Mercer University’s chapter of HOSA, a national organization run by and for students interested in pursuing careers in the health professions, won several first-place awards at the organization’s State Leadership Conference health care competition held March 4-6.
Executive members of the organization include Arsha Moorthy, freshman biochemistry and molecular biology major and reporter for the chapter, and Emma McDaniel, sophomore public health major and president-elect of the chapter.
Each year, Georgia HOSA hosts the State Leadership Conference that features health care workshops and career seminars to familiarize its members with real-world application of what they are learning in the classroom.
The health care competition is a featured event that challenges students to put their medical knowledge and skills to the test. HOSA members can compete in more than 20 medical related categories, such as CPR training, clinical nursing and more.
Moorthy competed in the medical terminology category.
“It’s knowing the terms and the Latin root words. I went to a med school website and memorized all their medical terms from A to Z,” Moorthy said. “I probably did a lot more than I should’ve.”
McDaniel participated in the medical innovation category, where students conceptualize a device to solve a current health care issue.
“I came up with a device that you place in a spinal cord to eliminate spinal cord injuries,” McDaniel said. “There’s a lot of brainstorming to figure out how the device is going to work and come up with a final prototype and poster to present.”
As a result of the Mercer team winning first place in several categories, the chapter will compete in HOSA’s international competition, held virtually June 23-26.
“We were pretty excited,” McDaniel said. “Hopefully the international competition will be a little bit tougher, so we can compete and continue the streak.”
Mercer’s College of Pharmacy was also present at the conference to host a workshop about pharmacy protocols and provide general information about the school.
“We went to their workshop to show our support for the Mercer pharmacy school, and there were a lot of people there to ask questions about Mercer,” McDaniel said. “It helped the school get recognition and potential applicants.”
Mercer HOSA was asked by the state chapter to host a virtual Q&A with more than 600 members present. Mercer holds the only collegiate chapter in Georgia, with the statewide organization primarily composed of high school membership.
“The vice president of the state executive board reached out through Instagram and asked if we could participate in the event,” Moorthy said. “I think the main goal was to see how HOSA works at the college level.”
Although the Mercer HOSA chapter has been active for only two years, it already is experiencing exponential growth in membership due in large part to hosting engaging events.
“We’re definitely trying to expand our impact on Mercer’s campus, and with COVID, it’s interesting to grow a brand new student org,” McDaniel said. “We didn’t really get to recruit, and we’re hoping next year we can and do more service opportunities with local health centers.”
One service opportunity in particular that HOSA was able to host recently was a blood drive in January.
“That was really rewarding to see people from the community and Mercer students participate,” McDaniel said.
Moorthy believes the Mercer community should be excited about HOSA due to what the organization can offer to students interested in any medical profession.
“We’ve seen it manifested that health is so important,” she said. “Mercer HOSA gives that opportunity for students to start early in their career while having people that share a common interest in the sciences and the medical field come together. We’re making strides and showcasing our HOSA Bears.”