It was an exciting time for Seton Hall University and Hackensack Meridian Health in July 2018 when the Interprofessional Health Science Campus (IHSC) welcomed its first group of students. This campus, which is located in Nutley, NJ, is home to the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, and the Seton Hall School of Health & Medical Sciences and the College of Nursing. There's no better way to establish a strong and effective healthcare team than by integrating the future of care together as they learn their respected professions.
The curriculums seek collaboration whenever it is possible, but this is not always so easy. The formation of the IHSC ideally sought to promote unity between all the students, both in the learning and social settings, but one thing all the students here have in common is that their programs are vigorous. This created a dilemma: how can these students get connected while all being devoted to their studies?
The answer to this problem arose in the Fall 2019 semester with the emergence of the IHSC Student Council, a group of students who promote the vision of the campus, which is to unite all these aspiring health professionals together to create cohesiveness for the future of healthcare. The council consists of two students from each of the three schools, all with equal representation from each program.
Currently, the School of Medicine is represented by Nicholas Cozzarelli and Erica Braun, the School of Health & Medical Sciences is represented by Luisa Rinaudo and Shea Oryniak, and the College of Nursing is represented by Haydy Shalaby and Claudia Martins. The council is overseen by the IHSC Director of Student Life, Kelly Freeman. The students on the council all are excelling in their programs while diligently establishing an engaging and lively student experience through events, tabling in the café, celebratory and informative posters throughout the campus, and by overseeing all IHSC Student Organizations.
The events that occur throughout the campus range in their scope from interdisciplinary to community building to wellness to giving back and much more. Highlighting a few events, the IHSC student council helped to provide essential feedback and guidance as IHSC Student Life through the direction of Kelly Freeman, provided celebrations of diversity, wellness events such as our very popular aromatherapy spritzers, opportunities to give back through bone marrow donor drives and blood drives, and celebrations for Halloween, Valentines Day, and most notably Christmas, with a week-long celebration for the IHSC campus.
The council anticipated having their first-ever large social event in May 2020, but due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the event had to be postponed. However, the student life at the IHSC has not diminished throughout remote learning, but instead, it has flourished. The adaptability of the event planning at the IHSC was displayed tremendously because the many virtual events that occurred were relevant and important in the context of the world situation, particularly the COVID Ethics series, co-sponsored by IHS Bioethics, IHS Student Life, and the IHS Library.
Part of forming a new student organization like the IHSC Student Council is to make sure it is sustainable after the fact that the existing members move on. The current council formed the group constitution and rules and regulations for any IHSC Student Organization so that the future of the group is organized and continues to make progress from the groundwork laid out by the founding members. The IHSC Student Council is set in place for as long as the IHSC is there!
Moving forward, the IHSC Student Council looks forward to the time when all the programs can be on campus together, and that larger events can take place to make the learning environment even livelier than it already is. Although the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine is officially independent and technically separated from Seton Hall University, the two institutions are still under the same roof and will continue to have a strong affiliation and collaborate throughout the campus. Thanks to the IHSC Student Council, the progress towards making a better and more cohesive future for healthcare will continue onward!
If you are an IHSC Student and are interested in applying to the IHSC Student Council for the 2020-2021 year, please email Kelly Freeman at Kelly.firstname.lastname@example.org.