Guest blogger Josh Wesalo '13 writes, "The Clinic humbles all who set foot inside. Students shadowing there fall speechless at the sight of tragic diseases, but take away a bit of scientific understanding and an appreciation for patient, dedicated doctoring. Medical practitioners from all over the country come away in awe of the Clinic’s simple, cheap solutions to complex problems. Visiting scientists are overjoyed to shake hands with the patients and families that imbue their daily work with meaning. Those of us who work there feel humble before the families we meet, who care lovingly for their special children each day . . ."
I can blather on as a pre-health advisor until I’m blue in the face, encouraging and cajoling and policing the every move of our students as they prepare for lives after college as doctors, PAs, dentists, vets, PTs, nurses, and the like, but no advice is more powerful than the advice coming from someone who has traveled down the path just ahead of you. Alumni have a potent impact on how pre-health students view the professions they are intending to enter. As a College and as Health Professions Advising at OSPGD, we have made some real strides this year to engage the alumni in healthcare . . .
. . . If you don’t worry about uttering perfect sentences but rather dive into a draft bravely, knowing that you will go through many drafts before you’re done; if you actually do revise many times (and allow enough time to do this); and if you have someone you trust read your work for tone, typos, and grammar, you will maximize the impression you make on this crucial part of your application to health professional school. Remember, the overall objectives for the personal statement are to tell them something in-depth that they do not learn from another part of your application, and ultimately to make them want to invite you for an interview. Reveal something meaningful and unique about yourself, and leave them wanting to know more . . .
For those of you preparing to apply to health professional school this summer, the time has come to draft your application essay, the document typically referred to as the “personal statement.” The rest of you are not off the hook, however—those of you who aren't applicants just yet should still write down reflections about your health-related experiences, since keeping a loose “journal” of your volunteering, shadowing (even your extracurricular activities and your research) will help you in several ways along the pre-health path, most practically by building a reserve of material to draw from when application time arrives.
SouthEast’s mission is to provide medical and dental care to Lancastrians who have no insurance, and little or no income. They see a whopping 16,000+ medical patients annually who make approximately 90,000 visits (not including about 18,000 annual dental visits). And all on a shoestring budget. “We make dresses out of drapes,” Kedren has told me. “Dresses out of drapes . . . it’s an informal motto around here.” Like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, SouthEast is short on resources, long on resourcefulness. Out of necessity, they get creative . . .
“What I'm not clear on is what I'd actually do with a degree in public health”. . . This is a sentiment I hear pretty frequently in my line of work. A Masters in Public Health leads to a wide variety of career options, so wide that students often have a hard time imagining their future professional lives . . .
At the center of nearly all of Dr. Ofri’s work is the doctor-patient relationship. It is a common thread running from her most recent book, What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine, and you can follow it back through her other titles as well (Incidental Findings, Medicine in Translation, Singular Intimacies). It is in fact the reason we place Dr. Ofri among a small, unique class of “doctor-writers,” writers who both criticize and celebrate the complexities of clinical medicine and remind us—quite powerfully—that caring is a big part of curing . . .
Let’s see, what do I want to say about grades? Hmmm . . . A better question might be, what don’t I want to say? Or better yet, what should I say and what should I keep to myself? There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t engage in a discussion with pre-health students about grades. Some professors think pre-health students are overly grade-conscious. Not entirely true. In my office, I see the overly, the underly, and the in-between. When it comes to grades, no two pre-health students are alike. Kind of like the snowflakes falling outside my window as I write this . . .
Winter break is here . . . Between naps and meals and spending time with your family and friends, you might find these glimpses into medicine interesting, even moving.
Winter break is coming . . . a chance to catch up on sleep, beat siblings at games of Wii and grandparents at gin rummy (or vice versa!), reconnect with friends from high school, and hopefully enjoy some home-cooked meals. At my house, I’ll be getting frustrated over tangled strings of holiday lights, getting the inexplicable need to watch football out of my system, and getting excited for Santa’s arrival with my seven-year-old son. My pre-health advisor hat will be hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that I’ll be suitably refreshed by the time I put it back on in 2014. It did occur to me this morning, however, that the break might also be a good time to do some things you haven’t had time to do during the semester. Pre-health things . . .