Date Published: 13 April 2009

Specialty 'speed dating' event takes AMA headquarters by storm

Health News from the United States of America (USA).

More than 70 medical students and physicians recently visited AMA headquarters in Chicago for a special event aimed at helping students choose a specialty.

Attendees of the AMA's inaugural Specialty Speed Dating event, held March 31, drew medical students from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Loyola University's Stritch School of Medicine, the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Midwestern University and Michigan State University.

Medical students paired up with residents and physicians from various Chicago-area hospitals and residency programs for nine 15-minute speed dating rounds, covering featured specialties including dermatology, radiation oncology, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, surgery, family medicine, anesthesiology and emergency medicine. The advice and information the students took away helped make the event an undeniable success.

?I really wanted to get a chance to meet with area doctors in various specialties to get a good gauge of which direction I wanted to go as far as my specialty,”said Neha Malhorta, a first-year medical student at the UIC College of Medicine. ?It's important to figure this out before I get too far along, so it's helpful to talk many physicians in one night.?

Christian Cain, also a first-year medical student at UIC, attended the event to help him choose a specialty that combines his love for research and academia.

?I'm filled with a plethora of possibilities,” said Cain, a former researcher for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ?I just want to get all the information I can so I can narrow my scope and make an informed decision."

Huddled around tables in the lobby of AMA headquarters, physicians talked with students about such issues as quality of life, salary, interests and future goals. One of the physicians on hand was Russell Robertson, MD, a family medicine physician who is a former elementary and junior high school teacher. Dr. Robertson told students that he chose to go into family medicine because of his love for people, an aspect that has proven to provide longevity in his career.

?It's important that you are inspired and drawn to the specialty of your choice,”Dr. Robertson said. ?The worst thing you can do is get into a specialty for the wrong reasons, because your patients can tell if you hate what you're doing.?

Attendees came away with practical insights, helpful advice and even invitations to stay in direct contact with physicians as a result of experiences at the event.

?I really enjoyed this,”said Mu Xu, a student from the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine. ?Hopefully the AMA will host similar events in the future.?


Source: American Medical Association (AMA).

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