease, I can entirely get behind their vision of a world without HIV/AIDS.
It was a beautiful, bright sunny day, and thousands were in attendance to support the LGBTQ members of their community. It was the first time that I have been part of a parade in my adult life. It was very different seeing and hearing all of the things that came from the crowd as we walked down the parade route. Most of the people in attendance were happy with our presence and were positive, but there were still those patches of people who were not. To have hate directed at you for doing nothing more than living your life is heartbreaking. It makes me want to take a more in-depth look at my own life and how I respond to people whose opinions differ from my own.
If you want to get involved, you can find more information on Open Door here: https://odhcil.org/
This past weekend was National's Homecoming, which from an attending student’s perspective, was an event that offered a chance to make connections to alumni and learn more about the different ways to practice chiropractic medicine. The ability to network at this event also creates opportunities for future employment as an associate after graduation, or as a chiropractic assistant while still in school.
My favorite part of the weekend was the seminars, which give returning docs a place to get their CEUs. This year’s theme was "Women in Medicine." The talks tended to leave me feeling inspired when they brought up new topics, or a new approaches to what we have been learning in class. I walked away remembering why I came here in the first place. Being that the theme was women in health care, there were a number of women and family-centered presentations. Some of my favorites were on preconception planning and infertility, autism, and treating pediatrics using the five-element model of Oriental Medicine.
The school works to make homecoming accessible to students by offering mentor scholarships to cover the cost of attendance, and students get the opportunity to learn from a doctor who has been successful in our field. I got to reconnect with my mentor from last year, and will be spending some time shadowing him over the next break.
Next year’s homecoming will be in Florida, because it will be the 10-Year Anniversary of our Florida campus. It will be part of a more massive chiropractic event, so the number of talks and vendors available to us will be huge--I am going to start saving up for the trip now!