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  • What's science got to do with it?

    by Ken Williams
    Graduate Special Student
    The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

    This is the first of what will be a series addressing the current state of premedical education in the United States and the debate that surrounds it. We will explore the role of the natural and social sciences, humanities, and the arts and how they relate to both the education of physicians-in-training at all levels of their schooling and to life as a doctor. With this year being the 100th anniversary of the Flexner Report, the seminal work that caused the educational requirements for physicians to be codified, it is the perfect time to ask questions about what, if anything, should be changed with the path we have to take to get into med school? Are the requirements creating better physicians? How are we measuring that?

    For the record, my first degree was in philosophy, where I focused on ethics and logics. Since then, I have studied all sorts of things: health policy, graphic design, architecture, culinary arts, religious studies, and environmental studies, among others. All of these have helped to color my current perspective on both life in general and health care specifically. I ...

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  • Seven Essential Components of the Medical School Application

    Every premed is confronted with the question, “So, why do you want to be a doctor?” The knee-jerk response is almost always, “Because I want to help people.” But could it not be said that for nearly every profession or line of work, somewhere and to some extent, there can be found this very same motivation? Is it not true that people in professions as diverse as academics, sanitation, or politics may also feel compelled - impassioned – to help people?

    The question becomes, then, not “Do you want to help people?” (Of course you do), but “How does the medical profession uniquely provide for you the kinds of opportunities to help people that drive you to become a part of it?” The answer to this second question is not one that ought to be framed in the future tense, such as “I will be able to impact people at their moments of rawest human experience.” Rather, the answer ought to be historical – or more to the point, the answer ought to be found in your history, in your story.

    The question behind the question, “Why do you want to be a doctor?” is two-fold: “Why do you want ...

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