iC Dingbat

Shadowing Docs in January

Story by: Tendai Mutunhire '13

Colby students in the new Premed Academy Jan Plan learned about practicing medicine and built professional relationships with doctors in medical offices and hospitals. The course paired students with MaineGeneral Medical Center-affiliated physicians in the Waterville area for intensive job shadowing and clinical observation.

The goal of the Premed Academy is to give students insight into the medical profession and a leg up in competitive medical school admissions.

“I think it’s critical,” said Dr. Paul Berkner, Colby’s medical director, who was involved in structuring the course. “The goal is to get students experiential learning of what it is to be a physician, get a relationship with a physician and be able to help the physician.”

For students eager to become physicians, “This provides them with that marker to medical schools that says they have explored this. They are not just going through four years of college and taking the premed requirements and taking the MCAT.”

All 14 students completed a independent medical research project to assist the physician they worked with while learning more about a specific area of medicine. Students presented their independent research at a reception Jan. 26 and reflected on the lessons they got through the shadowing experience.

Premed Acdemy participants
Premed Academy participants and the physicians they worked with gathered on campus at the end of the month.

Matt Vivero ’11, one of the participants, said the shadowing experience had made a lasting impression. “It was really great. I was paired with a really great physician and learned a lot.”

“These students have some prior experience,” said Associate Director of Career Services Cate Talbot Ashton ’80. “It’s more like a consolidation course, and it’s great so far.”

The Premed Academy was a joint effort among Career Center Director Roger Woolsey, Ashton, Dr. Berkner, and Dr. Steven Diaz, vice president of medical administration at MaineGeneral.

At the presentation in January, Dr. Diaz thanked all 14 physicians who took part in the initiative, and said, “This was a great endeavor because of all the volunteers. They were great mentors and role models.”

The team that organized the Premed Academy plans to offer the Jan Plan again in future years.

Tendai Mutunhire '13
Marondera, Zimbabwe
Majors: Music and Creative Writing