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Advocates for health in all forms

The Health Advocates Club Presidency shares the reason for their club’s name change as well as their aspirations and plans for the upcoming year

Five students wearing red and white clothing hold up a banner with a logo and text saying "Health Advocates Club at BYU-Hawaii: Hand in Hand for Health."
The Health Advocates Club members display a banner with their new logo. The students' names from left to right are JC Santiago, the vice president of activities, Xitlaly Ortiz, the vice president of career and service, Ian Sprouse, the president, Rayana Lampitoc, the secretary and Sherwin Quimiguing, the treasurer.
Photo by Brynna Fry

Advocating for health in all forms is what the Health Advocates Club is all about, said Ian Sprouse, the president of the Health Advocates Club and a senior majoring in biochemistry from California. Sprouse said the club does projects to promote health in all forms. He said, “We want our club to help the community by serving in a lot of ways currently and not just wait for our careers to start.”

Getting a new start

The club recently changed its name from the Healthcare Professionals Club to the Health Advocates Club and also has a new adviser, said Sprouse. Sprouse recalled a time when he was approached by some students during Club Fest. “They were hesitant to join the club since they felt it was only exclusive to those who were preparing to go into the medical field,” Sprouse said. "Changing the name might inspire more students to get involved with the projects we do since anyone can advocate for health,” he explained.

Sprouse said the club also changed its logo. “Myself, JC and a few friends were able to come up with a logo showing two hands interconnecting that represents club members helping the community. The logo is also inspired by the Hawaiian piko [or navel], a powerful symbol for healing, life, connection and unity.”

Sister Kelly Brock, the club’s new advisor, a senior missionary and registered nurse from Utah, said she is excited to see more of what the club is capable of and to learn from the student leaders and its members.

Two male students and one female student stand and smile with an older woman outside.
Sprouse, Ortiz and Santiago smile with the club's new advisor, Sister Kelly Brock.
Photo by Brynna Fry

Celebrating success

John Carlo Santiago, the vice president of activities for the club and a sophomore majoring in psychology from the Philippines, said they have seen a lot of success from their previous events and are hoping for more in the future.

Xitlaly Ortiz, the club’s vice president of career and service and a junior majoring in biology from Louisiana, said one of these successful events have been the info sessions they plan. She explained, “We get to network through the info sessions. It connects us with professionals, administrations and knowledge about opportunities for future careers in medicine.”

Santiago said they had an info session with two BYU–Hawaii alumni, Dr. Justin Anderson, an emergency room resident at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and Dr. Namealoha Hekekia, a clinical faculty member at the Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine, about what to expect when going into medicine.

Ortiza also shared, “Partnering with Be The Match, an organization now known as the National Marrow Donor Program that seeks to save lives through cell therapy, was our biggest project in Fall 2023. Over 200 students were swabbed and joined the registry, which increased the chances of finding donors.” She said the club also partnered with the Counseling Center last year for Health Awareness Month.

Moving forward

The presidency shared two projects the Health Advocates Club is working on this semester. The success of the Be The Match event led the club and NMDP to make it a consistent event each semester, said Santiago, which they will continue this semester. Sprouse added they will also be going on an educational field trip. “The John A. Burns School of Medicine in Honolulu really likes giving students free tours, and we’re estimating around 15 to 20 club members will be able to go with us on that trip,” he shared.