‘AHmong Us’ encourages Hmong students to go into the medical field

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 7:13 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Hmong community makes up 12% of Wausau’s population, but Hmong health professionals are underrepresented. A program called AHmong Us is trying to solve that issue by giving students the training they need.

Ten high school students got hands-on preparation and mentoring for medical school.

“I really wish I’d have had this kind of an opportunity when I was a kid,” said Andrew Sepiol, a 2nd-year medical student at Medical College of Wisconsin Central Wisconsin.

Sepiol worked directly with the group of students. He said he has a passion for helping Hmong students who want to enter the medical field.

“Certain medical schools will make it more difficult for people of certain races that are quote over-represented in medicine. So Asians are typically listed as over-represented in medicine, but people that are of Hmong descent are also listed as Asians. There are not too many Hmong physicians,” said Sepiol.

For many, the thought of medical school can be daunting.

“I hear the Hmong students telling me that ‘I’m intimidated to apply’ even to the AMP program just because they feel like its a lot of commitment and they feel that way because they don’t know anyone who’s gone through the processes,” said Sheng Khang, Education Outreach Coordinator.

That’s why building connections is an important aspect of the program.

“Having someone humanize the process would have helped me so much just to start earlier and build my confidence,” said Sepiol.

“I think this program itself is just a confidence booster. We’re here to help these students understand that they can do whatever they put their mind to. And that they can be just like these leaders and professionals that we are bringing in,” said Maysee Lao, Middle School Program Mentor.

The first session of the program was so successful they are taking in another 10 students. Recruitment has already started. Please email shengkx1@gmail.com if you’d like the application. For this session, all underrepresented populations are welcome to apply.

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