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Keepsake 2010 R






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Charter Members 2010 American Academy of Family Physicians

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Summa Health System


Harvard Medical School Minority Faculty Development Program

U.S. Army

American Academy of Pediatrics

Jefferson Medical College

U.S. Commissioned Corps

Kaiser Permanente California

U.S. Navy

Aurora Health Care

Long Island Jewish Medical Center

UAB School of Medicine

Boston Medical Center

Medical College of Wisconsin

University of Michigan Medical Center

Cedars-Sinai Medical Genetics Institute

MSU / Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies

UPMC Mercy

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Mount Sinai School of Medicine/ Elmhurst Hospital Center

Vanderbilt School of Medicine Office of Diversity

David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Office of Minority Health U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Wake Forest University School of Medicine

Association of American Medical Colleges

These special friends of the Journal for Minority Medical Students have demonstrated their commitment to reach out to minority medical students by placing their recruitment messages in each quarterly issue. We salute them and encourage our readers to consider these programs as they continue their medical education.

Meet Dr. I-Still-GetChills-When-TheyCall-Me-Doc Martin Candelaria Martin, M.D. Navajo

If you really want to make a difference in people’s lives, consider a career in medicine. The rewards of being a physician far outweigh the challenges of becoming one. Log on to® to learn more.

© 2006 AAMC

Table of Contents MEDICINE

-------------------------------------------It’s great to be a doctor 7 -------------------------------------------Allopathic vs. Osteopathic 12 -------------------------------------------What doctors make 14 -------------------------------------------What you need to do to prepare 14 -------------------------------------------Premed Timeline 15 -------------------------------------------Programs that can help: Arizona’s Med-Start 16 -------------------------------------------The MCAT 17 -------------------------------------------Application process overview 19 -------------------------------------------SMDEP Program 22 -------------------------------------------Tips from William B. Applegate, MD, Dean, Wake Forest University School of Medicine 24 -------------------------------------------Interviews 25 -------------------------------------------Recommendation letters 26 -------------------------------------------Postbaccalaureate programs 27 -------------------------------------------Personal statement (or the med school essay) by Jeannie Burlowski 35 -------------------------------------------How to handle the med school interview’s most important question by Jeremiah Fleenor, MD, MBA 36 -------------------------------------------I love being a doctor: Monica Eneriz-Wiemer, MD 38 -------------------------------------------How to pay for school 40 -------------------------------------------Minority funding programs 42 -------------------------------------------Financial aid resources 42 -------------------------------------------Medicine resources 43 --------------------------------------------


-------------------------------------------It’s great to be a dentist 55 -------------------------------------------What dentists make 56 -------------------------------------------What to do to become a dentist 57 -------------------------------------------Predental timeline 58 -------------------------------------------The application process 58 -------------------------------------------I love being a dentist: Huey P. Madison, II, DDS, 60 -------------------------------------------Financial resources for minority students 62 -------------------------------------------Dental pipeline program 63 -------------------------------------------Dentistry Resources 63 --------------------------------------------


-------------------------------------------It’s great to be a nurse 65 -------------------------------------------Nursing career paths 67 -------------------------------------------What nurses make 67 -------------------------------------------Tips on applying to nursing school 68 -------------------------------------------How to pay for school 69 -------------------------------------------I love being a nurse: Casaja Fritzler, RN 70 -------------------------------------------Nursing resources 71 --------------------------------------------

About the cover: Photography: Julie Caskey Models: Justin Hall, Price Toche, Chantelle Tibbs Calligraphy: Kate Hunt


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Laura L. Scholes

Contributing Writer John Dunn, MD

SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Vanessa Bowers, Michele Middleton, Keely John, Karime Barry

Campus Rep Liaison

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Prescription pharmacy? REWARDING CAREER

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If you enjoy working with people, excel in science and would like a rewarding healthcare career, pharmacy is for you!

A well-rounded career. Pharmacy is an exciting blend of science, healthcare, direct patient contact, computer technology A vital part of the and business. healthcare system. Pharmacists play an integral role in improving patients’ health through the medicine and information they provide.

Excellent earning potential. Pharmacy is one of the most financially rewarding careers.

A trusted profession. Pharmacists are consistently ranked as one of the most highly trusted professionals because of the care and service they provide.* *According to data by Wirthlin Worldwide and Gallup International

What kind of phyisician do you want to be? Do you want to treat your patients and change the world? SCNM offers an accredited 4-year degree in Naturopathic medicine.

Our graduates are educated in the same sciences as MDs, but employ professional, natural, noninvasive, non-toxic methods to care for their patients.

Become a physician trained to identify and treat the root cause of illness. For more information on a future in Naturopathic medicine, call, email or visit SCNM today?

MEDICINE It’s great to be a Doctor.

Va n d e r b i lt U n i v e r s i t y School of Medicine


hough “hot” professions come and go, a career in medicine never goes

Like most things that bring great reward, getting into medical school, and

out of style. Physicians have always been among the most respected

then successfully navigating the rapidly changing world of medicine is

people in the community and for good reason—they are looked to for guid-

very hard work. But it can be done—and should be, if you are ready for the

ance, for healing, for trust, for relationship. And though a doctor might

challenge. What will it take on your part? Integrity, curiosity, modesty,

take off her stethoscope at 6 p.m., the job of a doctor is a 24/7 proposition.

compassion, determination, dedication, sacrifice, a feeling of commit-

And in return for your commitment to your community, the community

ment to the greater good, stamina, and faith—in yourself and in the forces

offers respect and esteem in endless supply. The fact that you get to make

greater than you. Still interested? We hope so! Read on to find out what

a decent paycheck to support your family sure doesn’t hurt either.

you need to do to reach your dreams.




world CHANGE you let the

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Clinical Exposure


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Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago/ Northwestern University Medical School Providing medical care to this nationʼs estimated 40 million physically disabled citizens is a responsibility that often falls to the physiatrist — the physician specializing in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation. Patients commonly seen by physiatrists include children and adults who have disabilities such as hemiplegia; paraplegia; quadriplegia; amputations; arthritis; fractures; pulmonary or neuromuscular diseases; and other less disabling conditions. The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Northwestern University Medical School offers a program of interdisciplinary studies centered at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), with associations at Veterans Administration Westside Medical Center, Northwestern Memorial, Childrenʼs Memorial, Evanston Hospital, Illinois Masonic Medical Center and Alexian Brothers Hospitals. With more than three decades of experience in the field, RIC is dedicated to excellence in research, education and providing comprehensive care programs to the physically disabled. A 176-bed private, nonprofit freestanding facility. RIC was named top rehabilitation hospital in the country by US News & World Report for eighteen years in a row.

Office of CME Northwestern University Medical School 645 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1058-A Chicago, IL 60611 P. 312-503-7975 E-mail:

James Sliwa, DO/ Residency Program Director Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago 345 E Superior St. Chicago, Il 60611

Applications: Electronic Residency Application System (ERAS) 202-828-0413 or 202-828-1125

Is family

medicine your calling


Care for people and communities.

explore family medicine

David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Committed to:

Excellence •• Ranked Ranked among among the the top top ten ten U.S. U.S. medical medical schools*. schools*. •• UCLA Medical Center, judged "Best in the UCLA Medical Center, judged "Best in the West" West" and and in the top five nationally* in the top five nationally* •• More More students students at at UCLA UCLA honored honored with with the the prestigious prestigious McLean McLean and and Cadbury Cadbury Awards Awards than than at at any any other other medical medical school school (Awarded (Awarded annually annually by by National National Medical Fellowships, Inc. to the number Medical Fellowships, Inc. to the number one one and and the the number two graduating minority student in the number two graduating minority student in the nation) nation) •• Instruction Instruction and and mentoring mentoring by by distinguished, distinguished, awardawardwinning winning faculty faculty •• Research Research fellowships fellowships and and training training programs programs •• Small Small group group sessions, sessions, guided guided by by faculty, faculty, demonstrate demonstrate the relationship between course material and the relationship between course material and clinical clinical application application •• Combined Combined degree degree programs programs with with other other UCLA UCLA professional professional schools schools (Law, (Law, Management, Management, Public Public Health Health and and Public Public Policy) Policy)


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• Superior recruitment, retention and graduation record • 2005 Entering Class: 12% African American; 15% Latino and 1% Native American • Strong alumni and mentor network • Affiliated hospitals and clinics providing one of the most broad and diverse medical training programs available • Celebrations of diversity including exhibits, distinguished guest lectures, multi-media and theatrical events, traditional food shares and film festivals • Comprehensive premedical outreach and academic programs • Outreach to designated health manpower shortage areas and communities

For additional information contact

The Office of Academic Enrichment and Outreach, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, PO Box 956990, Los Angeles CA 90095 (310) 825-3575

The best medical education is personal………..………come home to UCLA! 1 Journal for Minority Medical Students 32 16 Journal for Minority Medical Students

Journal for Minority Medical Students 53 73 Journal for Minority Medical Students 33

Make The Commitment To Medical School, And We’ll Make The Commitment To You.

The School of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham offers you more than a world-renowned medical curriculum. We also provide you with opportunities to succeed. Our Office of Minority Enhancement was created specifically to help students like you to make the most of your education and enjoy all of the advantages of medical school. Call us, and find out more about: our special programs, including combined M.D./Ph.D. and M.D./M.P.H. degrees, the Early Decision Plan, and the Summer Health Enrichment Program (UAB-SHEP), which prepare you to enter medical school. financial assistance, assistance in securing research and clinical opportunities, counseling and support for academic and personal concerns, tutorial programs, and liaison activities among the School of Medicine, minority students, and medical organizations. For more information about our minority programs, please call 1-800-707-3579, ext. 6 today. Or write: Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs The University of Alabama School of Medicine 1530 3rd Avenue South, VH 102K Birmingham, AL 35294-0019 Visit our web site: Standing, from left: Sandrine Niyongere, MSII, Ezinne Okwandu, MSII, Alexis Mason, MSII, Whitney McNeil, MSII. Seated, Justin Jackson, MSII.

UAB is an equal education opportunity institution.


phenomenal education.” Dr. Karen Hurley, alumna

Read Dr. Hurley’s story: i>Ì…Ê*ÃÞV…œœ}ÞÊUÊ ÝiÀVˆÃiÊ-Vˆi˜ViÊEÊ7i˜iÃÃÊUÊiÀL>Ê-Vˆi˜Vià ÕÌÀˆÌˆœ˜ÊUÊVի՘VÌÕÀiÊEÊ"Àˆi˜Ì>Êi`ˆVˆ˜iÊUÊ >ÌÕÀœ«>̅ˆVÊi`ˆVˆ˜i

Allopathic vs. Osteopathic


here are two types of physicians–the MD, who practices allopathic medicine, and the DO who practices osteopathic medicine. Both types of physicians complete medical

school programs, and all are licensed to practice medicine and prescribe medications in all 50 states. Currently the majority of physicians in the U.S. practice allopathic medicine; a smaller group have chosen the field of osteopathic medicine. A student in an osteopathic medical school receives the same training as an MD, as well as additional training in muscular and skeletal manipulation and alternative forms of treatment. Other similarities include:

+ Both DOs and MDs complete four years of basic medical education. + After medical school, both DOs and MDs can choose to practice in a specialty area

What doctors do

of medicine–such as surgery or obstetrics–after completing a residency program that requires an additional two to six years.

Almost no field—health profession or not— offers the variety of opportunities that medicine does. It’s a constantly changing field where no day looks the same as the last. And the feeling of satisfaction of helping care for people—in rural clinics, in urban hospitals, in schools—is unmatched.

+ Both must pass comparable state licensing examinations. + Both practice in fully accredited and licensed health care facilities. Osteopathic physicians tend to focus on preventive health care, with a greater focus on the musculoskeletal system and how an injury or illness in one area can affect another. It has been said many times that osteopaths focus on treating a patient, not treating a disease. The doctor of osteopathic medicine’s training focuses on looking at the “whole person,” including home and environmental factors that might be contributing to the person’s health situation. As a result of this training, more than half of all osteopathic physicians

Specifically, about a third of the nation’s doctors are primary care practitioners, generalists, or “gatekeepers,” to use the

practice in primary care areas: pediatrics, family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, and internal medicine. Osteopathic physicians represent only five percent of all U.S. physicians, however they handle approximately 10 percent of all primary care visits.

lingo of managed care. These doctors provide “cradle-to-grave” care, and they are trained to treat a broad spectrum of health problems. When a patient needs more specific care for a problem, he is sent to a spe-

According to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, DOs also conduct clinical and basic science research to help advance the frontiers of medicine. Several national osteopathic organizations are in the development stage of a national center for osteopathic clinical research.

lar system or part of the body: oncologists study and treat cancer, dermatologists study and treat the skin, and so on. But besides the traditional patient care route, physicians can be found in a variety of settings: at a pharmaceutical company doing research, working on Capitol Hill for health reform, at a university teaching the next generation of doctors.





photo: Andrew E. Nelson

cialist, who focuses on treating a particu-

For example

+ More than 20 years of research shows there are persistent gaps in health care quality that disproportionately impact people from specific racial and ethnic backgrounds. These differences persist regardless of income, even when patients have health insurance coverage. For example, African Americans are less likely to receive good clinical care, good cardiac care, or be referred to specialists. ------------------------------

+ Research shows that when patients have the opportunity to select a health care professional, they are more likely to choose people of their own racial or ethnic background, and are generally more satisfied with the care they receive. ------------------------------


Demographic studies tell us that the

United States will face a serious shortage of doctors in the next 20 years as our population ages. More physicians, from all backgrounds, will be needed to meet this growing demand. ------------------------------


Recent public opinion research shows

that many minority students consider a career in medicine because they want to help ensure quality care and access to health care for all, especially those living in un-

W h y me ?

derserved communities. ------------------------------


ur country is growing more diverse, and the medical profession needs to catch up.

+ Now the only question you

Diversity among medical students and doctors is essential to improving our nation’s

really need to ask is, “Why not me?�

health. Right now, African Americans, Latinos/as, and Native Americans make up 30 percent of the U.S. population, but only 12 percent of our medical school graduates are members of these groups. Studies show that this diversity gap can result in minority patients being less likely to seek and receive the care they need.




What you neeD to Do to prepare

with your application. Just remember they are looking to create a team, and your “position” might already be occupied. Medical school takes four years to complete. When you graduate from medical school, you get your MD (Doctor of Medi-



cine) degree. After the second year in medical he first thing to know is that medical

school, medical students take an exam called

school admissions are extremely competi-

USMLE Step 1, which covers all basic sciences

tive. There are 131 medical schools in the U.S.,

material that is taught in the first two years

and only about one-half of those who apply are

of medical school. Passing USMLE Step 1 is


a requirement for progression to years 3 and A high GPA and MCAT scores are

4.. The last two years of medical school are

fairly mandatory (more about this later), and

spend both taking classes and on rotations in

so it’s true that if you do extremely well aca-

hospitals, where you learn medicine by doing it

demically, you’re going to have a much better

and from observation of other doctors. Some-

chance of making the cut. The key to success

where at this point one must pass USMLE Step

in any endeavor—including getting into med

2, which covers clinical knowledge. Successful

school—is to make sure you put all of your

performance on USMLE Step 2 is required in

effort into the variables that you can control

order for one to be board certified and to be able

(how much you study, for instance) as op-

to practice the art and science of medicine.

posed to those you can’t (having an aunt on If you’re going to medical school for the sole

the admissions committee).

