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Q&A: Pre-med club makes healthy start

Even as a freshman, Joshua Stone ’10

had thoughts of starting a pre-med club. Now in its first full year, the club boasts more than 80 members, a busy schedule, and a productive relationship with Saratoga Hospital.

Did you always want to be a doctor? And to start a pre-med club?

Science has long fascinated me, and my experience tutoring a student with As- perger’s Syndrome for seven years steered me toward medicine. Though my aca- demic interests didn’t extend very far beyond the natural sciences, I knew I wanted a well-rounded and personalized education.

I got the idea for the pre-med club after attending Skidmore’s Leadership Institute during my freshman year. Inter- acting with peers who had leadership ex- perience made me wonder what position I could hold one day. Sophomore year, I teamed up with Amanda Wachtel ’10, who was also planning to apply to med schools. At first our proposal to start the club was rejected. We sought advice from faculty and students and revised our ap- proach, and we were approved for a trial period. Our first meeting featured a pres- entation by Dr. Joyce Peabody, Saratoga Hospital’s chief medical officer. Later, with unanimous approval by the student senate, the Pre-med Club was formed.

How is the club different from the Health Professions Advisory Committee?

HPAC’s chair, Prof. Bernard Possidente, is also the advisor to our club. But HPAC is composed of faculty who advise appli- cants to medical, dental, and veterinary school. We offer the student per- spective—we learn from others who are going through



the same process. Also we’re not re- stricted to pre-med, pre-dental, or pre-vet students; we hold many meetings and events that appeal to anyone interested in health issues.

What’s been your experience so far with the club?

Our meetings have included Skidmore’s nutritionist talking about healthy choices in the dining hall; David Egilman dis- cussing his nonprofit organization, Global Health through Education, Training and Service; a family physician and US Army major providing insights into working for the military; and admissions representa- tives from several medical schools. We’re also planning a visit to Albany Medical College (the first time I stepped onto a med school campus was for my first inter- view, and I thought it would be better for students to experience that beforehand).




One of our most successful events was a panel discussion about medical school interviews. To form the panel, Dr. Pea - body contacted local doctors just out of their residencies. Now, thanks to their goodwill, Skidmore students applying to health professional schools can request mock interviews with each of them. Dr. Peabody also donated books on the sub-

ject; we added them to the pre-med col- lection we started in Skidmore’s library, which also includes guides to medical schools, test prep books, and memoirs about being a doctor.

The Pre-med Club can help with hands-on experience too. I began volun- teering in Saratoga Hospital’s Emergency Department two summers ago, and we’ve set up other students to volunteer there. Other opportunities include hospice work, shadowing doctors, and volunteer- ing as an EMT or with a veterinarian.

What are your hopes for the club after you graduate?

I’d like to see a collaborative, interdisci- plinary effort to assess the health-care needs of the uninsured in the Saratoga area. I’d also like the club to get involved with annual trips to medically under- served areas in the US or abroad, to sup- port public health initiatives. Hopefully, the next club leaders will consider these ideas.

How do you see your future?

I’ll be starting med school in the fall. I’m thinking about primary care, because I enjoy direct patient interaction and be- cause a shortage of primary-care physi- cians is projected in the near future. During med school, I want to take part in global health initiatives. I didn’t get to study abroad, but the pulmonologist I shadow at home travels to Kenya and Guatemala to help in rural clinics. This has inspired me to do something similar.


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