MIT Preprofessional Advising Pilots Shadow Program

by Tamara Menghi, Assistant Director for Preprofessional Advising, Global Education and Career Development Center

Over the course of the Spring 2007 semester, more than 50 MIT prehealth students gained exposure to the field of medicine through participating in the MGH-MIT Shadow Program. The creation and implementation of this program has been a collaborative effort, shared between the MIT Careers Office Preprofessional Advising Staff and Dr. Patricia Donahoe, Emeritus Chief, Pediatric Surgical Services, of Massachusetts General Hospital.

The goal of this program is to provide MIT’s prehealth students with further opportunities to see first-hand what a typical day is like for a physician and to gain exposure to a health profession working environment. The program is just one of many possible opportunities that we encourage students to participate in as a way to explore medicine and determine if a career in the health professions is a good fit for them.

The 50 prearranged ½ day or full-day shadow opportunities were offered in specialties such as surgery, cardiology, neurology, pediatrics and more. Many students have responded with enthusiasm and appreciation for such an opportunity:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my shadowing experience because it gave me perspective on the daily life of an anesthesiologist and surgeon in this field of medicine. I was also given the opportunity to ask plenty of questions ….Thank you so much for providing this wonderful experience!”

Other student feedback echoes such responses and affirms the quality of experiences provided: “Yesterday, I was able to observe the removal of an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). The surgery went from 8 in morning until about noon. It was an unforgettable experience and thank you so much for making it possible.”

Students are expected to complete their shadowing experience prior to the end of the spring semester, at which point both student and physician participants will be provided the opportunity to complete an evaluation of the program. Feedback acquired will allow the Preprofessional Advising staff to strengthen the already successful MGH-MIT Shadowing Program for next year’s students.