Medical School Application Secondary Essays

Last Updated on February 27, 2019 by Laura Turner

 
You finally submitted your medical school primary application and think you can rest when, starting some time in late June, you start receiving secondary essay prompts—just about every day.
Overwhelmed, you start to wonder why you applied to so many medical schools. Most applicants (except those with exceptional grades, MCATs, and experiences) should apply broadly to a wide range of schools, but doing so translates into writing a whole bunch of secondary essays, which can be daunting.

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20 Questions: Richard A. Sheff, MD, Author

Last Updated on February 27, 2019 by Laura Turner

Richard A. Sheff, author of Doctor Confidential: Secrets Behind the Veil, is a Rhode Island family physician with over 30 years of experience in medicine. Dr. Sheff received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine before serving his residency with Brown University Division of Family Medicine at The Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
After practicing family medicine in Massachusetts for 12 years and teaching at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston for a decade, Dr. Sheff launched a company, CommonWell, with the goal of helping the healthcare system integrate the best of complementary and alternative medicine with the best of conventional medicine. He also began consulting with hospitals and physician organizations in the U.S. and internationally.

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All About Competency: Part 4

Last Updated on February 25, 2021 by SDN Staff

Part 4: How Competencies Are Evaluated

(Part of this article is based on another article I have published: “Competency-based holistic evaluation of prehealth applicants” (The Advisor [NAAHP publication] 29(2): 30-36, 2009).)
If you’ve ever tried applying for a job for the government, you will often be asked by USAJobs.gov to self-assess your competency development as follows:

A – Lacks education, training or experience in performing this task
B – Has education/training in performing task, not yet performed on job
C – Performed this task on the job while monitored by supervisor or manager
D – Independently performed this task with minimal supervision or oversight
E – Supervised performance/trained others/consulted as expert for this task

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The Successful Match: Getting into Pediatrics

Last Updated on March 21, 2022 by SDN Staff

 
We recently discussed the pediatric residency selection process with Dr. Su-Ting Li, program director of the University of California Davis pediatrics residency program and Vice Chair of Education in the Department of Pediatrics. After graduating from the UCLA School of Medicine, she completed her pediatrics residency at the University of Washington. Following this, she remained at UW as a National Service Research Award Fellow in General Academic Pediatrics and pursued a MPH in epidemiology. She then joined the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California Davis where she has also held the title of Clerkship Director.
Dr. Li has been heavily involved in medical student and resident education on local, regional, and national levels. She has also been recognized for her research contributions. In 2008, her paper “Primary Operative Management for Pediatric Empyema” was recognized as one of the “Top 10 Articles in Pediatric Hospital Medicine.” She has been highly sought after as a journal reviewer, and is currently a reviewer for 12 prestigious publications, including Academic Medicine and Pediatrics.

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20 Questions: Michelle Au, MD, Author

Last Updated on February 27, 2019 by Laura Turner

 
Michelle Au, MD, is an attending physician of anesthesiology at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Atlanta, and author of the new book This Won’t Hurt a Bit (And Other White Lies): My Education in Medicine and Motherhood. Au, who graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College in 1999, was a weekly humor columnist and cartoonist with The Wellesley News for three years (her medical comic strips have been featured at numerous academic medical centers internationally) before heading to Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she earned her MD in 2003.
For years, Au has documented her experiences in academic medicine, as well as her family life (she is married to Dr. Joseph Walrath and they have two sons, Cal and Mack), on her blog, “The Underwear Drawer.” Her writing has been featured on WebMD, The Student Doctor Network, Metafilter, and Revolution Health.

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20 Questions: Beth Seltzer, MD, MPH

Last Updated on February 27, 2019 by Laura Turner

 

Dr. Beth Seltzer

Beth Seltzer’s path to MD and MPH was not a straight line. She started out as a documentary filmmaker in San Francisco, where she created award-winning documentaries with a national reach, shared in creative decisions from idea to final edit, hired and supervised staff, conducted community outreach campaigns, wrote grant proposals, and managed finances. While there, she co-produced programs that garnered long list of honors such as Northern California Area Emmy Award; Gold Apple, National Educational Media Festival; Gold Hugo, Chicago International Film Festival; Best Documentary Short, Nashville Independent Film Festival; and Finalist, IDA Documentary Awards.
Beth received her MD from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, in 2003, and her MPH from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health (NY) in 2008. Her residencies included general preventive medicine and public health at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and a transitional year at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown. Beth is board certified in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine, and is a medical consultant and writer, creating original, nonfiction works for wide audiences, including 101 Careers in Public Health, a comprehensive career guide from Springer Publishing Company, which has been endorsed as “first-rate advice” by the American Public Health Association.

