Responses are from LMU faculty and students
How is the LMU Program different from other programs?
Student 1: The built-in service component of the LMU program allows students to complete the mandatory MSU-CHM 40-hour service requirement activity as part of meeting the LMU requirements.
Student 2: The LMU program is more than just a certification program which we add to our CVs. The LMU program is designed to teach medical students how to be efficient and proficient at meeting the unique needs of underserved, vulnerable, and international communities. We definitely work hard, as every Wednesday afternoon is dedicated to community project planning. We also go into the community centers like soup kitchens and rescue missions to give health presentations and screen blood pressures. And of course, we also spend two electives in 4th year providing primary care and public health education in rural, urban or international settings.
Student 3: The urban community of the Flint area provides a richness of issues related to urban dwellings and needs, in addition to the ease of moving through the community and maximizing program awareness and planning for meeting community needs.
Student 4: There are enhancing seminars and activities throughout the year, mostly on Wednesdays, but sometimes on the weekend or evenings that help provide students with the connection to community leaders and experts in delivering health care to underserved/vulnerable populations.
Student 5: We are a close-knit group.
Student 6: There is definitely much more work involved than simply being in any other campus doing your clerkships. There is an emphasis on understanding the plight of underserved medicine, and what we can and should do to intervene. However, the work is not overwhelming and does not interfere with you getting your normal clerkship activities done.
How did the program benefit you the most?
Student 1: The program provided a great depth of experiences- rural, international, lots of community involvement and program development.
Student 2: The program allows appreciation of a small town setting and the challenges of this society/community on providing medical care.
Student 3: Not only was I provided the opportunity to maintain a focus on underserved populations, but I also got to do it surrounded by similarly motivated students! I have to say that my fellow "LMUers" with their energy, warmth, and motivation, have truly made this experience very worthwhile.
Student 4: Through it I have been able to stay connected with the reasons why I came to medical school in the first place. Plus, having this certificate will hopefully demonstrate to future residencies/hiring institutions my dedication and proficiency in meeting diverse needs.
Student 5: I have been amazed at how cohesive we are as a group in making things happen! If we set out to accomplish a goal, we are very synergistic in terms of working together to construct a plan, and making sure everyone contributes their share. I think everyone in the program adds something unique, since we all come from diverse backgrounds, but with the common goal of wanting to help the underserved.
Are LMU students successful in residency placement? On Step II?
Student 1: Everybody in LMU matched this year (the class of 2011). Students matched into a variety of competitive specialties including family medicine, internal medicine, general surgery, ob/gyn, orthopedic surgery, emergency med., and med/peds, to name a few.
Student 2: In addition, including last year and previous years, we have had students match at programs such as Mayo, Yale, Temple, UC-Fresno, Case-Western, Emory, Duke, U of M, University of Illinois, Kaiser-Permanete, as well as a number of community-sponsored residency programs in the MSU system and outside.
How do I apply for the LMU program?
Faculty 1: The application for the program has been handled in various ways in the past as we have sought the best mechanism to ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn about the program and commit its responsibilities. We anticipate for the next group of students who would be participating in the program for 2013-15 that sometime during the end of their first year, we will conduct the application process students to apply for the program.
If I am accepted into LMU, what preclinical campus will I be assigned to?
Faculty 1: You will be located at either Grand Rapids or East Lansing.
If I am assigned to another CHM campus, is it possible for me to for me to switch to Flint?
Faculty 1: If there are positions open as the third year approaches due to students extending etc, we have in the past reopened applications so that we could maximize the number of students who are able to take advantage of this program.
What makes LMU different from just taking an international elective?
Student 1: The service component, opportunity for more international electives, travel and accommodations that are arranged for you.
Student 2: The students and administrators in this program are all dedicated to helping people who are the neediest. Frequently, international electives are more about the vacation or the experience for the participants, and here in LMU we all try really hard to remember that our work is not about us but rather about underserved populations. This concept is always at the forefront of our activities.
