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Northwestern Medicine Pre-Med Summer Intern Making a Difference for Local Diabetes Patients

When Bella Flerlage, a rising sophomore majoring in neuroscience at Vanderbilt University, learned about the Northwestern Medicine Pre-Med Summer Internship Program, she jumped at the opportunity to gain clinical experience that is often not offered to most college students. With all the cancellations of in-person classes due to COVID-19, she began doubting her abilities at school, and became unsure about even pursuing medical school, so she thought this would help her with her decision.

Flerlage was assigned to work with Richard Clark, MD, medical director at the Northwestern Medicine Gurnee Outpatient Center, specializing in family medicine. While she had the opportunity to see a variety of patient cases, there was a multitude of patients with diabetes, and Flerlage was assigned to create patient-friendly Diabetes Resource Guide.

“Many times, patients struggle with their diabetes due to the lack of knowledge about their treatment, diet, or insulin plan,” explained Flerlage. “Therefore, the goal is to improve patient education, with hopes of better overall glycemic control. The guide contains everything from insulin information, diet, and mental health management with diabetes.”

“The Diabetes Resource Guide provides a more readily available and convenient way for patients to obtain important information about their condition,” said Dr. Clark. “Bella was able to conduct research and find ways to translate what can often be an overwhelming amount of information, into a user-friendly resource that I know will benefit our patients.”

Flerlage also coordinated inviting glucose meter company representatives to the Gurnee Outpatient Center in person to directly provide samples of their meters and teach patients how to best use the device.

Micah J. Eimer, MD, cardiologist and medical director of the Northwestern Medicine Glenview Outpatient Center has overseen the pre-med summer internship program since 2019, and looks forward to introducing the world of medicine to undergraduate, pre-medical students from across the country.

“We provide a blend of both academic work and observation,” said Dr. Eimer. “We are proud to offer these dedicated students, who have already shown a passion for medicine an 8-week, paid opportunity to work with some of the leading experts in medicine.”

“Creating the diabetes guide book along with the clinical experience I have gained has solidified my passion for medicine, and I definitely envision myself applying to medical schools in the future,” said Flerlage. “Knowing that I have made a contribution to these patients that leads to better patient care is something I will have along with me for the rest of my life.”

For more information, please go to https://www.nm.org/for-medical-professionals/i-am-a-student/northwestern-medicine-pre-med-internship-program.