What drew you to the Bassett program initially? For me, the biggest draw of the Bassett program is its longitudinal clinical training component. Being able to follow specific patients throughout their entire journeys in the hospital system will allow us to see the long-term human consequences, both good and bad, of our medical decisions. I chose the Bassett program because I wanted my clinical training to be focused on how to form meaningful and successful patient-physician relationships and not just on how to treat discrete episodes of illness. What do you hope to do in the future? I'm still very open to different possibilities, but I'd like to work with underserved communities. What has been your favorite part of the program so far? My favorite part of the Bassett program so far has been my fellow classmates - we all come from very different backgrounds and have very distinct interests. What outside interests, clubs, or hobbies do you enjoy?
• almost perfect streak of running at least two miles every day since Dec 25, 2007 (except for one day I forgot to run)
• can (only) solve Rubik's cubes with prime numbers as their dimensions
• has written songs about his friends which reveal their innermost secrets
• enjoys cooking, especially with beets What did you do before med school?
• University of Chicago, BA in Biology in 2008
• taught high school in rural Mississippi for two years
• did private tutoring in Manhattan for one year
Alana Aylward - Class of 2015
What drew you to the Bassett program initially? I am very interested in healthcare systems and using them to improve healthcare delivery to patients. I also think that developing relationships with colleagues and patients is integral to being a good clinician. Bassett seemed to provide a unique opportunity to focus on these parts of medicine. It also provides a very interesting chance to be exposed to both a very urban environment in New York City, and a rural environment in Cooperstown. What do you hope to do in the future? I am interested in many things, so at this point I am mostly just keeping my mind open to different possibilities. If I had to choose a direction I think I'm leaning toward as far as specialty it would probably be obstetrics/gynecology or internal medicine. I would like to have a practice which includes both treating patients and working to improve healthcare delivery through either research or policy implementation. As for location I think both rural and urban, US and abroad practice would be interesting, so I'm just hoping to find a way to integrate multiple places. What has been your favorite part of the program so far? I really like the other students and faculty involved in the program. We share a lot of interests and I like feeling supported in my ideas. Also, orientation was super fun! I got to hang out with cows. As a first year we have really spent most of our time so far as part of the larger Columbia class, so the two things I named as my favorites are really pretty much my entire exposure to Bassett, which seems like a good thing. What outside interests, clubs, or hobbies do you enjoy? At P and S I'm involved in running the Cosmo free clinic, tech for the Bard Hall players, and attending engaging events put on by the various interest groups. Outside of school I like to explore new places whenever I can, either nearby or traveling to find new places to go. I like to eat out and cook, especially with good company. I love to read, and although lately most reading has consisted of my physiology and psychiatry textbooks I do find some time to sneak in recreational reads. What did you do before med school? I attended New York University where I majored in Biology. After graduating, I spent six months in Central America, participating in a language exchange and volunteering in a free clinic. Upon my return, I worked for three years as a case manager for people with developmental disabilities at United Cerebral Palsy of New York City before leaving to start medical school.
Bryan Block - Class of 2015
What drew you to the Bassett program initially? The SLIM curriculum was very appealing to me as well as our directors' enthusiasm for it. I want to work in a system that I know well, and I think that I will only be able to call myself a good doctor if I study and understand the entire healthcare industry. SLIM helps us do that. I also think I will love living in Cooperstown. But I'd say what attracted me most of all to the program is the amazing amount of individual attention we all receive from so many people. It's incredible that such a small program exists for an extremely lucky group of students. The enthusiasm and dedication that everyone at Bassett has for the the program and for the students' educations makes it easy to love being a part of it. What do you hope to do in the future? If I only knew. I'm just keeping an open mind for now. What has been your favorite part of the program so far? My favorite part of the Bassett program so far was the week of orientation in Cooperstown. I can't wait to get back up there to explore the area more and meet everyone involved in the Bassett program who I did not get a chance to meet last time around. What outside interests, clubs, or hobbies do you enjoy? I play the guitar in one of the first year bands at coffeehouses. You can find me most days on the basketball court in the Bard Hall gym. I am also involved in the Soccer Club and the Innovative Medicine Club. What did you do before med school? I went to Dartmouth College where I majored in Biology and Environmental Studies. After graduating, I took a year off where I worked in a Computational Biology lab for a while and then headed to the Southwest where I worked on small organic farms in California, Arizona, and Texas.
