Katie Eggerman always knew a health care career was her destiny. “I was one of those three-year-olds,” says the second-year osteopathic medical student. That drove in part her seeking, as an undergraduate at the University of Missouri, both membership and leadership in BACCHUS, a university- and community-based network of 38,000 students focusing on their comprehensive health and safety through peer education and advocacy. She was elected by her peers to serve on the organization’s student advisory committee in 2007-08; the following year, she was elected to serve as one of two student members on the BACCHUS Board of Trustees.
“I like the opportunity to represent students,” she says. Her drive to advocate for students made her a natural to seek a leadership role with the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA): In October, Eggerman was elected a trustee for SOMA Region III, which represents the organization’s chapters at seven osteopathic schools in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. She’ll begin her term in March.
“SOMA introduces you to the osteopathic profession. It’s the students’ steppingstone to the American Osteopathic Association, which will be our home for the rest of our careers,” she says. “I’m excited to make sure SOMA stays strong at DMU; it’s really important for students. And we’re talking up D.O. Day on the Hill next March, as we hope to get more DMU students to go.”
Eggerman’s trustee duties include communicating with and helping SOMA chapters in the region with activities such as membership recruitment, programming and fundraising. She also wants to foster effective relationships between SOMA members and student government leaders at each school. “These students often go to the same conferences,” she notes. “Here at DMU, we all get along, but that’s not the case at all schools. There’s so much we can do without turf fights.”
When students join SOMA, they receive Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy with their paid membership. That’s a “great perq,” Eggerman says, but SOMA offers much more.
“SOMA has so many opportunities for student leadership,” she notes. “We have great people in our region. You automatically have this connection, a sort of extended family of cousins. We learn from each other.”