Student 3: Sometimes, service has to start locally. There are a lot of similarities between serving underserved at home and abroad. People here are in need, struggling, faced with challenges and barriers to care as well. The goal is to try and incorporate all of these components into providing better care for people, no matter where you end up practicing.
Faculty 1: There is a core curriculum that allows the attainment of a certificate in Care for the Underserved that is not offered at any other campus.
What countries do students travel to?
Student 1: LMU works with FIMRC (Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children) in our international service endeavors. Currently, students either go to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Peru, El Salvador, India, or Uganda during the fourth year.
How do int'l electives and the elective schedule affect the residency application process?
Student 1: All MSU-CHM students are required to take five 4-week electives during their fourth year in whatever specialties they would like. In LMU, two Underserved Electives are required for completion of the LMU certificate during your 4th year counting toward 2 of these electives, leaving 3 electives of your choice.
Student 2: The residency application and interview process is not negatively impacted by the LMU elective schedule.
Faculty 1: If you want to spend more time abroad, this program allows you to do 2 more abroad rotations than any other campus. You are provided this option only because the international rotations taken through LMU count as inter-campus MSU electives (not away electives, which are limited)!!
Faculty 2: Upon completing exit interviews with students at graduation, not one student has identified that they felt they could not get the exposure to the disciplines they needed in time to interview at residencies and proceed through the MATCH. Students have remained competitive for residency positions and have found that being part of this program has enhanced their competitiveness during many residency interviews.
What level of Spanish is needed to be in LMU?
Faculty 1: You are expected to have a low intermediate Spanish competency to participate in selected activities of the LMU program. You will be asked to commit to this, and lack of proficiency may impact your ability to participate in the LMU program. Start your Spanish review and improvement now; there are many ways to do this during the pre-clinical years so take advantage of them when volunteering or selecting courses and activities. There are numbers of students who during their preclinical years participate in social/practice groups for Spanish language and Latino cultural experiences. Take advantage of those. Note that you also use your Spanish skills throughout your third year LMU experience.
Student 1: Realistically, you can do okay with conversational (intermediate level) Spanish, but having a knowledge of medical Spanish goes a long way in being able to be independent and working with patients once you are in Central/South America. I strongly recommend taking the medical Spanish class during second year with Dr. Mansour.
Student 2: The more you know, the more effective you can be and the more enriched your experience can be.
What is the LMU experience like?
Faculty 1: Students explore the impact of social jusice, health policy development, political influence and practical application of ethics in advocating for the underserved.
Student 1: There are many opportunities for initiative
Student 2: Students get direct clinical experience than is enhanced by health education projects and community service activities.
Student 3: I saw and got to do a lot on the rural component because the physicians actually appreciated the help a student offered, and were thrilled that someone would be interested in a community like theirs. In addition, rural physicians complete many more procedures not seen as commonly in urban practices.
Student 4: During the rural experience I definitely saw a difference in medical practice in the rural community compared to a larger city (even though Flint is not a very large city). My preceptor saw many interesting and challenging patients, who would typically be seen by specialists if they lived in larger cities. In addition, the physicians seemed to know their patients (and just about everyone else in town) personally, so it was interesting to observe the type of patient-physician relationships they had.
Student 5: During the international experience, we worked with an organization dedicated to serving underserved populations in two different countries. At each site, we had some clinical experience working with physicians who provided primary care. We also had opportunities to visit public hospitals and clinics and learn about the health care system in each country. We spent a good amount of time preparing and giving health education programs to local groups, and also helped the clinic staff with ongoing public health projects, such as distribution of water filtration systems. Accomplishing all of these tasks during the trip definitely required a lot of teamwork, and I was impressed with how well our group was able to work together and how everyone had something different to contribute.
Getting to know inner city health care through the required clerkships is eye-opening. Understanding the challenges individuals face in accessing adeuate health care is emphasized throughout.
How much will I have to pay out-of-pocket for participation in the LMU program?
Faculty 1: Students pay for the two underserved electives (approximately $7000) to cover educational services, housing, airfare, transportation in country, food, etc. This cost is factored into the student's financial package.