After four years at medical school, you graduate with an MD, but you still cannot

And take heart: there’s more to get-

practice medicine. You must spend an addi-

reason that you want to make a lot

ting into med school than just your grades and

tional two to eight years in residency, depend-

of money, stop reading right now and


ing on the medical specialty or subspecialty

Demographics and increasing at-

you want to pursue. In general, family phy-

That said, medicine does of-

tention to diversity have a lot to do with who

sicians spend about two years in residency.

fer a comfortable living. On average,

gets accepted, because today, no school wants

Specialists such as cardiologists, surgeons, ra-

doctors make about $185,000 a year,

every one of their students to be white male

diologists, urologists spend more. If you want

but this amount can vary depending

biology majors with amazing MCATs. Rather,

to subspecialize in cardio-thoracic surgery, for

on where physicians live and what

they are looking to create the mix of students

instance, or something as complex, you must

type of medical specialty they prac-

that will create a strong class as a whole. This

spend additional years in training. During

tice. As the American health care

means women and men, science and non-sci-

your residency you must pass USMLE Step

ence majors, and all races.

3 in order to be state-certified for practice of

look into a good MBA program.

system changes, fewer doctors are working for themselves and more are joining health care systems, often as salaried employees. In these organizations, physicians often can command salaries comparable to executives in other occupations.



kEEPSAkE 2010

So, if you get rejected from a particular school, don’t think your GPA wasn’t high enough or that something was wrong

medicine. USMLE Step 3 covers clinical thinking and clinical management.


Freshmen Year

J unior Year

S enior Year

Take the following courses:

Take the following courses:


• General Biology I + lab

• Physics I + lab

+ Complete and return your secondary

• General Biology II + lab

• Physics II + lab

applications as you receive them.

• General Chemistry I + lab

• More classes for your major

+ Start preparing for your interviews.

and electives





+ This is when most interviews take place.

• General Chemistry II + lab • Calculus I, if required • Calculus II • Electives that interest you ----------------------------+ Get involved outside of academics, join clubs and organizations. Find a doctor to

+ Request AMCAS and AACOMAS applications. + Register for the MCAT. + Begin studying for MCAT. (if you haven’t done so already!).

shadow for a day to get a real feel for what

+ Continue med school research.

it’s like.


Be prepared! ---------------------------March-May 15 + Start looking more in depth into scholarships, loans, and other ways to pay for medical school. + May 15: The date by which you must

+ Be sure you’ve registered for

choose your med school if you have been

S ophomore Year

MCAT in time.

accepted by more than one.

Take the following courses:

+ Start requesting letters of recommen-


dation (start with those professors who


know you best).

+ Waitlist period: If you’ve been wait-


listed for a school and you really want to


go there, let them know. Remember, not

+ Take the MCAT.

every person offered a place in the med

• Organic Chemistry I + lab • Organic Chemistry II + lab • English • Other classes for your major and electives ----------------------------+ Start researching medical schools + Get to know your professors

+ Start working on your applications, with special attention to personal statement). ----------------------------May + If you wish to apply for an AMCAS or AACOMAS fee waiver, applications are accepted beginning May 15. -----------------------------

school class takes it. That place might just be yours. + If you didn’t make it this year, you are not alone. Take a bit of time to reflect on your journey, then make a plan of action so you can reapply next year if you decide that’s best.

June + Send in those applications. Remember: most schools use rolling admissions, so it pays to SUBMIT EARLY!




Programs that can help Arizona’s Med-Start


+ Premed tip Almost all public medical schools give

orty years ago, just two years after The

• Evelinda Gonzales, a 2002 participant

University of Arizona College of Medi-

and daughter of Dr. Carlos Gonzales (see

cine in Tucson opened its doors to its first

above) who is a member of the UA College of

class of medical students, the College opened

Medicine class of 2011.

its doors to a group of about 20 high school

students who came to the campus to attend

Med-Start students, recalls that as a stu-

the first Med-Start summer program and

dent at Pueblo High School, “I had an incli-

learn firsthand what it takes to be a healh

nation to dream about going into medicine,

care professional.

but it was just a major dream. “Med-Start

“The Med-Start program is an in-

motivated me,” he added, explaining that

tensive experience in which the students ac-

he became the first in his family to go on

quire basic medical knowledge while learn-

to college. “Without Med-Start, it wouldn’t

ing about health care careers,” says Linda

have happened. I would have worked in the

K. Don, assistant dean with the UA College

mines or gone into construction.”

of Medicine’s Office of Outreach and Multi-

cultural Affairs, which administers the pro-

program is for Arizona students who: will be

gram. “In addition, they’re introduced to col-

entering their senior year of high school and

lege life, which is vital to students entering

are interested in careers in the health pro-

health professions.”

fessions; are of underrepresented or diverse

preference to legal residents of the state or region. Even certain private schools that don’t have stated residency requirements give preference to state residents.

Dr. Gonzales, one of the original

The five-week academic summer

backgrounds; live in rural areas; or are ecoHere are just a few of Med-Starts past stars: • Mariana Amaya, MD, a 1992 participant who graduated from the UA College of Medicine in 2001 and practices obstetrics and gynecology in Phoenix. Dr. Amaya also participated in the UA Minority Medical Education

nomically disadvantaged. The program encourages them to pursue health care careers by helping them prepare for college life, introducing them to health-career opportunities, and informing them about educational pathways.

Program (MMEP) in 1994. • Ernestine Bustamante, MD, a 1988 par-

For more information, go to:

ticipant who graduated from the UA College

of Medicine in 1997 and practices obstetrics and gynecology in Phoenix. • Carlos R. Gonzales, MD, a 1970 participant who graduated from the UA College of Medicine in 1981 and is an associate professor with the UA College of Medicine Department of Family and Community Medicine. An award-winning family practice physician, he is a leader in addressing the challenges of border health issues.





How to prepare for the MCAT While there is no one way to prepare for the MCAT, your study plan should begin at least three months before your chosen exam date. Here’s an outline you might want to revise to fit your situation:



pete as well as others in the rolling admissions process, because your application will not be complete.

he Medical College Admissions Test,

Although knowledge of specific

known as the MCAT, attempts to assess

subjects is important when taking the MCAT,

a student’s academic foundation. Unlike ex-

a student’s thought processes are essential.

ams from high school and college where the

The test is an indicator to a potential medi-

emphasis is on memorizing and regurgitat-

cal school whether or not a student possesses

ing information, the MCAT is a standardized

the foundation on which to build a medical

test that measures the differences in capacity

career. It is designed to assist admission com-

or aptitude in specific areas. Designed by the

mittees in predicting which of their applicants

Association of American Medical Colleges

will perform adequately in the medical school

(AAMC), the MCAT is the entrance exam re-

curriculum. Medical schools consider the

quired by most schools in the United States

MCAT, along with your GPA, two of the most

and Canada. It is administered twice a year, in

important factors in determining acceptance.

April and August, and is a full-day exam. You

must preregister for MCAT well in advance,

knowing what you’re up against is essential.

so plan ahead. MCAT costs $230 to take, but

About 85% of questions on MCAT Organic

they will reduce the fee to $85 if you qualify

and Inorganic Chemistry and Physics sec-

(see more info on page 18). To get a fee re-

tions could be answered with the knowledge

duction you need to apply at least two months

of the required premed courses: intro to

before the exam date.

chemistry, intro to physics, and a full year

Good scores can open doors, so

Ideally, you should plan to take

of organic chemistry. Think about making

MCAT no later than April of the year in

an investment by sacrificing nights out with

which you hope to attend med school. If you

your friends in order to do well in those classes.

wait until August, you won’t be able to com-

Continued on page 18

+ Obtain a copy of The Official Guide to the MCAT Exam --------------------------+ Read and understand the MCAT Essentials (PDF) --------------------------+ Read “Preparing for the Test Sections” (see sidebar). --------------------------+ Make a note of any material that is unfamiliar to you or that you haven’t studied recently. --------------------------+ Review the science topics using relevant course materials, including textbooks, course outlines, and notes. --------------------------+ Work through MCAT practice tests, using the diagnostic reports in the online practice tests to identify topics and skills that need additional review. --------------------------+ If your pace on the practice tests is slow, take advantage of any services your college offers to help improve reading speed and comprehension. --------------------------+ If you have a study partner, each of you can use your strengths to help the other address areas of weakness. --------------------------+ Avoid last-minute “cramming.” --------------------------+ Make sure to get enough sleep, food, and exercise, especially in the days preceding the test.





The AAMC Fee Assistance Program

From Page 17

(FAP) aids individuals with extreme fi-

You will not only have a good science GPA

plan or the Princeton Review can be very help-

nancial limitations who otherwise could

(which is very important), but you will also pave

ful if you can fit them into your budget, both

not take the exam. The program reduc-

the road to a good MCAT score.

monetary and time. Generally such courses run

es the regular testing fee for eligible

The exam itself actually lasts five-

from $500-800. If you have the self-discipline

individuals from $225 to $85. Please

and-a-half hours. It has four sections: Verbal

to study on your own, you can save significant

be aware that you must receive a final

reasoning, physical sciences, a writing sample,

amounts of money using MCAT review books.

FAP approval before you register. Visit

and biological sciences. The physical sciences

There are three actual full-length MCAT exams

section contains questions on physics and gen-

available directly from the company that admin-

for complete information on the FAP,

eral chemistry; the biological sciences section

isters MCAT. In addition, firms such as Kaplan,

including eligibility, the application pro-

focuses on biology and organic chemistry. The

Princeton, Columbia, ARCO, and many others

cess, and associated deadlines. NOTE:

verbal reasoning section contains 40 multiple-

publish MCAT review books with useful mate-

FAP eligibility decisions are tied directly

choice questions that are based on knowledge

rial and stimulated MCAT exams. Moreover,

to the U.S. Department of Health and

from the social and natural sciences, as well as

there are books full of nothing but MCAT like

Human Services’ poverty-level guidelines.

the humanities. The writing sample section in-

questions and answers.

For the 2009 calendar year, applicants

cludes two 30-minute writing tasks to assess

whose total family income is 300 percent

your critical thinking, organization, and com-

or less of the poverty level for their family

munication skills.

size are eligible for fee assistance.

Preparation is key to scoring well on

the MCAT regardless of what kind of student you are. To prepare, you have two choices: Take a live review course or study on your own. Most likely, you have already completed two or three years of undergraduate study and have taken the required course work in the sciences. Before you begin either taking a review course or practicing on your own, review relevant class notes, outlines, or textbooks you have from previous courses. What makes or breaks a good MCAT score is knowing some of the answers to the remaining 15% of the questions. These usually are not covered in typical premed classes. They not only help to determine whether you will get in but also where you will get in. 18



Commercial prep courses such as Ka-

Application Process Overview

Meharry Medical College

Starting early The best thing you can do to assure your success in the admissions process is to do everything as early as possible. Unlike college admissions, medical school spots are filled on a rolling basis. This means that a school will fill spots in the class as soon as it sees a qualified candidate. If you complete the AMCAS primary in June, submit the secondary in September, and interview

In addition, ask yourself more specific questions:

in October, then you might get accepted as early as December. December is probably the earliest any candidate will be accepted. If, however, you finish the primary in late

+ Do you prefer lecture classes or small-group

July, receive and send out the secondary in

discussions? Most schools will offer some

November, and interview in February, there

of both, as well as the opportunity for inde-

might only be twenty spots left in a 145-per-

average of 87 percent of underrepresented

son class. Instead of competing for one of

minority matriculants graduate. Minority

145 spots, you’re competing for the twenty

medical students often face obstacles that are

that are left. And remember, your unique

unique to their culture, conflicts and hurdles

spot on “the team” might already be taken.

that white students may encounter only rarely. Applying to a medical school that has a

Where to Apply

high minority enrollment, has programs and

The first question you should ask yourself

resources in place to recruit minority stu-

when considering a school is a basic one: if

dents, or in the case of African Americans,

this was the only school you got into, would

applying to a Historically Black College or

you still go?” If the answer is “yes,” then you

University can be advantageous in getting in

should probably apply. If it is “probably not,”

and staying in medical school.

you shouldn’t apply in the first place.

Pick a solid roster of five or six

ticular school you’re interested in is not

schools you would really like to attend and to

available (and it should be, from AAMC if not

which you have a reasonable chance of get-

from the school itself), don’t be afraid to ask

ting in. Add three “safety” schools that you

questions such as, “How important is racial

wouldn’t mind attending if the others don’t

and ethnic diversity to your school?” and

accept you, and three “dream team” schools

“What kind of support services do you have

because you just never know.

for underrepresented students?” It would be

National ranking lists are fine for com-

good to speak to a student of your own race

parison, but the important thing is to figure out

or ethnicity who is currently in school there

what is important to you about your education.

to get a first-hand account of what life is like.

Diversity is probably very impor-

If diversity information on a par-

pendent study. Ask your premedical advisor about the curricula of your potential schools. ---------------------------------+ Is getting into clinical experience early an important factor for you? Traditionally, medical school offers classroom work in the first two years, followed by clinical work in the third and fourth years. Some schools, however, involve students in clinical work as early as the first year. ---------------------------------+ Is the grading scale important to you? If so, you might want to consider how much of your potential school’s coursework is pass-fail and how much is on the standard letter grading system.

Choosing between all the schools

tant to you, both in classmates and in faculty.

and programs you are considering can be

It’s even more important when you look at

daunting, so compare requirements and of-

graduation rates: While 95 percent of whites

ferings and focus and narrow down your list

successfully complete medical school, only an

as best you can. KEEPSAKE 2010



SPELMAN COLLEGE Highest Ranking Ranking HBCU HBCU -- Top Top 100 100 List List Highest U. S. S. News News & & World World Report Report U.

e e r r s a Progra C h t l a m He Ranked Among Among the the Highest Highest in in Nation Nation for for Acceptances Acceptances Ranked of African African Americans Americans into into U.S. U.S. Medical Medical Schools Schools of A record record of of successful successful preprofessional preprofessional A development in in pursuit pursuit of: of: development � �

medicine medicine

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public health health public

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optometry optometry

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chiropractic chiropractic

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physician assistant assistant physician

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veterinary medicine medicine veterinary

Spelman Spelman

Over one-third one-third of of student student body body pursues pursues majors majors in in science, science, mathematics mathematics and and engineering engineering Over Spelman College College Spelman Dr. Barbara Barbara Bell Bell Dr. Director, Health Health Careers Careers Program Program Director, Assistant Professor Professor of of Biology Biology Assistant � � � � � � � � � � � �

State-of-theArt ScienceFacility Facility State-of-the-Art Science Science Facility State-of-the-Art Academic Assistance Academic Assistance Assistance Academic Alpha Epsilon Delta(AED) (AED) Alpha Epsilon Epsilon Delta Delta (AED) Alpha Summer Opportunities Summer Opportunities Opportunities Summer Special Programming Programming Special Programming Special Boehringer Ingelheim Ingelheim Scholars Boehringer Scholars Recruitment Activities

Spelman College College -- Health Health Careers Careers Program Program -- 350 350 Spelman Spelman Lane, Lane, SW SW -- Box Box 1421 1421 -- Atlanta, Atlanta, GA GA 30314 30314 -- (404) (404) 681-3643 681-3643 Spelman

The AMCAS/AACOMAS Primary Application


f the 131 med schools in the U.S., the vast majority belong to the American Asso-

ciation of Medical Colleges (AAMC). Fortunately, the AAMC schools accept a common application. For these schools, one must first complete a primary application, called the American Medical College Applications Service (AMCAS), a service provided by the AAMC. The AMCAS primary is then copied and sent to all the AAMC schools you checked on the form. Each med school then makes its

The Non-AMCAS Schools

own determination on whether or not to send

Secondary Application

you a secondary application. The AMCAS Primary may be picked up at your premed advi-

For these schools, you will need to

sor’s office. The fastest way to get an AMCAS

The secondary application can involve any-

contact each one and apply individu-

application, however, is at the AAMC website,

thing from a simple signature to pages of es-

ally (except for Texas, which has its, where you can download the

says, but it will almost always involve more

own application service) There is no

AMCAS-E software that allows you to com-

money. The secondaries are then processed

plete your applications electronically. You can

by the schools, and they determine whether

also complete a paper copy of the application.

or not to grant you an interview.

secondary. Instead, you send everything together, and pay one larger fee instead of two smaller ones.

