Three 2017 Careers in Medicine Excellence in Medical Student Career Advising Awards were presented during the Group on Student Affairs (GSA) National Business Meeting at Learn Serve Lead: The AAMC Annual Meeting on Friday November 10, 2017 in Boston. Congratulations to our award winners!
Program Award: University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine is recognized of its four-year comprehensive Career Development Program that guides and supports their students through the process of finding a medical specialty and residency program that is right for them. Strengths of the program include its use of a variety of activities across the career planning process and its integration into the overall medical school curriculum. The UCCOM program follows the 4-phase career planning model established by the AAMC Careers in Medicine program. To meet the needs of a diverse student body, the UCCOM program offers both large and small group activities during the early phases. As students progress to decision-making and preparing for residency, students also have one-on-one advising meetings for more personalized support. The Career Development Program is well integrated into other aspects of the curriculum such as the Physician and Society Course, Learning Communities and Intersession Weeks. The Director of Career Development and Student Affairs partners with leaders of these curricular components and Faculty Specialty Advisors. Through these relationships, they are able to offer students excellent learning opportunities and current and consistent career advice. Dr. Alice Mills accepted the award on behalf of the school.
Advisor Award: Donna L. Parker, MD
Donna L. Parker, MD, Associate Dean, Office of Student Affairs at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, received the CiM Excellence in Medical Student Career Advising Advisor Award. Dr. has received numerous recognitions, including selection by the class of 2004 as Mace Bearer for their School of Medicine Convocation Ceremony, induction into the Maryland Chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society in 1998, election into the University of Maryland School of Medicine Carolyn J. Pass, MD '66 and Richard J. Susel, MD '66 Academy of Educational Excellence, and the recipient of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award in 2014. Dr. Parker has been an ally to and an asset for thousands of medical students throughout her eleven years as associate dean for student affairs at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Despite having a large class of 160 students per year, Dr. Parker manages to meet and know virtually all of them, primarily due to her true open-door policy, combined with a warm and inviting personality and a limitless bowl of chocolate. Students wander in and find themselves sitting at her desk, opening up about their lives, their families, and their career aspirations. Dr. Parker is an incredible role model and source of support for students, staff, and faculty, and she has helped students make the best possible decisions for them, achieve their goals, and grow as humans while doing it. She is knowledgeable about and facile with a variety of career planning resources, and she collaborates with different team members across the medical school and hospital to develop new resources for our medical students. Under her leadership, the Office of Student Affairs is a proud participant in the AAMC's Careers in Medicine (CiM) program. Shortly after taking over her role as associate dean, Dr. Parker began to revamp and strengthen Maryland’s career planning system by hiring an assistant dean with dedicated time to learn and implement CiM fully, initiating a new session at Introduction to Medical School to introduce incoming students to CiM on day one of medical school, and encouraging and supporting the development of new initiatives such as "Specialty Speed-dating" which helps encourage students to explore career options earlier, and the development of a new learning community model where students are divided into four houses and receive both close faculty mentoring as well as vertical mentoring from students in other classes.
Staff Award: Caitlin Mahaffey
Caitlin Mahaffey, associate director of academic and career advising at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, has been an integral part of the Office of Student Affairs at Keck School of Medicine since June of 2008. In 2015, her position was expanded to oversee academic counseling and career development for medical students, and she developed an advising program that was optimal for student success in the residency match. She is also technically savvy and developed the software for the advising program used by students, staff, and faculty. Caitlin provides the care and infrastructure through which the career advising programming is provided to Keck students each year. She not only serves as a liaison for students and faculty advisors at vital points in the advising process, but also works with students on developing their personal statements, meeting with students in group settings or in one-on-one meetings, and serving as a resource and bridge between faculty and students, providing administrative and logistical support for career advising meetings with staff and faculty advisors, and planning class meetings pertinent to specialty selection and the residency application process. Through her diligence in compiling current and pertinent information and her sincere interest in supporting students along their medical school journey, Caitlin’s contributions have played an integral role in the success of Keck’s career advising program. Caitlin also conducts biweekly meetings with the Academic and Career Advising team, prepares materials and content discussed at quarterly departmental faculty advisor meetings, and is instrumental in facilitating communication between departmental faculty advisors, staff advisors, and students throughout the specialty-selection phase and residency application cycle. She ensures that faculty and staff advisors provide concerted and appropriate career advising for each individual student, and keeps faculty advisors informed of current career advising programming and any new developments in a student’s career planning process, Thus, Caitlin serves to connect the “webs” of the Keck career advising network to ensure that every student is holistically supported.