A new student organization has formed at Burrell College, which is uniquely focused on the medically underserved communities of Eastern New Mexico. The Eastern New Mexico Youth Medical Explorers (ENMYME) was established in Fall 2021, and after much planning and coordinating held their first events this January. The mission of the ENMYME is to advance access to healthcare and health-related education in the Eastern New Mexico region. “One thing we noticed when we first started rotations here is that so many patients have to travel to Lubbock, El Paso, Albuquerque, or Cruces to see specialists and get routine care,” says Yunis Tekin, OMS-III medical student and president of ENMYME. “Communities in ENM face a severe shortage of physicians and healthcare professionals.”

ENMYME is comprised of third and fourth-year medical students currently completing their clinical rotations at our Eastern New Mexico Regional Academic Center, which includes the cities of Artesia, Carlsbad, Clovis, Hobbs, Lovington, and Roswell. All Burrell medical students currently studying at the Eastern New Mexico RAC are members of ENMYME, led by president and founder Yunus Tekin, vice president Kenton McCosh, and community outreach director Boris Yushuvayev.

Although only established a short while ago, the ENMYME has already coordinated two high school outreach events, the first held on January 7th at Roswell High School. There, medical students met with over fifty high school students to teach them some basic medical training as well as provide mentorship and guidance about their future goals. The chief executive officer of New Mexico Medical Center, Warren Yehl, was also in attendance as a special guest speaker. “The students of Burrell excelled in the organization and implementation of this event,” recounts Dr. Elia Charbel Abboud, MD, a Colorectal & General Surgeon at ENM Medical Center and Clinical Assistant Professor at Burrell College. “I saw great promise in their motivation and dedication to inspire the next generation of healthcare workers. I enjoyed helping them at the surgical station, and look forward to more events in the future.”

One week later, the ENMYME attended Goddard High School, also in Roswell New Mexico, and shared information and guidance to even more high school students. Buddy Daniels, the CEO of Lovelace Regional Hospital served as the guest speaker.  “The students at both Roswell and Goddard HS are incredibly talented and driven,” says Tekin. “We were all impressed about their knowledge of anatomy and physiology at such a young age.” In addition to the work they have been doing within the school systems, Tekin and Regional Academic Center coordinator, Dorothy Hellums, served as panelists at Leadership Roswell, where they spoke to business and community leaders about what Burrell College and its students are doing to address the healthcare shortages and obstacles within Eastern New Mexico.

The Eastern New Mexico Youth Medical Explorers have a field trip planned to Burrell College’s main campus in Las Cruces scheduled for February fourth. They will be bringing down a group of students from both Goddard and Roswell High School, for a tour of the campus, hands-on medical immersion training, and more. “Many students have not seen a college campus, let alone left ENM, so it will be a fun and exciting day for the students!,” says Tekin. Boris Yushuvayev, ENMYME’s community outreach director believes that the immersion events held by ENMYME allow high school students the opportunity to witness firsthand the rapidly changing medical community while furthering their interest in various healthcare careers through the use of simulations, demonstrations, and mentorship. “The tools and techniques at the stations allowed the students to get a glimpse of common practices and within 15 minutes of practice the students were able to complete and even teach the techniques back to us,” recalls Yushuvayev. ”It is extremely humbling and inspiring to see the confidence these sessions instilled into potential future healthcare students.”

The future of ENMYME is bright, with goals to expand to host more high school outreach events in Roswell and the surrounding communities. The organization has already been well received by local high schools and colleges, as well as the New Mexico Military Institute. “We want community members to know that Burrell is active in this region and that we are doing everything we can to help better the healthcare system here,” says Tekin. “We also want to hold online mentorship sessions with students, help answer questions student may have about undergraduate studies.” Many high school students have already inquired with ENMYME about possible shadowing opportunities available to them after their graduation.

Anyone interested in learning more about this organization and how to join can find information at Burrell College’s website or by contacting ENMYME members or Dorothy Hellums.