Members of the Global Health Initiative work with children in Peru as part of their immersion trip on July 7, 2023. | Courtesy of Communications and Marketing

The Center for Business, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship and Wabash Democracy and Public Discourse organizations have been prominent programs with a direct admittance program.

Now, Wabash’s Global Health Initiative (GHI), has joined the ranks of also being a direct admit program.

The GHI is a very competitive program where students can learn and work in global public health with opportunities to serve communities locally and internationally. All members of the program are guaranteed a summer internship after their freshman or sophomore year and an immersion trip to Peru.

Professor Eric Wetzel, director of the GHI, believes this is a large step for the development of the GHI..

“Before the direct admission, it was really no different than a prospective student doing general admission,” said Dr. Wetzel. “Of course, the college admissions has been using the GHI as a draw for students for some time, particularly those interested in health professions after Wabash.”

Jill Rogers, the Wabash College pre-health advisor and coordinator of the GHI, believes the benefits of a direct admit program in tandem with the GHI will help students significantly. “Membership in the GHI has always been open to students who have an interest in community building, non-profit work, and public health,” said Rogers. “The new direct admit program offers an opportunity for incoming freshmen to engage immediately in mentoring relationships with upper classmen, membership in the student-run Public Health Organization (PHO), and a guaranteed public health internship after their freshman or sophomore year.”

The GHI has had significant impacts on Wabash students for years.

“Having global health experiences early in their college career is a transformative experience for students; they will learn a lot about who they are and what motivates them,” said Rogers. “Global health allows students to be part of something meaningful that is bigger than themselves, and they develop the confidence to be leaders and change-makers in their future professions. Moreover, starting with mentors and fellow students who share their interests and outlooks can give incoming students that sense of belonging that makes Wabash such a special place.  We know that the transition to college is challenging, and being a part of the GHI gives freshmen a built-in community.”

“This change will raise the profile of Global Health at Wabash and get more guys into the incredible set of opportunities that global public health offers, not just here but after Wabash,” said Wetzel. “It’s competitive and will allow us to really look at students with wide interests who want to be part of this work.”

The GHI also guides students to help them in their future endeavors.

“Like others in the GHI, Direct Admit students will have the opportunity for leadership development, project management and other ‘soft skill’ building experiences through our classroom, community work, and internships,” said Wetzel. “Everyone deals with global health issues, so we’re interested in getting guys from across campus involved. The GHI and global health is not just for guys who want to go to med school.”

As the GHI is a highly selective program home to mostly pre-med students, Rogers illustrated how being a part of GHI sets them apart from other applicants with aspirations in the medical field. 

“Medical schools want to see that applicants are strong students who care about the world they live in,” said Rogers. “GHI Direct Admit students will be able to provide evidence to medical school admissions committees that they are living humanely by participating in local, regional, and international public health opportunities. Experiences provided through the GHI give pre-med students stories to share about their education and motivation. The GHI direct admit program gives students many ways to show admissions officers how they hope to serve, grow, and alleviate suffering.”

Like Wetzel mentioned before, Rogers emphasized how well-rounded the GHI is in its benefits to all students.

“Many other professional schools and employers will appreciate the skills and lessons learned by GHI direct admit students,” said Rogers. “The GHI is certainly a home to many pre-med and pre-health students, but students from all disciplines are welcome to participate in the GHI. Some of our most active alumni have gone on to work in policy, law, and entrepreneurship. We look forward to getting to know GHI Direct Admit applicants interested in all of these professions.”