UC Med Students Mentor Public School Children
Published December 2003
Med Mentors spend free time with area students
UC Med Mentors is a group of over 85 UC College of
Medicine students who have committed themselves to be mentors to
Cincinnati Public School students (K - 12) on a one-to-one relationship
for the 4 years that they are here at medical school. The medical
students are asked to connect with the younger students they mentor at
least once a week and share their lives with these students. They
strive to enrich the lives of those they mentor by engaging the
children in cultural, athletic, and academic activities. Med Mentors is
the only medical student group that is totally community service
oriented and that has such a large membership. UC Med Mentors recently
received a $1,000 grant from the Charles H. Dater Foundation to fund
some of the activities of the medical student mentors with their
While the mentors are the heart of the program, many
give credit to their faculty liaison Wan Lim, PhD, for the program's
"She rejuvenated and re-energized the program," said
David May, mentor and third year medical student. "Her enthusiasm
rallies students. Dr. Lim recruits funds, coupons, ideas, and even
computers to be given to mentees. If a club will only be as successful
as its leader, then this service club is going places."
Med Mentors is a flexible organization that allows for
students to arrange tutoring or activities for any age at any school
with any time commitment.
"Tutoring provides maximum rewards for a small time
commitment," said May. "Four to six hours spread over a month is enough
to develop connections and relationships with students and faculty. I
chose to tutor in my neighborhood at Clifton Elementary School. I see
my student in the community while they are buying groceries, having an
ice cream, or just hanging out with friends. That sense of community
outside medical school has been invaluable for me, as I am four hours
from my family."
Although medical school is a busy time, May adds that the reward far outweighs the time commitment.
"Tutoring 7th and 8th graders is rewarding for me,"
said May. "They are dealing with proficiencies (as are just about all
grade levels in Ohio, it seems). They are also considering which high
school to attend, which is one of their first major decisions. Many
tutoring sessions are spent with books closed. Listening to them talk
through thought processes and decision-making rationale boosts their
confidence. We all need someone to listen to us once in a while."
Fourth-year medical student James Paxton said becoming a mentor was one of the best decisions he has made.
"I have been involved in the UC Med Mentor Program for
about a year now, and consider my decision to become a mentor one of
the best decisions that I have made since entering medical school",
said Paxton. "Third-year medical students don't have a lot of time to
socialize, and it's easy to lose touch with humanity outside of the
patients that we treat. Spending time with my mentee, whether playing
arcade games or learning to roller-skate again, is a welcome break from
focusing on charts, lectures and examinations. It's a chance to relax
and 'be a kid again' for a few hours each week. More than that, it's a
chance to interact with someone who I know appreciates the time that I
am spending with him."
Many of the student volunteers have as much fun during their one-on-one time as their mentee.
"Yesterday I went to the Newport Aquarium with my
mentee," said second-year medical student Laura Lehman. "I loved
watching her face change as we went from tank to tank. This was her
first time seeing large turtles and fish. When we got to the shark tank
she could not take her eyes off the sharks as they swam around us. I
believe this experience meant a lot to her. She was able to forget
about her family and medical problems for an afternoon and just be a
To donate funds, used computers, tickets to a game,
movie, a museum, musical performance, or any other recreational event,
or for more information about the UC Med Mentors, call Wan Lim, PhD, at
558-7659 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.