Jomo Kenyatta Medical Research Club Launched

JKUMReC officials (left to right) back row: David Andai, Emmanuel Gogo, Tony Kiprono; Front row: Innocent Oduki, Dr. Maureen Muriuki, Mercy Nasike, Cedric Ambenje,  and Benjamin Nyariki.

The Jomo Kenyatta Medical Research Club (JKUMReC), a student-led body focused on igniting enthusiasm and passion in research has officially been launched.

During the launch event on Friday, June 25, 2021 that was partly sponsored by Kenya Medical Association and Jomo Kenyatta University Students’ Medical Association (JKUSMA), the Second Club Chairperson, Mr. Benjamin Nyariki, called for the expansion of the realms to include other students within the health sciences and not only students pursuing Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB).

Addressing nearly 120 students from across the medical disciplines, Mr. Nyariki said, “interdisciplinary research is a powerful way of bridging disciplines and immersing students in new educative environments.”

On her part, Dr. Maureen N. Muriuki, a former JKUAT MBChB student and Founding Chairlady of JKUMReC and principal organizer of the launch, shared her research experiences   as a beneficiary of the Health-Professional Education Partnership Initiative (HEPI) through her personal journey on the HEPI research elective she participated in during her fifth year of study.

Front row (from left): Dr. Justus Simba, Dr. Reuben Thuo, Dr. Eddy Odari, Dr. Patrick Mburugu, and Mr. Tiberry Nyakwana, while at the back, is a section of the inaugural JKUMReC members.

Under the HEPI initiative, JKUAT and a few other medical schools in Kenya such as Nairobi, Maseno and Kenyatta universities received a research grant to train undergraduate students on how to undertake good research. The Club Research Coordinator, Dr. Patrick Mburugu, is the lead, JKUAT HEPI team.

The key note speaker, Dr. Eddy Odari, a Senior Lecturer, Department of Medical Microbiology, spoke about his research trajectory, revealing that he first started research at the undergraduate level, a fact he added, created great opportunities that saw him acquire scholarships for his Masters and Doctorate degrees.

“Research needs perseverance and at the end, it brings the greatest satisfaction there is which is self-satisfaction,” he stated, while encouraging students to look for mentors who will guide them throughout their course in research.

Dr. Odari further underscored the students’ capacity to carry out research given the requisite tools, “Research is not rocket science, anybody can do it,” he stated.

The function was graced by several guests including: Mr. Tibbery Nyakwana, Dr. Patrick Mburugu, Dr. Justus Simba and Dr. Penina Machoka.

JKUMReC members (Left to right): Tony Kiprono, Ronald Nyawade, Virginia Mwaura, Brenda Chepkirui, Innocent Oduki, Brian Ochieng’ and George Ojwang’.

In his remarks, the Dean, School of Medicine, who is also the Club Patron, Dr. Reuben Thuo, said, JKUAT is one of the few medical schools in the country that have integrated research as part of the school curriculum.

The Dean gave useful tips to students on research areas particularly those that have yet been fully explored such as Strategic Information System and Health Informatics.

The launch provided an opportunity for raising awareness amongst the participants about research and innovation, especially in pre-clinical medical students. Majority of the students registered as members of the Club.

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