Morehouse School of Medicine
By: Charyse Magdangal
1. What is your name, your professional title, and your relationship to the university?
My name is Richard Barnette, and I am the Associate Director of Admissions and Recruitment at Morehouse School of Medicine.
2. What are some essential problems in the healthcare field and how is your school working to change that?
We are working to change the problem of disparities in health. We want to make equal access for everybody. We have the “haves” and the “have-nots”. Morehouse School of Medicine wants to make health accessible to everyone. I think that’s one of the key things we have to do. That disparity we want to destroy it. And how do we do that? Through our curriculum and implementing how important it is for primary care physicians.
3. What is a brief description of the application process?
Students have to go through AMCAAS of course, making sure all their information is through. Once we get it, what’s going to happen is upfront a group will analyze everything. Once that happens, either the director or myself are going to look at it as a second set of eyes. They’re going to have to meet certain requirements for us to actually send them a secondary application. What I like about Morehouse is that not everybody receives a secondary. Why is that so important? It is because we want to see those students that have met certain requirements. Once they get that secondary application, we are going to look at it again. Then they could be afforded, perhaps, an interview. After we look at everything, perhaps that individual might be a candidate in our next class.
4. Are there any special programs for which this medical school is noted?
I think all of our programs are outstanding. But one of the things I think is very important is our mission statement: serving the underserved population. Our national sense of primary care- we are the only medical school that has it. We have an excellent cardiovascular research institute, a strong neuroscience institute. We have a long list of things, and you can go to www.msm.edu and checkout the rest of those things.
5. What sets your curriculum apart from other medical schools?
We deal with organ-based systems. For example, today we are going to deal with the thoracic cavity. Tomorrow we are going to deal with the abdomen. First year, we are going to do neuroanatomy, tomorrow neuroanatomy. In other words we look at every system for a period of time, and then the students will take their exam. Students that are first year love that. It helps them to learn the material.
6. What are the opportunities for research?
We have various opportunities for research. Like most medical schools, we have AIDS research, cardiovascular research, neuroscience research. Imagine you have an MD student, straight MD, they like to do research. The best time to do research is at the end of their first year going into their second year, which is ten weeks. So we have various programs: Betty Ford Institute, CDC, etcetera. Of course at Morehouse School of Medicine, we have many opportunities for research. We don’t have a list of programs. But if a student is interested in research in OBGYN, then he would get with one of the physicians on the campus and ask them, “Are you looking to have any research assistants in your lab during the summer?” So the student has to do the footwork, but we have many, many research opportunities.
7. How are students evaluated academically?
A,B,C. I won’t say D and F
8. How is the academic environment?
Every school in the world has competition between this student and that student. Imagine that you’re a first year medical student, and she is a second year medical student, she would take you under her wing. At Morehouse, students raise the bar. For instance if the previous class’s pass rate is 100%, you will also want to match that. That’s where we have the fun competition because the bar is raised. Imagine you are working on a cadaver with someone else. You better tell her everything, and you better tell him everything. Why? Because you’re working as a team. Every class wants to be number one. It’s a very nurturing atmosphere. Have you ever watched Cheers? Everybody knows your name, and that’s the way it is.
9. How do clinicals work?
Most schools do not start their clinicals till the third year. Here at Morehouse School of Medicine, you’re starting off in the first year. On Fridays, students go into physicians’ offices and they do certain things. They do blood pressures and things of that nature. We also have our student run clinic that is off campus.
One of our major teaching facilities is Grady Hospital. We have surgery, OBGYN, Scottish rites, the VA, etcetera. So there are many opportunities. We have it in Atlanta.
10. What does a well-rounded student mean to you?
A well-rounded student means the following: student that doesn’t just do well on the MCAT, just doesn’t have a strong science GPA, but has extracurricular activities, and leadership. You don’t have to be a president, but showing some type of leadership in an organization. Also, shadowing experience is very, very important. You want to make sure this is something you want to do. You don’t have to have 1000 hours or 10,000 hours, but you must have enough to really show your commitment and that you are very interested. Also that personal statement. A to Z, all of those qualities are very important for a well-rounded student.
11. Is there any special advice you would give to someone applying to your school?
Just what I just said to you, and I mean that. Because some people think, “Oh, that’s all?” But when we say well-rounded, I’m talking about from A to Z. Grades, extracurricular, everything. That is very key, because a physician needs to be well-rounded. Academics that’s great, but how is your bedside manner? When students graduate from Morehouse, they know because the oath means a lot.