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New DMS students take up studies in several disciplines

One hundred and forty-two new students began their studies at DMS this fall—66 of them on the M.D. track, five in the M.D.- Ph.D. program, 33 in the biomedical sciences, and 38 in the evaluative clinical sciences.

Future M.D.'s: Those admitted to the M.D. Class of 2003 sported not only the highest grade point average in the institution's history—3.6 in both the sciences and the non-sciences—but also the highest average physical science Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score ever. That is despite a slight drop in applications, mirroring the downward trend in medical school applications nationwide. This year, DMS received some 6,200 applications, compared to 7,200 last year. But that still works out to nearly 90 applicants for every place in the M.D. class.

The class was drawn from 24 states and almost 50 undergraduate institutions. Nine of the new students were born outside the U.S., while one came into the world only a few yards from DMS, at the old Mary Hitchcock Hospital. Slightly over half (54%) are women—well above the national average of approximately 40%—and 12% are from racial or ethnic groups underrepresented in medicine.

The most popular undergraduate major for the future M.D.'s was biology, but a third majored in non-scientific disciplines. Eleven members of the class hold graduate degrees, including a J.D. and master's degrees in the evaluative clinical sciences, nutrition, biomedical engineering, and aeronautics-astronautics.

The 66 students who started on the M.D. track included 53 who plan to do all four years of medical school at DMS; 12 in the Brown-Dartmouth program, which offers two years in Hanover and two years in Providence, R.I.; and one M.D.- Ph.D. student who has been working on his doctorate in the evaluative clinical sciences and is now starting on his medical studies. (In addition, three M.D.-Ph.D. students who were admitted in earlier years and are still working on their Ph.D.'s will take part of the first-year M.D. curriculum this fall.)

Other programs: Dartmouth's M.D.-Ph.D. program, which was established in 1993, now has a total enrollment of 24—five of them new this fall. Applicant interest in this program has been solid, with 269 inquiries about the program received this past year, 91 applications processed, and 28 candidates interviewed. The five new students will all start by working on their doctorates in physiology, molecular and cellular biology, or pharmacology- toxicology and will embark on the M.D. portion of the program in subsequent years.

These M.D.-Ph.D. students join 33 other new graduate students enrolled in doctoral studies in the basic sciences—27 in molecular and cellular biology, plus three each in physiology and pharmacology-toxicology.

And DMS's Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences (CECS) welcomed 38 new students this year—36 of them in the master's program and two of them new Ph.D. candidates. This brings the total enrollment in the CECS program, which was also established in 1993, to 71 students—54 working towards a master's and 17 pursuing a doctoral degree.

Array: The members of the M.D. class brought with them to Hanover a fascinating array of experiences. Director of Admissions Andrew Welch summarized the achievements of the '03s in addressing the class during orientation: "Members of the class are published in Lancet, Cell, Genome Research, . . . and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. One of you was awarded a patent for your work in taxol research. . . . One of you was a member of the Research Ethics Board of Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital.

These smiling faces belong to four of DMS's 66 new medical students, who joined another 78 new DMS students in three other degree programs.
Photo: Flying Squirrel Graphics

"Seven of you have captained intercollegiate athletic teams," Welch added. "Three of you are All-Americas. One of you, who is also a four-time participant in NCAA championship tourneys, is an academic All-America. One of you is an NCAA All- Star in women's rugby, another the MVP award-winner at the sailing nationals. One of you is a three-time All-Ivy athlete who was New England champion in the 400-meter run. One of you rode a bicycle across the country, and another crossed the Atlantic in a 47-foot boat.

"Two of you are former Peace Corps volunteers. One of you worked as an Americorps volunteer. One of you was, for two years, a missionary in Quebec, and one spent a summer as a missionary in Nigeria. One of you deferred your entrance to DMS to accept a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to study in Chile. One of you worked in a Women's Center in Dublin, another member of the class founded her undergraduate institution's chapter of Habitat for Humanity, while another founded his college's rescue squad.

"One of you is the former missile defense project manager at Hanscom Air Force Base. . . . One of you is a paratrooper who served as the medical organization officer for the Israeli Marine Corps. Another member of the class is a West Point graduate who served as an intern in [U.S. Representative] Susan Molinari's Washington office. One of you was a Parliamentary Aide in the British House of Commons.

"One member of the class was the concertmaster in his college's orchestra," Welch said, "another has worked as an art appraiser, [and] one of you was an apprentice to a stained-glass artisan.

"One member of the class managed $7 million in assets at Smith Barney. One of you was a marketing associate at IBM."

Furthermore: "One member of the class was the youngest research associate at Genentech, one was a private investigator, one a hotel security officer, one worked as a counter agent for American Airlines, one as an appliance repair technician, one as an instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School, and one as an assistant producer for World Affairs Television.

"One worked in the chicken houses of a kibbutz in the Negev, one worked as a farmhand on a Utah dairy farm, one was raised on a New Hampshire sheep farm, and one worked on the Leatherback Sea Turtle Conservation project in Costa Rica."

And, Welch concluded on a whimsical note, before the class buckled down to work on anatomy and physiology and biochemistry, "one of you owns a parrot named Nelson."

Sara Fisher

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