- Why did Columbia start the Columbia-Bassett Program?
As an institution of higher education, Columbia watches social trends and seeks to both shape the future of American health care and provide for it. Clearly, society needs a more organized, accessible and affordable health infrastructure in the future. Bassett is a continuously evolving model of modern care. In addition, Bassett has a seasoned teaching faculty of the highest quality, which Columbia has utilized for 80 years. back to top
- What kind of students are you looking for in the Columbia-Bassett Program?
We are looking for students who are deeply committed to the quality of their patients' care and interested in developing interpersonal relationship skills with their patients and peers. Using the group employed model of health care delivery in a rural environment, combined with an innovative curriculum in health care management, we seek students who are capable of leading such systems focused on evidence, quality, safety and efficiency.
- Will my diploma be different than if I spent all four years in New York City?
No. back to top
- Is the MD-MPH dual degree program available for students who are in the Columbia-Bassett program?
Yes. The MPH year begins in July or September each year; most students select September. This year Columbia initiates a new curriculum which shortens the basic science curriculum to a year and a half. All Columbia MD/MPH students then, will be interrupting their 3rd or 4th year of course work to take the MPH requirements from July or September until June of the same academic year. For Columbia-Bassett students it would be necessary to interrupt the 4th year of electives rather than the third year of longitudinal clinical clerkships. Students in the MPH program pay tuition to the Mailman School of Public Health; this component of the program is not subsidized by the grants provided for the other four years of medical school. back to top
- I notice Columbia-Bassett is located in a rural area. Is it only for future rural physicians?
A person considering future practice in a rural setting will be strongly advantaged by attending Columbia-Bassett. But, while the experience will give insight into high quality rural practice, and will likely open students’ eyes to the enjoyments of rural life, Columbia-Bassett is not designed exclusively to train future rural physicians. It is more for people who want to have a grasp of how health systems might ideally work, and perhaps see themselves as future leaders of evolving the American health system to a better place. back to top
- Is Columbia-Bassett particularly focused on primary care?
No. We provide great exposure to primary care in a variety of settings and equal training and exposure within subspecialties. Graduates of our residencies are split along fairly typical lines between primary care and subspecialty. The point is to discover which you like best and to be equally well prepared to excel at either. back to top
- What is it like living in New York City for a year and a half and then Cooperstown?
This is an opportunity to live in both the most exciting city in the U.S. and most remarkable small town. Both offer a variety of arts and cultural resources. back to top
- Is it necessary or required to have a car?
No, cars are not required by any means, but they are strongly suggested. Students have found that having a car is helpful for day-to-day errands (like groceries), visiting local or regional places of interest, or getting away for a weekend. Any travel to clinical responsibilities at Bassett Regional Centers can be coordinated with classmates with cars or with attending preceptors (it’s encouraged, even if you do have a car!). back to top
- Why does the Columbia-Bassett literature stress relationships?
There are two major reasons: First, the Columbia-Bassett program uniquely has students working with individual preceptors and mentors from many specialties over the course of a year, and following individual patients for the same time period. This exposes the substance of different practices, unlike the sequential block exposure of brief rotations in most medical schools. Both in terms of learning and of insight, it affords greater depth of understanding through the simple agency of time. Second, students become a valuable asset to their patients over the course of time – so much so that patients sometimes delay appointments so a student can be present. This relationship, at the spiritual level, gives meaning to the formidable learning tasks of medical school. back to top
- Is the longitudinal curriculum unique to Columbia-Bassett?
No. There are similar programs at both Harvard and the University of California at San Francisco, and other less similar variants at a number of schools. back to top
- I hear there is good financial aid. Can you elaborate on this?
It is quite simple. Students get a needs assessment to permit loans, but the granting system is not predicated on need: Every student gets $30,000 per year for all four years in grants. The only stipulation is that students must complete the program. We feel that debt is so large for most students, and that the incorporation of non-personal (parental) assets so distorts individual future realities, that this is the only way to free students to select a career by preference – and that the frequent debt-driven failure to do so causes a certain amount of sadness in the physician community. back to top
- Can I apply to both the "all New York City" and the Columbia-Bassett Track and decide which I prefer later?
Yes, you may. You need fill out only one application. Indicate selection of the Columbia-Bassett choice and answer the question specifically related thereto. We suggest you eventually express a preference for one over the other - we think it unlikely that a student would see the two as indistinguishable. Nevertheless, students who are not selected for admission to the Columbia-Bassett program are automatically still considered at the New York City-based program. back to top
- I can tell the application and interview process is more elaborate for Columbia-Bassett – can you tell me more about this?
To get into this program, you must visit and interview at both the New York City campus and the Cooperstown campus. Obviously, that’s more complex than the usual single visit, but we want people who come to this program to love it, and we think students should see the experience in its fullness. The two campuses are 200 miles apart, so this requires more effort. We have arranged for there to be interviews on back-to-back days. back to top
- What does it take to get in?
Columbia has high objective standards for admission, which must be met. Beyond these, we are looking for people with an earnest desire to make a contribution to excellence in health care. We think, for most students, medical school should be a place to discover the career that fits best – that few already know at the outset. And we know that our unique environment provides an excellent place to sample and discover and grow. We are very broadly suited to this; meaning people have followed a variety of diverse paths after leaving us. Perhaps those interested in becoming wonderful clinicians, skilled managers and leaders of health care provision, or population researchers, are a particularly good fit here, although we are not a place for people seeking to become clinician basic scientists. Ultimately, we're looking for people who look outside themselves, who want interesting lives, and want to make a meaningful contribution, even if what that will be is a matter of discovery. back to top
- I worry that just an interview day will not tell me enough. How can I get a more familiar view of Columbia-Bassett?
Just give us a call. One of the program leaders can talk to you. You are welcome to visit in an informal way, spend time with our rotational students, get a feel for the place. Just call 607 547 6650 for either Henry F.C. Weil, MD or Walter A. Franck, MD. back to top