For entrance to non-AMCAS schools,

you must contact each school and apply to each one separately (see sidebar for list).

+ Baylor

+ Brown

For entrance to Osteopathic medi-

cal schools, you must contact the Association

Make the Most of Summer Application

+ All Texas public schools:

of American Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

• Texas A&M


• UT Southwestern

• UT Galveston

AACOMAS application form, you can apply

• UT Houston

to as many med schools as you wish. The

• UT San Antonio

AMCAS application fee is $160 for the first

• Texas Tech

school and $31 for each additional school. A

Education Program (SMDEP) is a free (full

fee waiver program is available. The applica-

tuition, housing, and meals) six-week sum-

tion fee for AACOMAS is $155 for the first

mer academic enrichment program that gives

school, with a decreasing scale of fees for

freshman and sophomore college students

each additional school designated.

intensive and personalized medical and den-

Both AMCAS and AACOMAS are

tal school preparation. Its goal is to help stu-

serious about their deadlines, so procrastina-

dents representing a wide range of economic,

tors beware! Both applications have generally

cultural, racial and ethnically diverse back-

the same sections: one on general informa-

grounds get into med school.

tion, the personal essay, coursework, and

GPA. When filling out the general information

gram sites across the nation. Each program site

section, be sure to spotlight those activities

provides scholars with academic enrichment

and honors that are most important to you and

in the basic sciences, math, clinical experienc-

those that you hope will distinguish your ap-

es, career development activities, learning and

plication. List in descending order of priority.

study skills seminars, and a financial planning

You may also want to highlight health-related

workshop. Program sites vary on how they de-

activities, public service work, and science or

liver each of these required components and

medically related work experience.

when the programs begin.

+ University of Missouri–Kansas + University of North Dakota




With the standardized AMCAS or


f you’re looking for a good way to amp up your med school application, look no fur-

ther than the SMDEP program. The Summer Medical and Dental

SMDEP is implemented at 12 pro-

Duk e S c h o o l o f M e d i c i n e

+ Application tips

SMDEP Program Sites Case Western Reserve University Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine Cleveland, OH Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and College of Dental Medicine New York, NY David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and UCLA School of Dentistry Los Angeles, CA Duke University School of Medicine Durham, NC

University of Louisville Schools of Medicine and Dentistry Louisville, KY University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) Colleges of Medicine and Dentistry Omaha, NE The University of Texas Dental Branch and Medical School at Houston Houston, TX University of Virginia School of Medicine Charlottesville, VA The University of Washington Schools of Medicine and Dentistry Seattle, WA

Howard University Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Dentistry and Medicine Washington, DC

Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT

UMDNJ New Jersey Medical and New Jersey Dental Schools Newark, NJ

For more information on SMDEP, go to:

+ Order a college transcript for yourself and make sure your grades are what they are supposed to be. Professors have made mistakes before, and one at this point would kill. Make sure your grades are what you think you received. -------------------------------+ Write class names exactly as they appear on your college transcript. The AMCAS people will check your college transcript against what you have written, and if they can’t figure out a class, then costly delays will occur. Make it easy for them to check your classes and grades. -------------------------------+ List your AP classes in your “Freshman year” of college. It’s ok to have tons of classes during that first year because of exemptions and AP scores. -------------------------------+ List introductory classes you skipped (such as bio, chem, or even a language) and label them appropriately with the “EX” designation. If you only took one semester of an upper level course, medical schools can still see that you passed out of the intro course, and they won’t accuse you of not fulfilling the requirements. -------------------------------+ If you are advanced standing because of APs, put down the APs in the “Freshman Year” category, and put the courses you actually took your first year at college in the “Sophomore Year” category. Keep going, and you will have two senior years. That’s fine. -------------------------------+ Have someone check your record for typos and format. The best is to have it done by your premedical advisor. -------------------------------+ Check everything three times! If you make mistakes, such as copying classes or grades incorrectly, they will hold it for weeks while they try to figure out what is wrong. If they can’t figure it out, they’ll send it back to you to do again. By the time all this happens, it will be at least a month and a half. Check again before you submit it.




Guidance for med student hopefuls

> Dean William B. Applegate, MD Wake Forest University School of Medicine




Why do you think our readers shouldconsider a career in medicine? Dean Applegate: The power of medicine to save lives and alleviate suffering is better than it’s ever been in the history of the world, and certainly hugely better than it was three decades ago when I graduated from medical school. It’s so exciting now. We can cure or help people with so many disorders. I would add to this that this is a really cutting edge time in terms of what we can do. Because of the power of personalized medicine, with genomics and other things in the future, we’re about to enter an era where we’ll have many more targeted therapeutics for our patients, so we can really individualize the treatment. When we get to that point where we can prolong life and alleviate suffering, it will be breathtaking. The other thing about medicine, is that it gives you the opportunity to have relationships with people—your patients—that very few people get to have. It’s a true privilege.

We have a lot of students here who are liberal arts majors, but taking science courses early and working very hard in science courses still stands students in greatest stead to get into med school. Plus, the students that work hard on science courses tend to do a little better on the MCAT. Also, I think medical schools are putting more and more emphasis on interviews. Presenting oneself as an open, warm, and a dedicated person in an interview goes a long way these days. Interviews tend to make people nervous. But you know, the bottom line is, medical schools need medical students, and the interview process is as much an opportunity for us to recruit students as it is for students to try to get into school. So I would advise people to look upon the interview as a stimulating opportunity for the school to recruit them. I don’t mean that in any arrogant way or anything. Just don’t be nervous. We need you guys.

What are some of the common characteristics you see of students who are successful in med school and beyond? Dean Applegate: I think there are three things. First, the most successful folks are the ones that really connect with other people. Second, successful doctors have the ability to develop and maintain meaningful relationships. And third, they have persistence. The work of medicine is not as punishing as it might have been years ago, but there is a lot of work, a lot of study, so persistence is really quite helpful. The fact is, you don’t have to be a genius to be a doctor. If you have a balanced personality and a balanced perspective, and you work hard, you can be a great doctor.

Have you noticed any other changes in what your school is looking for in a candidate? Dean Applegate: There’s still a fair amount of emphasis on the numbers—grade point averages, MCAT scores, etc. But more and more, we’re asking questions about a person’s personality or values, and we’re putting more emphasis on personality and values.

What advice do you have for students from diverse backgrounds about applying for medical school? Dean Applegate: Everybody agrees here, that medical schools evolve to meet the needs of our society. And as a medical school we have a duty to society to train more minorities and people that are from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Patients relate best to people who either share their culture or look somewhat like them. So medical schools need to really open the doors wider to people of a variety of backgrounds. The secondary benefit of this is that those people who are in medical school are exposed to a much broader sort of cultural milieu, which is a growth opportunity. But to your question specifically: the first thing I would say is that having a healthy dose of science courses is still, from a pragmatic point of view, a great path to choose.

A lot of people say getting in is the hardest part of medical school, but staying in is also a good part of the battle. Do you have any insider tips? Dean Applegate: Time management is hugely important in medical school. Busy medical students have to make incredibly effective use of their time and be disciplined every day. The second tip is to try to always work ahead. You know, try to be on top of the work ahead and then work very hard to never fall behind. The final thing is, once you’re good at managing your time and good at keeping ahead of the game in terms of your studies, go out and have a good time. I think we’re all happier when we have some joy in our lives every day and have good times periodically. I think it adds to the richness of our lives. Medical school can be emotionally stressful not only because of the work, but because of things that you see in patient care. There’s an old saying, “Physician, heal thyself.” Well, we’ve got to take care of ourselves so we can take care of other people. I advise our students to make sure that they laugh and have a sense of joy in their work every day. A little laughter goes a long way.

University of Tennessee

Top 10 Medical Schools for Hispanic Students 1. Stanford University ---------------------------

2. University of Miami ---------------------------

3. University of Texas Southwestern ---------------------------

4. University of Texas at Houston ---------------------------

5. University of Texas Health Science


Center at San Antonio ---------------------------

6. University of New Mexico ---------------------------


nce your secondary applications have been sent out, the school will determine whether or not to offer you an interview. Most schools will consider the interview along with

recommendation letters, essays, and scores in determining admissions.

Interviews are generally one-on-one, and usually you will have two interviews

per school. Interviewers are generally faculty members (MDs or PhDs), and possibly current medical students. You may or may not be informed ahead of time who is interviewing you, and the interviewer may or may not know whom he or she is interviewing. For more on this, read below. Finally, interviewers may be voting members of the admissions com-

7. Florida State University ---------------------------

8. University of Illinois at Chicago ---------------------------

9. University of Arizona ---------------------------

10. University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

mittee, or they may just submit reports to the committee. As you can see, interview format varies for each school, so do some research and know what to expect.

At most schools, your interviewer has already read your application, including your

primary, secondary, and recommendation letters, and he or she has been briefed on you.

Men should wear a suit and tie. You don’t have to wear a full matching suit, but

at least wear khaki slacks and a sport coat. A tie is a must. If you don’t dress like you mean business, then your interviewer will think you aren’t serious about the school. Womenshould wear something somewhat conservative and business-like. Stay away from flowery dresses because this reminds the interviewers (old doctors and PhDs) of little girls in church. You want to present yourself as a mature woman ready to become a doctor.

Bring some kind of nice folder to carry things you will receive the day of the in-

terview. It looks unprofessional to come into an interview with loose papers and a school catalogue slipping out of a nervous, sweaty hand. Most people carry a leather folder. It doesn’t need to be leather, but don’t go in with a manilla folder.




Schools with a high percentage of underrepresented minorities G EOR G E WASHIN G TON U NI V ERSITY

+ Howard Universit --------------------------+ Louisiana State University --------------------------+ Meharry Medical College ---------------------------

Recommendation Letters



+ University of California, Los Angeles

your abilities and your work. It is also a forum to give testimony of your skills which cannot


be shown on the MCAT or your transcript, such as your desire to help people or ability to

+ University of Illinois

persevere through struggle. Applicants may submit anywhere from three to eight letters,


although five or six is the norm. This section will cover how to “cultivate” letters of recom-

+ University of South Florida

mendation, the recommendation portfolio, whom to ask, and how to ask.


+ University of Texas, Galveston

be personal. You don’t want the letter to come from a random organic chemistry teacher


who is being asked by 50 other students as well. The longer and better you know some-

+ University of Texas, Houston

one, the more enthusiastic and personal the recommendation will be. In the perfect world,

+ Morehouse School of Medicine

ecommendation letters are another key component to the application. Letters of recommendation are a way to show the admissions committees that other people respect

The rule to remember about letters of recommendation is that you want them to

you should have a good relationship with a professor, physician, or someone else highly respected who can truly attest to your abilities. Many times, this come from working with someone who plays a mentoring role for you in a lab and who can vouch for your scientific rigor. But if research isn’t your thing, find recommenders in the place where you have the most passion: in the hospital in which you’ve worked directly with nurses or doctors; at the mental health clinic where you’ve volunteered as a counselor; or in a totally non-medical related arena such as sports, theater, or the arts. The bottom line is: the better you know your recommender, the more convincing your recommendation letter from that person will be.

And while you want your scientific skills to shine through in at least one or two of

your letters, make sure that the “big picture” you in all your individual glory is represented. If you are heavily weighted in one area (science, for instance) make sure the other sides of you (writing ability being key here) are highlighted in your letters.




Postbaccalaureate Pro g rams


few schools have a formal postbaccalaureate premed department for students trying to enter medical school after earning their baccalaureate degree. Formal postbaccalaureate programs generally cater to a specific population; many are targeted to underrepresented students of any background who want to enter the field of medicine. Formal postbaccalaureate premed programs teach undergraduate premed coursework, and upper division biology coursework. They also provide extensive medical school application advising as well as MCAT preparation courses. Finally, postbaccalaureate premed programs allows students with similar nontraditional backgrounds and goals to support each other. Although post-baccalaureate premed programs are generally very expensive, financial aid is available to soften the blow. Just as with medical school, formal postbaccalaureate premed programs often have more applicants than spaces. GPA is the most important criteria in choosing who gets admitted to a postbac premed program. Here’s a list of programs targeted to underrepresented students. American University Postbaccalaureate Premedical Certificate Program - Washington, DC > -------------------------------California State University Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program for Pre-Health Professionals - Los Angeles, CA > certprehealth.php -------------------------------Charles Drew University Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Pre Medicine - Los Angeles, CA > graduate/pre-medicine -------------------------------Creighton University Premedical Post baccalaureate - Omaha, NE > hsmaca/ -------------------------------Dominican University Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Science Certificate Program - River Forest, IL >

Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine Biomedical Science Post-Baccalaureate Program - Blacksburg, VA > -------------------------------Hunter College of CUNY Postbaccalaureate Prehealth Certificate Program - New York, NY > studentservices/prehealth/postba -------------------------------Indiana University/Purdue University IUPUI School of Science Post-Bac Pre-Med Program - Indianapolis, IN > hpp.php -------------------------------OSU Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine Bridge Program - Tulsa, OK > student/bridge/index.cfm -------------------------------Roswell Park Cancer Institute Summer Research Program - Buffalo, NY > -------------------------------San Francisco State University Health Professions Preparation and Reapplicant Program - San Francisco, CA > Informal.htm -------------------------------San Francisco State University SFSU Adjunct Dental Post-Baccalaureate Program - San Francisco, CA > DentPBP-Reapp.htm -------------------------------Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Medical/Dental Education Preparatory Program (MEDPREP) - Carbondale, IL > -------------------------------UC Berkeley Health Professions Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program - Berkeley, CA > -------------------------------UC Davis School of Medicine Postbaccalaureate Program - Davis, CA > postbacc/index.html

UC Irvine School of Medicine Postbaccalaureate Program - Irvine, CA > -------------------------------UC Los Angeles/David Geffen Re-Application Program (UCLA RAP) Los Angeles, CA > prospective -------------------------------UC, San Francisco UCSF Post Baccalaureate Programs San Francisco, CA > -------------------------------UCSD School of Medicine Postbaccalaureate Program - San Diego, CA > postbac -------------------------------University of Massachusetts at Boston Boston, MA > -------------------------------University of North Texas Health Science Center Post-baccalaureate Precertification in Medical Science - Fort Worth, TX > medicalsciences.cfm -------------------------------Virginia Commonwealth University Pre-Medical Health Sciences Graduate Certificate - Richmond, VA > -------------------------------Washington University in St. Louis Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program St. Louis, MO > -------------------------------West Chester University Pre-Medical Program - West Chester, PA > -------------------------------William Paterson University Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program Wayne, NJ > htm -------------------------------Worcester State College Postbaccalaureate Pre-Medical Program Worcester, MA > chemistry2/pre-medical.htm




Sunday, February 28, 2010 Harvard Medical School Joseph B. Martin Conference Center The New England Science Symposium, established in 2002, promotes careers in biomedical science. The aim of the symposium is to encourage postdoctoral fellows; medical, dental and graduate students; post-baccalaureates; college and community college students (particularly African-American, Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native individuals) to present their research projects through oral or poster presentations, to exchange ideas that can further their career development

Deadline for Abstract Submission: December 1, 2009 Abstracts should be submitted by postdoctoral fellows and students involved in biomedical or health-related scientific research. To submit an abstract or to register: All abstracts will be reviewed and applicants notified of their acceptance before the end of January 2010.

and to expand their professional network.

