OsteoCHAMPS welcomes high school students from across Michigan


High school students from 30 Michigan cities will spend a week learning about osteopathic medicine, making friends and networking while living on the Michigan State University campus, beginning Tuesday, June 20, as part of the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s annual OsteoCHAMPS program.

The residential summer program provides participants the opportunity not only to learn more about osteopathic medicine, but actually take part in academic curriculum in anatomy, biochemistry, Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM), a research project, writing, nursing simulation and clinical skills. OsteoCHAMPS also offers these high school students time get to know others and have fun – ice skating, participating in a scavenger hunt, visiting the MSU Dairy Store and attending “Dinner with the DOcs.”

Students in this summer’s OsteoCHAMPS – June 20-27 – will join the ranks of the more than 700 students from across the U.S. who successfully completed the program as of 2022 – the majority of those from the state of Michigan.

“The OsteoCHAMPS program provides interested high school students the opportunity to learn from practicing physicians and get a first-hand look at the world of osteopathic medicine,” explained Mollie Asiedu, director of K-12 Pathways programs within the college. “Students participate in hands-on learning experiences, such as OMM, biochemistry experiments, clinical skills and learn from current MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine faculty and students. Not only do students leave the program with knowledge of the medical field, but they also leave with an understanding of pathways to medical school and, of course, lifelong friendships.”

That is echoed by former OsteoCHAMPS attendee, Srishti Gowda, now a junior at MSU majoring in psychology and serving as a Tutor Counselor (TC) in this summer’s program. The Troy, Mich., resident, encourages attendees to take advantage of the time and connect with other students, TCs and physicians in the program, ask questions and be engaged, but also have fun.
“Form good relationships with TCs,” she said, explaining it is important. In fact, in 2020 when Gowda virtually attended the program due to COVID, the relationship she built with her TC became extremely valuable later when she was applying to be a student at MSU. “I reached out to her to chat and with questions because I was going into OMSP (Osteopathic Medical Scholars Program). She gave me so much advice about classes, residence halls and clubs. She even helped me make my schedule.”

Just having someone your own age to ask questions of is helpful, Gowda said, adding, “That relationship made me want to become a TC myself.”

Gowda’s experience in OsteoCHAMPS led her to OMSP, which gives MSU undergraduate students opportunities to explore health care, osteopathic medicine and the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine while in their undergraduate degree program. More than half of students who attend OsteoCHAMPS go on to participate in OMSP, a program that continues to foster their interest and skill sets to prepare them for medical school, and over 90% of OMSP students go on to matriculate into the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM).

Yashh Rajjput, also a member of OMSP and one of this year’s OsteoCHAMPS TCs, said the OMSP program helped him to develop a deep understanding of osteopathic medicine and after “learning the five principles of osteopathic medicine, which involves the holistic view of the patient, the ability for self-regulation by the body, the relationship between function and structure, and the musculoskeletal system,” he wanted to help pass on these principles to those high school students participating in the OsteoCHAMPS program.

“I wish to help develop osteopathic principles in the younger generation so they can be the best healthcare provider possible and reach their full potential in this field,” said Rajjput, a Rochester, Mich., resident. His suggestion for participants is to “always stay open-minded and ready to learn.”

Aya Abu-Zama, this year’s OsteoCHAMPS lead TC, gives similar advice to program participants, along with ensuring to also have fun.

“OsteoCHAMPS will provide moments that will inspire and challenge you, as well as surround you with motivated peers, incredible TCs and MSUCOM faculty and staff who will help you grow along the way,” Abu-Zama said. “Each person here is excited to get to know you and truly wants you to succeed, so take advantage of those opportunities and connections, even well after the end of OsteoCHAMPS!”

Even after the summer program, students who participate in OsteoCHAMPS continue to receive support from the college’s staff. OsteoCHAMPS is open to high school sophomores and juniors with an interest in health care. Scholarships are available for the summer program.
“As an administrator, seeing the lightbulb go off when students realize that being a D.O. is (the right profession) for them is a wonderful feeling,” Asiedu said. “Then fast-forwarding to four or five years later when we see these students at our MSUCOM orientation and wearing their white coat…Seeing the evolution from an interested high school student to medical student, and then practicing physician is an experience that is hard to put in words!”