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Improving The Medical Lecture: Lessons Learned In Hungary

Fantastic opportunity to give a talk at the AHEA (American Hungarian Educators Association) conference entitled “Optimizing the lecture in medical education: Lecturing at the Univ. of Pécs Medical School” reviewing the lessons learned from teaching medical students at the University of Pécs Medical School (PTE-AOK) in Hungary. Hungarian and US educators attending this conference from different disciplines were interested in learning how lecturing can be improved and applied to their fields. The discussion generated was engaging and plans for follow-up studies in Pécs gained momentum. A great way to share with others the fruits of a productive semester in Hungary!

AMSA Vendors Highlights

The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) conference featured engaging vendor displays targeting students. Many of the familiar faces from last year were there again (Princeton Review, Kaplan, AMBOSS).

Looking for an online job? Check out M Modal’s virtual (ie., online) medical scribe program. Looks like an interesting way to be in a paying medical job that offers flexibility. Downside could be lower wages, but worth investigating.

Altius MCAT (Utah based and recently national) Altius offers a unique slant on test prep (mimicing the diagrams you will see on the MCAT), a score guarantee, and very reasonable pricing.

UWorld MCAT…a strong USMLE product is now branching out into MCAT. With one stop shopping for test prep with very good diagrams and succint explanations in their online program.

AMSA 2018 – Fantastic Lectures

This year’s American Medical Student Association (AMSA) conference featured two exceptional lectures by dynamic medical educators. Gary Rose (on the admissions committee at Florida Atlantic Univ.) spoke on “Interview Do’s and Don’ts” providing a summary of his book which advises medical students. Great to hear that all of his recommendations have been a part of our NVCC advising materials for students! Sal Mangione (medical faculty, Thomas Jefferson Univ.) gave a fantastic lecture on Leonardo DaVinci and the nine elements ofcreativity as an aid to becoming a leading doctor. Two outstanding lectures amongst many inspiring opportunities for students! If you missed AMSA this year, look ahead to 2019!

Harvard Admissions Insights

While at a meeting sponsored by the Harvard Club of Washington, DC, representatives of the admissions office visiting DC from Cambridge made a presentation to alumni and stressed themes often reflected in advising at NVCC. Nothing new for our students looking to transfer to Harvard, or any other competitive 4 year university! Some highlights:

  • Find the school that is the best for you. Harvard is a great place, but you may not find that it is somewhere you would like to be.
  • Do what you want to do and make the most of the the resources and opportunities available to you (as well as restrictions that are placed on you). If you have to work or have a long commute, it won’t be held against you, but sitting on the couch and playing video games for 4 hours a day will be. There is no magic number of AP (or other) classes to take and you shouldn’t play tuba (or do anything) if you don’t have an interest in it.
  • Through recommendation letters and personal statements, they are looking for insight into your character and personality…what makes you tick. When writing your personal statement, express your genuine self and what is important to you. Never write what you think you “should” write.

Have you spent time to find what is academically important to you? What are areas of interest outside the classroom that you have developed during your college time?

Thank You!

Though loathe to talk about myself, I must take a moment and thank the anonymous student(s) and/or faculty colleague(s) who nominated me for a college-wide award which was presented on April 27, 2017. I was humbled to be recognized for “extraordinary service above and beyond” and unfortunately, I do not know whom to thank. Thank you for taking the time to nominate me for this honor, it was quite a surprise!

Job Search/Career Events – This Week On Alexandria Campus

Attached are the events starting this Monday on Alexandria campus relating to job searches and career development. I will be at the Networking Event on Thursday for a brief period starting at 3pm. Please email me if you have questions about any events (eg., you are unsure what the session covers). Great programs all around, I’d highly encourage students finding time to attend as many of these as possible. We faculty members participate in these events because they are as important as in class learning to your future success!

Pre-Meds: Time To Start Thinking About Personal Statements

As mentioned in class this week, spring break is over and it is time to start thinking about your medical school personal statement. Please email me if you are interested in updates about our spring meeting to brainstorm your personal statement. We’ll be looking at personal statements that worked for students, the early rough drafts these students wrote as well as talk about what admissions’ committee members are looking for (and what drives them crazy). We don’t have a firm time and location for our first meeting over the coming weeks just yet, please email to be added to the announcement email.

From Friday (2/24) – AMSA Conference 2017

A few things that stand out from the AMSA (American Medical Student Association) Conference in Arlington, VA.
From the companies exhibiting products:
– new to the US, AMBOSS is a German company that has created a great, tightly integrated platform for studying content for the medical shelf (and USMLE) exams. A quick demo showed that this system is truly a one-stop shop for mastering clinical cases without relying upon other resources (such as textbooks or clinical photos).

From the lectures:
Dr. Pritish Tosh (Mayo Clinic, Internal Medicine Residency Program Director)
– Reinforced few points that we make to our pre-medical students, namely, as a medical student your standardized exam scores are important but less so that being excellent and taking advantage of opportunities at your school.
Dr. Roberta Gebhard (Masonic Care Community, Assoc. Medical Director)
– Emphasized taking care of yourself as a prerequisite for outstanding patient care and also reminded students to be kind to all people they encounter (from the janitorial staff to the CEO of the hospital).
Dr. Claudia Krebs (Professor of Teaching, Univ. of British Columbia Medical School)
– Insightful look at how you learn should change and evolve as you progress from college, to medical school and beyond.
Mr. Petros Minasi (Kaplan Test Prep)
– Spoke about your medical school personal statement. 100% agree that all students should work with an engaged, expert advisor who supports your success, but disagree with the Kaplan “one-size-fits-all” philosophy and some of the statement writing suggestions. Certainly worth discussing during our on campus pre-med seminars.

Highlights from selected day 2 fun conversations and talks….coming soon!

AMSA Annual Meeting (Feb 23-26 2017)

Having been asked by many pre-medical students how they might be able to learn more about medical school, meet other pre-med students and learn from current medical students about their schools (and how they got into medical school), I have referred them to a conference held by the national American Medical Student Association. An annual conference is held in Crystal City, VA (in Arlington) and offers students many opportunities to learn by attending lectures, meet other students and gain exposure to clinical aspects of medicine, including the always popular suture tying mini class (don’t worry, you won’t be stitching up people!). Review the conference program, think about what your goals for attending the conference are and plan how to get the most out of your time and money at this exciting meeting. The first day, Thurs is generally less compelling for most students, the lectures and events pick up more on the 2nd day (Friday) and on Saturday. Visit their website at and certainly send me an email, I will be there meeting with other advisors and attending talks.

NIH Community College Day – Oct. 28

The National Institutes of Health are the nation’s premier federally-funded research labs conducting experiments to further human health. Many of the world’s leading discoveries have been made by researchers at this Bethesda, MD campus, including discovery of the virus that causes AIDS and the complete decoding of the human genome. Every fall, the office coordinating education reaches out to DC-area community college students to: introduce them to what the NIH does, offer tips on networking & resume writing and provide exposure to a network or internship & job opportunities at the NIH. Researchers from all over the world travel to work at the NIH and NVCC students have an opportunity to spend the day through a very rich activity. Looking forward to seeing you at this year’s event!