Elena Manauis is a second-year medical student at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. For Women in Medicine Month, the college shines a spotlight on the leadership she has demonstrated during her medical education.

Q: What are some of your leadership roles training at the UK College of Medicine?

A: The UK College of Medicine has so many opportunities for its students to take on positions of leadership, that I wear many hats. I serve as one of two managers for the Salvation Army Clinic, the College of Medicine’s student-run, faculty-supported medical clinic. In this role, I oversee over 30 student officers and ensure that every aspect of our clinic is running smoothly.

I am also involved with the Lexington Latino Health Advocacy Association as the vice president of clinical engagement, where I work to help our student organization connect and support local community resources aimed at improving the health of the Latino population here in Lexington.

The last hat I wear is within the UK College of Medicine house system, where I serve as the community development coordinator for House Friesian. In this role, I work closely with our philanthropy, Mission Health Lexington, to find ways to involve our students and support the free health care services that Mission Health provides to members of our community.

Q: Why did you get involved in the Salvation Army Clinic? 

A: Aside from being involved with Mission Health Lexington as my house’s philanthropy, I have volunteered with the clinic since 2020 as an interpreter for the various services they provide (dentistry, medical, and pharmaceutical care). The work that they do inspired me to seek out other opportunities to get involved with community-based medicine, and I couldn’t think of a better way for me to do that as a UK medical student than with the Salvation Army Clinic. The engagement that the clinic allows us to have with members of our community is unlike most clinical opportunities. Aside from allowing us to make a difference in the lives of others right here in Lexington, it also promotes interdisciplinary collaboration between undergraduate students, as well as graduate students from the UK Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Social Work.

Q: Why are you pursuing medicine as a career?

A: Medicine is a career for people, by people. I put great care into the relationships I build in my life, and medicine is a career that allows me to expand upon that. Through my love of connecting with others, paired with my clinical education, I can be in a position to help individuals at their most vulnerable find peace of mind and receive the care they deserve. 

Q: What advice do you have for future medical students?

A: Be mindful of the importance of self-care and never lose your “why.” Becoming a medical student is a long and rigorous process; we’ve all been in those shoes. Appreciate the value in all that you’ve done to get yourself to this point, and continue to do things you enjoy. Just as getting into medical school is a challenging road, as one can imagine, so is getting through medical school. Remembering why you’re here, why you’re putting in countless hours of work, all while taking care of yourself is paramount to becoming a compassionate, motivated clinician.