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Student Profile: Ciciley Littlewolf
Medical student, National Guard member,
copresident of Emergency Medicine Interest Group
By Pablo Pedraza
Ciciley Littlewolf never did shake an itch for medicine.
Today she’s in her second year at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Littlewolf also is copresident of the Emergency Medicine Interest Group.
Born on an Indian reservation in southeastern Montana, Littlewolf moved to South Dakota when her mom decided to attend the University of South Dakota, where she earned a degree in counseling and has continued to work in the community since.
Littlewolf ’s itch for medicine started early.
“I remember in kindergarten putting on my mom’s white coat,” said Littlewolf, who also serves in the National Guard. “I remember standing in front of my mom and saying, ‘I’m going to be a doctor.’”
Littlewolf graduated from North Dakota State University (NDSU) with a degree in criminal justice; she then worked in the Fargo area for a few years before the urge to practice medicine surfaced again.
“I actually went to NDSU to get a science degree in order to apply to UND,” she said.
Littlewolf chose the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences because she knew she’d be well prepared after getting her MD degree there.
“I really like UND’s patient-centered curriculum,” she said. “UND focuses on several systems that are intricately related, rather than the old didactic, or text-and-lecture, method.”
First-year medical students at UND are exposed to many new experiences, including Simlympics, a competition involving simulation and patient-care scenarios that tests both the knowledge of students and gives them hands-on experience.
“A program like Simlympics is critical for students because it renews this love of medicine we all have,” Littlewolf said. Having competed herself in Simlympics, she and a few peers wanted to be more involved in their second year.
“We decided to make the Emergency Medicine Interest Group our thing, and we actually changed it and molded it this year from past years,” she said.
Her desire to be involved in the community and to always help others led her to the Himalayan Health Exchange. This organization was founded in 1996 by Ravi Singh, a native of Himachal Pradesh now living in the United States. He organized a medical camp for a U.S.-based group in the Indian Himalayas. HHE is a cross-cultural community service.
“I wanted to do something really meaningful to me,” Littlewolf said. So she contacted the HHE and decided they had exactly the type of experience she was looking for.
“When we got there to the makeshift clinics in the mountains, we had lines of people waiting,” Littlewolf said. “We saw families, probably everything a family physician would see. Each of the 30
students were split among the two attending physicians and five residents. They tried to mimic what we’re going to do in our third and fourth years. So we had to see the patients and do the history and
Many of the patients she saw were children.
“I saw a girl, maybe 13 or 14 years old, and I was looking in her mouth,” Littlewolf said. “She actually had a cleft palate that nobody had noticed before. The little girl couldn’t speak very well.”
As a result of this encounter, Singh made it a point to contact the surgeons—periodically scheduled to come into the mountains to perform procedures—so that the girl could have her palate fixed.
Given Littlewolf’s passion, commitment, and experience, one might wonder what will come next.
She’s interested in pediatrics, emergency medicine, and family care.
Littlewolf says she aims to do what she can to help her community and those in need.
No doubt, that’s an appropriate ambition for someone who has a bright future in medicine.