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Alumni HOST Students on the Way to their Residencies
Navigating the journey from medical school to a residency program can be a tumultuous and costly trip. Several trips, in fact.
Alumni of The University of Texas Medical School at Houston are now able to help students through this rite of passage thanks to the HOST (Help Our Students Travel) program.
By registering as a mentor on the alumni Web site , an alumnus may select from a menu of options listing ways to assist students, such as meeting in person, offering a free meal or lodging, talking over the phone or corresponding via e-mail.
“The impetus of the program is twofold,” said Resa Ott, alumni relations director for the UT Medical School. “Residency interviews can be an expensive and stressful endeavor. Alumni are an incredible resource to students. HOST brings them together.”
Mentor Matching Online
“Alumni may provide insight into a specific residency program, location or specialty, and/or open their home for a meal or an overnight stay,” Ott said. “The experience benefits both the student and the alumnus.”
Fourth-year student David Stewart is looking forward to utilizing the HOST program as he reaches the next milestone toward his career in medicine.
“I think it will be reassuring and helpful to have a friendly face in a new city,” Stewart said of the HOST program. “It would be wonderful to know someone who can tell you where to stay, help you get around town and give you inside information on the city and/or the program.”
The possibility of an alumnus offering free lodging could be crucial to providing students broader options while seeking residencies.
“Some of my friends from last year’s graduating class had to decline interviews because they were out of money,” Stewart said. “It can’t be a good feeling to decline a program you are interested in simply because you can’t afford a flight or hotel.”
The ‘Inside Track’
Alumnus Lowell Ku, M.D., class of 1997, who served as class president for each of his four years in medical school, is now a faculty member at the University of Louisville. He says he wishes the HOST program had been in place when he was a fourth-year student.
“I felt like I needed more of an ‘inside track’ as to which programs were best suited to my needs,” Ku recalls.
“It is tough to navigate the medical world alone, and although a mentor cannot guarantee success, a mentor can help a student avoid some of the pitfalls that the mentor has experienced,” Ku said.
“I especially think that it is vital to mentor students from my alma mater,” he said. “I am proud of my medical school and hope to continue to help UT Houston students get the best chance at a great medical career so that they can continue to bring honor to the school.”
By Wendy K. Mohon, Institutional Advancement
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