What is the PPA?

PPA is a pre-health organization on SIUC campus. If you are interested in a health career, PPA is something you should seriously consider joining. PPA is here to inform, guide, educate assist and support those students whose career goals lie within the health community. We have around 50 members per year and 10 officers. The sponsors of PPA are the pre-health advisors in the College of Science, Gail Robinson (grobin@siu.edu) and Dawn Grisley (grisley@siu.edu). We have meetings every other Wednesday in LSIII Auditorium (Room 1059) at 6:00pm.

How do I join PPA?

All you have to do is pay a membership fee of $20. This only has to be paid once a year but is the same amount regardless if you pay in the fall or spring semester. This can be paid at any of the meetings or you can make arrangements to pay through one of the officers, preferably the treasurer.

Why should I attend the meetings?

If you can, you should make every effort to attend every PPA meeting possible. There are valuable announcements at meetings. We are always giving out information on extra-curricular activities, volunteer possibilities, fundraising, trips, tutoring and many other things. There are also speakers of various health professions that talk about what they do. We bring speakers to you and all you have to do is ask them if you can shadow them and any other questions you may have. In addition to this, you never know when we may have free food! If you want to stay on top of things – you need to come to the meetings.

What is all of the talk about trips?

Every year, PPA goes on sponsored trips. We have toured the SIU medical school in Springfield, and also toured the dental schools in Alton and Chicago (SIU and U of I). Last year, we traveled to the Pre-Health Day at the UIC campus in Chicago, (in other years, Champaign-Urbana). We stayed overnight and attended the informative conference the next day, which included various health professions admission officers workshops and professional school student panels for medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, etc.

Why should I help with fundraising?

We pay for various events, such as our trips, through fundraising activities. Without your help, we would have no trips or food or many of the activities we talk about during the meetings. Besides, fundraising can be fun! Some of the things we are doing involve running a concession stand at the SIU basketball games, trying to roller-skate and make fools of ourselves at Sonic, and selling PPA T-shirts. It’s really not that bad and is a good way to start making new friends and building a resume. Remember – Health Professional Schools like to see this kind of involvement throughout all of your college years.

When do I need to start volunteering and shadowing different people?

You need to start this right away!! Every professional school that you apply to will want to know what you did every year – even your freshman year. If you didn’t do anything – it may look very unfavorable. Someone with the same grade point average and MCAT/DAT/OAT scores or maybe even lower scores, may be accepted instead if you don’t get out and find out what you are really getting yourself into. It is very important to start volunteering and to stick with something for a long period of time.

You also need to shadow health professionals. You should make sure that what you are going to school for is really what you would be happy doing in life. Shadow as many people as you can and as many professions as you can – even your freshman year. Even if you want to become a doctor – shadow a dentist. Why? Because you need to make sure that dentistry is not for you and vice versa. Shadow optometrists, physician assistants, podiatrists, chiropractors, family doctors, emergency room doctors, surgeons – everyone that you can. Find out about their lifestyle and working hours. Once you find one or two professions that you REALLY like, then start shadowing different people within that profession.

PPA can provide you a great deal of in formation regarding volunteering and shadowing. Just come to a meeting and ask one of the officers to find out what PPA is doing.