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Academic Doctor vs. Community Doctor - Best to make a distinction?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Kikaku21, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. Kikaku21

    Kikaku21 Senior Member
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    There seem to be 2 different kinds of medical schools to apply to out there. The first is the school interested in producing the "medical scientist" or the "researcher." As everyone here probably knows, the Top 20 seem to be oriented in this way, with a larger number of admitted applicants claiming to have done research and the schools having a "researchy" reputation. (i.e. Harvard, Johns Hopkins, etc, etc...) The 2nd type is the "community doctor" producing school. These are the schools that seem to be more about community health issues, primary care, actual practice as opposed to clinical trials etc.... (Loyola, for example)

    There are 2 things that are on my mind. First, how divisive are these stereotypes in reality? Loyola, for example, produces radiation oncology residents-- generally matching in this specialty requires quite a bit of research. It is clear that once into medical school, you can go either way. How much does the culture of the school determine your fate?

    Also, and more importantly for now... What about getting in? We can only fill out one AMCAS personal statement. Should you always strive for the top 20 by presenting your interest in research? Or should you strive for talking about your passion for treating individuals? (Assuming that both motivate you.) Are the Loyolas of the world interested in a research oriented student? Does Harvard want to hear about how much you love treating the underserved? In other words, by going in one direction, do you shoot yourself in the foot for other schools?
     
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  2. Lests55

    Lests55 Senior Member
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    It seems like the "Loyolas" of the world want to be like the big research institutions as well. Schools are judged primarily by their research contribution, so I don't think it would be at all a disadvantage to state your interest in research to all schools. Some schools have a mission to educate primary care doctors, but this does not mean they ignore academic medicine. After all, the schools themselves are in academic medicine pretty deep.

    I think it is natural for an admission committee to select those that share there interests in research and education.
     
  3. DoctaJay

    DoctaJay bone breaker
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    The best medical school applicant is the student who is well rounded (I know its a general term, but I'll explain). A little bit a summer research (being published really isn't needed), a little bit of science club leadership, a little bit of doctor shadowing, a little bit of voluteering in underserved areas, and you are ready for any school...especially with a good MCAT and GPA.
     
  4. OP
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    Kikaku21

    Kikaku21 Senior Member
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    Are you speaking from experience?
     
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  5. gujuDoc

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    Ok so a few things:

    One, your AMCAS is a time to be more general about why medicine. If your passion is to be a medical researcher then talk about it, if it is to become a community physician talk about it. But don't talk about it just to sell yourself to the school.. The secondaries, on the other hand, are your opportunity to be more specific in your responses and sell yourself to a school on why you'd be a great candidate at that school in terms of fulfilling that school's mission statement.

    Secondly, I agree with what Lest said.
     
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  6. gujuDoc

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    Of the 3 schools you are accepted at which is your top choice?

    Also I somewhat agree but not completely. I agree that its important to be well rounded. HOWEVER, different schools have different mission statements. Its as the old saying goes: You can't please everyone!

    Its just a simple fact of the matter. If your goal is to go to a more highly ranked program and you are interested in academic medicine then you do what you can to show your passion in research and other outside interests. If your interest is somewhere more like UMd or USF or some other state school which focuses more on clinical aspects of medicine, you try to do things they ask of you and then whatever else is of interest to you.

    Think about what is important to you and where you'd like to realistically go to and talk with admissions people at those schools.
     
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  7. MonkeyNuts!

    MonkeyNuts! Even Kal has bad days...
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    I would stay away from absolutes in PS/interviews. People who have already ironed out their future may be seen as focused, goal-oriented, and perhaps even passionate, but they can also be seen as closed minded, not adapting, and susceptible to derailment.

    Talk about your interests and experiences and how they shape your career goals but leave plenty of enough room for the fact that you're not in med school yet and haven't been exposed to all the possibilities.

    In terms of schools, you could lean one way or the other, but just because a school is oriented in one way doesn't mean your PS readers, adcoms, or interviewers may be that way as well. I made the mistake of assuming otherwise for this interview I had with a school that was known for its research. Neither of my interviewers were clinical researchers, one was even a primary care doc. So leave yourself room.
     
