Why am I talking about the University of Southern Florida? It is actually for a really interesting reason! There is a very interesting program set up between the University of Southern Florida and the Lehigh Valley Health Network, which is one of the major hospital networks in the Lehigh Valley area. The program involves studying medicine at the University of Southern Florida on their beautiful Tampa campus and then participating in rotations for the last two years of medical school at the Lehigh Valley Health Network. This program was initially set up becasue the doctors at the Lehigh Valley Health Network realized that the students that graduated from USF had great leadership skills and high emotional intelligence skills compared to other residents. They wanted to have a partnership with the University so they set up a select program. Not many medical students are accepted to this program and it is very competitive. The average MCAT score was a 513 last year and the average GPA was a 3.65. They try to keep classes small and only accept around 100 students per class. They do however, like to accept Lehigh graduates.
What is really different about the program is that they really focus on patient care and care of themselves as doctors. They really stressed that you need to take care of yourself to be able to take care of your patients. This is very different from what I have heard before, and it really intrigued me. The medical student basically said that if you are not healthy now it will not happen later so you need to get clear on how you are going to remain healthy though medical school. I also like the idea of having a pass or fail system becasue it eliminates a lot of the competition. This makes it a better learning environment and the focus can then be on the patients.
I asked the med student presenting if he felt prepared to the the board exams, and he said he did. This is really important and something you should keep in mind when thinking about which medical schools to apply to. The goal is to be prepared to be the best doctor possible and to do very well on the board exams so that you can place into a competitive residency.
We were also informed on the talk that they were renovating the campus, so by the time many of you apply they will have their main location in downtown Tampa. Also if you are looking to stay in this area this could be a great option. In a survey conducted by AAMC most medical students picked their school either based on location or prestige. This is just something to keep in mind for all of the bioengineering pre-meds. Be sure to check out their website linked above.