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David Yun ’22 discusses preparing for medical school and founding the Global Medical Brigades Club

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David Yun ’22

Image: Image: David Yun is a chemistry major who plans to attend medical school after working for a year. (Photo by Silong Chhun/PLU)

March 29, 2022
By Zach Powers '10
PLU Marketing & Communications

David Yun ’22 has been busy throughout his four years at Pacific Lutheran University. The pre-med student and chemistry major has been an academic standout, serving as a chemistry teaching assistant presenting research at the Murdock Conference and the American Chemical Society convention. He’s held down a variety of jobs, including working as a medical scribe, tutor, and scholar lead/mentor for Washington state opportunity scholars. He’s also been a campus leader, serving as the Vice President of the PLU Habitat for Humanity chapter, At-large senator of ASPLU, and founding the university’s Global Medical Brigades/Pre-med Club.

Global Medical Brigades is an international movement of students and medical professionals working alongside local communities and staff to implement sustainable health systems. The PLU chapter is a student-run organization that strives to promote global health equality and connects students with opportunities to travel internationally to provide assistance through clinics and public health activities. The PLU chapter also functions as a support and resource network for pre-med students and connects students with alumni doctors and medical students.

We met with Yun recently to discuss the Global Medical Brigades Club and what it’s been like being a pre-med student at PLU.

Can you share a bit about the Global Medical Brigades club you founded at PLU?

I started what I describe as a hybrid Global Medical Brigade slash pre-med club.  The whole purpose is just to meet and build community with other pre-med students at PLU. We help each other out with opportunities, whether that’s making connections with physicians, MCAT prep, and, in general, we just support each other and study together. The purpose of that club is just to get like-minded folks together who share similar goals.

How specifically does the PLU chapter engage with the international mission of the Global Medical Brigades organization? 

We work to inform students about the organization and its mission of supporting underserved areas of the world. Then try to implement those ideologies into our own club by advocating for community service, donations, and fundraisers that ultimately go towards the organization’s operations abroad. We hope in the future to receive enough funding for students to have the opportunity to go out into communities like Honduras, Panama, etc., to gain hands-on exposure.

What inspired you to start this club, in particular?

Being a pre-med student, or a student thinking about any health science grad school, can be a lot. It can also be hard to get a feel for what preparing for medical school should look like, how connections are made, how to find service opportunities. I know I was someone who struggled on my own to find out about these things. So I wanted to offer a campus resource for underclassmen to learn from upperclassmen, and for all of us to learn from physicians, what this all can look like and what the medical field is all about.

Is connecting with working doctors and others in the field a big part of what the club does?

Yes it is. Recently we’ve had a lot of alums come in who are currently in medical school, or physicians sharing about their experience of applying to medical school, how they prepared during their undergrad years, and just talking about the process and easing people’s anxieties about medical school. Everyone in the club is excited but also kind of dreading that additional four-to-six years of school.

I imagine you talk a lot about the application process?

Definitely. Getting into medical school is a rigorous process. All the prerequisites you need to do before applying, plus all the volunteering and all the clinical hours you need, it’s just really daunting. When we have these alums come in, they kind of reassure the students that it’s very doable. These discussions with alumni who have done it successfully have made a lot of students in our group feel a lot better.

What are your plans for next year? 

I’m going to be taking a gap year and, after talking with some different physicians, I’ve narrowed my options down to a couple of different possible plans. I’ve been saving up money so that this summer I purely just focus on the MCAT because it’s such a long and rigorous exam that I want to approach studying for it like a job. Then once I take that exam, I hope to do a lot of clinical work with Puget Sound orthopedics as a medical scribe. Currently, I’m volunteering at Tacoma General in Med Surg Tele, and I’m hoping to continue to do that throughout the summer and next year. Then I’ll be applying to med school the next cycle.