  8. gujuDoc

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    Good advice! I guess the point I was trying to drive home is that no one will have the perfect application for every school even if they try. Just be well rounded and do your research ahead of time.

    Oh and also, be more general in AMCAS and more specific with your responses in secondaries. I've helped my friend with her secondaries this year and hearing the kinds of essay questions put things into perspective. The one thing I saw was that the AMCAS was a place to answer:

    WHY MEDICINE?

    And Secondaries were to answer: WHY THIS SCHOOL?
     
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  9. Law2Doc

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    First, be honest. If you want to do research and/or specialize, you shouldn't be writing a PS about working with the underserved, and if you want to do primary care and work with the underserved, you shouldn't play up an interest in research. Med schools want to hear what your real interests are -- and sure, that may mean you aren't a good fit for some places, but better to find that out now than to try to fake being something you aren't and get called onto the carpet on it later. In many cases, the schools will be less focused on this than you are.
    Second, most med schools are simply launch pads. Where you end up depends more on you, how you do, whether you excell in rotations and the boards. The only caution is that if you go to a place without a lot of research focus, it may be hard to line up that summer research job (although off campus positions through the NIH and the like exist).
     
  10. LeafNinja

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    yeah those things you listed are in no way unique or special.

    For me, I believe in excelling very well in 1 area.

    From my college application process I saw that classmates who were less "well rounded" than I was, but had national awards in 1 area went to better schools.

    Therefore, I believe the same applies to medical school. Why would they want a well-rounded person when they can have the best person from each field? There are many well-rounded people, but few people who excel in a field. That's my 2 cents. I just don't agree with you man/woman.
     
  11. Law2Doc

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    Med school is very different than college, and your observations from your college application process won't serve you well here. The reason they opt for well roundedness over someone who is great in one field is because this isn't a purely technical practice, it is very much a service industry. The profession has steadilly moved away from one dimensional scientist med students to a more diverse and well balanced class. So you will see far more non-science major students in med school each year, more nontrads, more people with ECs in the arts, athletics, and fewer one dimensional solely science oriented candidates. The ideal physician these days is well read, well rounded, personable, and has a variety of skillsets PLUS was able to do well in college and the prereqs/MCAT.
     
  12. DropkickMurphy

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    I'm going to agree with this......I would tend to suggest that even on your PS you could mention that you have both interests (hedge your bets).

    You could demonstrate your interest in the academic side of medicine in your ECs (multiple publications, lots of research experience) and still demonstrate an interest (or feign an interest) in serving underserved populations through either your PS (which would be more meaningful if this is backed up by additional ECs).
     
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  13. monday_best

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    On my interview circuit I met multiple academic doctors (including sub-specialists) who had research-oriented careers devoted to serving the underserved. Don't really see why this is an either/or question.

    Also, in my own PS I wrote about my interest in both (and their synergy). I've gotten great response from schools with both kinds of emphases.
     
  14. DoctaJay

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    I think I came off wrong, like some applicant that tried to do everything to please all schools. I didn't mean that, but being well rounded is still more important. Do things that you love, but all medical schools along with the black ones like to see research. Research is so intertwined with medicine that it is good to know that you had experience with the field, but still decided to pursue medicine. And if you are not interested at all in serving the underserved, that is fine, but certain school won't really look twice at you without some volunteer experience in the area. But moreso to answer your question, you don't have to tailor your PS or your application to a specific direction. On my application, I listed my research experience in the Work/Experiences section, but in my PS I focused in on my volutuneer experiences and my overall path to medicine.
     
  15. gujuDoc

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    Yeah I think this makes more sense. I do see your point about research but I don't think it will hurt at schools that are more clinical focused if you don't have it. At my institution, even though we are becoming more and more involved with research, it has been stated that research has been the least important factor in decisions as far as admissions go. That said, it can only help if you have some and especially if you got a lot out of it in terms of publications, poster presentations, conferences attended, or even if you can eloquently state what you learned from it.
     
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  16. TheCybermen

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    it is not clear to me whether the "ideal physician" you are describing is truly an ideal vs. a renaissance-esque by-product of a now-fizzling era of medicine.
     

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