Vol. 17, No. 30May 7, 1998

First class of five medical scholars earn degrees

Members of the first class of the UD Medical Scholars Program, jointly sponsored with Jefferson Medical School, are receiving their medical degrees in May, according to coordinator Paul Durbin, philosophy.

"This truly will be a significant milestone for the Medical Scholars Program when these students, who enrolled as students at UD in 1990, complete the program and graduate from Jefferson. It is the fruition of planning and cooperation between the University and Jefferson to provide a broad-based liberal arts, scientific and professional education for tomorrow's physicians," Durbin said.

The five members of the first class are pioneers, but others soon will follow in their footsteps. Currently, Durbin said, there are 11 students in their third year at Jefferson, 17 students in their second year and 11 in their first year. There are 14 seniors at UD who will begin their studies at Jefferson next fall, 19 juniors who have been conditionally accepted at Jefferson for 1999 and 17 sophomores who have just been conditionally accepted for 2000.

Toward the end of their sophomore years or early in their junior years, students formally apply to the program, which leads to a bachelor of arts in liberal studies from Delaware and a medical degree from Jefferson.

The program is designed to integrate liberal arts, science and professional studies by linking college and medical school as closely as possible. Students are required to be active participants in the program while at UD, maintain a 3.33 grade point average, perform satisfactorily on the Medical College Admissions Test, participate in Medical Scholars practicums at Delaware community health sites and perform volunteer work. Those who meet the standards of the program are conditionally accepted to medical school no later than the beginning of their junior year.

One graduate, Lincoln Abbott, who will be an emergency medicine resident at the University of Connecticut in Farmington next year, gave the program high marks.

"The program had breadth and gave me insights into the philosophical and humanistic underpinnings of medicine and introduced me to alternative medicine. The problem-based learning approach and lectures were invaluable. I also learned from the practicums, such as working in an inner city day camp as a health teacher," he said.

Constantinos Hadjipanayis, who will be a neurosurgery resident at the University of Pittsburgh, said the program was challenging and helped him think on his own and to work with others. The program gave him the freedom to learn at different levels, he said, and the practicums provided direct, hands-on experience in working in health care facilities, such as an HIV clinic and nursing home.

Others from the Medical Scholars Program graduating from Jefferson are Lisa Baldassarre, who will be a general surgery resident at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut; David Compton, who will be an anesthesiology resident at Christiana Care/Thomas Jefferson Hospital; and Phil Huffman, who will be a family medicine resident at Lehigh Valley Hospital, Bethlehem, Pa.

-Sue Swyers Moncure
Photo by Jack Buxbaum