The Medi-Gators Virtual Shadowing Program was created by faculty and students in the Department of Neurology, Division of Neurocritical Care at the University of Florida. Originally created to help fill the void in pre-health student opportunities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Medi-Gators Program has quickly proven to be an effective way to efficiently expose students interested in pre-health careers to the wide variety of job opportunities in and around healthcare while increasing accessibility to students from underrepresented backgrounds. We hope that students will use this exposure to determine which pathways will suit them best and to jumpstart the process of planning for their career. The Medi-Gators program is sponsored by the UF College of Medicine Neurology Department but strives to foster exposure to the full breadth of careers available within healthcare.
Medi-Gators aims to improve access to shadowing, mentorship, and other health-related opportunities for all students, including students of underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities and students from underprivileged backgrounds. When compared to traditional in-person shadowing, the virtual format of Medi-Gators provides greater accessibility by increasing the number of students who can be accommodated while also exposing students to a broad range of careers in a much shorter timeframe than previously possible. Participation in Medi-Gators is not dependent on who you know, does not require a specific wardrobe, and overcomes worries about transportation challenges or cost – this is a free service compatible with any device with internet access. Our primary goal is to help everyone find a career about which they are passionate and give them a fair shot at achieving their aspirations. Our hope is that a more diverse generation of healthcare professionals will help improve the healthcare disparities that are a reality for so many people.
Many students come from backgrounds that do not provide them the opportunity to simply ask a parent, neighbor, or friend for expert advice regarding their career goals. Many students need to provide for themselves or their families on top of academic responsibilities – through work, by staying home to care for children or elders, or through other means. Medi-Gators gives access to these students with responsibilities that might otherwise prohibit them from pursuing professional development opportunities.
Through this virtual program, all students will have the opportunity to interact with a diverse range of medical professionals (Doctors, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses, Dentists, Pharmacists, Data Scientists, Administrators and more) from the UF College of Medicine and other hospitals in different specialties as they present case studies, show videos from the operating room, describe their career paths, give lectures on diseases, disorders, illnesses, anatomy, procedures, and much more. Students will get a look into the realities of being a medical professional and will have the opportunity to learn more about a particular career path of interest.
This virtual program will give all students the opportunity to continue learning about medicine, ask questions of medical professionals, meet other students at UF on a similar track, and ideally meet a mentor who can help guide and motivate them through their journey. This program aims to help students figure out if a career in healthcare is right for them and, if so, help them jump start their journey. At the end of the program, a completion certificate will be given to students who meet the minimum attendance requirements.
More information soon!