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Common Questions

While we have frequently asked questions about finding clinical, research, and other pre-professional experiences, Native American/Indigenous students at Northwestern have questions about how their racial identities impact their striving toward futures in a health profession. What follows are some questions you might have on different points of your journey towards a career in the health professions.

How can I connect with other Native American/Indigenous pre-health undergraduates at Northwestern?

Whether you are on-campus or studying remotely off-campus, joining a Registered Student Organizations (RSO) at Northwestern can help you build a network of peers sharing some of your interests, affinities, values, or professional goals. For example, the Minority Association of Pre-Med Students at Northwestern (MAPS) welcomes Native American/Indigenous students preparing for a career in medicine.

To assist your search for a RSO, we have aggregated some RSOs here. To expand your search to include a complete list of student organizations visit the Wildcat Connections page.

In addition to on-campus organizations, there are numerous professional and support organizations off-campus which welcome undergraduate students. Many of these health professions-focused organizations offer student memberships and programs, workshops, scholarships, internships, and fellowships. For more information, visit the Resources page.

How can I network with Native American/Indigenous students already studying in medical school or other health professions programs?

You can contact the medical school/health professions programs’ Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) directly to let them know that you are interested in their program and what the best way is to be connected with a Native American/Indigenous student enrolled in your program of interest. For pre-med students, the AAMC Diversity and Inclusion Information report lists all of the MD ODI offices and contacts for allopathic medical schools.

The Association of Native American/Indigenous Medical Students (ANAMS) also provides support and a resource network for all Native American/Indigenous peoples currently enrolled in health professional schools and strive to increase the number of Native American/Indigenous students in medicine. The Feinberg ANAMS chapter strongly encourages students to reach out and connect.

Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine Office of Diversity & Inclusion (ODI) website welcomes prospective Native American/Indigenous students and can share many resources.

Your HPA advisor may also be able to help, as we keep in touch with alumni, many of whom have agreed to serve as a resource for undergraduates. For more information about contacting or meeting with your advisor, visit our Get Advising webpage.

How can I connect with Native American/Indigenous professionals in various health professions?

The Northwestern Network Mentorship Program invites degree-seeking students to connect with alumni in various career fields, including the health professions. You can access these resources by creating a Mentee profile and searching the Mentorship Program database. Search filters allow mentees to perform combined searches to include the industry (e.g., Dental, Healthcare Services, Medical, Veterinary) and identities of the mentor, including Race and Ethnicity, Sexual Orientation, and First Generation status.

These connections can provide valuable support and guidance to student and alumni mentees as they navigate their careers, explore new career paths, or consider graduate school. For more information, visit the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program website.

The Northwestern Network also offers the Externship Program (NEXT). This is a shadowing program offering current Northwestern students the opportunity to accompany alumni on the job to learn more about a variety of professional fields. For more information, visit the NEXT Program website.

How is my Native American/Indigenous identity relevant to my application to health professions programs?

Each student’s application to a health profession program typically requires sharing information on their relevant clinical and non-clinical work, volunteer experiences, research, etc., a personal statement, and supplemental school specific essays. When completing your application materials consider if and how your identity/identities have shaped your choices, values, interests, or motivation toward your chosen profession or program. For some applicants, the personal statement can be a wonderful way to share your unique journey with the reviewers. Those admissions representatives take a holistic view of each applicant and are interested in each student’s unique journey, including the obstacles you have overcome and the opportunities you have explored, which may or may not be connected to your identity. Your identity, along with your cultural values and beliefs inform the ways you experience life, see the world, and develop interests. The schools you apply to will want to hear that voice.

How will schools consider my identity/identities as part of my application?

How a school uses the information you share about your identities will vary. Depending upon the state, some schools are restricted by law to not include identity (particularly race and ethnicity) in their admission considerations. Other schools may limit their considerations of identity to race and ethnicity in the admission process as they work to craft a diverse class of students. Each school or program will have its own unique history and culture, and will take a holistic view of each applicant to consider their admission.

Additionally, some schools will use racial identity disclosures to connect applicants with opportunities at their institution which may include the chance to meet current Native American/Indigenous students, students and faculty of color, or attend events centering the experiences of under-represented participants.

What resources are available to me as a Native American/Indigenous applicant?

As you go through the application process, there are several resources that may be helpful. Consider the following:
  • Some associations offer additional support for students of color and other minoritized applicants. For example, for pre-medical applicants to allopathic medical programs, the Medical Minority Applicant Registry (Med-MAR) enhances admission opportunities for students from groups historically underrepresented in medicine. This service shares your basic biographical information and your MCAT scores to the minority affairs and admissions offices of AAMC-member schools and to select health-related agencies whose mission is to increase opportunities for students historically underrepresented in medicine.
  • Student Groups – Most health profession schools will have on-campus Native American/Indigenous student affinity groups. Reaching out to the leaders of these groups could be another way to get a similarly identified student’s perspective on the school’s culture, inclusiveness, and your fit in the program and where the school is located.
  • Interview Day Hosts – For students with an interview offer, many schools provide the opportunity to connect or stay with a current student during your interview visit. When offering this opportunity, some schools will ask applicants if they would like to be hosted by a similarly identified student. If a school where you are interviewing offers the chance to connect, this could be another chance to get relevant perspective from a current student.
  • Diversity & Inclusion Offices – Health profession schools increasingly have an office within them dedicated to diversity and inclusion. These offices are a good place to look for programs, initiatives, and resources aimed at supporting Native American/Indigenous students.
  • Undergraduate Resources – If your undergraduate institution has an office or an individual that works with Native American/Indigenous students, they may be good additional support as you navigate the medical school or other health professions application process. Northwestern students should connect with Multicultural Student Affairs for more information.
  • Previous Applicants – If you know a previous Native American/Indigenous applicant or can connect with one through friends, they could likely provide insight based on their experiences and on the school they attend. Your health professions advisor may be able to connect you with a Native American/Indigenous alumnus of your institution who is currently in a health profession program and is willing to talk to current applicants about their experiences. Tip: Consider seeking out students that share your specific identities and also students with different identities; hearing multiple different perspectives is important.
  • National Organizations – Professional organizations may have resources for undergraduate students as well as students already enrolled in a health professions program. For more information, take a look at our Professional & Support Organizations page. 

Are there any resources at Feinberg School of Medicine for Native American/Indigenous undergraduate students?

Our colleagues at Feinberg have shared the following resources for pre-health students who are looking to connect with health professionals (students, trainees, and faculty). For more information, visit the:

View additional FAQs about finding experiences within the health field.