Sponsors/Funders: Harvard Medical School Office for Diversity and Community Partnership; Biomedical Science Careers Program; Harvard Catalyst Program for Faculty Development and Diversity; Genzyme Research; National Institutes of Health, DHHS; Office of Minority Health, DHHS; Harvard FAS Center for Systems Biology and NIGMS Center for Modular Biology; Harvard Medical School Department of Systems Biology and Cell Decision Process Center; Novartis.

CONTACTS Harvard Medical School Geeta Chougule Phone: 617.432.7770 Biomedical Science Careers Program Lise D. Kaye Phone: 617.432.0552


Medical Student Programs at Harvard Medical School Boston, Massachusetts



Sponsored by the Harvard Catalyst Program for Faculty Development and Diversity, VRIP is an 8-week mentored summer research program open to 1st and 2nd year U.S. medical students, particularly underrepresented minority and/or disadvantaged individuals from accredited U.S. medical schools. VRIP is designed to enrich medical students’ interest in research and health-related careers, particularly clinical/translational research careers. VRIP offers students housing as well as a stipend and transportation reimbursement for travel to and from Boston. Applicants must be U.S. citizens.

Sponsored by the Harvard Medical School Minority Faculty Development Program, VCP is open to 4th-year and last quarter 3rd-year minority medical students in good standing at U.S. accredited medical schools who wish to participate in a clerkship in any discipline at Harvard Medical School (HMS) affiliated hospitals. Housing and financial assistance towards transportation expenses to and from Boston are available. Students are assigned a faculty advisor, provided the potential to network with HMS residency training programs and have access to the medical school library, seminars and workshops. Clerkships are offered year-round. Applications must be submitted 3-6 months in advance of the desired rotation.

For more information on Harvard Catalyst programs please contact: Vera Yanovsky, Program Coordinator Phone: 617-432-1892 E-mail: Web Site:

For more information please contact: Jo Cole, Program Coordinator Phone: 617-432-4422 E-mail: Web Site:

Program Director: Joan Y. Reede, MD, MPH, MBA Dean for Diversity and Community Partnership Associate Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School



Š 2008. Paid for by the U.S. Navy. All rights reserved.



TheMedicalCollegeofWisconsin(MCW)recognizestheimportanceofallowingitsmedicalstudentstheopportunitytoexchangeideaswith otherswhohavetalents,backgrounds,viewpoints,experiencesandinterestsdifferentfromtheirown.Tothisend,theMedicalCollegeis committedtotherecruitment,admissionandgraduationoftalentedstudentsfromdiversebackgrounds. 


Academicprogramsareofferedtolocalhighschool,residentandnonͲresidentcollegelevelstudentsthroughaseriesofeducationalpipeline programs.  The Diversity Summer HealthͲrelated Research Education Program (DSHREP) allows undergraduate, graduate and medical students from diverse backgrounds, the opportunity to engage in a tenͲweek summer fellowship for students interested in the areas of cardiovascular, pulmonary and hematological research.  The program is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, Lung and Blood Divisionandoffersamonthlystipendtoparticipants. 


TheOfficeofStudentAffairs/DiversityhasimplementedseveralnewinitiativestosupportyoursuccessfulstudyhereatMCWandtoprovide enrichmentexperiences.Wehaveastudentcounselorwhoisavailabletoyouwheneveryouneedacademic,personalorothercounseling. WealsohaveourAcademicandCareerDevelopmentSpecialist,whoprovidestutoringinareassuchasstudyskills,testͲtakingstrategiesand helpsdevelopaboardpreparationcourse,ensuringstudents’abilitytomasterthebasicandclinicalsciences. 



StudentNationalMedicalAssociation(SNMA) x LaRazaMedicalAssociation(LaRaMA) x AmericanMedicalStudentAssociation(AMSA) x PhysiciansforSocialResponsibility(PSR) x ApplicantHostProgram(AHP)

MEDICALCOLLEGEOFWISCONSINAFFILIATEDHOSPITALS,INC(MCWAH) TheMedicalCollegeofWisconsinAffiliatedHospitals(MCWAH)isaconsortiumthatwasestablishedin1980tofacilitatetheadministration ofGraduateMedicalEducation(GME)programsconductedjointlybytheMedicalCollegeofWisconsininconjunctionwith10healthcare institutions in the greater Milwaukee area; specifically Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin are directlylocatedonthecampusgrounds.Inaddition,MCWAHensurestheaccreditationofitstrainingprogramsbytheAccreditationCouncil ofGraduateMedicalEducation(ACGME).Currently,MCWAHemploys800housestaffin75accreditedresidencyandfellowshipprograms. 

For more information contact Dawn St. A. Bragg, PhD Assistant Dean Student Affairs/Diversity (414) 456-8734 Trenace L. Cole Recruiter/Student Counselor Student Affairs/Diversity (414) 456-8735 email: Karen Shanahan, M.S. Ed. Academic & Career Development Specialist Student Affairs/Diversity (414) 456-8583

Founded in 1789, the same year the U.S. Constitution took effect, Georgetown is the nation’s oldest Catholic university. The vision of Georgetown founder John Carroll, S.J., still guides the university in its commitment to Catholic, Jesuit education, with respect for diversity and open dialogue in the pursuit of truth.

cura personalis

Guided by Georgetown’s Jesuit tradition of cura personalis, or care of the whole person, Georgetown University School of Medicine educates, in an integrated way, knowledgeable, skillful, ethical and compassionate physicians and biomedical scientists, dedicated to the care of others and the health needs of our society. The University was founded on the principle that serious and sustained discourse among people of different faiths, cultures, and beliefs promotes intellectual, ethical and spiritual understanding. Consistent with this principle, the School of Medicine expects faculty, staff and students to respect and embrace cultural, ethnic, racial, and all dimensions of diversity in a learning environment that understands and includes the varied health care needs and growing diversity of the populations we serve.




Personal Statement (or The Med School Essay) By Jeannie Burlowski

you do, don’t underestimate the importance of a clear, conWhatever vincing, compelling personal statement. Schools read them carefully, and are very much influenced by them. Sometimes students get into medical school with slightly weak GPAs or MCAT scores, but almost nobody gets into medical school with weak personal statement. The difficulty for most applicants is that there are no good “rules” anywhere on how to write a great personal statement. And if someone tries to tell you that there are rules (”You can’t talk about anything from childhood.” “You have to tell about your volunteer work.”), they are almost always completely wrong. Now, I realize, this actually makes your job harder. It would be nice if there were some rules in this process. So, if there really are no “rules,” what should you put in your personal statement? I suggest you construct your personal statement by searching your soul to discover the most compelling reasons you—not 100 other people—should be in medical school. Use that information, to create a flawlessly, well-reasoned argument in your behalf. I use the word “argument,” but, of course, I would never want you to sound argumentative; I want you to sound very warm, and personal, and human. “Argument” just means that when someone gets done reading your personal statement, their natural reaction is to say, “Oh my gosh this makes absolutely perfect sense… I don’t even have a question about this. It’s really clear to me that this person should be in medical school.” This kind of reaction can both get you into the school of your choice, and frequently get you money to go there. As a matter of fact, interestingly enough, the clients I’ve had who’ve received the most overwhelming scholarship offers from schools were people with unremarkable GPAs and test scores but absolutely riveting personal statements. “The essays can make that big a difference?” “The essays can have such an impact that they can make schools willing to forgive some of my other liabilities?” Yes. Yes Yes YES. They absolutely can. There is a chance that you can accomplish your dream even if you think that you have some kind of a terrible liability that’s going to keep you out of medical school. The personal statement has that much potential power. This concept, of using your personal essay space to create a flawlessly well reasoned “argument” in your own behalf, is exactly the one specific principle I keep mentioning that could completely revolutionize the content of your med school application. It helps you to clarify exactly what you should be writing about in the personal statement and what you should emphasize and what you should downplay. It helps you to explain clearly and with confidence (not arrogance) why you want to be a doctor, and it keeps you from falling back on over-used cliches such as: “I want to help people.” And, in addition, it helps with every other aspect of the application process, from letters of recommendation to interviews. Em o r y - M o r e h o u s e

Let me tell you about a client I helped apply to medical school. She had a 2.9 grade point average and only 10s on the MCAT. Advisors at school told her: “You might as well not even try. You don’t have a chance. You might as well go be a nurse.” Well, we put together a flawlessly well reasoned argument in her behalf, and we were actually able to convince the committee that she was highly academically capable despite that 2.9 grade point average. And you know what? She was admitted to a top 20 U.S. medical school on the first try. Today she is in her third year and she’s in the top five percent of her class! You may not be fighting such a dramatic liability as you apply to medical school, but I can tell you from experience that almost every applicant approaches the application process afraid that something about their situation is going to keep them out of med school. If it’s not grades, it may be mediocre MCAT scores. People with stellar grades and MCAT scores may lack enough volunteer work in a health care setting to demonstrate a well thought-through commitment to medicine. The list goes on and on. After 14 years consulting one-on-one with medical school applicants, I can tell you that whatever your liability, there is hope. If you want to go to medical school and you are weak in a certain area, it is possible for you to be strengthened in that area. And it is possible for you to tell your story in such a compelling way that the committee’s natural reaction is to say: “Wow, it makes absolutely perfect sense for this person to be here.”

How to do it You can make a well reasoned argument in your behalf by using the exact same principles a lawyer uses when arguing a case in court. It’s by using these very old, time-tested principles that we can get a reader to say: “Wow. This makes absolutely perfect sense.” Trouble is, they don’t ever teach you that much about these principles in undergrad. You usually don’t learn them unless you go to law school! You might learn these time-tested principles of argument in three specific ways. You could 1) ask a logic professor at your college or university to explain the principles to you (be sure to ask him or her about the three component parts of argument that must be in perfect balance in order for an argument to be perfectly convincing); 2) get a textbook on argumentation from your college bookstore; or 3) I can help you. Shouldn’t I just try to figure out what they want to hear and give them that? Please don’t. It can be lethal. It’s the quickest way for you to make yourself sound exactly like every other applicant out there, and it usually leaves out the most interesting specific things about you. Best of luck to you as you use intelligent introspection and truth to put together your outstanding application to medical school! -------------------------------------------------Jeannie Burlowski is a consultant who specializes in helping students get into medical school. Go to her website for more tips: >




“Tell Me a Little About Yourself”: How to Handle the Med School Interview’s Most Important Question by Jeremiah Fleenor, MD, MBA

C enters o f E xcellence P ro g rams Tar g eted to M inorities + The University of Arizona Health Sciences Center’s Hispanic Center of Excellence

-----------------------------------+ The University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine Hispanic Center of Excellence.

-----------------------------------+ The Stanford University School of Medicin Center of Excellence in Diversity in Medical Education

-----------------------------------+ The University of Hawaii @ Manoa John A. Burns Schools of Medicine Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence.

-----------------------------------+ The University of Kansas Medical Center of Excellence.

-----------------------------------+ Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Center of Excellence in Minority Medical Education.

-----------------------------------+ The University of Minnesota School of Medicine Center for American Indian & Minority Health

-----------------------------------+ University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Hispanic Center of Excellence.

-----------------------------------+ The University of New Mexico Health Science Center

-----------------------------------+ Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine Center of Excellence

-----------------------------------+ The Native American Center of Excellence Consortium at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

-----------------------------------+ The University of Pennsylvania Center of Excellence on Minority Health.

-----------------------------------+ The University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine Hispanic Center of Excellence.

-----------------------------------+ The Medical Hispanic Center of Excellence of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

-----------------------------------+ The University of Washington School of Medicine Native American Center of Excellence.


s you start to think about the med school interview, I want to provide some insight into one of the most common, but deceptively tricky, questions committees ask. This question was posed to me in every one of my interviews, and I suspect that many of you will also face this potentially silent killer: “So, can you tell me a little about yourself?” It appears to be so simple and apparently innocuous. Don’t be fooled! Beneath these few words, and plain veneer, lies a myriad of pitfalls. This is unfortunate, because this question affords an interviewee with one of the best opportunities to impress the interviewer and guide the session towards success. Let’s look at some of the pitfalls, how to avoid them, and how to use this question as a spring-board to propel yourself into the status of a top-notch applicant.

The Bad The most devious aspect of this question is the element of surprise. It often comes before the applicant even thinks the interview has begun. Be forewarned! As the lights come on, the show is underway. The “thumbnail biography” question may well be asked as you and the interviewer casually walk down the hallway toward the interview room. It seems like small talk; even an ice-breaker. While this may be true in part, you must not treat it as such. Be aware that there is significantly much more going on than informal chit-chat. Another difficulty for medical school interviewees is that this question lacks a right or wrong answer. This is a recurrent theme in medical school interviews, and many questions fit into this category. But as scientists, we live in a world dominated by the concept of correct and incorrect. The steps of mitosis are ordered, well established and fixed, and there’s not a lot of room for interpretation as to the correct order of anaphase and telophase. As such, applicants tend to struggle with questions that lack correct, fixed answers.

The Ugly The one-two punch of informality and lack of a set or correct answer often leads the applicant to stumble. The common response by un-




prepared applicants is to ramble on at length. Not only is rambling inefficient, the outcome is almost always a bad one. Time is a precious interview commodity, and you must not waste it. You only have a set amount of time in which to convince your interviewer that you would make a great physician, and, equally importantly, that you are the best fit for their school. An overly long response many actually detract from the interviewer’s first impression of you and frustrate them. By droning on, you may limit the interviewer’s efforts to come to a good decision. But you must not squander the opportunity to convey the important items that distinguish you from other applicants, and demonstrate that you are an excellent match for the school. The problems above have an even greater impact because they prevent you from gaining yet another important advantage. As the next section will detail, this is quite simply the perfect opening to take control of the interview.

The Good A biographical question offers an ideal opportunity to provide a selective overview of what you’d like to discuss during the interview. It is a perfect vehicle to help steer the interview into a positive direction, and to distinguish yourself from the masses of other applicants. The question is intentionally open-ended, designed to see where you choose to take it. With this in mind, be sure to lead the interviewer down a well prepared path that casts your application in the best possible light.

for me to devote time to this project as my aunt is a breast cancer survivor, and I learned a lot as she went through this process. I’d like to be part of a team, helping others to beat cancer. It’s not all work for me, though. To relax, I love to ride bikes, and Boston is a great city for this hobby. I also like traveling, to Central America in particular. I’ve found some great volunteer opportunities in these countries as well, and met some amazing people along the way. These trips are always fantastic experiences, and really feed my compassionate side.”

University of Maryland

Before we see what a good answer might look like, there is another important concept I’d like to convey. This is one of my favorite analogies, and like all good physician analogies, it involves food. I view the response to “Tell me about yourself” like a tray of hors d’oeuvres. I present the interviewer with a tasty selection of potential topics of discussion, and allow them to choose which they would like to talk about. In so doing, I accomplish several things: 1. I set the menu with items I’m best prepared to discuss. 2. I increase my ability to guide the interview, as the interviewer is more likely to ask questions about these subjects than about other, random subjects. 3. I reduce the stress for all parties by providing the topics for discussion, thereby, decreasing the likelihood of being blindsided by an unanticipated question. In order to take advantage of this opportunity, you will need to work off of the body of information you have developed in preparation for interviews. Basically, you will offer the information in outline form, allowing the interviewer to then choose which topics they would like you to elaborate on. The goal is to communicate your strengths, the life experiences that have contributed to these strengths, and the personal attributes you feel will demonstrate your ability to be both an outstanding medical student and future physician. Based on my personal experience, it is good to include a few other facts in order to help the interviewer relate to you as a person. For example, I would always state my age and where I was from, but a variety of other personalizing facts may be offered.

