Potential Members of Class of 2017 Return to the Miller School for a Second Look

Hazel Asumu already was leaning heavily toward UM for her medical education, but after spending the morning of Friday, April 12, hearing Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and members of the education team talk about what makes the Miller School extraordinary, the Duke University graduate was certain. “I’m definitely coming here,” she said. “It’s awesome. I can tell the faculty are really involved and invested in the students. They really want us to be the next best thing.”

Attending the Miller School’s third annual Second Look Day with her parents, twin sister and little brother, Asumu was among the 119 obviously gifted undergrads who, accepted to multiple medical schools, were invited to take another, closer look at how UM would set them on a path to becoming excellent physicians, and leaders. Noting that medical schools should be analyzed based on four components — education, research, clinical care and service to community – Dean Goldschmidt provided an overview of how the Miller School excels in each, and assured the prospective students they would graduate with a degree that has “cachet” and would prepare them not only to integrate and participate in the new era of healthcare ushered in by the Affordable Care Act, but to lead it.

“We want our students to be leaders, not followers,” he said.

Richard Weisman, Pharm.D., Associate Dean for Admissions, kicked off the day of presentations, tours, and networking that began at the Lois Pope LIFE Center Apex Auditorium by giving the M.D. candidates an idea of just how much the Miller School believes in their leadership potential. Noting that only 200 of 7,120 applicants will be in the Class of 2017, he said they had risen to the top of a very steep pyramid.

Laurence Gardner, M.D., Executive Dean for Education and Policy, told the students that, through its teaching hospital at Jackson Memorial, the Miller School is able to offer a laboratory and classroom unparalleled even at Harvard, where he graduated. “Our interns and residents are more likely to diagnose malaria than flu in a really sick febrile patient who just got off the bus from Nicaragua,” he said. “Jackson is the core of not only the residency programs….but the major site for your early clinical learning experiences.”

He also let them know that, under the Miller School’s new self-directed curriculum, students would be accountable for their own learning and continuously challenged and tested to assure they have mastered the concepts before proceeding to the new ones.

A graduate of both the University and the Miller School, Alex J. Mechaber, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, talked about how the Miller School’s “tradition of compassionate service,” which he showcased in a slide montage with that title, distinguishes it from other institutions. Harkening back to 1992, the year Hurricane Andrew devastated south Miami-Dade County, he recalled how he and fellow medical students spent time assisting migrant workers ravaged by the storm “not because we had to but because that is who we are.” Later, he talked about how the Miller School makes it easy for students to personalize their education with its many pathway and dual degree programs.

Also making presentations were Richard Riley, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Pre-Clinical Curriculum, who gave insights about what their first two years would be like, and Joan St. Onge, M.D., Assistant Regional Dean for Clinical Curriculum, and Paul Mendez, M.D., Assistant Dean for Clinical Curriculum on the Miami campus, who discussed the clinical experience on the regional campus in Palm Beach County, and in Miami. A number of students also talked about the Miller School from a number of perspectives, sharing their views on everything from the Academic Societies to the research opportunities to the advantages of living in a vibrant and diverse city like Miami.

Leaving the morning session, George Glinos, a biology major at the University of Florida, said he was particularly moved by the slide show, which chronicled the Miller School’s humble beginnings, its exploding growth in size, rank and stature, and the breadth of its service programs, including the free health fairs organized by the student-run Department of Community Service (DOCS) and medical missions to Haiti, Nicaragua and other underserved areas.

“It just reinforced my gut feeling that the Miller School is a good fit for me,” said Glinos, who like Asumu was accepted to UF and the University of South Florida med schools.

They and the other second lookers have until May 15 to make their decision.

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