UMKC Med Student Vaccinates Underserved Kansas Citians

Six-year M.D. program provides opportunity to learn while serving the community

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Demi Elrod
Anticipated Graduation: 2026
Academic program: B.A./M.D. School of Medicine
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Demi Elrod wants to be a doctor so she can help people, and she chose UMKC so she could streamline her education through the six year B.A/M.D. program. While she recognizes the challenges – the level of intensity and the fast-paced nature of the program – she likes that she will be finished in six years instead of eight.  The accelerated program has helped Elrod improve the way she works and make meaningful connections.

“The course load has taught me a lot about how to prioritize my tasks and manage my time,” she says. “And another advantage is the mentoring that is available. Throughout the program I will receive guidance and counseling by my docent, who is a doctor within the School of Medicine.”

Since entering college, Elrod has discovered that she is interested in infectious disease and microbiology.

“Since the pandemic began, I have learned a lot about COVID-19 and the vaccine in my classes and during my experiences as a volunteer vaccinator,” she says. "These experiences and lessons have shown me how interesting infectious disease is, and how I can serve my community to aid in the pandemic.”

Elrod has participated vaccination events in underserved communities in conjunction with Our Healthy Eastside Kansas City (OHKCE), a community wide initiative that promotes and delivers COVID-19 vaccinations and other health services to residents on the east side of Kansas City. While the events are geared toward providing COVID-19 vaccinations and information related to the virus, they also offer other health services such as pre-diabetic and blood pressure screenings.

She says working at the vaccination events has been an unforgettable experience that’s helped solidify her choice to practice medicine.

“It’s shown me a lot about how important medicine is, and how important it is to bridge the gap between community and medical services. The message of OHEKC is, ‘You don’t have to come to us – we can come to you to help.’ Getting that message out builds trust between the community and health care providers.”

Elrod says attending medical school and the experiences it has provided have inspired her to be intellectually curious about the world around her.

“Over the past year and a half, I have learned so much about the world of science and medicine. I cannot wait to learn even more in the upcoming years.”

Learn more about School of Medicine

Published: Nov 15, 2021

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