Students of the University of Cape Coast Medical School last Thursday engaged in a life transforming experience that sought to positively impact their minds and shape their future careers.

Dubbed “Think Outside The Box and Community Service Awards 2022”, the conference is the first of its kind to be held to shape the minds and perceptions of young medical students to act and think outside the confines of living their lives only as medics for the rest of their lives.

The conference was organised by Coats and Scrubs in collaboration with the UCC School of Medical Sciences and the Medical Students Association. It saw speakers like Dr. Yaw Perbi, the Founder and Global CEO of the HuD Group; and Dr. William Okyere-Frempong, Founding Medical Superintendent of the LEKMA Polyclinic and a Hubert Humphrey Fellow.

As medics who have ventured into other areas of endeavor including communication, entrepreneurship, management and leadership, the speakers took turns to share their experiences with the students and also encouraged them to step out of the confinements of medical studies and practice, to take up other responsibilities and challenges to better their lives and the communities in which they find themselves.

Dr. Yaw Perbi

Dr. William Okyere-Frempong

“If swerving poverty is your reason for being in the medical school, then I’m sorry for you. Don’t think you cannot be poor because you’ll be a doctor. I know a top surgeon that retired a pauper. I told myself I do not want to end up like him and so I started to do things differently, even as a medical student. If you do not inculcate the right mindset and begin to think outside the box you won’t be far from that,” Dr. Perbi stated in his address.

He encouraged the students to aspire to be medipreneurs to help them develop other skills and services with global demand.

The conference also provided an opportunity for some student groups to pitch their ideas of support or help to smaller communities they have been exposed to through the UCC Community Based Experience and Service (COBES) Unit initiative. In all, four teams, each named after the community they seek to fix a challenge in, pitched their ideas to a panel of judges who assessed their presentations and gave feedback.

Team Kofi Nimo emerged winners after presenting a well-researched idea of building a classroom for kindergarten learners in the Kofi Nimo community to make learning accessible, comfortable and timely for the young learners who hitherto overpopulated their class room. The team won an amount of five thousand Ghana Cedis from Coats and Scrubs to support the project.

Other teams were Akim Yeboah (first runners up), Adubiase (second runners up) and Odumasi. They all received plaques and certificates to their honour.

According to the CEO of Coats and Scrubs, Dr. Adjoa Boatemaa Bonsu, times are fast changing and medical graduates need to be holistically trained to survive and thrive. She said being book smart isn’t enough – one needs street smartness as well, and that is where skills in entrepreneurship and leadership become very necessary.

“Many people only think about starting businesses when entrepreneurship is mentioned. But that’s not the point we want to project here – at least not the only point. Entrepreneurship encapsulates everything from conceiving an idea to seeing it come to life. And trust me, many medics at one point in time have had great ideas but didn’t have the skills to bring them forth. We want to change that in our own small way,” she added.

Other dignitaries present at the program were the Dean of the Medical School, Prof. Sebastian Eliason; The Director for the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Small Enterprise Development, Dr. Edward Nii Amar Amarteifio; and Dr. Nkechi Dike, lecturer and CEO of Reve Core.