Gain More Experience
Maybe you're afraid that you don't have enough experiences to fill the maximum 15 work/activities section on the AMCAS application. Don't worry-describing 8-10 of your most significant post-secondary experiences is much better than filling out all 15 and including the 1st place award for the junior high spelling bee championship. Still don't have enough experiences? Patient contact can be achieved through volunteer work at hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices, or emergency medicine. One hundred hours is a good target for patient contact. But working one hundred hours only in the month of May is a red flag that you scrambled to fulfill the requirements. And remember: shadowing a doctor for a week would not be considered patient contact.
International trips are also great opportunities for patient contact with underserved populations. There are many programs that will allow you to get involved in international trips, such as International Service Learning and Global Medical Brigades.
Global Medical Brigades
The Global Medical Brigades program not only works with traditional college students, but anyone else who wants to serve the underprivileged in Honduras, the second poorest country in Latin America. The teams consist of 30 volunteers and 3-5 medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and pharmacists. Each brigade lasts about eight days and costs $550-650 per volunteer as well as $500-800 for the plane flight. Groups stay in hostels with security guards, clean water, in-house chefs, and housekeepers.
During the trip, teams travel to remote villages and set up temporary clinics. The volunteers then provide free medical assistance to the local population. The clinics have stations for triage, stations where people can speak one-on-one with a health-professional, and a pharmacy that gives out prescribed medications. There is even a great deal of free time to get to know people on your team, relax, and sight-see. For more info, check out their website at www.medicalbrigades.com or contact Steve Atamian at (213) 434-0410.
Along with patient contact experiences, medical schools love to see leaders-and leadership takes many forms. You don't have to be the president of a school's pre-med club to be looked upon as a leader. Teaching and tutoring experiences, where you are the head of a classroom or group of students, is a form of leadership. If the women's ministry at your church is looking for help with event planning, sign up. Being part of a religious or social committee in your community is a great avenue to leadership positions. There are many community service opportunities around you that can boost your application-you just have to look.
And to read Part II of this article, visit: http://www.inquarta.com/content/view/194/9/