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Vital Signs

New students boast top scores and service, too

By Jennifer Durgin

They spent their childhoods in lands near and far—from the backwoods of Maine to the coast of the Black Sea, from the West African nation of Nigeria to the Central American nation of Honduras. In college, they studied subjects as diverse as biochemistry, engineering, history, music, and studio art. But in August, they all came together as students at Dartmouth Medical School.

The 183 new DMS students include 82 in the M.D. program (including 6 M.D.-Ph.D.'s); 31 Ph.D.'s in the basic sciences; 46 M.P.H.'s; and 19 M.S.'s and 5 Ph.D.'s in the evaluative clinical sciences. The matriculants were drawn to Dartmouth for diverse reasons, including the "closeness and camaraderie" many said they felt among the faculty and students. DMS's rural location was also a major draw.

"When I visited Hanover," M.D. student Joo Choo wrote to introduce herself to her classmates and the faculty, "one of the very first things I noticed was its geographical similarity to South Korea, where I was born and raised until 11. The mountains and the trees were strikingly similar. Reminiscing on my fond memories of roaming the hills and rivers as a kid, I soon grew comfortable at Dartmouth. I am very happy to be a [DMS '10] because I truly felt a part of my essence in Hanover."

Color: This year's admissions were highly competitive for the M.D. program, which had more than 4,600 applicants. The new medical students—44% of them women and about 40% people of color or from countries other than the U.S.—brought a wealth of accomplishments and experiences. The class's average combined MCAT score was 32, one of the highest in DMS's history. (See the adjacent box for more facts about the M.D. class.) The new students have worked as emergency medical technicians and in clinics and laboratories all over the world, and many have held Fulbright scholarships or already earned advanced degrees.

They also evidence a strong commitment to service. They have volunteered to renovate a school for the deaf in Mexico, organize a book drive for children in Western Samoa, recruit staff for a clinic in Kenya, teach in South Central Los Angeles, and raise funds for an orphanage in Bulgaria. A few have also served in the U.S. military.

The class has no shortage of extracurricular talent either. Among its members are painters, sculptors, dancers, musicians, and several athletes who played intercollegiate varsity sports.

Programs: Admissions to the basic science graduate programs and the Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences (CECS) continue to be very competitive as well, due to the prestige of both programs. For example, DMS ranks 12th out of 126 U.S. medical schools in funding per basic science faculty member, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. And CECS is home to several of in health-care policy and variations in health utilization, quality, and spending.

"The next years will be exciting ones for you, challenging intellectually, emotionally, and physically," Dr. Stephen Spielberg, DMS's dean, told the incoming M.D. students in August. In fact, his remarks apply to all the new members of the DMS community. "DMS was founded by one visionary physician, Nathan Smith," he continued, and "its success now is dependent on many scientists and physicians working together, challenging each other, and striving to make health care better for all. Individual excellence in a setting of community."

Student Stats

A few figures about the 82 new M.D. students

Number of undergraduate institutions they represent

Number of states they came from

Number born outside the U.S.

Age of the oldest new student when the youngest was born

Number who are EMTs

Number born at Mary Hitchcock

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