For Four Miller School Students, “Last Summer” Leaves Lasting Impression

Knowing this summer would be their last chance in the foreseeable future for exploration and adventure, four rising second-year Miller School students spent their “last summer” in Israel gaining incomparable first-hand knowledge of a different health care system.

Defined as the summer between the first and second year of medical school, the “last summer” inspires years of planning for students like Rachel Franklyn, who knew before entering medical school that she wanted to travel abroad.

“We consider these few months to be our last chance to travel and relax before our journey toward USMLE Step 1 and third-year clerkships,” said Franklyn, who started her second year of medical school in July.

The Miller School offers many opportunities to pursue research, travel, and medical experiences across the United States and beyond, but thanks to Michael Lewis, M.D., senior associate dean for graduate medical education and professor of clinical anesthesiology, Franklyn and four of her classmates spent four weeks shadowing physicians at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem and Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. They also rode along in Israeli ambulances, the Magen David Adom, where they observed emergency paramedic response teams.

“The idea was to expose students to clinical medicine that is different,” said Lewis, who completed three years of his residency in the Jewish state. “In Israel, there is a health insurance law that requires citizens to buy medical insurance – like Obamacare.”

The trips to Israel, which started four years ago with an emphasis on mass casualty incidents, have expanded to give medical students a wide range of clinical knowledge. Learning about Israel’s universal health care system may give them an edge in the United States as the nation moves toward universal coverage.

“It was a trip that I will always remember,” Franklyn said. “I look forward to helping next year’s class plan their own summer trip to Israel.”

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