For college students, general health and wellbeing tends to take the backseat. Between juggling academia, work, and extracurriculars, keeping health and safety in mind can be a real challenge. This past year, medical student Pavane Gorrepati has reminded students to set health as a priority with a column, The Doctor Is In, which she coordinates for the University of Iowa’s student-led paper The Daily Iowan.
“As I was in the midst of my second year of medical school, I found a longing for an outlet to write for pure pleasure and enjoyment. I wanted to create something that would not only allow me to find an outlet to express this interest but for other students at the Carver College of Medicine to do the same,” Gorrepati said.
All medical students at the Carver College of Medicine that want to merge their passions for writing and health are welcome to submit a topic. The topics are chosen based on quality and relevance Iowa undergraduates. Topics have included hard-hitting pieces about opioid-overdose and STD prevention, as well as others on stress, trauma, and sleep management.
“The topics that are featured can make a meaningful difference in students’ lives as well as provide an educational experience,” Gorrepati said. “The Daily Iowan reaches thousands of students every day and the impact that can be made is substantial.”
Gorrepati originally approached then-DI editor-in-chief, Gage Miskimen, and managing editor, Katelyn Weisbrod, with the idea last summer, and with some mentoring from Brittany Bettendorf, MD, clinical assistant professor in Immunology, the column came to life. Both Gorrepati and Bettendorf emphasized the mutually beneficial aspect of the column to the writer as well as to the reader. The column provides a platform for medical students to transform a complicated concept into communication fit for a general audience, a skill they will need in their profession.
“I am inspired by Pavane and her ability to turn an idea into a reality. I know she has a bright future ahead of her,” Bettendorf said. “The column has had a positive impact on our entire university community through inspiring the readership of The Daily Iowan to take an active role in promoting their health, while empowering them with new tools to do this. I am very proud of Pavane.”
After receiving support and encouragement from the DI team, Gorrepati is thankful to both Miskimen and Weisbrod for the column’s success. She looks forward to continuing the column when classes resume in the fall.
“It has been an amazing experience working with the team at The Daily Iowan. It has been an incredibly professional and positive experience,” Gorrepati said. “For medical students to be able to be a part of this publication is an incredible step in integrating graduate students at the University of Iowa and drawing on their various strengths. The medical students who are writing these pieces and pitching these topics were undergraduates not too long ago and were in the same shoes as the readers of the paper.”