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CMV Program at LAC+USC Hospital

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by FutureDoc8547, Aug 27, 2010.

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  1. FutureDoc8547


    Aug 27, 2010
    Has anyone done the CMV program at LAC+USC hospital? If so, how was it? What did you have to do? Do you get a good LOR? I heard that you do not have any contact with patients, it is just shadowing, is this true? Any other good hospitals in Southern California that have great programs to volunteer in?
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  3. LacUscCmv


    Sep 7, 2010
    Hi FutureDoc,
    I'm the chair of the LAC+USC CMV program so I'd like to help with your questions.

    Yes I have. I had a fantastic experience in this program and decided to stay after completing to be on the leadership board, which has also been a very cool experience.

    Volunteers have to come for 4 hours every week for 200 hours (about 1 year). Unlike some other programs we do not allow volunteers to miss shifts without a documented excuse – this program is only for serious pre-meds (or other pre-healthcare).
    We have 6 depts and they are all a little different: internal medicine, peds, ob/gyn, in-patient care, neurology, and psychiatry. Volunteers that complete the 200 hours are eligible to rotate in pathology and anesthesiology (sit in on surgeries).

    That’s up to you. Volunteers can often find a resident that they get along with and are free to arrange their schedules to match as long as they stay within their registered dept and shifts.

    Most of our depts are focused on shadowing a resident or resident team - following them around without being hands-on. However, we do have some depts that are geared towards talking to patients and being hands-on, such as the in-patient care rotation.

    Clinical care extenders
    UCLA Harbor
    I hear alot of people tell me that ours is the best shadowing program in the area.

    If you haven't already seen it, our website is here:

    FYI, we have two other volunteer programs you may be interested in:
    DEM Program - active helper in the emergency room (the same place where the Navy trains its doctors before sending them to combat zones)
    General Adult Program - this program accommodates people that are not pursuing a career in healthcare, but we also have pre-meds in this program that stay in a particular ward helping with patient care and doing some physician shadowing as well

    Feel free to PM me for more info.

    -CMV Chair
  4. ReptarBar

    ReptarBar 5+ Year Member

    Jul 15, 2008
    lol i got into the DEM program then just quit without even starting. the staff is rude, and the hospital blows compared to ronald reagan (bad area too). all you do in DEM is help out at the front desk. as for CMV, i can shadow doctors more efficiently on my own time.
  5. bacalaca

    bacalaca 5+ Year Member

    Apr 15, 2007
    Dude for real, you do NOT need to shadow docs through some program like this, especially if there are so many requirements and commitments that it prevents you from experiencing other things. Just shadow some docs on your own, it is way more efficient and it gives you more freedom to do other things.

    From what I remember, UCLA Care Extenders had less commitment than that, but still way more than I wanted so I didnt do that either.

    I did things on my own and it worked out plenty fine.
  6. LacUscCmv


    Sep 7, 2010
    I'm not involved with DEM but it sounds like you were misinformed about what the volunteers do. I believe only the senior volunteers help out at the ER welcome desk. It's a pretty popular program (~200 volunteers), mainly b/c volunteers like to come in on the graveyard shifts to see all the mva's, gsw's, etc.

    If anyone wants more info on DEM PM me and I can put you in touch with someone. Please research any hospital program you are interested in before applying - and ask to speak to someone who's done the program. The hospitals spend alot of money to process applications and get clearances for volunteers so it's pretty unfortunate when they don't follow through.
  7. LacUscCmv


    Sep 7, 2010
    This is true. You should first consider shadowing docs on your own.... only apply to this type of program if you want a hospital experience.

    Also, 4 hrs/wk doesn't sound like much but it can be pretty intrusive if you're doing school, research, clubs, etc.
  8. hiyaman

    hiyaman 7+ Year Member

    Feb 5, 2010
    I love LAC+USC hospital, I was a junior volunteer there back when they were in the old building.
  9. MattG7

    MattG7 2+ Year Member

    Sep 20, 2010
    This post has been very helpful. I knew about the CMV program (but missed the recent start date) so am looking at the DME program. I think being a part of the emergency room would be very enlightening and fascinating.

    Does anyone have any experience with the DME program? (I took up LacUscCmv's offer and sent a private message his/her way).
  10. xtinakim

    xtinakim 2+ Year Member

    Mar 17, 2010
    I had such a terrible experience with the staff and I wholeheartedly agree with you!!!

    I have had around 4 friends matriculate through the DEM Volunteer Program and they have expressed to me that while the experience was all right, the work became increasingly more clerical than clinical. The coordinator (I believe Maria Castro is her name?) is straight up rude. I remember going back and forth in an email with her, trying to reschedule an interview date and she gave me the WRONG day! I went in and asked when the group interview was going to begin and everyone looked at me like I was crazy, I spoke with Coco (her boss) and she simply said that I should reschedule-but even that was like pulling teeth! She basically told me that it was my fault when it was clearly her mistake. I remember that I kept trying to keep my emails professional, yet the whole time I could tell she had a nasty attitude.

    I finally rescheduled and left an hour early (I am 20mins away from the hospital) and was 10 minutes late due to lack of parking and was denied entrance to the interview. This was okay, I can deal with the paradigm of interview punctuality and it was simply bad luck that the traffic and parking were horrendous, but I was told to just email Maria and reschedule again (ugh). When I did she told me that two strikes was it and I had to REAPPLY to the program. Needless to say I decided not to waste my time waiting for my in-state references to fill out all of their paperwork and process it so I just found MD's to shadow and couldn't have been happier.

    My friends have told me that Maria was really difficult to deal with (one really complained about her on the exit survey) but that the head medical director, who I believe has retired now) is very friendly. Unfortunately, due to 98% of the staff's lack of amicability and overall difficulty it made me never want to return or even think about reapplying to USC.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2011
  11. interferongamma

    interferongamma 7+ Year Member

    Jun 17, 2008
    It is unfortunate that some were unable to experience what I did at LAC+USC via the DEM Program. The time I spent there was all worth the while, all ~300 hours of it.

    While it is true that you have to do some time at the "Fish Bowl" directing and escorting visitors, you rotate to other pods as well changing linens and sanitizing rooms post-work up. During my time, the Floor Nurse facilitated this very well.

    When I am inside the other pods, I am pro-active, enough to be even asked by residents and some attending to assist and shadow them which include the following among others:

    1. help re-dress a geriatric patient's ulcer wounds
    2. assist a doctor in setting up and opening sterile materials needed for suturing, cleaning of abscess, and other similar invasive and non-invasive surgery.
    3. I was able to help pick up shards of broken glasses with a Navy officer on a patient's head and neck who died from an MVA
    4. An attending offered to let me touch a lung following a patient 's death on the table, while observing respect and utmost professionalism
    5. I helped transport and transfer patients from Radiology to the ER and to other pods with supervision
    6. Became a runner for patients who are unable to do things for themselves
    7. assist a PA in casting
    8. coordinate actively and directly with a resident how to have an efficient flow of patients in the fast track west pod

    And they DO write a very strong Letter of Recommendation.

    You have to be pro-active but not to the point that it becomes annoying. When you stand out among the volunteers and become a familiar face to the residents and attending, they are the ones who often would ask you to come with them and observe and assist because THEY HAVE BEEN IN OUR SHOES.

    I would recommend the DEM program to everyone but the rest is up to the person how he/she is able to maximize his/her time spent volunteering. I welcome other inquiries via PM.
  12. lpmarcus010

    lpmarcus010 2+ Year Member

    Mar 23, 2011
    San Diego, Ca
    I heard this program gives you Cytomegalovirus, is this true? Can one list this on AMCAS??

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