Here is a list of possible categories to help structure your body of information: + Age + City of origin (could be your city of birth or current residence) + Important work experiences (you can include research and volunteer activities) + Passions + Personal characteristics (kind, compassionate, energetic, etc.) + Hobbies Here is what an applicant’s list of topics might look like: + 23 years old. + Live in Boston. + Compassionate, diligent and determined. + Passionate about cancer research; spent two years assisting in the investigation of a new medication. + Aunt is a breast cancer survivor; spent a lot of time with her during the course of her illness and recovery. + Enjoy traveling in Central America, riding bikes, and volunteering at a local immunization clinic.

This basic outline can be offered with ease in less than 45 seconds, and it gives the interviewer a feast of potential items to discuss. Perhaps he or she went to school in Boston, or knows someone who teaches in the city. Maybe your interviewer speaks Spanish or has traveled to Central America. It would be easy for an interviewer to ask what life lessons you’ve learned on your travels to these foreign countries. Or maybe she will ask whether helping your aunt get through breast cancer was the hardest time in your life, and what you learned in the process. Perhaps the interviewer also does pharmaceutical research. The possibilities are endless, and enables the interviewer to follow up on topics that are of more interest, while at the same time helping to keep the conversation within your comfort zone – at least for awhile.

Summary The applicant who is aware of, and prepares to deal with, the perils latent in the biographical question, can turn the tables on a trick and make it into a treat. The hors d’oeuvres concept allows the applicant to subtly outline the body of the interview, and control the main topics of discussion. In the end, using these simple methods can ease the discomfort of an open-ended ice breaker, and really give you the opportunity to shine. -------------------------------Dr. Fleenor is the author of The Medical School Interview: Secrets and a System for Success. He can be reached at: >

Let’s look at all of this in action. Here is a sample answer to the question utilizing the information above: “Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?” “Well, I’m 23 and currently living in Boston. I spend a good portion of my time working on a research project with my university investigating a new cancer treatment medicine. It’s easy





“I love people. I love learning. I love finding out how the body works. I love challenging myself.” > Monica Eneriz-Wiemer, MD Pediatrician Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital Palo Alto, CA What made you decide to become a doctor? Dr. Eneriz-Wiemer: I always enjoyed science, and my father, who is a medical technologist, would let me come to the lab where he worked. He’d show me bacteria on petri dishes and slides under the microscope. I knew that I wanted to go to college. On my mother’s side of the family, there’s no one who graduated from college; my father was the first in his family to go to college and finish. But it was actually an experience when I was around 18 that solidified my desire to become a doctor. My grandmother, who essentially helped raise me, started having of lots of nonspecific symptoms—bloating and other abdominal symptoms—that continued to worsen. Because she was a Spanish-speaking only woman who had not even completed elementary school, she really struggled in the health care system; she couldn’t get people to take her seriously. She never got a pelvic exam. Finally my father took her to his doctor, and she was diagnosed with advanced stage ovarian cancer, and two weeks after being diagnosed and going to surgery, she died. For me, coming from a family of rural campesinos—farm people—I think her death made a really powerful impression on me. Would it have made a difference if there had been somebody there who spoke her language comfortably? Would it have made a difference if there had been somebody who understood her culture and where she came from? I thought, why couldn’t I be that person to people in my community? Where did you go to undergrad? Dr. Eneriz-Wiemer: I wanted to stay in California, so I applied to some places down in L.A. Then I thought, “Well, why don’t I apply to Stanford?” never thinking I would actually get accepted. When I got in, I thought, “There’s no way my family can afford to send me to Stanford.” As it turned out, I was able to qualify for financial aid that made that possible. It was a huge deal, because especially as a girl, in my family, people didn’t go to college and they certainly didn’t go away to college. Though they were all very proud of me, it was a bit of an adjustment.




Did you do the traditional premedcoursework there? Dr. Eneriz-Wiemer: I started off that way, but I really, really struggled, especially with chemistry and math. I had always been good at school, and then I got to Stanford, and I didn’t know how to negotiate being in those large classes and I didn’t know how to ask for help. I was completely intimidated to talk to the professors or even the teaching assistant. I finished my first few quarters and had pretty poor grades for someone trying to premed. So I went to the premed counseling office, and the counselor actually told me I should consider something other than medicine. I was crushed and my confidence was knocked down, but it also made me stubborn. I continued with the premed classes, but instead of a biology major, I actually switched to become a human biology major, with a focus on women and minority health and health care policy. In modifying my studies to include all of these other classes that weren’t just strictly science classes, it really spoke to me as a person and I was much more successful. I also decided give myself more space with my science classes, so over two summers, I went home and did physics at UCLA. It was an accelerated course and definitely challenging, but it was another strategy that helped because I wasn’t trying to balance doing well in physics with doing well with lots of classes and lots of extracurriculars and other service activities. It really helped me focus on being a good student. The other thing that really sustained me was being active in the Chicano Latino community there at Stanford. There, I found a group of students who came from fairly similar backgrounds including people who had far more difficult upbringings than mine. A lot of us were going through these adjustment experiences. That support, as well as mentorship from minority and other faculty at the Stanford School of Medicine, was really an amazing. The combination of being able and willing to step off the path a little bit and really devise a course of study that reflected what made me feel passionate, and then getting involved with Chicano Latinos in Health Education, grounded me and really helped me do better. My grades improved. My confidence improved, and I put myself in a much better place to be able to get into medical school by the end of my four years. You ended up going to Stanford for medical school as well. What made you decide to stay at Stanford? Dr. Eneriz-Wiemer: For me, the big thing was that the minority community was very strong and the school has put diversity at the forefront. I knew that there were medical students who were activists in diversity and activists in projects related to the pipeline issue, and that I really was drawn by that sense of activism. I wanted to be like the people at Stanford; I wanted to do all those things. Also, Stanford has

always been very open-minded when it comes to people taking extra time in their curriculum to do research and other kinds of projects, and that’s exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to integrate community work and research into my experience as a student. Can you talk about some of the challenges that you encountered in medical school? Dr. Eneriz-Wiemer: The biggest challenges for medical students are setting your priorities and time management. In medicine, there’s a TON of information crammed in; in particular, the first two years of pre-clinical course work are very intense. As there continues to be more progress in medicine, there’s more and more that needs to be learned. I was so enthusiastic going in, but quickly found myself in the same boat as I did with undergrad: I was struggling to balance the studying with my other activities, such as working in a free clinic, which for me were very meaningful. So I think in medical school you need to choose to do those things that are going to make you really excited and that fuel the fire—whether it’s basic science research or working in a community clinic or biotechnology—because those first two years, you’re not spending a lot of time interacting with patients. I would also suggest in the beginning to give yourself a little bit of space and figure out the amount of time and commitment you need to devote to your studies versus to the other activities, and make sure your support structures— both professional and personal—are in place. It’s crucial to success. You’re a pediatrician now. Did you know going into med school that’s what you wanted to do? Dr. Eneriz-Wiemer: I thought about a lot of things, but in the end, it didn’t change. It can be hard, especially in a place like Stanford where people are doing great research in just about everything. But most of my activities—running a free clinic for underserved patients, outreach, being an instructor for a pipeline program to bring people into medicine—all dovetailed with my interest in working with women and families. So even though I tried to like anesthesia and I tried to like dermatology, and I did a 10-month stint doing basic research in a cancer lab, by the time I got into clinics, I found that I really wanted to keep working with families, especially those who would otherwise have difficulty accessing care.

I love, which is very diverse—a great deal of immigrants. I’m now considering going back and getting more training. I either want to get a master’s in public health or do a fellowship in academic general pediatrics or critical care medicine. But I needed a little time to decide; I’m pregnant, so I’m working on being a mom right now [laughs]. What would you say to a student who’s reading this and maybe would love to think about going to a school like Stanford, but thinks it’s not possible? Dr. Eneriz-Wiemer: Honestly, I was completely surprised at every single step along the way at what I was able to accomplish. But my motto (which comes from my dad) is that you never know unless you try. One thing I encourage people to do is apply for every possible bit of financial support. Turn in all of your financial aid paperwork early so you can make a good decision about a school based on what the schools are offering in terms of both scholarship and grant money as well as loans. I encourage people to be very proactive, and again, I can tell you that as a teenager, I could never have imagined that I’d be sitting here talking to you and that I would have had the education I’ve had. It just wasn’t the “norm” where I came from. Do yo have any final words of inspiration for our readers? Dr. Eneriz-Wiemer: The main thing that helped me was mentorship. I think having mentors at various levels is incredibly important. So seek out help by joining your premed organization and going to conferences. If you’re attending a panel, and what someone is saying something that really speaks to you, go up to them and say, “Hey, can I talk to you at some later point? Could I send you my personal statement? Can we build a relationship?” Mentorship allows you not only to get advice on each step of the process, but it also helps you see what it could be like at the next step. It helps you to believe in yourself when you can see that other people have walked your same path and been successful.

what are you doing now? Dr. Eneriz-Wiemer: I just finished in June. I did think about a fellowship, but I decided to take a little bit of time off. I’m now working half time as a neonatal hospitalist at Stanford at the Children’s Hospital and half time as an outpatient pediatrician at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, which is our county hospital system in Santa Clara. It’s a combination of inpatient sick-kid medicine, which I love, and outpatient medicine in a community that





Student debt statistics • $154,607 – According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the average educational debt of indebted graduates of the class of 2008. The average debt of graduating medical students increased in 2008 by 11 percent over the previous year.

How to Pay for It


efore you finalize your decision to go to medical school, consider the costs. Medical schools cost money, sometimes a lot of money. Tuition and fees vary widely from school to school,

region to region, public and private, resident and non-resident. The total cost can exceed

• 79 percent of graduates have debt of at least $100,000.

$150,000, and can go up an average of six percent per year. Tuition and fees for the 2007-2008

• 87 percent of graduating medical students carry outstanding loans.

have about an additional $18,000 in other expenses, which also varies depending on factors

academic year averaged $22,199 for first-year, in-state students at public schools and $39,964 for first-year, in-state students at private schools. On top of tuition and fees, students typically such as the cost of living where a particular medical school is located. Investigate exactly what the fees for your prospective schools will cover. Personal expenses like clothing, rent or mortgage, public transportation, child care expenses, credit card payments, relocation costs, and internship/residency applications, and interviews are not generally covered within a financial aid package.

Once you’ve calculated your expected costs, move on to determining how much fund-

ing a school may provide in scholarship and grant aid. Remember that the real issue is not how much it costs, but how much you will actually have to pay.

Where’s the money going to come from? Paying for medical school is an enormous financial investment. In the not-so-distant past, medical students worried less about the debt they assumed while in school because they reasoned that after a few lean years of residency training, they would earn a sizeable enough income to repay their loans. Nowadays longer training periods mean that students are foregoing income for greater lengths of time; the terms on repayment during residency are stricter; and managed care has driven down physician’s salaries, while the cost of medical school has increased. These factors add up to higher levels of debt.





types of service scholarships are the National

Institutional aid from the medical school

Health Service Corps Scholarship (NHSC),

you will attend represents the most desir-

which is administered the Public Health Ser-

able form of assistance to received. But these

vice, and the Armed Forces Health Professions

scholarships are reserved for a select few who

Scholarship Program, which requires military

possess the best overall credentials. Success-

service. Recipients of these service scholar-

ful applicants will have a research interest in

ships do not have to be concerned about exces-

a given specialty (those pursuing combined

sive educational debt because both programs

MD/PhD degrees, for instance and/or exhib-

pay full tuition, offer reimbursement for books

iting exceptional qualifications that are en-

and supplies, and grant a monthly living sti-

hanced by geographic, gender, and/or ethnic

pend. For more information contact: U.S.

diversity. Unfortunately a small percentage

Army Health Professions Support Agency, the

of applications meet the high standards that

Navy Recruiting Command, or the Bureau of

qualify them for these tuition wavers. Some

Primary Health Care, National Health Service

schools use grants or scholarships to reduce

Corps, Scholarship Program.

the amount of tuition students with high need must pay. In addition, most medical schools


have scholarships that are awarded from

Each academic year, federal aid programs re-

endowed funds donated by an individual or

quire students to complete the Free Applica-

organization. These are awarded based upon

tion for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). First

the donor’s eligibility criteria. Fortunately,

time applicants must obtain forms from their

the federal government considers medical

school’s financial aid office. For most medi-

education in the U.S. important enough to

cal school students, the Stafford Loan is the

allocate funds yearly for medical education.

foundation of their educational funding. The

The U.S. Department of Education and the

Federal Stafford Loan is made up of two lend-

Department of Health and Human Services

ing programs, one subsidized, the other un-

fund Scholarships for Disadvantaged Stu-

subsidized. The Federal Subsidized Stafford

dents (SDS). These scholarships are awarded

Loan, which carries an annual limit of $8500

to full-time, financially challenged students

evaluates applicants based on need. The fed-

from disadvantaged backgrounds enrolled in

eral government pays the interest on the loan

health professions programs.

while the borrower remains in school. With

Locating scholarship support out-

the Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loan,

side the university might require more leg-

which is not need-based, students may bor-

work than securing a conventional loan, and

row a maximum of nearly $40,000 total. In

the size of the award–often only $1000 or

this case, however, the federal government

$2000–probably seems insignificant given

does not assume responsibility for the inter-

the high cost of medical education. Remem-

est under any circumstances.

ber, however, that the amount of money

you borrow will likely double in the first ten

of need-based assistance offered by the fed-

years. The financial aid offices of most medi-

eral government. Funding is apportioned to

cal schools have an available listing of outside

schools by the Department of Education each

scholarship sources. Visit the reference room

year. Students who need more money to sup-

of your local library and contact the state

plement their borrowing from Stafford or Per-

scholarships commission. Many companies also offer scholarships, so a parent’s or the student’s own employer could be a potential source of funds.


