Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why BUSM is my top choice med school

In some ways, medical school is just medical school. Every school is required to cover the same set of material, in the same amount of time. Every school follows the same format – two years of coursework, two years of “rotations” on the wards. There are all the stats accumulated by schools, student to faculty ratio, number of students around each cadaver, the bios of the doctors on staff and the gleaming facilities. But, what I’ve come to think most matters about a med school is the culture.

At my first interview one of the doctors said, “Pick a place where you feel like you belong. You’ll get a good education just about anywhere. Find a school whose personality fits you.”

After five interviews, it seemed to me that each place definitely has a distinct feel. You can describe some of the details that make them different, but it’s more than the sum of the parts.

So, maybe my most compelling reason for picking BUSM is as explainable as the exquisite turkey sandwich that led me to pick George Fox, but that’s ok.

Here's some facts...

It was the first medical school in the nation to formally educate female physicians and the first to award an MD degree to an African American man and woman.

It's the largest Level I trauma center in New England

It's the home of the world-renown Framingham Heart Study from which knowledge of cardiovascular disease risk factors were discovered

And here's some gut reasons...

Culture of collaboration – you don’t sense a stratification between 3rd years and 1st years, or between faculty and students. People are eager to know each other and work together

Shared sense of mission – Boston houses a lot of elite schools; ironically BUSM is one of them. But you wouldn’t know it to walk on campus. As the safety net hospital for all of New England, Boston Medical Center serves immigrants, refugees and those not able to pay. Physicians who chose to make their career here are not going to make the most money or garner the most recognition. It’s not a peacocking place.

Smart people who are people – Scientists here aren't all socially retarded.

Professional and innovative - the whole hospital system has fully electronic medical records, the curriculum was fully reworked in the past two years to meet the most recent recommendations.

I liked it/People are nice - It's a great place to be. I walk on campus and people look you in the eye, smile and say hello. I feel like I would fit.

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