University of Medicine and Health Sciences

    Guide to UMHS Student Clubs & Organizations on the St. Kitts Campus

    Posted by Scott Harrah
    Nov 14, 2018 9:58:41 AM

    By Jared Sharza


    UMHS has a vibrant community of student clubs and organizations, in everything from screening clinics and potlucks to blood typing labs, various health seminars and clinics, soccer games, wellness campaigns, medical mission trips, visiting children’s homes, scuba diving, salsa dancing, donation drives and much more. Joining one of these groups can enhance the quality of one’s medical education while simultaneously raising funds or awareness for great causes in St. Kitts and beyond.

    Student clubs at Caribbean medical schools are active indeed, especially at UMHS. The UMHS Endeavour has compiled a comprehensive guide of all the current student clubs and organizations, complete with mission statements, highlighted past and present events for each semester, and contact information.

    African and Caribbean Student Association (ACSA)

    Mission statement: The African and Caribbean Student Association is committed to bridging the gap with the community and building stronger bonds as we move forward together.

    Highlighted events for Fall 2018, past and present:

    • Pie the Professor (a fundraiser in which professors got a pie to the face; it was huge success. Comments from Professors:
      • “And once again thank you for doing this; events like this bring life to the campus and help create school spirit. You have my respect,” said Dr. Doherty.
      • “Thanks for the invite, it was a great show and Dr. D asked for more pies next time—LOL,” said Dr. Afolabi.
    • Breast Cancer Screening Clinic.
    • Taste of Home (potluck in which faculty and students come together to enjoy food from their home countries/culture).
    • Scholarship toward support of young STEM scholars here in St. Kitts.

    For more information, email ACSA president Kendra Obimah at

    American Medical Women's Association (AMWA)

    AMWA Logo UMHS AMWA: (left to right) Laura Mercedes, Katiushka Gulliani, Marilyn Perez, Nina Madjer, Alexa Datko, Emily Vazquez. Photo: Courtesy of UMHS AMWA

    Mission statement: The American Medical Women’s Association is an organization which functions at the local, national, and international level to advance women in medicine and improve women’s health.  We achieve this by providing and developing leadership, education, expertise, mentoring, strategic alliances, and advocating for gender equity in the medical community.

    Highlighted events for Fall 2018, past and present:

    • Blood Typing Lab, Nov. 12th
    • SKI Academy Sexual Health Seminar
    • Fundraising Holiday Bake Sale, Nov. 30th
    • UMHS vs RUSVM Soccer Classic (sponsors), Nov. 2nd

    Contact AMWA UMHS President Nina Madjer at or visit the Facebook page.

    UMHS AMSA: (left to right) Mohan Kumar, Jann Vale Hernandez, Sean Velavallil, Cochranlee Villanueva, Mariliz Davila, Shep Draytorn, Coraly Rivera Martinez, Nicole Winkelmann. Photo: Courtesy of AMSAAmerican Medical Students Association (AMSA)

    Mission statement: AMSA fosters a community of future physicians through education and advocacy.

    Highlighted events for Fall 2018, past and present:

    • September 25 - Cookie Sale
    • October 11- Intubation Lab
    • November 10- AMSA Health Fair and Clothing Drive with Ross Vet
    • November 13- AMSA Trauma Clinic

    Visit the UMHS AMSA Facebook page for more information or email president Sean Vellavallil at

    Because We Care (BWeC)

    BECAUSE WE CARE: (left to right) Ashley Oden, Ashley Carter, Sabrina Chacko, Nicole Barrios Rosario & Norman Zapata Rodriguez. Photo: Courtesy of Because We CareMission statement: Our club centers on three main pillars: Build – Widen – Connect. Build a relationship between the UMHS community and St. Kitts. Widen the impact of UMHS in St. Kitts by promoting healthy living and providing education on high-risk health topics. Connect UMHS students to volunteer opportunities to allow them to improve interpersonal skills while making a difference in the community. Our mission is to conduct events that promote health education and awareness in St. Kitts by engaging the community in outreach events. Our goal is to provide students with various opportunities to take part, while creating a positive impact in the community. We hope to help students build upon their interpersonal skills.

    Highlighted events: This semester we aren't focused on running too many events. Our main goal is to start making some relationships with external agencies. So far we are in contact with Lake Health and Wellbeing & Fit Wellness Center. With Lake Health and Wellbeing, we will be co-collaborating and co-organizing a women’s speaker series. The name is a work in progress but we're thinking “GirlTalk!”, which is going to be a three-set speaker series held at UMHS targeting locals; however, students will of course be welcome to attend. Our first topic is fibroids and will be held on March 9, 2019.

    • With FIT Wellness, we're actually meeting with him next week but he wants assistance with their National Weight Lost Campaign that is sent to launch shortly.
    • This semester we're just doing our 3 vs. 3 basketball game where we tried to get signatures for the Healthy Caribbean Coalition's petition for more money to help put healthier foods in schools while creating a new healthier food labelling system. We have Dr. Kaplan who will be giving a seminar after Block 2 and we will be having a Clinical Diagnostic Review which is a PD/CPR Refresher/Practice at the end of November.

    If you have anything you'd like to see happen, we're definitely a new club so we'd love ideas and feedback. This semester our goal was just to start making connections with other organizations and then find some potential volunteer positions for anyone interested etc.

