Uplifting youth and the community around us

MD Link workshops explore trauma informed care and cultural humility.

MD Link is a student-run, non-profit organization at the University of Minnesota composed of medical students positioned to support the needs of community organizations that serve vulnerable youth. Their mission is to be a resource for student mentors to become leaders and advocates for change within their communities, all while providing vulnerable youth with stable role models in their sometimes unstable lives.

Recently, MD Link offered a Trauma Informed Care and Cultural Humility Workshop for student mentors focused on building mentors who support, uplift and empower those around them.

Experiential workshops on trauma informed care

Mo Hicks

Medical student Mo Hicks, who is a mentor educator, human resources compliance officer and class president, led the workshop and invited participants to identify the core concepts and foundational skills of a mentor regardless of an individual’s capacity or the setting.

Hicks has many years of mentorship training experience in varying fields and capacities. Hicks is currently a faith-based mentor for a group called Young Life and a mentor for undergraduate and graduate students for a program called the WHY YOU Initiative. Hicks is also the president of the Black Doctors Association, where they have mentorship initiatives and are partnering with MD Link on shared visions.

“Although they are all different flavors of mentorship, what I try to bring to my training is all of the strengths and unifying factors that I believe make me a good mentor in those spaces,” says Hicks.

The first step, he says, is to teach those foundational skills so that the mentors understand the trauma and experiences that vulnerable populations of children go through.

“[Our mentors] can start to develop some empathy from that understanding and build a tool kit and strategies so that they can become trauma-informed, empathetic, supportive and empowering mentors to the community we serve,” Hicks adds.

A hopeful vision

MD Link has started new initiatives involving the U of M Law School and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “The goal is to try to increase the number of students we’re reaching out to at the U of M. We don’t want to work with just medical students. We’d like other students from other schools to be involved,” states Martha DeMeules, a second-year medical student and Chief Financial Officer for MD Link.

Other initiatives pertain to workshops focusing on careers for youth and the community. “Part of the expansion is to incorporate more perspectives because there are so many career options out there other than medicine,” notes Lily Qian, a first-year medical student and fundraising coordinator for MD Link.

With these new initiatives, MD Link wants a diverse collection of students to have access to the workshops and partnerships they have with community-based organizations.

“MD Link has seen an enormous amount of growth in the past year, and it’s exciting that people are energized around this topic,” DeMeules says. “It’s a nice balance of allowing medical students to engage with the community, which is something they don’t get to do very often, and also for community members to see what it’s like to be a medical student. Hopefully, as the organization grows, not just medical students, but law students and other students as well. ”

To get involved, donate or learn more about MD Link, click here.

Here are other resources featuring MD Link’s work: