Several Students Complete Preparatory Camp for UL Medical School

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Several students at the University of Liberia (UL) aspiring to become future medical doctors or health practitioners have completed a four-week-long study and affiliation CAMP xSEL (Excellence in Science Education for Liberia) program. 

Camp xSEL is a partnership between the University of Liberia’s College of Health Sciences (ULCHS) and United States-based partner universities Yale and Vanderbilt aimed at equipping incoming students with the learning tools for their journeys into pre-medical and pre-clinical studies at the UL.

A total of 85 students; 26 females and 59 males completed the inaugural session of the camp with a strong show of great zest of being future medical staff.

Speaking at occasion marking the first closing exercise of the Camp, which also coincided with the launch of the Revised Medical School Curriculum of the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine of the UL, US Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Michael McCarthy, vowed his country’s commitment in building the future of Liberia together.

Ambassador McCarthy named the Resilient and Responsive Health Systems Initiative, funded by the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS release (PEPFAR), administered by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Bringing Research to Impact for Development, Global Engagement, and Utilization (BRIDGE-U), also funded by the US through USAID as some of the major projects aimed at improving the health delivery system of Liberia and preparing Liberia for the future.

He congratulated participating students of the inaugural session of Camp xSEL and stressed the need to support them, believing that they will be the ones taking care in the “golden years.” 

“I want to take a moment to thank the organizers of the camp, the faculty, and our esteemed camp counselors. Your vision, leadership, and mentorship made the camp a success, and it will be exciting to see how the Camp xSEL continues to grow on the incredible foundation you’ve laid this year,” asserted the US Diplomat.

He indicated that strengthening the health workforce is a priority for every country, and with the lesson learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no time to waste.

According to him, strong leaders and competent clinicians are essential to the protection and caring for the society.

“I am impressed with your innovative and strategic vision to ensure these next generations will be prepared for our everyday needs as well as the next unfortunate crisis,” Amb. McCarthy intoned.

“As always, it is our privilege to partner with you on this journey, and I could not be more excited to see what the future holds. Thank you all, best of luck, and congratulations once more,” he among other things stated.

In remarks, the Acting President of UL, Prof. Moses M. Zinnah, extolled the US Government for its numerous supports to the UL, especially to the Medical College.

“We are especially grateful to US Government through its Embassy in Liberia for the tremendous financial and technical supports that have enabled the University of Liberia to achieve this big dream. Your Excellency, Ambassador McCarthy, on behalf of the entire University of Liberia family, we wish to thank the people and government of the USA for the continuous financial and technical support to various units within our university,” Dr. Zinnah, who is also the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the UL lauded. 

He is of the belief that the Revised UL Medical School Curriculum is a huge step in fulfilling the dream of making all the academic programs more student-centered and experiential.

Dr. Bernice Dahn, Vice President for Health Sciences at the UL, said CAMP xSEL is aimed at addressing the long-standing issue of students spending longing times at the Medical College.

“CAMP xSEL is intended to address some of the cardinal issues in the medical school, especially with regards to the length of times students spend at the College. Liberia is the only country in West Africa that medical students go to nine years or nine years plus. Following needs assessment it was advised to change to seven years and CAMP xSEL happens to be one of those solutions. We actually knew that changing from nine to seven we was going to be a challenge but not a problem,” Dr. Dahn explained.

She then thanked faculty members, who helped in designing the program, while at the same extending appreciation to the US government for its support to the UL especially towards the medical school.

The students, through their representatives, also lauded the administration of the UL for the new innovation that is aimed at shortening the life spam for medical study at the University.

They also thanked donor partners and encouraged each other to stay focused and determined to beat the challenges ahead.

 “The past four weeks of stay at the camp has transformed our lives and acknowledge acquired will go with us forever. It helped us to discipline ourselves throughout different exchanges. The learning was amazing. We worked through team work and this is aimed at making us to realize dreams. Thanks to those that made this a reality,” said Jesse Quoiquoi, Team Leader of Section-A.

“Thanks to everyone and organisation that made this camp successful. It was a great place. It was amazing, productive and educative. We stand prepared for the challenges ahead of us,” noted Tonita Printer of Section B.

Cordelia K. Capehart, Leader of Section C, described the month-long camp as a historical and memorable gathering of students.

“These experiments will guide us in our sojourn. This is a step in bridging the gap of students taking too long in medical school. This Camp is of great importance because it aims to equip young people into pre-med programs. I am hopeful that this program will help to improve the system and help narrow the doctor to patients’ ratio,” Capehart told the gathering.

For his part, Student Benjamin Bedell Jr., Team Leader of Section D and President of the first batch of students at the inaugural CAMP xSEL, urged his colleagues to remain steadfast as they the preparatory step and gearing up for the main journey. 

“Our journey has just begun. This demands our all. This is a study of sleepless nights and long study hours. We must be prepared for the challenges ahead,” he cautioned his colleagues.

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