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Caduceus Club Molds Next Generation of Healthcare Professionals

Members of the Caduceus Club tabling at an event

The Caduceus Club is molding the next generation of healthcare professionals. Emphasizing the necessity of supporting one another through the journey to medical school, the club provides resources for students to rise to their full potential.

Raishma Anwar, sophomore and president of Caduceus Club, reflects on the collaborative nature of the club.

“If you have people you can rely on, your chances of succeeding are better.”

The Caduceus Club has provided members opportunities to engage in healthcare volunteering by inviting hospice organizations and public health programs like Get Onboard Active Living and the Indiana State Department of Health to speak to the club.

“There is a huge amount of people in our club,” Anwar says, “it would be a disservice if we didn’t use them and our resources to help the greater community.”

Members of the Caduceus Club practicing dentistryCaduceus Club volunteers with nonprofit health organizations such as Be the Match, which connects patients with marrow or blood stem cell donor matches, and Versiti Blood Center. The club is also active in efforts to address food insecurity through partnerships with Food Finders Food Bank and ACE Campus Food Pantry. Volunteer opportunities like these provide members not only with better perspective on the community around them but are also great learning opportunities.

The club also travels twice internationally to assist medically underserved patients in rural areas in Mexico and Costa Rica. These volunteering initiatives have bettered the community around Purdue, Tippecanoe County and outside the United States through the combined efforts of the club members.

“A lot of students striving to be medical professionals occasionally get tunnel vision with their goals,” Carl Russell, graduating senior and former president says.

“Offering perspectives through helping different organizations can show how students can apply their efforts to do something good and altruistic.”

Initially, the Caduceus Club set their goal for service hours at 500 hours for the school year, but after surpassing that goal first semester, they increased their goal to 1000 hours. At the end of the second semester, they attained a total of 1440 community service hours. For their dedication, the club won the Dean Betty Nelson Service Award which honors organizations that excel in community service. Community service bridges the gap between students and society and cultivates a connection that will help future doctors navigate patients with care and understanding.

“As a person going into medicine, you need to understand the population you will be serving,” Anwar says.

Members of the Caduceus Club practicing an ultra sound

In addition to the surrounding community, the club has provided several resources to students interested in medical training through the club. The club now provides a large graduate school test preparation library, thousands of dollars of scholarships for students in need, shadowing programs, over 50 graduate school visits, countless clinical skills sessions, free medical education resources and medical certification training.

“We are implementing extra knowledge beyond the normal checkbox for medical school,” Russell says, “We want to build the club members’ extracurricular skillsets and knowledge bases.”

The Caduceus Club continues to expand their resources and experiences provided to members not just to get into medical school, but to become the future of medicine. The impact that the Caduceus Club has had on students, Purdue, and the community beyond has been recognized by the Student Organization Year of Excellence Award. This prestigious award is a lifetime achievement that is presented to organizations for outstanding leadership and service.

Caduceus Club members receiving the Student Organization of the year awardSpeaking on this accomplishment, Russell says, “We are really proud to have achieved that. It was a great capstone to an amazing year working with awesome people.”

Anwar praises the efforts of their club advisor, Stephanie Gardner, associate professor of biological science, knowing that the club faces a lot of its success due to her hard efforts.

"She has a wealth of wisdom, and when we run into issues, we go to her,” Anwar says.

“She’s always pushing for initiatives like extracurricular values and current issues with the healthcare system.”

Looking ahead, Anwar plans on continuing her hard work and getting into medical school. Though she is not entirely sure where she wants to go, she knows that she is pursuing her passions and is excited to find out where the journey leads her.

Russell has committed to attend the Indiana University / Purdue University MedicalScientist Training Program (MD/PhD). He will receive his medical training at the IUSchool of Medicine while pursuing research through the Purdue University Biomedical Engineering PhD curriculum. Though he is sad to leave the Caduceus Club behind, he looks forward to seeing the expanding network of professionals and resources at the club’s fingertips.

For any students interested in medical school and healthcare, Anwar and Russell highly recommend getting involved.

“I started my involvement in Caduceus Club my freshman year,” Anwar says.

“It was very clear everyone was passionate in what they were doing, and they still are today. It is a great organization to be involved in.”

To get involved with the Caduceus Club, visit their website and fill out the interest Google form. For updates, make sure to join their GroupMe.

Members of the Caduceus Club

Written by: Hannah Williamson, Writing and Communications Intern, Student Life Marketing