Perkins Loans are another form

kins often turn to private, nonfederal loans for help. Unlike federal lending programs, these private loans are not need-based, being determined instead by cost of attendance; hence

Service Scholarships

they are available to students of all family in-

Some medical students consider paying for

the MedCAP alternative Loan (MAL) managed

their education with a service commitment in-

by Medloans; and MedAchiever, which is di-

stead of actual money. The two most popular

rected by Key Education Resources.

come levels. Examples of private loans include




M inorit y Fundin g Pro g rams Medical School applicants from underrepresented minority groups should first visit the AAMC website’s section on information for minorities, This site contains a wealth of information and links that further explain special AAMC programs such as the


MCAT Fee Reduction Program. National Medical Fellowships, Inc. (NMF), serves as one major funding source for underrepresented minorities seeking to enter medical school. It is the only national, private, nonprofit organization in the U.S. dedicated to

Financial aid resources

Financial Aid Information Page ---------------------------------Free Scholarship Search

increasing the number of minority physicians


through need-based scholarships, special awards, and fellowships. Contact them di-

Scholarship Database


rectly at National Medical Fellowships, Inc.,




Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Sallie Mae Scholarship Search

cans and Native Alaskan students are also

available. Contact the Indian Health Service



Scholarship program at 301-443-6197 or

Native American Scholarship Fund

Scholarship Research Network Express

email –



(NIH), the world’s premier biomedical re-

The College Board

Scholarship and Financial Aid Page

search institution, has several loan repay-

ment programs, including one for physicians



from disadvantaged or underrepresented mi-


Scholarship for Minority Students

nority backgrounds, available to health pro-

fessionals who join their labs after medical



school and participate in their research train-



ing programs. This program has repaid more


than $20 million in student loan debt and al-


lowed its participants to launch their careers

The Education Resources Institute


as medical researchers almost debt-free. Visit

US News Online

their web site at


Educational Testing Service Network




USA Group’s College Info Source

Fastweb Scholarship Sources


Scholarships for Native Ameri-

The National Institutes of Health




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leading academic medical center in the most ethnically diverse city. For more than thirty ZFBST BTJHOJmDBOUQFSDFOUBHFPGPVSNFEJDBMTUVEFOUTIBWFDPNFGPSNCBDLHSPVOETUIBU

are underrepresented in medicine. Our current enrollment of African American, Hispanic and /BUJWF"NFSJDBOTUVEFOUTJT4JODF XFIBWFHSBEVBUFEBQQSPYJNBUFMZNJOPSJUZ physicians. We encourage applications from minority students to our college students research programs, medical school, and residency programs.

. Our current enrollment of African American, Hispaniccontact: and N For further information, CARLYLE H. MILLER, M.D. Associate Dean for Student Affairs & Equal Opportunity Programs Weill Cornell Medical College University &UI4USFFU 3Nt/FX:PSL /: 5FMFQIPOF  t8PSMEXJEFXFCIUUQXXXNFEDPSOFMMFEV

The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences Doctor of Medicine Program A New Frontier in Medical Education The GW Medical School is the 11th oldest medical school in the country, with a rich history of being at the forefront of medical technology. This long-standing tradition, coupled with GW’s unique location in the heart of the nation’s capital, offers students unparalleled opportunities for education, research, and exposure to worldrenowned scientists and practitioners, as well as a diverse patient base.

•The new GW Hospital opened its doors in August 2002, bringing GW and its

community a new state-of-the-art facility.

•The GW Clinical Skills Center, in the hospital, is dedicated exclusively to education and research. The Center includes: –Surgical Simulation and Demonstration Area: using virtual reality and “mock” operating rooms to provide highly realistic training –The Standardized Patient Examining Areas: designed for teaching and evaluating students in the basic clinical skills •Office of Student Opportunities is a valuable resource to students, providing a database of scholarships, summer programs, and other educational opportunities, many of which are funded. Beginning in year one, the elective Track Program provides opportunities to pursue a path of leadership within a field of interest. Visit •Residency: The GW Medical School maintains a national reputation for placing qualified

graduates into prestigious residency programs throughout the country.

•Diversity: The GW Medical School is nationally recognized for its diversity among both the faculty and the student body. Students receive clinical and service experience with culturally diverse patient populations. International experiences and electives are available. For more information, please visit our website:


Medical Students: A Career In Pediatrics Can Open Up New Doors The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a membership opportunity for medical students. The AAP offers many benefits, both general and specific to medical students, including: x Affiliate membership in the Resident Section x Free admission to the AAP National Conference & Exhibition (NCE) x Discounts on all AAP products and services x Pediatrics 101—a resource guide from the AAP x Online Resources - An e-newsletter for medical students, - Medical Student Listserv®, - Access to the YoungPeds Network And much, much more!

For information please contact us at: or call Julie Raymond at (800) 433-9016 ext. 7137 or visit



At MSU/KCMS, we realize that being an exceptional physician means having a balance between the personal and professional areas of your life. Our mission is to help you achieve your clinical and academic goals in a truly supportive environment. More than 180 residents take part in our residency programs and have exposure to the broadest range of health care. Our partnership with awardwinning Level One Trauma Centers means that from newborns to the elderly, you will have patient diversity that will allow for you to develop your skills to their fullest.

Michigan State University Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies is a university and community partnership driven by a team of dedicated professionals committed to provide excellence in graduate, undergraduate and continuing medical education, knowledgeable and caring service, and research.

At MSU/KCMS, you will have opportunities to participate in a variety of research projects. We are proud of our numerous awards and grants and our faculty that understands the correlation between great research and great patient care. At MSU/KCMS, with quality of education comes quality of life. Almost half our residents own their own homes in a region that has been ranked as one of the best places in America to live. The “Kalamazoo Promise”—which provides free college tuition for students completing K–12 in the Kalamazoo Public Schools—low cost of living, clean air and an abundance of recreation means your hours outside of MSU/KCMS will be as fulfilling as those inside. · (800) ASK-KCMS

OUR VISION Michigan State University Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies will excel in providing quality medical education. We will deliver expert, responsive patient care and pursue innovative research.

OUR VALUES MSU/KCMS offers fully accredited programs in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, General Surgery, Family Medicine, Psychiatry, Orthopaedic Surgery, Medicine-Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship, and Transitional Year. MSU/KCMS also offers an Osteopathic Traditional Internship and dually accredited AOA/ACGME Family Medicine and Internal Medicine residencies.

Compassionate Service Leadership Lifelong Learning Teamwork Commitment to Excellence

“Human patient simulation in the Connell Center has taken my classroom knowledge and integrated the clinical setting to begin thinking on my feet, which will better prepare me for my rotation years.” John Thurman Jr., OMS II

As a U.S. Army veteran of war, John Thurman The West Point graduate and ATSUfeels a strong call to service to care for our KCOM student calls the simulators his nation’s veterans with the same excellent care he was provided. With six human patient simulators in the state-of-the-art, $12.5 million Connell Information Technologies Center, Thurman is able to perfect his skills in a hospital-like setting, bringing him closer to his call to service.

“combat multiplier” – a military term for a learning device that increases the ability to accomplish a mission. If you are interested in learning more about A.T. Still University, one of the leading health professions universities, please contact our Admissions Office, or go online to

Kirksville, MO 660.626.2237 • Mesa, AZ 480.219.6000



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Turn Ambition into Accomplishment

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has been training highly-qualified, caring osteopathic physicians for over 100 years. PCOM has a long-standing commitment to minority students. When you are accepted to PCOM, you become part of a rich tradition of excellence in education and leadership. We are dedicated to providing every student with the resources to become a knowledgeable and caring professional. We look for individuals who demonstrate compassion and dedication to the challenges of a career in osteopathic medicine. WE OFFER THE FOLLOWING GRADUATE PROGRAMS: • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine • Biomedical Sciences • Physician Assistant Studies • Forensic Medicine • Clinical Psychology • Organizational Development & Leadership • School Psychology

If you want to make a difference, look at PCOM. For more information, contact Marsha Williams, Office of Admissions.

800-999-6998 • • 215-871-6700 4170 CIT Y AVENUE • PHIL ADELPHIA, PA 19131

Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine offers three pre-professional programs designed to assist underrepresented, economically and educationally disadvantaged students with preparation for and access to medical school. For the past 10 years, more than 24% of our graduates have been minorities. Join us in our commitment to training culturally competent physicians.

OHIO UNIVERSITY C O L L E G E O F O S T E O P AT H I C M E D I C I N E SUMMER & PREMED PROGRAMS S u m m e r S c h o l a rs Provides an intensive and realistic introduction to the first year curriculum of medical school.

P o stb a c c a l a u re a te Seeks to enhance the preparation of students with strong potential who have been unsuccessful at gaining entrance to OU-COM.

P re m a tri c u l a ti o n Designed to facilitate entry of underrepresented minority students and Appalachian students who have been accepted for admission.

OU-COM Office of Admissions 800.345.1560

You can change the world with a Master of Public Health degree in one of LSUHSC School of Public Health’s five MPH program concentrations Epidemiology is the “basic basic science” science of

public health. It is the study of how, when and where disease occurs and what the causes and determinants of disease and adverse health outcomes are in human populations. Epidemiologists work in and direct state and local health departments, departments in federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, in industry and in academic institutions conducting research and teaching.

Behavioral and Social Health

scientists develop and deliver programs to improve and maintain health in our communities. Behavioral scientists lead interventions to improve healthcare access and early detection of disease disease, to reduce or eliminate exposure to factors that increase risk of disease, and to educate the public and healthcare professionals.

Biostatisticians are responsible for the

development and application of statistical methods for the analysis of health data They work closely with researchers to insure appropriate analysis and interpretation of research findings. g Biostatisticians work in academic institutions, drug companies and government health agencies.

Environmental and Occupational Health scientists assess the quality of our

air, land and water and monitor the health and air safety of the employees in the workplace. Examples of these scientists are: toxicologists, industrial hygienists, risk assessors and members of emergency preparedness and homeland defense teams.

Health Systems Management

prepares students for management careers in public and private health systems including hospitals systems, hospitals, HMOs HMOs, the insurance industry, federal, state and local health agencies. The LSUHSC School of Public Health MPH program in this concentration has a focus on quality improvement and development of evidence evidence-based based Health Policy Policy.

The five public health disciplines work together to safeguard the health of communities and countries throughout the world. For more information, contact Alice LeBlanc, MPH: 504/568-5747

Au rora : A L e a der in Healt h Care

Aurora Health Care’s residency programs, located at Milwaukee-based Aurora Sinai Medical Center and Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, are designed to help you make the most of your medical education. Our goal is to fill each residency program with academic and clinical challenges to best prepare you as a well-rounded, competent and caring physician. Aurora St. Luke’s and Aurora Sinai medical centers offer diverse opportunities to the physician in training. All residency programs share one commonality: as a resident, you will be fully involved in patient care – making decisions, offering opinions, honing skills, sharing and acquiring knowledge. You will practice medicine and learn in a wide variety of settings and across disciplines.




• Cardiology

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For more information, call 414-649-6558 or visit

Wake Forest University School of Medicine Wake Forest University School of

Medicine and North Carolina Baptist Hospital comprise one of the major academic medical centers in the United States. Wake Forest University School of Medicine at the Bowman Gray Campus provides an opportunity for a unique medical education. The curriculum initiates the learning process of the student by integrating the basic and clinical knowledge of medicine with current technology and by building upon a foundation of ethical professional behaviors. Wake Forest University School of Medicine offers: r MD Degree r Two 5-year, joint-degree programs—the MD/MBA and the MD/MS and flexibility to pursue other degrees r 7-year, joint-degree program—MD/PhD r Physician Assistant Studies-granting Master’s Degree r Fifty-two accredited residency training programs r The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offering Master’s level and PhD degrees r Post–Baccalaureate Premedical Program—1-year Certificate Program r Scholarship Clerkship Program for Visiting Senior Medical Students r Maya Angelou Research Center for Health Equity Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering & Sciences (SBES) is a fully joint graduate program, formed in 2003, which brings together three prestigious academic institutions: the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, the Wake Forest School of Medicine, and the VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Each of these separate entities contributes unique strengths to the combined enterprise so that students are offered a wide spectrum of first-class educational and research opportunities in a beautiful part of the country.

Medical Center Boulevard | Winston-Salem, NC 27157 |

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stellar smile will get you a long way in life, and being the one to create

jobs in the U.S., ranking in the top five percent of family income, and one

good smiles is a fantastic career choice. Dentists are known as being

of the ten most trusted and ethical professions in the U.S. It offers flex-

independent types. Most dentists own their own practices, which means

ibility to balance a professional and personal life, and gives you a chance

they can work alone or with a small staff. It’s also one of the best-paying

to help your community thrive. KEEPSAKE 2010





In 2005, the average earnings for a general practitioner who owns his/her practice was over $198,000; the average earnings for a dental specialist was over $304,000. The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that as of 2005, there were 176,634 professionally active dentists in the U.S. On average, that is one dentist for every

ealthy teeth contribute to everything about

+ Extract teeth, make models, and take mea-

your well-being, from your looks to your

surements for dentures to replace missing

ability to eat good things like crunchy apples. If


you’re lucky, you only see your dentist twice a


year for checkups, kind of like well-care for your

+ Provide education about dental care such as

teeth. But if you’ve ever had an awful toothache

diet, brushing, flossing and the use of fluoride

or needed a cavity filled, you know how helpful


a dentist can really be.

+ Examine x-rays, place protective sealants on


children’s teeth, and repair fractured teeth. -----------------------------------

+ Diagnose, prevent, and treat teeth and tissue + Administer anesthetics and write prescripdiseases, injuries, and malformations.

tions for antibiotics and other medications.



1,717 people. Current dental work-

+ Fill cavities, remove decay, and perform cor- + Hire and oversee a staff of dental hygienists,

force projections indicate a de-

rective surgery on gums and supporting bones

dental assistants, dental laboratory technicians,

creasing number of dentists. With

to treat gum disease.

and receptionists.

continuing population growth and the upcoming retirement of a large group of dentists educated during the 1960s and 70s, the need for new dentists will escalate over the next decades. It is also important to note that dentists tend to be unevenly distributed across the nation. Rural and inner-city communities are often seriously underserved. Consequently,



population ratios are significantly different from state to state and range from one dentist for every 1,200 people to one for every 2,500 or more. These data clearly demonstrate the importance of maintaining an adequate supply of dentists in the years ahead, accompanied by more efficient practice methods, better use of allied personnel, and improved prevention programs that will enable future dentists to extend professional care to more patients.



kEEPSAkE 2010

UniVersity of colorado


Why consider a dental career? Not only are dentists part of a dynamic, stimulating field that offers a variety of professional opportunities, but...

+ Dentistry is not generally subject to the effects of managed care and reductions in federal funding that have affected other health care professions. -----------------------------------+ Net average incomes for dentists in private practice have increased by over 96% since 1900; the net hourly income of dentists now exceeds that of family physicians, general internists, and pediatricians. -----------------------------------+ Dentists are generally able to enter practice directly upon completion of the four

What you’ll need to become a dentisT

Dental Specialists General dentistry covers all the usual procedures such as checkups, x-rays, cavity fillings, but just like in the world of medicine, some

years of dental school. -----------------------------------+ The lifestyle of a private-practice dentist is typically predictable and self-determined.

dental health issues require the big guns: den-


tal specialists.

+ Dentists enjoy unusual loyalty among their patients.

Though you don’t have to be a “predental” or

Specialist professions include:

“premed” major to go to dental school, you do

+ Orthodontists make up the largest group of

need to have a head for science and a passion

specialized areas of dentistry. They straighten

for diagnosing and solving problems. You’ll

teeth by applying pressure to them with braces

also need to have good hand-eye coordination

or retainers.

(a great excuse to spend more time playing

+ Pediatric dentists care for infants and chil-

health and systemic health.

Guitar Hero!). Since you’ll mostly likely have

dren through adolescence.


your own practice, having a good head for

+ Prosthodontists restore natural teeth and/or

+ While most graduates of dental schools

business and leadership skills are crucial, too.

the replacement of missing teeth with artificial

eventually choose to form private prac-

-----------------------------------+ The entire dental profession is at the forefront of important new research substantiating the relationship between oral


tices, the profession offers a wide range

years to complete. Schools award either a

+ Dental public health practitioners help pre-

of clinical, research, and academic op-

degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)

vent and control dental diseases.

portunities to both new graduates and

or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). Ad-

+ Endodontists perform root canal therapy by

dentists at any stage of their career.

ditional postgraduate training is required to

dealing with the cause, diagnosis, prevention,


practice as a dental specialist, such as an or-

and treatment of diseases of the dental pulp,

thodontist or periodontist.

Source: American Dental Education

usually by removal of the nerve and other tis-


Dental school typically takes four

sues of the pulp.




