For a check-up on her professional importance, all Heidi Lang need do is schedule an appointment with her doctor. That’s because Lang, SVSU’s pre-health professions advisor, once advised that physician when he was a college student pursuing the career he now inhabits.
“It’s a true joy to welcome the incoming class each year and watch them grow, learn, and develop,” said Lang, who has worked in a similar role for several higher education institutions and thousands of other students since 1995. “I’m thankful for the small part I get to play in their success, whatever that may be.”
Lang’s origins in her profession date back to her own undergraduate experience. She credits both the relationship with her own pre-health advisor and the satisfaction she felt as a resident assistant helping other students as influencing her own career choice.
Her approach to mentoring students includes giving them both the sort of “academic and non-academic guidance” that would steer them toward professional success. The academic guidance involves talk about class schedules and course requirements.
The other advice includes big picture conversation that could help her students decide which medical field to pursue — or whether they should pursue medicine at all. She also coordinates mock interviews between students and a panel of SVSU staff and faculty that simulate medical school interviews.
“In that way, I’m like a life coach,” Lang said. “I’m helping them navigate the college world to the next step.”
Lang’s life experience and professional expertise stretches beyond the region.
Lang is Past President of the Central Association of Advisors for the Health Professions, an organization that includes health profession advisor peers from 12 states. The group is a wing of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions, which has 1200+ members. She has also served as a recent Conference Co-Chair for the NAAHP biennial event.
Lang has served in various leadership capacities with both CAAHP and NAAHP and often uses those connections across the nation to help her students. Other connections closer to home also come in handy. Under her tenure, SVSU has created two additional partnerships with medical schools in Michigan. SVSU currently has formal Early Assurance Program partnerships with Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Central Michigan University College of Medicine, and Wayne State University School of Medicine. She continually seeks to meet and engage with health care providers in the Great Lakes Bay Region, and often invites those professionals to campus to meet with her students as well as creating opportunities for students to shadow and volunteer. She said that outside assistance – as well as the support she receives from SVSU colleagues who help guide her students forward – have given her a clear sense of place and purpose at the institution.
“ I feel exceptionally fortunate that I have this career and opportunity to come to work each day and make a positive difference for my students,” she said. “I cannot imagine myself doing anything else. I feel very blessed to be at SVSU surrounded by incredible colleagues who support me and my students.”
Heidi Langhblang@svsu.edu(989) 964-2043 Science East 265
Merrick Lincolnmalincol@svsu.edu (989) 964-7319 HHS 255