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questions about upenn

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by CUMD, Apr 21, 2004.

  1. CUMD

    CUMD Member
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    Hi all,

    I was wondering if any current penn students could help me out...I'm currently on the waitlist at Penn and I liked the school a lot, but after Northwestern's 2nd look weekend, I think I fell in love with Chicago. I guess my question concerns whether or not Penn tends to influence their students to pursue research/academic medicine over private practice...I know there is a thesis requirement, so does the curriculum tend to persuade students to pursue these paths?
     
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  3. kristi1696

    kristi1696 Junior Member
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    Yes, PENN steers its students towards research. I think only 2-3 students matched into Family Medicine this year. The outpatient medicine rotation has also been nixed so that now there is just the 1 mo. of Fam Med and 2 mos. of inpatient medicine.
     
  4. PsychNOS

    PsychNOS Member
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    No, Penn does not "steer" its students towards research. The admissions committee does take a lot of highly motivated people that have research experience, however. There is a 3-month scholarly pursuit requirement in your fourth year, but the requirement does not have to be fulfilled by doing traditional research. There are people that get additional degrees during medical school (M.P.H., M.B.A.) that can fulfill this requirement. You can write a paper on philosophy, ethics, or the history of medicine if you want. The scholarly pursuit requirement sets you up nicely during the residency application process.

    There was actually a good number of people that went into primary care specialties this year, which include family practice, as well as internal medicine-primary care tracks. There are people that do primary care electives in New Mexico and in foreign countries. I wouldn't let the academic bent of Penn steer you away. Who knows, maybe you'll decide to go into a non-primary care specialty four years from now.
     
  5. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    If you aren't interested in research, why do you want to go here so badly? Our strength is in the ability to do research or other interesting projects with all of the nearby or integrated departments, facilities, and colleges. If you love Chicago and you're really interested in primary care, GO THERE! What do you have left that draws you to Penn?
     
  6. CUMD

    CUMD Member
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    this may seem like a stupid question or comment, but does primary care also encompass being a specialist (e.g. cardiologist, gastroenterologist, ortho, surgery, etc.?) What i meant by "private practice" was exactly that; being a specialist and not necessarily a general practioner (which I'm not interested in at the moment).

    Again, your opinions are much appreciated! Thanks so much! I appreciate research and I did it for about 2 years, but I think my calling is within patient care. If Penn emphasizes research so much, then I must pull my app in favor of another applicant who would probably fit in much better. Thanks again!
     
  7. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    Typically when someone says primary care, they mean one of family practice, internal medicine (not subspecialized), OB/GYN, or psychiatry. There's some others that are semi-primary care, but not exactly (e.g. Emergency Medicine).

    My apologies for misreading your first post. You did say private practice, not primary care. Still, remember that specialties like the ones you have listed (except the noncompetitive ones like general surgery) want to see that you have done research. The vast majority of residencies in those areas are at academic medicine centers that focus on research. Also, the quality of applicants is such that they can get research-oriented people. As such, you don't HAVE TO DO research to get one of these residencies, but you will have to do extremely well without it to get a competitive subspecialty residency with intentions of going into private practice.

    Penn does indeed emphasize academic medicine, that doesn't mean that you can't graduate here and go do whatever you want with your medical degree.
     
  8. PsychNOS

    PsychNOS Member
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    Psychiatry and OB/Gyn are not considered "primary care" contrary to what Neuronix said. Keep in mind that Neuronix is an M.D./Ph.D. candidate that has a bias towards towards doing research. There are plenty of people at Penn who do not do research, but are involved in other activities like community service, international health, etc. I don't want applicants to think that Penn only puts out academic physicians. I myself am considering private practice, as well as academics.

    You shouldn't think about career options in terms of academics vs. private practice when choosing a medical school. This decision does not really come into play until late into your residency.

    In the medical profession, there are generalists and there are specialists. For example, through an internal medicine residency (3years) you become a general internist. Afterwards, you can do a fellowship in cardiology, gastroenterology, etc. and become a specialist.

    Same goes for Ob/Gyn. You do a 4 year general Ob/Gyn residency. Then you can either go out and practice general Ob/Gyn, or you can specialize in fields like maternal-fetal medicine. You can go into academics without doing a fellowship though!
     
