National recognition for Pre-Med Mentor Program

The Dominican Pre-Med Mentor Program, offered in association with Kaiser Permanente-Northern California, was featured at this year’s annual meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges in Denver, CO.

Representatives from both Dominican and Kaiser were invited to the AAMC meeting to present a poster describing the two-year-old program.

The program launched in 2009 to enable Dominican’s pre-med students to experience first-hand the life of a doctor.
“This in-depth exposure to the profession early in their undergraduate education helps to inform a student when choosing a career in medicine,” says Dr. Sibdas Ghosh, chair of the Department of Natural Science and Mathematics.

Each student is matched with Marin County Kaiser Permanente physician, with whom they meet regularly throughout the year.

“The mentor’s role is to help students better understand the realities of being a doctor,” Ghosh notes. “The program is especially committed to providing general medicine and general surgery mentors to showcase the rewards of being a primary care physician.”

Students were matched with primary care physicians and also were able to shadow specialty rotations in anesthesia, emergency medicine, gastroenterology, infectious disease, neurology, OB/GYN, ophthalmology, orthopedics, podiatry, pediatrics, and urology.

The Dominican students shadow the physicians as they interact with patients and conduct surgical procedures, and discuss their own medical careers. During the past two years, 45 undergraduate students have participated in the Kaiser program.

In future years, Ghosh plans to track outcomes related to the program, including the number of Students Accepted to Medical School, the specialty they chose, and where they are practicing.

The program evaluation survey indicates a high degree of satisfaction with the program, says Ghosh. For many doctors, the program re-energized their interest in their practice and students found that their dream of medical school could become a reality.

“It is apparent that both one-on-one mentoring and specialty rotations are equally successful elements,” Ghosh says. “ We found this program had no adverse effect on physician productivity. Ultimately, the program’s goal is for students to reconfirm or alter their future plans with a new found understanding of the medical field.”