Predental Timeline

The Application Process Though dental schools have different prereq-

J unior Year

uisite requirements, required courses generally include:

+ Request AMCAS and AACOMAS Freshmen & S O P H M O R E Year S + Work with your prehealth professions advisor to plan courses and experiences that


+ 8 hours Biology with lab


+ 8 hours Physics

+ Complete prerequisite requirements by

+ 8 hours English

end of second semester.

+ 8 hours General Chemistry with lab


+ 8 hours Organic Chemistry with lab

will help you to prepare to apply to dental

+ Prepare to take the DAT.



A college undergraduate degree is recom-


+ Apply for admission at least a year in

mended in preparation for dental school.

+ Begin to complete chemistry, biology, phys-


In fact, of all U.S. students entering dental

ics and organic chemistry requirements.


schools, more than 90% have completed four


+ Review dental school catalogs and/or

or more years of college, less than 1% have

+ Check out your career center’s dentistry-

websites. See:

just the minimum two-year requirement.

related resources.

+ Official Guide to Dental Schools avail-


able at the ADEA site:

What schools look for

+ ASDA Handbook: A Resource Guide for

Like all health professions schools, dental

Predental Students available at the ASDA

schools consider many factors when looking at


applicants, including your background, experi-


ence, GPA, Dental Admission Test (DAT) scores,


+ Check dental school listings at

letters of recommendation, and interviews.

+ Consider alternative career plans.



How to apply

+ Attend your college’s health-related

+ Gather letters of evaluation from

Plan on starting the application process at

career fairs.

faculty and others.

least a year before you’ll be admitted. There are

+ Join a dental-related student organization to get exposure to the dental profession. ----------------------------+ Consider job shadowing and /or volunteer experience (see ADA Mentoring Program).

three main steps in the application process: + Take the DAT (also a year before you want to start school). S enior Year

+ Submit a centralized application form to ADEA’s Associated American Dental Schools

+ Take advantage of “mock” interview practice with your prehealth professions advisor or career center staff before dental school admissions interviews. ---------------------------+ Complete financial aid forms. ---------------------------+ Send thank you notes to evaluators, advisors, and mentors.

Application Service (AADSAS). (As of January 1, 2008, only four of the 58 U.S. dental schools do not participate in AADSAS.) + Submit all of your school-specific materials. The DAT The Dental Admission Test, or DAT, is a computerized test given by the ADA that is required by all dental schools. The test is composed of four areas: natural science survey, perceptual ability, reading comprehension,





+ DENTAL SCHOOL tip and quantitative reasoning. DAT tests are

treme financial need. Apply online through

No matter where you are on the spec-

held year-round, and take about five hours.

the American Dental Education Association

trum, call a dentist and ask him or her

The current cost of the test is $205.

at (click AADSAS

if you can watch how they work. Most

from the home page). Or call 1-800-353-2237

are thrilled to get a chance to show a

to order an application.

young person the ins and outs of the

The test is designed to measure general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information, and perceptual ability. While all dental

The Interview Process

schools require applicants to take the DAT, test

Most dental schools require personal inter-

results are only one factor considered in evalu-

views that are a lot like applying for a job.

ating the admission potential of an examinee.

Dress sharp and be prepared by practic-

For more info:

ing with a friend first. They’ll be asking you


questions that reveal your self-confidence,

field. Plus, practical experience is always a plus in getting accepted and in winning scholarships.

ability to meet challenges, capacity to work Associated American Dental Schools

independently, and motivation for seeking a

Application Service (AADSAS)

dental career. Remember, too, that the inter-

Most dental schools use the Associated

view isn’t just for them. It’s your chance to ask

American Dental Schools Application Ser-

questions about the program and learn if it’s

vice (AADSAS), which provides one standard

right for you. After the interview, you’ll find

form so you don’t have to complete multiple

out if you got accepted starting in December

applications; it gives dental schools the same

on through spring.

information on all applicants.

The fee for the 2010 ADEA AAD-

SAS application is $217 for the first dental school plus $68 for each additional school. The ADEA AADSAS offers a fee reduction program for applicants who demonstrate ex-





“ I’ve I wanted to be a dentist since I was 11-yearsold. It’s the only thing I ever wanted to be.” > HUEy P. MADISON II, DDS, PC PRIVATE PRACTICE OAkLAND, CA WHAT MADE yOU DECIDE TO BE A DENTIST? DR. MADISON: I was a dental patient at LSU School of Dentistry clinic, located in New Orleans. Every single dental visit, my dentist, who was a second-year dental student, would bring me pamphlets about being a dentist and about different dental procedures. I would come back the next visit and repeat verbatim what was in those pamphlets. I was inquisitive; I’ve always had a probing mind. Once he introduced me to it, I said, “I want to be just like you. And I will be just like you one day.” So I’ve had it in my heart since I was 11 years old that I wanted to be a dentist. SO I’M ASSUMINg yOU WERE gOOD IN SCIENCE IN HIgH SCHOOL. DR. MADISON: I was an excellent student. That was my parents’ main goal for us. My father only graduated from sixth grade and was a parking attendant; my mother was a housewife. They had seven kids and we are all college-educated. I saw the abuse that my father went through with racism, and that’s the thing that really pushed me to do well in school. He would always say, “If it’s hard, keep your britches up, tighten your belt, and move on with your life. You have no excuses.” I was good in chemistry in high school, so I majored in chemistry as an undergraduate at Xavier in New Orleans. It was really, really tough! I worked 60 hours a week, seven days a week as an undergrad—parking attendant, switchboard operator, work-study, dental offices—and as a chemistry major, that’s just totally incomprehensible. But my dad only made $15,000 a year, taking care of nine people, so I had to work. In fact, I’ve been working since I was 11.



kEEPSAkE 2010

Wow, how did you do it? Dr. Madison: It was nothing but the grace of God! I used to get off at about 3 am every morning and then try to study from 3 am until 7 am, take a shower, and then go to 8 am class. When did you sleep? Dr. Madison: Hardly ever. So when I got accepted to dental school, it was a piece of cake! So you didn’t work in dental school? Dr. Madison: Oh, I did, between lectures and lab work. It’s all about time management. If you fail to plan and be organized, you can never get through it. Never, never. You’ve also got to have something to drive you; if you think it’s supposed to come easy, it’s not. What about dentistry was interesting to you? Dr. Madison: Helping people, pure and simple. Being from New Orleans and being from an impoverished family, Charity Hospital was the only medical care that we had. I was so accident-prone, I was always going to the hospital. And when you went to Charity Hospital Emergency Room, you had to wait eight, nine, 10 hours. So I said, “If I’m ever in a position to help, that’s what I’m going to do.” That’s why I went to Meharry for dental school ; their philosophy was “to help the underserved.” That fell right in line with what I’d been going through my whole life.

Tell us a little about what your schedule was like in dental school. Dr. Madison: The first two years are strictly clinical sciences: classroom instruction and some laboratory work. Once you pass Part 1 of the National Boards, you go into the clinic to do patient care, as well as more lab work and lectures, too. When you’re done—typically four years—you have to apply to a regional board to be certified to practice. unlike med school, there’s no “residency” training after you get your degree? Dr. Madison. No. You can do fellowships to get specialty training if you like, but you can also go right into practice. How did you end up in the San Francisco Bay Area? Dr. Madison: I had planned on going back to New Orleans and open a practice, but I was recruited by the University of California at San Francisco for their Advanced Education and General Dentistry program. It’s basically a general practice residency program, but it had elements of hospital dentistry, serving medically compromised and physically compromised populations. I thought would be an interesting niche for me. WHY did you stay? Dr. Madison: The weather! Seriously, once I got out I just saw there were more opportunities here. The only thing I miss being here is my family. I know you used to do a lot of free dentistry to help take care of your community. How do you reconcile wanting to help the community but needing to do what you need to do to provide for your family? Dr. Madison: Well, my wife has a good job, and we’re careful: we buy what we need, not what we want. But I have to be realistic, because I found myself going into the red doing what I was doing. Though I don’t do free dentistry at my office anymore, I volunteer at health fairs, at schools, and church. That’s how I give back.

What’s your dentistry philosophy? Dr. Madison: The procedures in dentistry are universal, but I treat every person who comes through my door as an individual and custom-tailor my service to fit. What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing a career in dentistry? Dr. Madison: Lots! First of all, you have to be serious about your education. Sit in the front of the class, take excellent notes, don’t study with a “dummy,” go to your instructors’ offices and be known by your instructors and counselors by your first and last names, not your Social Security number or face. Most of all, don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is the hardest thing I had to learn, because my dad always said, “You don’t ask anybody for anything; just figure it out.” That was the biggest mistake in the world. You can’t isolate yourself. Everybody needs help somewhere down the road. All that being said, you have to have balance. Go out and enjoy yourself: a movie, a restaurant, a date. You have to do that. What are you looking forward to in your future? Dr. Madison: I’m looking forward to my kids going to dental school! I’m definitely going direct them that way, because most businesses tend to just dissolve after the first generation. Other than that, I’m just going to keep building slowly. Like my mother used to say, “You can take a penny and make a nickel, a nickel and make a quarter, a quarter and make a dollar.” Every little bit helps toward my goal.

How do you like being your own boss? Dr. Madison: Having your own private practice means you make the calls, you control your own destiny. Plus, when it’s time to pick up the kids, I can arrange my schedule so I’m the one to pick them up.





Did you know? + Uninsured children are half as likely as insured children to receive dental care. ------------------------------+ Only about one third of poor children enrolled in Medicaid receive dental services each year. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - + Almost 50% of low-income seniors have no teeth. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - + Only 35% of low-income seniors are seen by a dentist annually.

Financial resources for minority students

--------------------------Scholarships and loans can help get you relief that you’ll need, considering that the average debt of dental students upon graduation is about $119,000. ---------------------------


The Underrepresented Minority Dental Student Scholarship program was created by the ADA for underrepresented students in dental schools: adaf/grants/scholarships.asp#minority ---------------------------


The ADA, in conjunction with the Kellogg Foundation, is providing scholarships to URM students; you must be enrolled in one of the 12 Robert Wood Johnson schools to apply. ---------------------------


The Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) program provides scholarships for full-time, financially challenged students from underprivileged backgrounds enrolled in a health professions program. The




Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS) program offers long-term, low-interest rate loans to similar students, as does the Health Professions Student Loan (HPSL) program. Go to


The American Fund for Dental Health offers 20-30 private scholarships of $1000 for first-year minority students. Write to them at 211 E. Chicago Ave. #820, Chicago, IL 60611. ---------------------------


The Hispanic Dental Association Foundation has four different scholarship funds to encourage the entry of Hispanics into oral health careers. Go to http://www. and click on “scholarships.” ---------------------------


The National Health Service Corps offers loan repayment for dental school. Go to


University of Southern California

Associated American Dental Schools Application Service > ------------------------

American Dental Association > ------------------------

National Dental Association > ------------------------

Student National Dental Association > ------------------------

Academy of General Dentistry > ------------------------

American Dental Education Association > ------------------------

American Dental Education Association grants information

Building the pipeline of minority dentists

> federal_grants/default.htm ------------------------

American Student Dental Association > ------------------------

American Academy of Periodontology


aunched in 2001, the Pipeline, Profession

A.T. Still University of Health Sciences

& Practice: Community-Based Dental Ed-

Creighton University

ucation (Dental Pipeline) program is a five-

Medical College of Georgia

year program designed to help increase access

Texas A & M University

to dental care for underserved populations.

University of Florida


In Round 1 of the program, The Robert Wood


Johnson Foundation and The California En-

Hispanic Dental Association

dowment funded 15 U.S. dental schools to

> ------------------------

Society of American Indian Dentists Association

develop community-based clinical education programs for a period of five years. Round 2

University of Maryland, Baltimore University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey Dental School Virginia Commonwealth University Loma Linda University University of California at Los Angeles

began in March 2008, awarding eight more

University of California at San Francisco


dental schools funds to carry out similar pro-


University of the Pacific

grams. These programs provide care to the

University of Southern California

Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science >

most vulnerable populations and increase recruitment and retention of low-income and

For more information:

underrepresented minority students.



Black Dental Edge >





Excellence in Nursing

“That’s why I chose USD.” Aimee Castillo, M.S. N . H A H N S C H O O L O F N U R S I N G A N D H E A LT H S C I E N C E


Clinical Nursing Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist Executive Nurse Leader Family, Adult and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner M AST ER’S E NTRY PROG R A M I N N U RSI N G  FO R N ON  R .N.s 


The Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science at the University of San Diego is characterized as a private school with a public conscience. Progressive faculty prepare researchers, leaders, educators and clinicians skilled in the science of nursing. Focusing on graduate education, the school offers: Master’s Entry Program in Nursing (for non-RN’s), Master of Science in Nursing, the Doctor of Nursing Practice and the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing. Our graduates promote healing and alleviate suffering through reflective practice, knowledge generation, service to the community and leadership at local and global levels. Visit our Web site at to learn more about our programs and our many financial aid opportunities — scholarships, grants and forgivable loans. For more information: Please call (619) 260-4548 or visit

NURSING It’s great to be a NURSE.


f you’re the one your friends always call when they’re feeling low, or

about 2.5 million jobs in 2006 according to the U.S. Department of

if as a kid you filled your room with dolls being fixed up at the “hos-

Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a nurse, you will have seemingly

pital,” then nursing might be just the career for you.

endless opportunities open to you, especially with advanced degrees

If you think you have what it takes to be a nurse, there hasn’t

and training. You can choose to work in any number of settings and

been a better time to enter the field. You can rest assured you’ll be in

specialties to provide patient care. As the number of minorities contin-

high demand in the coming decades. Nursing is expected to grow at a

ues to rise in the U.S., nurses from underrepresented minority groups

rapid pace, surpassing most other occupations. In fact, by 2020, there

are recognized for the critical role they play in ensuring appropriate

will be more than 800,000 open RN positions, according to U.S. De-

patient care. Nurses from similar backgrounds as their patients are

partment of Health and Human Services projections. But beyond job

more easily able to foster trust and are keenly aware of cultural be-

stability, nursing offers a very satisfying, rewarding career choice, one

liefs and practices that can impact treatment options. More and more

that enables you to make a lasting impact on the lives of others.

nursing schools are launching aggressive outreach efforts to minority

communities to generate interest in nursing.

As the largest health care occupation, registered nurses held




Nursing is diverse


ant more good news about nursing? Contrary to popular belief, nurses have almost unlimited opportunities in their career choices and their futures. Want to be on the cutting edge of technol-

ogy and science? Nurse researchers find global solutions to individual health problems. Want to work in a challenging, high-energy environment? Emergency room nurses and military nurses have some of the most interesting jobs around. Want to work near your home? Working in a doctor’s private or group practice in your neighborhood means you could be able to pick your kids up from school every day.

Hospital and health care providers recognize that their workers are an important com-

ponent of effective community outreach efforts. For instance, minority nurses are needed to help establish patient-client relationships with growing minority populations. These communities often have a high proportion of immigrant and first-generation members who have limited Englishspeaking skills. Nurses from similar backgrounds can gain the trust of these individuals; other

Nursing: is it for you?

nurses may not be so aware of cultural beliefs and practices that can influence treatment methods.

Despite the demand for nurses, nursing

With everyone living longer and needing more care, nursing is one of the most solid, excit-

ing and fulfilling career choices you can make.

is not right for everyone.

