HELP: VCU (MCV) vs Temple

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Silver_Surfer

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Hi everyone!

I currently have a tough decision, and was very fortunate be accepted into both Temple and VCU's school of medicine. Although I am very thankful, I am now tasked to choose one of these schools! At the moment, the cost of attendance for both schools are pretty much the same (VCU is cheaper, and they gave me a decent scholarship; Temple is more expensive, but they gave me a bigger scholarship which makes the cost of attendance for both pretty much equal). Below is my personal pros and cons list. I am an African American female from Maryland, and both schools are about the same travel distance. I have a strong interest in working in underserved communities as a family medicine physician, and plan to apply to NHSC scholarship (because I definitely want to be a primary care doctor). I do value being in a diverse community.

VCU
Pros
  • Finish second year early = more time to study for board exams and longer vacation

  • Individualized USMLE 1 board prep with faculty member

  • Area is more suburban (I am a suburbanite)

  • Able to walk to class (they also have a free shuttle to class)

  • Only hospital in region = will see very advance medical cases

  • Cheaper cost of living

  • Specialized advising in family medicine (was accepted into fmSTAT, which is a family medicine scholars group within the medical school that offers one on one mentoring with a family physician, group activities with others interested in family med, and increased family medicine shadowing opportunities).

  • Has a family medicine residency program

Cons
  • Less diverse student body (as compared to Temple)

  • No nearby extended family members


Temple SOM
Pros
  • Diverse student body = increased personal comfort

  • Near a hub of medical professionals (can meet tons of new people)

  • Opportunity to receive a MA in Urban Bioethics (without extra 1 year added)

  • Socioeconomic determinants for health embedded in curriculum

  • Reputation for training “dedicated and compassionate” physicians
  • Extended family nearby

Cons

  • Neighborhood

  • Hospital might be competing with nearby hospitals for advanced cases

  • Have to take public transportation to get to class

  • Higher cost of living

  • Does not have a family medicine residency program

Summary: After going back and forth with this-- I guess my question may come down to this: What is more important? Going to a medical school that will provide me with personalized family medicine support, guidance, and advising AND has a family medicine residency program or going to a medical school that will provide me with an additional degree (the MA) in order to have a strong bioethics foundation to practice as a family medicine doctor?

Any opinions welcome! Reputations of each school also appreciated!

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voiceless

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First of all, congratulations on being accepted to VCU and Temple! You have a tough decision here, that's for sure. I am also interested in going into Family medicine, particularly interested in social medicine and community health (also interviewed for fmSTAT and VCU, accepted to VCU, not to fmSTAT).

Here are my thoughts:
  • VCU and fmSTAT offer you REALLY great advising in the Family Medicine arena. Their 1.5 year preclinical also gives you more flexibility later in your education to choose different electives (as well as more vacation time). Richmond itself is fairly diverse, even if MCV student body is not as much. Board prep is nice, but people can do well on USMLE at any school as long as they organize themselves. That said, comfort is definitely not something to shrug at, and I can understand why being in a more diverse student body and having nearby extended family members are important.
  • At Temple, you may have more foundational learning in things like the social determinants of health and "urban bioethics"; do you really need that foundational learning? Are these things that you're invested in, enough so that you trust you won't need to follow a program to learn about them? While I think education in the schools can make a huge difference in how people approach healthcare practice, if you're initially invested in health disparity and treating underserved communities with respect and dignity, I don't think you need formalized training. (for example, I'm interested in social medicine and community health, and I'm currently compiling a list of websites/links to conferences/readings/etc. that I've been combing through and will continue to reference in the future). That said, Philly is a rad place; there is some incredible community organizing work being done there, and would be such a cool place to live and learn in for four years.

Summary: Your final question asked whether great resources for and great exposure to family medicine OR access to an urban bioethics MA are more important in considering the school. I think if you're truly interested in Family medicine, VCU and fmSTAT is the superior option, due to the flexibility, advising, and mentorship you will receive in the program. While the Temple experience may be a bit (or a lot) more comfortable in terms of student diversity and nearby support systems, and they do offer more formalized training in health disparity and urban bioethics, I think as long as you trust yourself to learn about and integrate those kinds of things into your practice, you can do it (and VCU's flexibility will definitely allow you the space to do so). I'm sure you'll do great, no matter where you end up!
 
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DrDwayneJohnson

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You can get into an FM residency by just passing Step 1, so I wouldn’t let that be a huge factor. If you’re dead set on going FM then I’d say the cheaper option.

Alternatively, you could follow some advice I saw on another thread which has become my favorite saying. Flip a coin for the school. Whichever one you find yourself hoping for while th coin is in the air then go to that one.
 
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humblethinker

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I applied to both and researched both pretty heavily. They seem like very similar programs and both have good home residencies from what I can tell. I think you will have more opportunity to impact the community if you attend Temple. It also sounds like since you are from the suburbs of Maryland, attending Temple will place you outside your comfort zone which presents significant potential for growth, learning, and realizing opportunity where you might not yet be able to see it. For these reasons I would recommend Temple. Uncomfortable situations, particularly in areas where there is known need and limitless opportunity, can bring out the best in you.
 
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Kingsmen2018

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I interviewed at both schools but will not be attending either. Both are pretty much equal but I got an overall better vibe from VCU. City is a little nicer(temple is ghetto) and they do have a TRUE Pass Fail. I say VCU, but at the end of the day they're pretty close
 
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SpringsHTTR

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My thoughts from both in interviewing is that VCU is all about supporting you through the process of becoming a physician. I loved the set up of their curriculum and that one on one focus with mentorship. My vote would be VCU because not much stood out for Temple (not saying that it's not a fantastic program because it is) just my thoughts.
 
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