  9. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    You got me there, psychiatry is not primary care. For example: http://www.memorialhc.org/ummhc/hospitals/med_center/find/pc/pcspec.cfm

    lists family medicine, geriatrics, gynecology, internal medicine, OB/GYN, and peds (which I forgot).

    I absolutely agree with this and I think it's great. Still the idea from an admissions perspective (what I understand of it anyways) is that we will produce physicans who will become the leaders in whatever they decide to do. If we're talking about international health, we're looking for policy makers who are interested in or have MPHs or other advanced degrees. Another thing my classmates seem very interested in doing is going abroad and either starting an international organization or working for one. If we're talking about community service, we're looking for those who have demonstrated an interest and continue to have an interest in primary care to serve the needy directly, not just have a private practice career (not that these are incompatable of course).

    I disagree in most cases. This is important for everything from picking a specialty, deciding what to do with your extracirriculars, and deciding which residencies to which you want to apply. If you want to go into academics, you should start looking for those top academic residencies when you get into medical school and start getting experience in research in your field of interest. Further, some residencies are very geared towards producing either academics or private practice (community) physicians. Especially in the subspecialty fields with few spots, the specialties are very academic. You want to make sure you pick the right specialty and the right residency programs to which you will apply, and academic vs. private practice will help you make that decision.

    Of course this advice of considering what you want to do and preparing for it early doesn't apply for everyone. Some are more laid back about deciding for careers than others, and it still works out for them, provided they weren't too laid back when they took the Step I. In things like Internal Medicine, you don't necessarily have to know in advance what you want to do. But, for things like the op suggested: ortho, cardiology with a competitive residency and research very helpful for that fellowship, specialist surgery, etc, it's very helpful.

    My point is still that you should consider your medical school based on how good of a match you are for that school. Chicago is definately better than Philadelphia IMO (bit more expensive, much larger, colder for longer), and Northwestern is going to give you just as good of a preparation for what you want to do. What Penn has to offer above many other schools is those opportunities I mentioned before. If you take those aren't so important for you and there's nothing compelling about Philadelphia or fin aid, I don't see any reason to hang out on the waitlist.

    One caveat is that research and patient care are NOT mutually exclusive. Clinical research is very patient oriented, and most physicans I know that conduct clinical research take care of patients as well. Even with basic science it is possible to be a basic scientist and still take care of patients. So, I'm not a "medical student against the actual practice of medicine"...
     
  10. PsychNOS

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    Neuronix:

    Although I agree with most of what you wrote, I do disagree that the decision to go into academics should play a prominent role in deciding what medical school to attend. Inevitably, picking the medical school with the right match in terms of enivronment, financial aid, and location is much more important. Good research can be found at most medical schools nationwide.

    Regarding residency placement and Penn. Yes, residency programs vary from more academic to less academic. Competitive ones do consider research activities in medical school. Penn's scholarly pursuit requirement does set you up for the application process. The 1 and 1/2 year of electives and free time allow you to complete a project in time for residency interviews. This gives you a significant leg up on the competition.

    To the OP:

    Go to Northwestern if you feel that you would be a better fit there. However, if you compare the match lists, you'll see a definite competitive advantage to attending Penn. This is not to say that Northwestern is not a quality institution, but PDs do look at the highly-ranked schools in a different light on the interview trail. For example, most of my classmates applying to radiology programs this year were not AOA. We matched 17/17 in radiology regardless.
     
  11. Anka

    Anka Senior Member
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    How does AOA work at UPenn, anyway?

    Anka
     
  12. PsychNOS

    PsychNOS Member
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    Anka,

    AOA is a mysterious process here. No one knows for sure how people get selected for AOA excpet the AOA committee. I can speculate that grades, extracurriculars (research, community service), and politics come into play. The great thing about Penn is that you don't have to be AOA to go match into a competitive specialty. Many people graduate in the middle of the pack and still can land a competitive residency spot in ortho, radiology, optho, etc. This is accomplished by choosing to take a year off, do research, and get multiple publications.
     
  13. souljah1

    souljah1 Attending
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    I do agree that attending a highly regarded medical school really does make a difference when applying for residency. Both schools that you are considering are great schools, but I would guess that Penn would give you more interviews when residency rolls around solely based on its reputation. UCSF students this year also landed some great residency spots and I know for a fact that not all of them were AOA. In fact, most weren't.

    I also disagree with neuronix that you should choose your medical school based on whether or not you want to go into academics. I would choose based on other criteria.
     

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