In keeping up with healthy new-year resolutions, Saint Louis University’s Alpha Epsilon Delta organization will host a pre-health conference on Feb. 8 for the St. Louis community.
The conference, an all-day event, is themed “The Changing Landscape of Healthcare” and will focus on the current needs of the U.S. healthcare system. It is the largest event that AED hosts throughout the school year and will be their second annual pre-health conference.
“We are using this conference to highlight the great strides certain organizations or people have made to the betterment of our community,” said Tiffany Chen, Vice President of AED’s Public Relations. “At the same time, we will be discussing issues that have yet to be resolved.”
SLU’s AED organization is centered on pre-professional health education and providing students with a forum to develop these common health-related interests. They have been preparing for this conference since November and, despite some budgeting and speaker-confirmation issues, the process has been a reportedly smooth one. AED reached out to pre-health representatives from surrounding universities as well as advertised through many SLU outlets. The organization hopes to have at least 200 people in attendance, including faculty and staff members and students from universities such as Wash U, Mizzou, and Harris Stowe.
Last year’s conference, with about 120 participants, was held in April and themed “Health for All.” It consisted of over 20 different sessions and the group found that this created conflicts in attendance, as participants had to choose between simultaneous sessions. This year, AED has modified the event’s structure and looks to have 10 sessions throughout the whole conference. They assure that a wide-range of topics will still be offered.
“We are very excited for the speakers we have invited, and hope they will elucidate the sometimes confusing world of healthcare,” stated AED President Shelby Lee. “In addition, this conference has something for everyone. It is a chance to broaden your understanding of the changing landscape of healthcare and have a little fun while doing so.”
Keynote speakers for the conference will touch on everything from the importance of a healthy lifestyle to genetic counseling and risk testing. There will also be a panel of speakers discussing medical malpractice cases and a medical student panel to answer audience questions. For more hands-on activities, participants can learn self-defense from the St. Louis Combat Institute, take a Zumba class from Simon Recreation Center representatives or even practice stitching up a fake piece of skin during a suturing lab. Attendees can partake in the entire conference, which is free, or just pick and choose which sessions they wish to attend. Many of this year’s sessions will focus on the future of healthcare and educating participants on critical aspects of the healthcare field. Others hope to facilitate discussions about healthy lifestyles.
“AED is hoping we can spread health awareness through this conference,” said Chen. “With each individual session we hope to address some pressing issues we may have as pre-health students, as professionals in our future careers and within our communities.”
AED also hosts a number of blood drives throughout the year and each member participates in at least 15 hours of medically-related community service.