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June 2007

Volume 27 | Number 2

Collection of Articles

Report of the 2006 NAAHP Membership Survey Part 2: Who We Advise and How We Facilitate Letters of Evaluation
Anne L. Ewing, Ph.D.
Ian W. Cheesman
Kerry L. Cheesman, Ph.D.

The 2006 NAAHP Membership Survey was designed and administered as part of an ongoing effort to better serve NAAHP members. Specifically, the survey was intended to provide data for “developing sets of recommendations about professionalism and institutional standards.” The authors of this article assumed the task of administering and analyzing the data. Graphs are included in the presentation of their findings that visually illustrate how the scope of advising has broadened. “We are not just premed advisors anymore – we cover the entire field and have evolved in our expertise.” One of the changes noted during the time between this survey and those previously administered is the increased use of a committee letter attached to individual letters. Survey respondents also indicated satisfaction with the work NAAHP is doing on behalf of members. The authors outline recommendations for directions in which NAAHP might expand its role.

21st Century Medicine and the Liberal Arts and Sciences: Preparing Students for the Health Professions
Norma E. Wagoner, Ph.D.

As Emeritus Dean of Students, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and a member of the Committee on Admissions, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Dr. Wagoner has interviewed thousands of applicants to medical school. In this article she summarizes shifts in medical school education and provides concrete suggestions for premed advisors. Dr. Wagoner writes advisors can assist undergraduate students in developing the personal and academic competencies they will need in order to face the changes and challenges they will encounter as medical school students and physicians. Students should not only have a broad range of experiences, but also should engage in the type of critical reflection that leads to an understanding of what those experiences mean in the context of their core values. Dr. Wagoner states: “…those elements critical to students’ undergraduate careers include balance and diversity of experiences, challenges to their value system, and a chance to get to know who they are as human beings before they head out into a complex world that will demand their best.”

Pre-health Students Receptivity to Evaluation by ACGME Competencies
Aruna Selina Harduarsingh
Seth Leibowitz, Ed.D.
Joann N. Bodurtha, M.D., M.P.H.

This article reports the results of a study at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCM), which was designed to address the lack of a “uniform way students can document [medically-related] experiences to make sure they are getting appropriate or relevant exposure.” Concomitantly, when preparing committee letters advisors have no standard way to assess the appropriateness or relevance of students’ experiences. At VCM, premedical students were given an evaluation tool to help them “record, reflect, and get credit for” their medically-related experiences. A survey was then administered to determine student opinion about the usefulness of the evaluation tool. This tool used the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Outcome Project’s six core competencies and incorporated elements from a form used by the VCM pre-health advisory committee. The majority of the 51 students responding to the survey believed the evaluation tool valuable — “necessary, beneficial, and relevant.” The article includes the evaluation tool used in the study.

Advising Unsuccessful
Mariella Mecozzi, M.A.
Adam Myers, Ph.D.
Consuelo López Springfield, Ph.D.

As the authors point out, in 2006 about one-fourth of those matriculating to medical school were re-applicants. They present a step-by-step guide for working with students who were unsuccessful in their first attempt. While outlining what an advisor might do to help those who want to change their career direction, the authors focus on advising students who intend to apply again to medical school. They list common reasons applicants fail, suggest strategies for addressing issues in each area, and provide guidelines for evaluating post-baccalaureate and special master’s programs. While offering practical suggestions, the authors emphasize that advising the unsuccessful applicant is a “highly personalized process.” Only occasionally is there a “quick fix.” They recommend scheduling several meeting with the re-applicant. “The potential rewards to advisor and advisee in this follow-through are limitless.”

Advising the Unsuccessful Medical School Applicant: A Holistic, Skills-Based Approach
Sally Fell, M.S., L.P.C., C.A.D.C., N.C.C.

In this article the author provides tips on establishing a professional and trusting relationship with a re-applicant. Five “core traits intrinsic to a helping relationship” are identified: unconditional positive regard, genuineness, caring, warmth and empathy. The author recommends asking open-ended questions and listening carefully. Advisors can help “open the door to healing and hope.”

Triangulation and Performance Analyses: Two Critical Components in Analyzing Verbal Reasoning Mishaps
Gina Paul, Ph.D.

Dr. Paul shares a method for improving the likelihood of obtaining correct answers to test questions accompanying verbal reasoning passages. This article is a follow-up to a previous article on the topic, published in the March 2006 issue of The Advisor. When using the method described, Dr. Paul strongly recommends students analyze their performance as an individual assignment, rather than a group exercise. The article provides an explanation on how to guide students in understanding Clue Words, and includes the Performance Analysis Chart as well as the Triangulation Analyses Chart (TAC). Dr. Paul issues a caution: “this method does take time and effort…” But, she also states that students have responded positively and also found it useful for other sections of the MCAT as well as their exams in science classes.

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