San Jacinto College

-----------------------------------+ Do you have a sense of compassion and desire to help others? -----------------------------------+ Do you have an interest in learning about the human body and how it works? -----------------------------------+ Do you like to teach people and share information with others? -----------------------------------+ Do you work well with others and enjoy being around other people? -----------------------------------+ Do you enjoy health and science classes, and do well in math? -----------------------------------+ Do you have good decision-making and problem-solving skills? -----------------------------------If you answered yes to these questions, you should check out nursing!

Diversity spotlight According to the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health, only 10.7 percent of nurses represent racial or ethnic minority groups in 2009.

4.7 % Hispanic/Latino 1.7 % Asian/Pacific Islander 3.1 % African Americans

0.3 % Two or more races (non-Hispanic) 1.4 % American Indian/Alaskan Native




nursIng Career paths LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSE (LPN, or licensed vocational nurse—LVN—in some areas) An LPN program involves one year of training at a hospital, vo-tech school, or community college. After training, you are eligible for licensure as an LPN or LVN, and you will then be qualified to work at a hospital. Responsibilities of LPNs are limited, however, and you must work under the guidance and direction of a registered nurse (RN). REgISTERED NURSE (RN) RNs assess, plan and deliver, evaluate, and adjust care for individuals and groups of patients, as well as direct and supervise staff, such as LPNs and nursing assistants. RNs must also graduate from an accredited school of nursing and pass a state licensing exam before entry into a practice. Three types of nursing programs that prepare RNs for practice are: 1) Associate Degree—a two-year program at a community/technical college; 2) Diploma—an 18- to 32-month program coordinated by a hospital; and 3) Baccalaureate Degree (BS in nursing)—a four-year program at a university or college. Deciding between LPN or RN is a personal choice. For many prospective students, the choice involves complex tradeoffs between finances (e.g. need to support a family), your age, and future career plans. ADVANCED PRACTICE NURSINg If you want to do more specialized care, you might consider furthering your education by pursuing a masters degree to become an advanced practice nurse (APN). There are four types of APN career tracks: -----------------------------------1. NURSE PRACTITIONER (NP) Provides basic primary care, including writing prescriptions. NPs were originally trained as “physician extenders” to provide primary care to improve the health of children, specifically in areas where physician contact was limited. But today’s nurse practitioner focuses more on holistic, preventive care tailored to individuals—a more skilled nursing approach—rather than just substituting for a physician. NPs can order and read diagnostic and lab tests, as well as prescribe medications in all 50 states.

2. CERTIfIED NURSE ANESTHETIST (CRNA) Administers anesthesia for all types of surgery. A nurse anesthetist, or certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), is a licensed professional nurse who provides the same anesthesia services as an anesthesiologist (MD). After extensive education and training, CRNAs take national certification tests and can practice in all 50 states. Due to the high degree of responsibility these nurses bear on a daily basis, nurse anesthetists are among the highest-paid nurses in the workforce. -----------------------------------3. CLINICAL NURSE SPECIALIST (CNS) Provides specialist care in a number of areas: cardiology, oncology, neonatology, OB/GYN, pediatrics, neurology, and mental health. A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is an advanced practice nurse whose care is directed at a specific patient population, such diabetic, cardiovascular, geriatric, neonatal, etc., and who develops a high level of clinical expertise within that area. -----------------------------------4. CERTIfIED NURSE MIDWIfE (CNM) Provides prenatal care, delivers babies, and provides postpartum care to normal healthy women. A nurse midwife is an advanced practice nurse that completes additional training in baby delivery, as well as providing prenatal and postpartum care to women. Like obstetricians, nurse midwives are trained to recognize signs and symptoms that may indicate something outside normal delivery conditions, and have a consulting relationship with a physician so that the physician may become involved in the delivery if needed. In all instances, APNs deliver services that were previously delivered by physicians. Nurse Practice Acts vary widely among states, and they define just what advanced practice nurses can do.

WHAT NURSES MAkE Median annual earnings of registered nurses were $57,280 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $47,710 and $69,850. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $40,250, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $83,440. A master’s-prepared nurse can expect to make an average of $74,377; doctorate-prepared nurses average slightly higher at $80,795. Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) have the highest earnings of all employed nurses, averaging $129,530 annually.

PHD IN NURSINg PhD programs prepare nurses for careers in health administration, clinical research, and advanced clinical practice. The programs take from four to six years to complete. All doctoral programs offer training in research methodology (including data analysis and statistics), as well as leadership skills. A doctoral candidate gets to choose his or her own area of specific research to complete the degree. Like nurses with master’s degrees, nurses who earn a PhD are expected to enjoy excellent job prospects over the next ten years.

kEEPSAkE 2010



+ Apply Early. After selecting three to five

+ Don’t Limit Your Horizons. In nurs-

nursing schools you might like to attend, we en-

ing, lifelong learning is essential. AACN encour-

courage you to apply as early as possible since

ages students to look beyond just initial Regis-

enrollment seats are limited. Qualified students

tered Nurse preparation and pursue education at

in the pipeline sometimes have the edge over stu-

the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. The

dents who wait until the deadline date

best educated nurses are well equipped to provide the best patient care possible.

+ Secure Financial Aid. Don’t assume you cannot afford a nursing education. Hundreds of

More information for prospective nursing stu-

scholarships, grants, and loan programs are

dents can be found on the AACN website at

available to nursing students studying at the un-


dergraduate and graduate level.

Tips on Applying to Nursing School


ith interest running high in nursing careers, admission into nursing schools has become

quite competitive. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) offers a few suggestions on how to navigate the enrollment process. + Do Your Homework. As a profession, nursing offers a wide variety of opportunities to provide patient care, teach students, conduct research, create policy, and set up a private practice. AACN encourages students to explore the career paths available in nursing and plan their education accordingly. + Meet the Faculty. One of profession’s greatest resources is our nursing faculty. Those contemplating a nursing career should visit, call or email faculty to discover more about what nursing degree programs involve, as well as career horizons in nursing. + Conduct a School Search. More than 680 nursing schools across the country offer baccalaureate nursing programs. These schools come in all sizes; can big city-based based or rural; be religious affiliated or secular; public or private; etc. AACN encourages you to visit different institutions to find our which types best fit your learning needs.




U NION U n i v e r s i t y

How to pay for school

at going to school. You can file your FAFSA in

ment promises to pay the bank back if you de-

early January, and the sooner you do so the

fault. You generally don’t need a credit history

better, as financial aid is not unlimited.

for a federal loan, and because they’re guaran-

Another form of financial aid that

teed by the government, even bad credit isn’t a

nursing students should pursue is scholar-

problem (unless you’ve defaulted on a previous

ships. Scholarships are just as desirable as

student loan). Of course, it’s best to not borrow

grants because they don’t need to be repaid.

unless you need to, and then only as much as

Unlike grants, however, most scholarships

you need, since you’ll be required to pay back

ike any career decision that involves edu-

aren’t based on financial need (although

the loans with interest after you graduate. But

cation costs, there may be a concern that

some take it into account), and usually have

if you need financial aid, student loans are a

you won’t be able to afford to become a nurse.

some sort of qualification requirements.

wonderful tool. With the excellent incomes

But people who’ve been there will tell you:

Also, unlike most grants, the vast majority of

that nurses enjoy, paying student loans back

if you want to be a nurse, you’ll find a way

scholarships come from colleges, businesses,

shouldn’t be too much of a strain if you use

to pay for your education. In fact, there are

non profit groups, religious groups, and other

discretion about borrowing.

more sources of financial aid for nurses than

private agencies. The best kind, of course, is a

ever, mainly because people now realize how

full four-year scholarship that covers tuition,

consider in order to pay for nursing school

important nurses are to the healthy function-

books, and room and board. These are tough

is a loan repayment program, which are be-

ing of our health care system.

to qualify for, but if you think you’ve got what

coming more common because of the nursing


Another option you may want to

There are other things you can do

it takes, go for it. It never hurts to try. You’ll

shortage. In these types of programs, govern-

to cut your education costs. Choosing a pub-

want to get as much scholarship money as

ment or military offers to pay back your stu-

lic college or university rather than a private

you can, since it doesn’t have to be paid back.

dent loans in exchange for you working in a

one gives you an immediate cost savings.

Don’t ignore scholarships for small amounts

designated nursing shortage area or serving

Choose a community college, and you’ll be

of a few hundred dollars. Every little bit helps,

time in the military. Details vary, but gener-

doing even better.

and they can add up to a significant amount.

ally one year of student loan debt is forgiven

The third source of financial aid for

or paid back for each year the nurse agrees to

out, you’ll want to look long and hard at the

nursing school is student loans, and the big-

serve in the area. In addition to this being a

abundant financial aid for nursing education.

gest source by far is the federal government.

good financial deal, you get the satisfaction

The main form you’ll be filling out is the Free

Direct federal student loans mean the govern-

of knowing you’re helping people who badly

Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAF-

ment writes a check to you or to your nursing

need and greatly appreciate your services.

SA. You’ll want to fill out and turn in your

school for your education. Indirect loans come

FAFSA as soon as possible if you’re looking

from third parties (e.g., banks) and the govern-

Grants & Scholarships f or M inorit y N ursin g Students

+ The National Black Nurses Asso-

fessions. Minority Nurse also maintains a large

ciation (NBNA) offers several annual scholar-

database of scholarships for minority nurses that

ships with award amounts that range from $500

students can browse.

Once you get your schools sorted

to $2,000. Eligible applicants must be members of the NBNA. See their website,, for

+ Indian Health Service, the federal

more details.

health program for American Indians and Alaska Natives, offers scholarships to students

+ The Ethnic Minority Fellowship

+ The National Association of His-

from federally or state recognized tribes who in-

Program (EFMP), housed in the American

panic Nurses (NAHN) offers scholarships

tend to serve native populations after completing

Nurses Association (ANA), currently provides

to nursing students who are members of NAHN.

school. These awards are open to undergraduate

fellowships to nurses committed to pursuing

See their website, thehispanicnurses.

and graduate students from a number of health-

doctoral study on minority psychiatric/mental

org, for more details.

related fields. For more details see their Web site,

health and HIV/AIDS problems and illness. It offers annual stipends to pre- and post-doctoral

+ Minority Nurse Magazine sponsors

students. More information including specific

annual scholarships for minority students with

details about EMFP fellowship opportunities can

outstanding academic records who have demon-

be found at

strated personal commitment to health care pro-





“ Nursing allows me to do everything I love. It’s been more rewarding than I ever dreamed it could be.” > Casaja Fritzler, RN Indian Health Service Reindeer, Montana What made you decide that you wanted to be a nurse? Casaja: I can’t pinpoint the exact point in my life, I just know that ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. I love people. I love learning. I love finding out how the body works. I love challenging myself. What were some of the obstacles that you encountered in nursing school? Casaja: Even though I had always wanted to be a nurse, I had never given serious thought to it because I had never worked to my full potential before. I thought in doing so, I would prove to myself that I wasn’t able to do it. I could have been a straight A student in high school, but I stayed on the safe, “cooler” side of being an average B student or sometimes even a C. Anyway, I heard nursing school was hard, and so I thought, “Wow, I’m not going to be able to do that, so I’m just not even going to think about it. I started my family very early; my husband and I had our first child, our daughter, the summer before what would have been my sophomore year, so I withdrew from school. I thought I needed to focus on having my daughter first. I ended up stopping and starting a couple of times during my prenursing program at a local tribal college. I never really thought I could finish. But finally, I went back for good. But I had to bring my 2-year-old daughter with me to every single one of my classes. I always carried a lot of crayons and paper! Even when I was done, I still didn’t think I was going to go on to nursing school; I thought I’d just stay on the reservation and raise our family. But one day my sister dragged me to a meeting with the Co-Op coordinator, who basically took me by the hand and showed me how I could do it. After much discussion, my husband and I decided to move off the reservation to go to Bozeman, Montana, three hours away. It was a scary thing to do; it’s like you’re going to another country.




What made you decide to take the risk? Casaja: Well, I had my second daughter my last year of prenursing, and I realized I really wanted to be a good role model for my daughters. I realized I needed to think about what career I was going to have to be able to support my family. It also had to do with faith. I said, “God, if this is what you want me to do, you’re going to have to absolutely lay everything out before me in how it’s going to happen, because I will not take one step in this direction if I do not know that this is what I’m supposed to do.” And He did. But making the move was almost an hourly struggle of fighting against those thoughts of, “You can’t do this” and me having to remind myself, “God said I can. So I can do this.” How did the Co-Op program help with your nursing education? Casaja: The main thing was the support. The program is targeted to Native American nursing students, so it was good to be around others who came from similar backgrounds and who all shared the same goals: With Native Americans, community is major; family is major. I bet 90% of Native students have families before even starting college, so having this type of support is crucial. But you did make it and now your working. What’s that like? Casaja: My whole goal in becoming a nurse was to go back to the reservation I’m from hopefully to improve the health care and the overall health of my people. And that’s what I’m doing now. I’m working on the reservation at an Indian Health Service Hospital on the med-surge floor. It’s a small hospital, only 12 beds; I’ve been there for 16 months now. What does a typical day look like for you at your hospital? Casaja: Because it’s a small hospital and because we don’t have the staffing that we’d like to have, it’s busy all the time. There’s hardly ever a time where you’re just not doing anything. We have to be more than a nurse. We’re the ward clerks. We take our own orders for physical therapy. We’re the CNAs. We answer the phones. A typical day involves all of those things in addition to being the best nurse you can possibly be, to make the best of every challenge and every situation. There are five new grads working here and we’ve all done our best, so now we have patients in the ER who tell the doctor, “No, we don’t want to get transferred to Billings. We want to stay here. We get great care here.” I know we’re doing something right.

Yeah, I guess that’s a little bit more than saying what’s a typical day. How much are you working right now? Casaja: I work 12-hour shifts, three to four times a week. Does that schedule work for you? Casaja: Absolutely not! I went to nursing school to be able to take care of my kids, not just financially, but by being the best mom I can be. And because family is my priority first and foremost, I just got a new job as a public health nurse where I’ll be able to spend more time with my girls. I’ll be working 8 to 4 every day, with holidays and weekends off. I’ll get to spend every single evening with my kids. The facility is in Reindeer, Montana, a nearby reservation with the Northern Cheyenne tribe. I’m from the Crow tribe.

Nursing RESOURCES > a comprehensive resource for all things related to choosing a program that fits you ------------------------

National Association of Hispanic Nurses

> ------------------------

National Black Nurses Association >

What does your ideal career look like? Casaja: I’ll always want to work with Native people because I think some of the disparities in health care dealing specifically with the Native population could be alleviated by a “middle man.” Doctors don’t always know how to communicate with patients, because of our culture. So we can help the patients understand the doctors and the doctors understand the patients. Do you feel THAT nursing has lived up to your expectations as a career? Casaja: It’s more than I expected. I had always wanted to be a nurse to help people, but I never knew I’d be helping to take care of the whole person, holistically—physically, spiritually, emotionally. Your mind is always challenged to think bigger and deeper, and no day is the same. With every new patient, you have to play detective. Even though two people might have the same diagnosis, they have gotten here on two different roads. So you have to approach each person differently. Nursing allows me the freedom to do absolutely everything that I love; it’s been more rewarding than I ever dreamed it could be.


American Nurses Association

> ------------------------

Minority Nurse magazine >


Discover Nursing

> ------------------------

American Association of Colleges of Nursing >


American Nurses Association

> ------------------------

National Student Nurse’s Association >


Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow >




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Keepsake 2010: A Guide for Minority Science Students  
Keepsake 2010: A Guide for Minority Science Students  

A guide to help underrepresented minority students achieve their dreams of becoming doctors, dentists and nurses.