     Because We Care basketball game. Photo: Courtesy of Because We CareThe “3 on 3” game had a good turnout and we've definitely received a lot of positive feedback. We've learned a lot and will be finishing the game after Halloween and we have a few more teams that want to play. We now know how to improve it so it should be a lot smoother sailing and organized at the next game.

    For more information, please contact Because We Care president Kirthana Sugunathevan at


    Med4You LogoMission statement: To learn and promote knowledge about health care systems diversity worldwide, assist disadvantaged communities and advocate for health care access as a human right.

    UMHS Med4You was started in 2016 by UMHS student Ariana Hernandez, and also became a student organization. Med4You has organized medical mission trips to Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and several to help bring relief and badly needed health care to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Med4You will be working with Dr. Angel Matos on the new UMHS Global Health Institute project.

    Image: Courtesy of Med4You

    Med4You has many fundraisers and events throughout the semester.

    Contact Med4You president David Rivera Vazquez at and like their Facebook page and visit the Med4You website

    UMHS Surgery Interest Group (UMHS-SIG)

    UMHS Surgery Interest Group logoMission statement: The purpose of the Surgery Interest Group (SIG) is to provide opportunities for students to supplement their educational experience through hands-on practical laboratories and clinics.  Exposure to the clinical side of medicine while in basic sciences enhances the students’ skill sets and permits better integration of medical concepts.  In addition, these activities give students the opportunity to enhance personal and professional relationships, develop leadership skills, and serve the school and local community.

    Highlighted events for Fall 2018, past and present:

    PRIOR EVENTS (September/October)

    Dr. Doherty's Interactive Radiology Seminar Part I and Part II

    Classic Introduction to Suturing Clinic with Dr. Afolabi

    UPCOMING EVENTS (November/December)

    UMHS Community Health Fair Clinic and Clothing Drive-Basseterre
    Comprehensive Anatomy Practical
    CSI Experience hosted by Dr. Doherty
    St. Christopher’s Children’s Home Visit
    Classic Advanced Suturing Clinic and Surgical Technique Demo
    PALS (Pediatrics Assistance League of St. Kitts) Fundraiser Bake Sale

    Join the Surgery Interest Group Facebook group or email the group’s president Deser’e Gitulli at for more information.

    Scuba Dive Club (SDC)

    UMHS SCUBA DIVE CLUB: (left to right) Ardelle Estoesta, Paola Mora & Alexa Datko. Photo: Courtesy of UMHS SDCMission Statement: We as a club want to have UMHS not just be a school for medicine, but to grow as a school that rounds a medical student’s character toward their surroundings. Being in the Caribbean, we have both the Atlantic & Pacific Ocean to view every single day, never realizing how much there is to explore around the island. Our goal as a club is to both have an escape for students from studying every day, as well as give an appreciation to 70% of the world not everyone gets to see. Each semester we have incorporated both the teachings of scuba diving as well as conservation in terms of the oceans that we take for granted. This semester we have trained in plenty of new divers, with more lessons to come, which comes to a huge advantage when it comes to residency applications in order to separate an applicant from other similar candidates.

    We have also set up cleanup dives with RUSVM in order to clean up the Catamaran area from all the plastic and debris that has been thrown overboard during trips. In order for students to find activities away from class, we have incorporated a lot of our events with RUSVM which includes:

    • Provide diving opportunities along with PADI certification training
    • Powderpuff football game at Sunfest
    • Clean-up dives & beach clean-ups in order to break the barrier between Veterinary students & UMHS students.
    • Co-Sponsor Block 2 Halloween Party at Spice Mill.

    With as much as our club surrounds conservation and stress relief, it takes a strong stance on full inclusion of everyone, no matter what their back story is. Since the SDC club was formed, many of our members have found joy in exploring the oceans around St. Kitts, and grown closer as a group, something we hope to continue to grow with in the future semesters.

    Contact UMHS Scuba Dive president Danny Obermiller at or join their Facebook page.

    STEPS Club

    UMHS STEPS: (left to right, back row) Rayshell Morales, Daniel Albarran, Carmen Sotomayor, Alexander Barcenet, Michael Garcia, Yanelle Ascencio, Karla Martinez & Katherine Carrero. Photo: Courtesy of STEPS

    Mission Statement: STEPS is a dance therapy club to provide a relaxing environment for the medical students at UMHS through dancing. This club is both for dancers and non-dancers who just want to de-stress after a week a studying and make connections with future colleagues.

    Highlighted events for Fall 2018, past and present:

    • We have the weekly salsa classes on Fridays.
    • Sunfest Dance Competition.
    • UMHS Got Talent.
    • Breast Cancer Awareness day.
    • School supplies donation to local children.

    Contact STEPS president Daniel Albarran at

    STEPS FOR BREAST CANCER AWARENESS: (left to right) Yanelle Ascencio, Rayshell Morales, Karla Martinez & Daniel Albarran. Photo: Courtesy of STEPS

    About UMHS:

    Built in the tradition of the best US universities, the University of Medicine and Health Sciences focuses on individual student attention, maintaining small class sizes and recruiting high-quality faculty. We call this unique approach, “personalized medical education,” and it’s what has led to our unprecedented 96% student retention rate, and outstanding residency placements across the US and Canada. UMHS is challenging everything you thought you knew about Caribbean medical schools.

    Posted by Scott Harrah

    Scott is Director of Digital Content at UMHS and editor of the UMHS Endeavour blog. When he's not writing about UMHS students, faculty, events, public health, alumni and UMHS research, he writes and edits Broadway theater reviews for a website he publishes in New York City,

    Topics: Featured Campus

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