Answers from the Experts

National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine
By Jennifer L., a High School Ventures Scholar from New York

This past July I spent 10 days at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. There I was fortunate enough to participate in the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine. Similar forums were held in various cities throughout the country. At this forum I met 400 other students like myself from across the country who are also interested in careers in the medical field or allied sciences.

Each day the medical field was opened up to me. Firstly we learned the path which aspiring doctors take. We learned the step-by-step actions needed to one day become a doctor. They informed us about the general prerequisites to medical school, the MCAT and what its all about, the application process to medical school, the 4 years at medical school, residency and the Match, to finally becoming a practicing physician. I really learned how one makes the big transition from just wanting to become a physician, to actually becoming one. A time period which could be about 10 years after high school to almost 15 years.

The forum also taught me about various fields of medicine, many of which I knew little or nothing about. Most young students like myself may know that one day they would like to become a doctor, but very few really know what type of doctor they would like to become. Besides pediatrician, dentist and general surgeon few students know about all the possible fields out there. At this forum I was able to hear first hand from a plethora of doctors who all studied different specialties. Don’t get me wrong a half hour speech about cardiac surgery didn’t all of a sudden compel me to pick a specialty, but it did allow me to see that there are many options for me to choose from when the time is right.

Another intriguing part of the forum was about the allied sciences. Prior to this forum I really didn’t know that there existed such a thing. I figured some doctors just did research and that was that. There are a variety of careers that have to do with the medical field, that aren’t just doctors. The field of public health for example can include physicians and people who have studied in the allied sciences. To bring healthier living conditions to different areas of the globe one doesn’t need to be a physician, one could be an educator. There is an array of options out there for those interested in helping others in a public health manner besides becoming a doctor.

NLYF was an invaluable experience. I was able to learn about different specialties, and different fields of medicine. I was given the opportunity to visit hospitals, speak to doctors, and specialists, something most 16 year-olds don’t get to do. I would recommend this program to any aspiring doctors, or those that are just interested in the medical field.


courtesy of Saint Michael's College
© 2006 Ventures In Education, Inc.