By Greg Laudani, Staff Writer

Pre-SOMA fills a void on campus. Previously, there had not been any clubs on campus dedicated to assisting pre-med students on their journeys toward becoming doctors.

Brand new to campus this fall, UNH Pre-SOMA is a new student organization that focuses on supporting future medical school applicants and helping them through the process, as well as informing more people on campus about what osteopathic medicine is.

The organization, whose name stands for Student Osteopathic Medical Association, fills a void on campus.

Previously, there had not been any clubs on campus dedicated to assisting pre-med students on their journeys toward becoming doctors.

Osteopathic medicine is a community of physicians that practice holistic care and treat patients in a way that allows their body to find health.

Doctors of Osteopathy (D.O.s) are one of the fastest growing segments of health care professionals in the U.S. According to Pre-SOMA, approximately 60 percent of practicing D.O.s specialize in such primary care fields as family medicine, general internal medicine and pediatrics.

Pre-SOMA aims to teach students the ins and outs of being pre-med at UNH.

Its mission is to promote osteopathic medicine, increase the number of applicants to osteopathic medical schools, support aspiring osteopathic physicians at all levels of education, and continue the proud legacy of osteopathic medicine.

Several students expressed interest in Pre-SOMA’s table at U-Day on Sept. 16.

César Negnette, a freshman biomedical science major, was one of them.

“I’m interested in being a part of Pre-SOMA because I really want to get to know about the field of pre-medicine and about its requirements,” Negnette said.

Meetings will take place the first Tuesday of each month and will highlight some of the essentials of how to approach the medical school process.

From the first meeting forward, Pre-SOMA strives to instruct aspiring doctors about requirements for medical school and to teach them more about osteopathic medicine.

The club will also dive into study strategies for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

“This club will help set you up for pre-med success,” President Katelyn Laplante said. “You will have a whole support group here to help you get through the classes you need to get done.”

Laplante, a junior neuroscience and behavior major, plans to invite  Doctors of Osteopathy (D.O.s) to club meetings to talk to members about their experiences and help answer student questions.

She believes these talks will give members “awesome insights” about applying to medical school and more information about osteopathic medicine.

Laplante and Shannon Larkin (Pre-SOMA’s secretary and a junior exercise science major) witnessed osteopathic medicine’s unique medical philosophy at last spring’s Northeast Pre-SOMA Conference at the University of New England, the closest osteopathic medical school to UNH.

Medical students gave the girls a tour of the school and spoke with them about what it means to be involved with osteopathy.

Larkin was very interested at the conference in learning more about osteopathy.

She was excited to teach other people about the field, as well.

“After we went to the conference, I was really intrigued with studying medicine,” Larkin, a junior Exercise Science major, said.

Pre-SOMA is geared toward pre-med students, but is also open to anyone curious about the field of osteopathic medicine.