Chris Johns, Class of 2023
Undergraduate school attended and major
University of WI-Madison; Neurobiology
Why did you choose the University of Minnesota Medical School and what do you like about it?
I chose 'the U' for a few reasons. It’s nationally recognized academic prowess and deep emphasis on clinical development are areas that I believe will mold me into a competent compassionate physician. I knew going into the program that I will be taught the skills to lead a practice that is holistic, scientifically competent, and compassionate. Since matriculating I have been amazed by the effort put forth to ensure students are trained properly. When covid forced learning to an online platform faculty were reactive, adaptable and effective. It was empowering to know regardless of circumstances, UMN will make sure the students are prepared for our future careers.
What would you change (areas of development) about the University of Minnesota Medical School?
I think the University of MN is quite receptive to student feedback. The U has created an environment where we are comfortable confronting the issues that we see rooted deep within our systems (while I know in many schools the culture stifles student voices). In response, the university has made immense and meaningful changes that I am deeply appreciative of. The challenge that many students and I now face in an attempt to address anti-racist/sexist/homophobic policies is creating sustainable change. Students have done phenomenal things to improve meded within our curriculum; yet we are just one facet (and a transient facet) within the school at large. As we continue to remodel the system, I’d like to see a flip in spearheading towards faculty driven curricular change with student input. As to give students more room to pursue their medical-related passions.
What is the relationship between the students and the surrounding community?
Students are the backbone of what makes this program so wonderful. Given the public health crises we are experiencing, students have stepped up to the plate, going far beyond the obligations of school to engage with the community at large. They have organized protests, orchestrated food drives, coordinated child-care, and advocated relentlessly for policy change in their respective communities. Every day I am honored/inspired by the work I'm seen my fellow classmates do to improve our communities.
Have you participated in any student organizations? If so, why did you select those organizations and what has been your experience?
Yes, I am a student representative for the class of 2023, co-president of PRIDE in Healthcare, and President of Phi Chi medical co-op. I wanted to be a student representative because of how important student input was at shaping the curriculum here at the U. It's been exciting to interface with the administration to elicit meaningful change for the student body. As a gay man it was important for me to have allies that understand my unique position and experiences. PRIDE in Healthcare was a means to develop community, and continue to engage in civil rights projects in tandem with my academic obligations. I knew a social community would be important to me during school, especially during those challenging midterm/finals weeks. I found Phi Chi to be a wonderful living-learning community that has provided mentorship and lifelong friends.
Languages you speak?
English and a little Italian
Favorite activities to do in the Twin Cities?
I love the Twin Cities for how outdoor friendly and accessible it is. In the summer I enjoy biking to one of the many wonderful lakes, checking out the local breweries/distilleries (Norseman and Waldmann are personal favorites), hikes at local state parks, and going to concerts (that is when social distancing is not in place). Although many people dread the winter I find the cold months to be quite fun. I love downhill and cross country skiing, and the twin cities are filled with great spots to do both!