Tuesday, October 27, 2015

MSU First To Solidify Medical Elective In Cuba For Students

MSU has officially announced a new agreement that will allow MSU medical students the chance to gain clinical experiences in Cuba.

Come April 2016, future physicians from the College of Human Medicine as well as the College of Osteopathic Medicine will get an in-depth look at the Cuban health care system, largely regarded to be among one of the best in the hemisphere.

Collaboration between MSU and Cuba isn't technically new as courses and experiences in Cuba have been offered for several years. However, this partnership is different in that MSU is the first collegiate institution to solidify medical elective in the Caribbean nation.

“This is a first, though, for American medical students to be able to walk the halls of three of Cuba’s main hospitals in Havana and receive credit for the experience,” said William Cunningham, assistant dean for the College of Osteopathic Medicine in West Michigan.

Read the official announcement here.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Student Post: From "Far Off" Place To Medical School

No one can better represent what it is like to be at the MSU College of Human Medicine (CHM) than our great students. From here on out, the CHM Office of Admissions will begin enlisting the help (and voices) of our students to periodically offer an inside look at what being in med school here is all about. Students at different levels and various backgrounds will touch on their experiences and ambitions. 

We are glad to have second-year student, Sheri VanOmen, kick us off. Here, Sheri introduces herself and recounts her experience going through the application process.  


As all medical students know, there was once a time when we thought of medical school as some far off, magical, smarty-pants place. Let me repeat: far off.

It didn’t seem real that I might one day be learning medicine from some of the best physicians. The admissions process was motivating, stressful, intimidating, and inspiring all at the same time. But as I now reflect back, it was beyond worth it, as lengthy and consuming as it may be.

We all know and love those cheesy-but-interesting icebreakers, so let me introduce a bit about myself. I’m from Holland, Michigan—yes, the home of Tulip Time. I decided to go across the state and attend the University of Michigan for undergrad. My major was Cellular and Molecular Biology, and I graduated from UM in 2014 before going right into medical school the following fall.

We have a big mix of students who came straight into med school and those that took time off before entering. It’s really up to you and whenever you feel ready to apply. Many students of the “non-traditional” route (having taken a gap year, or two, or many more) have so many unique and interesting experiences.

One of my friends spent a year working with a child with cerebral palsy. Another friend worked for TFA for two years while another was an artist in Colorado before coming back to school after seven years. One friend worked in the ER for a bit, another did AmeriCorps in Chicago, and yet another traveled around and taught English in Turkey for a few years.

I love that everyone in our CHM family comes from different backgrounds with a wide range of passions. This contributes to our class diversity.

The application process for me was a whirlwind of ups and downs, as I'm sure it was for most. Having come straight into med school, I first submitted my primary application in June 2014. Submitting the primary was the first time that medical school actually seemed within my reach; I was joining the ranks of the hopefuls.

However, the start of my application process started off with a lot of twists, as I was working as a research assistant in Ghana for the summer. Having been fortunate enough to be part of an international research project, it also meant that I would be skyping and google-chatting with parents and mentors for advice about my application.

The fickle internet connection made for a lot of frustration, and it only added to the stress I already felt for writing a solid personal statement. But once the primary was finally submitted, I felt so relieved that the process had begun.

I strove to have most of my secondary apps done before my senior year of college began in September 2014, meaning that my summer was fully integrated in the application process. I submitted my last secondary in September, and began the next stage of interviewing starting at the end of September.

As everything worked itself out, I interviewed with the MSU College of Human Medicine in November. I highly enjoyed my interview day at CHM, especially talking with many of the med students and hearing about their experiences. There was such a strong sense of community, which was very important to me.

As most students would agree, I loved the MMIs (multiple mini-interviews). I thought it was a great format of different stations and scenarios, giving you multiple avenues to shine and interact. Each applicant participates in multiple structured interviews where you may be asked to discuss your response to a specific question, collaborate with another student, or role-play a set scenario to show you would handle that situation.

While you are not able to know beforehand what these prompts are, you are given a few minutes before each station to read the instructions. Then, you just go for it.

For me, it took a lot of stress off knowing there isn't any right or wrong answers, especially since you can’t really prepare for MMIs. The interviewers just want to get to know you: your thought process, your interpersonal skills, your values.

The MMIs are then followed up with a more traditional student interview. You get to sit with a current CHM med student for half-an-hour to talk about your application and ask any questions you may have. The student interviews are a fun way for the student to gauge whether you would be a good “fit” with our CHM community and for us to share our experiences with you.

All in all, the interview day is a great way for interviewees to get a feel for CHM and who we are as well.

Shortly after my interview day, I found out I had been accepted to CHM with an awesome surprise call from Dr. Maurer (Assistant Dean, Admissions) himself!

He happened to catch me while I was out to dinner with my friends, who started screaming once they saw my face and heard the good news. Although I was little embarrassed that he could most definitely hear them from the other line, I could only thank him so much for the news that I would actually be a doctor one day.

I thought it was so cool and really appreciated how personal it was that Dr. Maurer called me, himself. I'm sure the other applicants were glad to hear the news straight from him as well.
Now a month into my second year of med school, I can definitely tell you that this place is very real. Sometimes too much so—my friends and I always “joke” about how much it takes over our lives. But it is a million times worth it.

It’s crazy to think about how much I have learned so far—whether it be science, clinical skills, the importance of patient-physician relationships, or any other factor that will one day help me be a great doctor.

You put a lot of work into your medical education, but you get so much out of it too.


Friday, October 2, 2015

CHM Admissions Twitter Chat Set For Monday

Interested in applying to the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (CHM)? Would you simply like to learn more about the nation's pioneer in teaching community-based medicine?

Are you following us on Twitter?

Even under normal circumstances, potential medical school applicants typically have lots of questions about the schools they're interested in applying to. We thought the time couldn't be better to facilitate a discussion about CHM, especially considering the college is undergoing a few changes around here (new curriculum, new premedical requirement models, new biomedical research facility, new community campus sites, etc.).

Join us for a good ol' Twitter chat.

The Twitter chat will be hosted by the CHM Office of Admissions on Monday, October 5th at 6pm (ET). Several students and admissions staff will be on hand to answer questions under the CHM Admissions twitter handle: @MSUMDadmissions.

What is a twitter chat/tweet chat?
A Twitter chat (or "tweet chat") is a virtual conversation on the social media platform by way of Twitter updates (a.k.a. tweets). Through the use of a specific, pre-arranged hashtag that links those tweets together, a thread of commentary is formed and voilĂ .

How can you participate?
Follow us on Twitter. Anyone can join the chat by shooting us a tweet and/or by simply searching the #SpartanMDChat hashtag and using it in your tweets.

We look forward to hearing from you!