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LORs for MSTP student applying to derm

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senorfakename

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I'm an MSTP student soon to be going back to third year. Heavily interested in Derm though it's possible that I will fall in love with something else during my rotations. I have done some shadowing in derm during my PhD. My PhD is in bacteriology host pathogen interactions and tying it into derm would be a bit of a stretch, though there are some elements that may resonate with derm interviewers.

My question probably reflects a bit of ignorance on my part or maybe showcases how removed I've been from med school in the past 4 years. But I've heard that letters of recommendation should be all from derm faculty for applying to derm; is that just for MD applicants? Obviously my PhD mentor and even my committee chair have a much stronger relationship with me than I'm likely to have with a derm faculty member. Or do the comments from my PhD mentor and committee chair only go into the dean's letter and the derm LORs are considered completely separately? I'm wondering if I need to find a small derm project to work on in the evenings after I leave lab or what other must-dos I need to be thinking about for connecting with faculty for meaningful LORs (and how many I should work towards). Appreciate any advice.
 

asmallchild

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I'm an MSTP student soon to be going back to third year. Heavily interested in Derm though it's possible that I will fall in love with something else during my rotations. I have done some shadowing in derm during my PhD. My PhD is in bacteriology host pathogen interactions and tying it into derm would be a bit of a stretch, though there are some elements that may resonate with derm interviewers.

My question probably reflects a bit of ignorance on my part or maybe showcases how removed I've been from med school in the past 4 years. But I've heard that letters of recommendation should be all from derm faculty for applying to derm; is that just for MD applicants? Obviously my PhD mentor and even my committee chair have a much stronger relationship with me than I'm likely to have with a derm faculty member. Or do the comments from my PhD mentor and committee chair only go into the dean's letter and the derm LORs are considered completely separately? I'm wondering if I need to find a small derm project to work on in the evenings after I leave lab or what other must-dos I need to be thinking about for connecting with faculty for meaningful LORs (and how many I should work towards). Appreciate any advice.

I would still work on securing as many derm LORs as you can. I think you will still need and should obtain letters from your PhD mentor and your committee chair. If you have spent 4 years away from medical school pursuing your PhD, residency programs will want to see what your mentor has to say about you.

But in the end, what will matter most are letters from other prominent academic dermatologists. In general, the best letters are obtained after spending significant time with these faculty members (research year, etc)

But if you can work on smaller projects in addition to spending time during rotations, hopefully it will still make for a better letter than a generic rotator who only spends 4 weeks with the faculty member.
 
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