Have you ever noticed that many schools note that they want a letter of recommendation from a “pre-health advisor or committee if available to the student”? In this article, I’d like to give you the basics of what a pre-health advisor is from my perspective and why they can be your ally in the application process.
For most residency applicants, the arrival of November marks the beginning of the interview season. This often brings back memories of the medical school admission interview, with the ubiquitous “Why do you want to be a doctor?” question.
Four years later, you find yourself in a similar situation – this time, hoping to land a position in the specialty and residency program of your choice. “Why do you want to be a doctor?” is now replaced with “Why do you want to go into [this specialty]?” and “Why are you interested in our residency program?” While the questions will differ to some extent, you may be experiencing the same gamut of emotions – uncertainty, nervousness, and perhaps even fear.
As the Paul Gross Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. William James directs the dermatology residency program at the University of Pennsylvania, which recently was found to be the highest ranked academic dermatology department in the United States.1
Students may not be aware of the variety of opportunities available within the Indian Health Service (IHS).
To learn more about IHS and the volunteer, scholarship, and employment opportunities available, the Student Doctor Network recently spoke with Dr. Charles North, retired Chief Medical Clinical Officer for Indian Health Services.
Charles North attended medical school at the University of Pittsburgh and completed his residency at the University of Minnesota. Currently, he serves as Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.
Would you explain what the Indian Health Service is?
Gladly. The Indian Health Service (www.ihs.gov) is an agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Since IHS is designated as an agency or “Operating Division” within HHS, it is a parallel organization to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and several others.
With medical students starting to think about the upcoming residency match season, it’s a good time to review what residency applicants can do to improve their chances of matching. Many students think that how they write their residency personal statement is all that matters, but this simply is not true. As September looms, I want to focus on factors that are still (for the most part) within the residency applicant’s control. This article should also be useful for anyone who may be entering the match in the future.
- Do away electives
These “audition electives” can really help your chances of matching at a program. Some applicants with whom I speak are often fearful of doing away electives because they believe a less than perfect performance may actually hurt their chances of matching at the program where they rotate. Indeed, this is often not the case. As the associate director of a program, I often found that applicants who demonstrated a solid (or even mediocre) performance when rotating with us were ranked higher than other applicants with slightly better stats. Most program directors would rather take a student whom they know will be a solid, “no-problem” resident than take a risk on someone with whom they have not worked.
You have all certainly heard the expression “good things come to those who wait.” Since our first days of pre-school, the virtue of patience has been constantly reinforced as a valuable trait. For years we have stood in lines and waited for our turns.
In the fast paced life of a physician, in which potential decisions must sometimes be made in a matter of seconds, patience is sometimes an undervalued trait. In the realm of medicine, “waiting” almost seems to be a dirty word for both patients and physicians alike.
Of the 654 applicants who applied to ophthalmology in 2009, 196 (approximately 30%) failed to match. Similar results were noted in the 2007 and 2008 matches, making ophthalmology one of the most competitive specialties.
We recently discussed the ophthalmology residency selection process with Dr. Andrew Lee, chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas and Professor of Ophthalmology at the Weill Cornell Medical College. Prior to becoming chairman, Dr. Lee was professor of ophthalmology, neurology, and neurosurgery at the H. Stanley Thompson Neuro-ophthalmology Clinic at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. Following residency training at the Cullen Eye Institute at the Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Lee completed a fellowship in neuro-ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute.
Because the competition for admission to medical schools in the United States is extremely strong, many applicants consider attending medical school in the Caribbean. In fact, a great many bright and talented applicants are now opting to obtain their medical education in the Caribbean.
How can you decide what is the best choice for you? What must you consider in evaluating these schools? And will you be able to obtain a residency in the United States after you graduate? To help you decide if attending a Caribbean medical school is a good choice, this article provides a framework for evaluating these schools and the success of their graduates.
A key component of the successful match is a full understanding of the residency selection process, and the factors that influence it. Program directors are key decision-makers in this process, and their insights and experience are invaluable. In future columns of The Successful Match, we will present conversations with program directors and other key decision-makers across the different specialties.
We would like to preface these upcoming columns by highlighting the results of an important study done by Dr. Marianne Green. Dr. Green is the Associate Dean for Medical Education at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She is the former associate program director of the internal medicine residency program at Northwestern. Dr. Green is the recipient of multiple teaching awards, and her peers have recognized her as one of the “Best Doctors in America.”
- A displaced student provides advice on how to protect yourself and your property during extreme weather events.
“This could be just as devastating if not more devastating than Katrina …”
These were the first words I heard when I flipped on WDSU. An anchorman was describing the unyielding path of Hurricane Gustav towards the Big Easy. The first thought that ran through my mind was, ‘wow, guess the third time’s a charm’- Gustav was going to strike the Gulf coast almost 3 years to the date that Katrina hit.
I was a little dumbfounded at the surreal nature of having to evacuate. While I only recently began to call New Orleans my home, the incomplete levees could very well also make it the graveyard of my livelihood.
Instantly, questions started to swirl through my head. What would I need to bring? What will happen to my education? What kind of preparations do I need to make so that my house isn’t flattened? When should I leave and where should I go?
Updated August 19, 2021. The article was updated to correct minor grammatical errors and to … Read more
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