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Vital Signs

Moving from the Big Apple to the Big Green

By Matthew C. Wiencke

New Yorker Barry Ladizinski can't wait to head north to New Hampshire to begin his final two years of medical school at DMS. "Plus I love to ski," he adds. "Most invigorating thing I've ever done aside for driving in Manhattan." Ladizinski is one of five students in a pilot program between DMS and New York City's Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education.

The program was started by Dr. Stanford Roman, Sophie Davis's dean, and Dr. David Nierenberg, DMS's senior associate dean for medical education. The two knew each other from the 1980s, when Roman was DMS's deputy dean. Nierenberg liked what Roman was doing at Sophie Davis "because it sounded like a really good effort to get more underprivileged, underrepresented minority high school students into college, into medical school, because medicine really needs to diversify . . . just as the diversity of the population is changing." And, adds Nierenberg, he and Roman both realized the program would benefit DMS by bringing in students with "different life-time experiences [and] added social, economic, and ethnic background diversity, which is something we are always striving for."

Sophie Davis's five-year curriculum combines college and the first two years of medical school. Then the students transfer to one of several partner medical schools to complete their M.D.'s. DMS is the first partner school outside New York State.

At Sophie Davis, students are encouraged to consider careers in primary care. They also sign a service agreement, in exchange for low tuition, promising to work for two years as a primarycare physician in a designated primary-care shortage area.

DMS is accepting the Sophie Davis students as "equally prepared and fully engaged members of the third-year class," says Nierenberg, "with no special preparations other than orientation to the School."

Choices: The pilot group will join the DMS '09s next year. In the meantime, two alumni will help the five students prepare for the transition by sharing details about their clerkship experiences and their own adjustment to rural New Hampshire. These alumni—Dr. Junko Ozao '03, a surgical resident, and Dr. Sonja Olsen '01, a gastroenterology fellow—now live in New York City. So they can swap tales with the Sophie Davis students not only about Big Green traditions but also about Big Apple traffic.

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