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Medical student Alvin Kpaeyeh talks with Njeri Maina, M.D., Ph.D., in the Medical Intensive Care Unit during Second Look Weekend for prospective house staff members from underrepresented minorities. (photo by Susan Urmy)

Potential house staff members get a second look at VUMC

BY: LESLIE HAST

1/29/2010 - A first-ever Second Look Weekend for prospective house staff members from underrepresented minorities was held last weekend at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Organized by the Office for Diversity in Graduate Medical Education and Faculty Affairs, the event gave top minority candidates a more in-depth look at VUMC and Nashville and aimed to diversify house staff in all disciplines.

“The candidates are able to come back for a concentrated time to see the Medical Center up close and personal, and we have the opportunity to get the Vanderbilt message across,” said Andre Churchwell, M.D., associate dean for Diversity in Graduate Medical Education and Faculty Affairs.

“Our peer schools have been doing this for a couple of years, and it's something we've been doing with medical students for many years, and we're spinning off that model.”

Twenty-seven candidates returned to campus to meet faculty, attend rounds and conferences and take a closer look at the specialty they are interested in.

“We have a strong commitment to diversifying our house staff,” said Donald Brady, M.D., associate dean for Graduate Medical Education. “The energy of the closing dinner and the positive feedback we received that night tell us that this event was the right thing to do. I would suspect that this will become an annual event.”

Alvin Kpaeyeh, who attends University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, said he was using the return visit to be sure VUMC was right for him.

“We're choosing where we will be for four years and visit, at most, for two days, so it's hard to get a good feel for the place. I really liked Vanderbilt on my first visit but wanted to make sure it was a fit,” he said.

Christina Saldivar, a student at Brown University Medical School, wanted a second look at the teamwork of the Department of Neurology.

“The way they sold the program to me is that they work closely together, and I wanted an opportunity to see that closeness,” she said. “I liked getting to see a typical day for Neurology house staff.”

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