Students Bring Compassion and Creativity to Our Community
Sep 20, 2016 2:03 PM
Each new student who walks through our doors has a unique motivation for joining our academic medical center. Yet they share the same underlying passion: a desire to improve quality of life, discover something new, and pass on amazing knowledge. In search of more than a lifestyle or a title, they’ve chosen medicine because they want to make a difference in the health care of our community.
The aspirations of these students are perfectly aligned with the University’s tripartite mission to provide the best quality care, educate for the future, and research to advance knowledge. Along with their innovative ideas and collaborative thinking, these bright minds have helped our School of Medicine become the leading institution it is today.
I’m proud to say our program is three times more competitive than it was four years ago. Applications skyrocketed to 3,880 last year, compared to 1,300 in 2012. The caliber of our students is increasing, too, and our MCAT and GPA averages are well above the national average. Finally, thanks to the foresight of our governor and legislators, we’ve expanded our class size from 84 students to this year’s class of 125, who were welcomed recently at our White Coat Ceremony.
As I reflect on our accomplishments, I think about the experiences that have shaped these eager minds. I want to share just three stories from this past year that have made the future of health care just a bit brighter.
I’ll start with Daniela Anderson. A gifted storyteller and artist, In college, Daniela had a roommate named Marina, a promising violinist who was diagnosed with leukemia. A few years later, while volunteering in a small village in India, Daniela met Sumit, a young boy with a debilitating autoimmune disease. During her first year in our School of Medicine, she took the Layers of Medicine course, where she wrote and illustrated a children’s book, The Moon Prince and The Sea (Et Alia Press, 2016). This tale of life and death is woven together by her unlikely friendships with two terminally ill young people, and provides comfort to children and families navigating the often-confusing worlds of medicine and disease. For those of us in healthcare, her book serves as a reminder to embrace our humanity and compassion while providing clinical care.
Lorne Hofstetter is another standout medical student. He holds a degree in astrophysics from Princeton, where he also rowed varsity crew. He began his career as an MR physicist at GE, while he also designed longboards and built his entrepreneurial skills. Before winter break, Lorne sent me a lovely email that read, “Dear Dr. Lee, … Just wanted to share with you that I’ve sold my first startup!” The business helps people connect at weddings and events, and was recently bought by Chatbooks. He’s since told me, “I hope my next business is in health care.” So do I.
Finally, Spencer Merrick and John Michael Sanchez are medical students and friends who share a passion (and talent) for filmmaking. Spencer, 28, majored in film, and John, at 22, has “made videos and films my whole life.” This past year, moved by the desire to persuade the state to expand its Medicaid coverage to those who can’t afford health insurance, they made an hour-long documentary, entitled “Donut Hole: Life in the Medicaid Coverage Gap.” Their goal is to dispel myths about the people who are suffering, and to share their stories.
I’m truly moved by these students, and their commitment to positively impact health care. And there are many more like them who fill our medical halls. We celebrate the talent and the initiative of all of our medical students, as they lead us to a future in health care that’s more compassionate, more entrepreneurial and more creative than ever before.comments powered by Disqus