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Personal Reflection: Research Elective

Sajeet Sohi, M.D.

This past fall I had the opportunity as a visiting fourth year medical student to complete a research elective in Pediatric Hematology within Johns Hopkins Medicine. I have been inspired by the dedication the residents, fellows, and attending physicians show towards patient care and advancing medical knowledge. Being exposed to the research process and clinical excellence offer a physician-in-training like myself a goal of what the ideal medical practitioner would be.

I still remember my first day on the campus walking to the Registrar’s Office and awaiting my placement. I was impressed by the size of the campus and I tried to absorb the history I was surrounded with. Clinical clerks from medical schools in the U.S. and around the world participate in the program and I would recommend an elective in a large academic center to my fellow clinical clerks. I look forward to further clinical research opportunities in the future.

It was a terrific learning experience and I gained a new appreciation for academic medicine. I will always remember my experiences as I progress through my career. As I reviewed the records of the patients; especially since it was a pediatric population I have realized the long-term consequences our actions can have on our patients. Improving patient education compliance, access to care, preventative medicine, and public health can produce better outcomes especially at academic centers where patients have significant comorbidities.

Prior to my experience there, I completed my clerkships within community hospitals. Unintentionally, in this setting research and education is sometimes secondary due to “market forces”. The healthcare reform process has introduced Accountable Care Organizations, Healthcare Innovation Zones, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. With these new organizations academic medical centers may integrate further with the community healthcare systems and allow for increased educational opportunities.

Medical students are the next generation of leaders and patient care providers. The key decision we make early in our careers is during the residency selection process and choosing a career in private or academic medicine. I personally plan on applying for Internal Medicine residencies for the 2012 Match. What drives an individual to a specific career path is the basis of significant scholarly debate and inquiry. I think that among the primary factors driving the medical student decision making process is the experience during the clinical clerkships and the viewpoints of clinical preceptors. The clinical elective program offers medical students a new insight into medicine and may assist individuals in exploring new career paths.

Sajeet Sohi, M.D. is a recent medical school graduate.

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