November 16, 2022

MAA event, Dine with the Docs, returns with success after COVID-19 hiatus

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After a two-year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Medical Alumni Association (MAA) hosted Dine with the Docs from Nov. 3-5. Dine with the Docs is a dinner event that connects current medical students with Heersink School of Medicine alums in small groups. Alumni sign up to host a group of medical students at their homes.

This year, almost 20 alumni hosts in 10 homes, and nearly 100 students across three campuses participated.

“Due to the nature of the event—welcoming others into your home to have a meal—we’ve not been able to do this event for two years,” says Beth Eddings, assistant director of the MAA.

“The last dinner, held in 2019, was extremely popular. At that time, we’d established the program with students and had amazing turnouts. So, to bring it back after such a long break and see excitement and enthusiasm from not only the students, but also the alumni, was great.”

Eddings explains that Dine with the Docs originated from a student focus group in 2015. “When I arrived at UAB in 2014, we had set up a few recurring meetings to discuss with students what they'd like to see from us as far as events and programming," she says.

Now, Eddings works with alums to group the dinners on one weekend but says the MAA is happy to be flexible with the scheduling for alumni who are willing to host. “We allow the hosts to have all the creativity they'd like,” she says.

For example, four hosts from this year's event work together at Urology Centers of Alabama, and two live in the same neighborhood, so their dinner was progressive. "The students ate dinner at one house and walked to another for dessert.”

Eddings says another way the event was creative this year is how “Dr. Corey invited her group to her lake house and took them out for a sunset boat ride.”

When asked about hosting a meal for Dine with the Docs, Britney Corey, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Surgery, says, “We recently got a home at the lake which is truly our happy place, so we loved the idea of sharing a little slice of that with the medical students.”

“The night was a success because we were all able to relax together and enjoy each other's company,” she says.

Corey adds that another benefit was championing her field of surgery, as well as forum-style conversation for students to ask questions about taking their next steps towards residency.

Dine with the Docs extended across the state, as Dean Roger Smalligan in Huntsville also hosted a meal this year and dinners were hosted in Tuscaloosa.

MS1 Leo Nkengbeza says, “I just loved visiting Dr. Giggie and her husband again. I met them for the first time nearly three years ago when I was working with Julia Giggie, her daughter and a current MS1, at a local nonprofit organization. I also appreciated how Dr. Giggie invited other local psychiatrists in Tuscaloosa to the dinner. It was great for MS1 students who are assigned to Tuscaloosa campus to network with future physicians they might encounter during rotation.”

Brody Rhodes, another first-year medical student, says, “The whole thing was incredible. Getting to speak to several doctors well into private practice and hear about their experiences was great.”