Demi Elrod wants to be a doctor so she can help people, and she chose UMKC so she could streamline her education through the six-year B.A/M.D. program. While she recognizes the challenges – the level of intensity and the fast-paced nature of the program – she likes that she will be finished in six years instead of eight. The accelerated program has helped Elrod improve the way she works and make meaningful connections.
“The course load has taught me a lot about how to prioritize my tasks and manage my time,” she says. “And another advantage is the mentoring that is available. Throughout the program I will receive guidance and counseling by my docent, who is a doctor within the School of Medicine.”
Since entering college, Elrod has discovered that she is interested in infectious disease and microbiology.
“Since the pandemic began, I have learned a lot about COVID-19 and the vaccine in my classes and during my experiences as a volunteer vaccinator,” she says. These experiences and lessons have shown me how interesting infectious disease is, and how I can serve my community to aid in the pandemic.”
Elrod has participated in vaccination events in underserved communities in conjunction with Our Healthy Eastside Kansas City (OHKCE), a community-wide initiative that promotes and delivers COVID-19 vaccinations and other health services to residents on the east side of Kansas City. While the events are geared toward providing COVID-19 vaccinations and information related to the virus, they also offer other health services such as pre-diabetic and blood pressure screenings.
She says working at the vaccination events has been an unforgettable experience that’s helped solidify her choice to practice medicine.
“It’s shown me a lot about how important medicine is, and how important it is to bridge the gap between community and medical services. The message of OHEKC is, ‘You don’t have to come to us – we can come to you to help.’ Getting that message out builds trust between the community and health care providers.”
Elrod says attending medical school and the experiences it has provided have inspired her to be intellectually curious about the world around her.
“Over the past year and a half, I have learned so much about the world of science and medicine. I cannot wait to learn even more in the upcoming years.”
MORE ABOUT DEMI
Are you a first-generation college student?
Yes, I am a first-generation college student. To me, it’s an achievement for me and my family to pursue my dreams and become the first college graduate and doctor in the family.
What do you admire most at UMKC and why?
One thing I admire the most about UMKC is its diversity. There is a vast, rich variety of other cultures and ways of life that I had not been exposed to in my hometown. I enjoy learning about other cultures and am thankful to my friends who have taken the time to show and educate me about their culture.
What other extracurricular activities are you involved in at UMKC?
I am involved as a First Gen Roo Peer Mentor and a member of the Students in Training, in Academia, Health and Research (STAHR) program. As a First Gen Roo Peer mentor, I provide guidance to other first-generation students by helping them learn to navigate and succeed in their first semester of college.
As a member of the STAHR program, I attend workshops and receive mentorship from other medical professionals on how to be the best student I can be in medical school. I am also involved as a member of the American Women’s Medical Association and the Surgical Interest group.
What is one word that best describes you and why?
Resilient. In my life, I have been presented with many personal and academic challenges. I think that my ability to not only adapt and succeed in these challenges, but also learn from them is what has led me down the path I am on today.
What’s your favorite social media channel and why?
My favorite social medical channel is TikTok because I love how it can give you vast amounts of information in such short periods of time. TikTok has taught me many things about cooking, painting, applying to scholarships, note taking, and many more useful things I can use in my day-to-day life as a college student.
What’s your favorite spot to eat in Kansas City?
My favorite spot to eat in Kansas City is Jerusalem Café in Westport. They have amazing food and it’s a spot that holds many happy memories of me and my friends.
Where’s your favorite spot to hang out in Kansas City?
My favorite spot to hang out in Kansas City is the Riverside Market! My friends and I love to check out all of the cool vendors, get produce, pick out flower bouquets and eat at the fantastic restaurants there.
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
My favorite spot on campus is the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise and Research Center. It is my favorite spot to study with my friends because it has a lot of open tables and comfy seating areas.