Increased Enrollment Aimed At Meeting State's Health Care Needs

A record 168 students started medical school at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Fall 2009.In Fall 2009, the largest entering class in school history - 168 students - began its first year of medical education at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.


“The University of Wisconsin is committed to helping Wisconsin address the serious projected shortage of doctors,” says Robert N. Golden, MD, dean of the School of Medicine and Public Health. “That shortage is expected to be especially serious in rural areas. Our state has a higher proportion of citizens living in those areas compared to the national average. It also has a lower percentage of doctors practicing in rural areas. We can help change those statistics by developing programs to attract and retain physicians in rural Wisconsin.”


The past academic performance of all members of the Class of 2013 remains as high as ever, with a mean cumulative grade point average of 3.72. Nine medical students entered with master’s degrees and three have PhDs.


Fifty-three percent earned degrees from Wisconsin colleges and universities. The rest come from degree-granting institutions outside Wisconsin, including Harvard, Stanford and the University of Chicago.


But strong academics aren’t the only thing the school looks for. “We are equally interested in each individual’s personal qualities,” says Kurt Hansen, UW SMPH assistant dean for admissions. “We want to know what experiences they have had in life, what activities they have engaged in, the extent to which they may have gone out of their comfort zone to do new things.”


It should come, then, as no surprise that current students include a former collegiate women’s hockey player, hospice volunteer, intern for Chicage Mayor Richard M. Daley, martial arts instructor, Special Olympics volunteer, legislative intern for a Wisconsin senator, rancher and burn unit volunteer. One student has had two open heart surgeries, and two are hearing impaired - all are healthy and thriving amid the challenges and rewards of medical school.


Fortunately for residents of the Badger state, eighteen are Wisconsonites who have committed to the Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine (WARM), the school’s specialized MD program that focuses on underserved populations in rural Wisconsin.


“What people have experienced in the past helps shape them for today and tomorrow,” says Hansen. “These things are important because they can translate into how you might relate to classmates, faculty, other members of the health care team and ultimately to patients. We’re interested not just in graduating more doctors, but in attracting individuals with superior talent and outstanding character."

Date Published: 08/09/2010

News tag(s):  kurt w hansen

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