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20 Questions: MAJ Kendall Mower, DDS

Last Updated on February 27, 2019 by Laura Turner

MAJ Kendall Mower serves as a comprehensive dentist in the U.S. Army.  He is currently deployed to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn and blogs about his experiences at http://armystrongstories.com/blogger/kendall-mower.

Why did you choose to become a dentist?
I can’t think of one specific event that led to my decision to be a dentist.  I had just decided during High School that I was going to be a dentist and my plan never changed.

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How to: Get Into Undergraduate Research

Regardless of the health profession you hope to enter, conducting lab research will enhance your application. Learn how admissions committees view research experience and how to get it.

All About Competency: Part 3

Last Updated on February 25, 2021 by SDN Staff

Part 3: Competency Mirror, Not the Carnival Mirror

Did you ever like carnival mirrors?  It’s often funny to see how these mirrors exaggerate various body parts to make you look like you have a short body (dwarfism) or an enlarged head (megaloencephaly).
The distorted view is often as entertaining as the game of comparison obsessively played by many prehealth applicants.  Way too often we measure ourselves by the schools we attend, the grades we made, the research we’ve performed, the clinical experiences we’ve had, the trips we’ve taken, and the clubs we’ve joined.  While often there may be some who enjoy one-upping others in their achievements, the echo chamber effect often makes it hard for individuals to really see the impression they make to others in the admissions process, and it really is this difference that can doom applicants.

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20 Questions: Gurpreet S. Khurana, DMD, MBA, Author

Last Updated on February 27, 2019 by Laura Turner

Dr. Gurpreet S. Khurana is a graduate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and has been a forum moderator for the Student Doctor Network Dental Forums since 2002. He currently is in private practice in Washington, D.C.  Khurana is the author of Student Doctor Network Dental Admissions Guide, the first title available from SDN Academic Press.

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All About Competency: Part 2

Last Updated on February 25, 2021 by SDN Staff

Part 2: Identifying and Evaluating Your Strengths and Weaknesses

What is your biggest weakness?  What is your greatest strength?

Ever been stumped by these questions on an interview?  Who hasn’t?  I assure you the range of answers given to these questions should be a subcategory in the LOLcats website.  I’ve heard way too many “I focus a lot on my studies” as answers to both questions.  Nevertheless, most companies and professional school admissions committees cite these questions (or similar variations) among their many sample interview questions.
Some of my advice on this topic can be found on the Kaplan Medical School Insider webinar [free pre-registration required], using the analogy that an applicant’s biggest weakness was (noting the pun) being overweight.  While that particular example is quite valid, this article focuses on helping you identify a weakness that answers this question honestly.

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20 Questions: Dr. Yvonne Thornton, MD, MPH

Last Updated on February 27, 2019 by Laura Turner

Dr. Yvonne Thornton, author of Something to Prove: A Daughter’s Journey to Fulfill a Father’s Legacy (2010), and the e-book Inside Information for Women: Answers to the Mysteries of the Female Body and Her Health (2011), has broken down gender and race barriers, and in the process become an inspiration to millions.
In Dr. Thornton’s first book, the Pulitzer-prize nominated best-selling memoir The Ditch Digger’s Daughters (1995), she describes her upbringing, detailing how her parents, a maid and a manual laborer, brought her and her four sisters from the projects to possibility, with four of the girls eventually pursuing careers in medicine at the behest of their father.

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Getting into Residency: Most Important Factors

Last Updated on March 21, 2022 by SDN Staff

How do residency program directors decide whom to interview? And what factors influence how they rank those applicants they do interview? The National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) surveyed residency program directors in 2008 and 2010 about what they consider most important when deciding which applicants to interview and what criteria are most valuable when ranking residency applicants. This survey, an underutilized resource, provides valuable insight and information that can help medical students determine how competitive they are for a given specialty. The data can also empower applicants if they use the information to improve their candidacies.
Here is what the survey showed about 1) what factors influence program directors to offer a residency applicant an interview, presented as the percentage of program directors who considered each factor important, and 2) what specific criteria influence their decision to rank a residency applicant after the interview, using a scale from 1 (not at all important) to 5 (very important).

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All About Competency: Part 1

Think that great grades = great doctor? In the 21st century, success will require you build competencies that you can apply to evolving technology. Part one of a six part series.

Getting Ready For Private Practice

Last Updated on February 27, 2019 by Laura Turner

I remember the time I was a senior resident. It was the beginning of my final year of postgraduate training. I knew I had decisions to make. I was conflicted. Would I go into academics or would I go into private practice? This was the first question I needed to answer.
Throughout medical school and residency, the allure of academics and the urging of my professors had led me down the path of academics. The collegiality and sense of purpose with academics made this a difficult choice for me. I did not want to disappoint my professors. However, I wanted to get into private practice. Honestly, I wanted to make some money. It had been a long haul, and twelve years of education and training had brought me to this juncture. I had no debt, thankfully. But I had no money either.

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