Dae Woong Lee - Class of 2014
Mokpo and Seoul, South Korea
What drew you to the Bassett program initially? My mission in life is to improve the health of peoples in East Asia. I chose the Columbia-Bassett program for the longitudinal approach where the emphasis shifts from diseases to patients. Additionally, it trains me to promote both quality and cost-effective delivery of care through hands-on opportunities. What do you hope to do in the future? Please see above. What has been your favorite part of the program so far? My involvement in the Quality Management Council and HCAHPS performance improvement project. It showed me the administrative side of medicine, and how it significantly affects the quality of care. What outside interests, clubs, or hobbies do you enjoy? I married the girl of my dreams, and I have never been happier. We are raising a 6-year-old Jindo, a snow-white Korean dog, and love to travel with her. Also, we are now expecting a baby, and we are so very excited about the new beginning of our lives. What did you do before med school? I went to Dartmouth College and majored in Ecological Chemistry and in East Asia Studies. I love to learn and delve into how people live and think in different parts of the world. I spent a third of my college years abroad, living in Beijing, Nanjing, Tokyo, and Madrid. Before coming to Columbia, I was in Costa Rica and in Cayman Islands for ecological research, and then went on a three-month-long backpacking trip around Europe
and North Africa.
David B. Chapel - Class of 2015
Parma Township, MI
What drew you to the Bassett program initially? I was born and raised in Parma Township, Michigan, where my parents operate a small beef farm. I have very strong ties to my home state, which I think could benefit from many of the administrative and integrative principles taught in the Columbia-Bassett Program. I was initially drawn to Columbia-Bassett by its rural location. Having grown up on a farm with farmers for neighbors and friends, I was very excited by the prospect of a medical education program that could provide me with the excellence and cachet of Columbia University, as well as clinical experiences in a rural setting. The opportunity to participate in a longitudinal clinical curriculum was also very appealing, and the program's focus on policy has been of incredible interest and benefit to me, as well. What do you hope to do in the future? My current hope (still liable to change) is to return to Michigan to focus on the medical needs of the rural community. As of now, I'm not sure if that will mean rural family medicine, rural urology, rural psychiatry, or some other specialty in the rural setting. I'm also interested in education, and I am intrigued by the idea of taking the Bassett model and beginning a similar program in my home state. What has been your favorite part of the program so far? In addition to those things I've already mentioned, it's really the people who make Columbia-Bassett what it is. It's like a family, looking out for each other, making the way as smooth as possible. What outside interests, clubs, or hobbies do you enjoy? I'm currently a president of the Bard Hall Players, an on-campus theater group that puts on three top-notch productions every year. I'm also involved in research at Bassett, both through a policy survey of physicians and through a longitudinal study of health outcomes in aging farmers. I have amateur interests in American and European history, classical music, and distance running. What did you do before med school? I attended the University of Michigan, graduating in 2011 with a double major in microbiology and Germanic languages & literature. I proceeded directly to medical school from undergrad.
Kathleen Breeding - Class of 2015
What drew you to the Bassett program initially? The Columbia-Bassett program is an intriguing opportunity to learn about rural medical systems and develop relationships with patients. While I grew up in Sacramento, I spent my weekends at my grandparents' walnut farm in the Central Valley of California. My family's involvement in agriculture has shaped my desire to find solutions to issues like medical access and availability. Through my experience in public health, I understand that there needs to be a multifaceted approach to fighting inequities. What do you hope to do in the future? In my future work as a clinician, I hope to use clinical skills and research to address health inequities in underserved communities. I am especially interested in family medicine and Gynecology/reproductive health both domestically and internationally. What has been your favorite part of the program so far? The Bassett community has been wonderful. Everyone is very friendly and supportive! What outside interests, clubs, or hobbies do you enjoy? In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, backpacking, crossword puzzles, yoga, and re-reading Jane Austen novels. What did you do before med school? Dartmouth College, BA (Women and Gender Studies major); Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, MSPH (Masters in the Science of Public Health in the Population, Family and Reproductive Health Department)
Krista Suojanen - Class of 2014
What drew you to the Bassett program initially? The SLIM curriculum is what initially drew me into thinking about the Bassett program. I think physicians who understand a little about how our healthcare system works and are taught some basic quality improvement tools have the potential to make positive changes in the way health care is delivered-changes that are desperately needed. While this is what sparked my interest at first, once I started to learn more about the program, I was also really impressed with the longitudinal curriculum and the emphasis it placed on the development of relationships with the patients. What do you hope to do in the future? Still working on that one... What has been your favorite part of the program so far? My favorite part of the program so far has definitely been the people--my classmates, the attendings, the deans, the patients. I feel so lucky to be part of such a wonderful group. My classmates have become my second family and growing closer with them has been such a treat. The people who work at the hospital have made the transition from classroom to clinical setting as smooth as can be and have created a welcoming learning environment. What outside interests, clubs, or hobbies do you enjoy? Interests include running, hummus and peanut butter. What did you do before med school? I graduated from Williams College in 2007 as an economics major. After I finished, I went on to do a post-bac program at Tufts. While doing the post-bac, I worked as a physical therapy aide. After a year of that, I moved on to do clinical research at MGH. While there, I worked on a study looking at some of the genetic and environment risk factors for the development of lung and esophageal cancer.
Margaret Dowd - Class of 2015
What drew you to the Bassett program initially? Upstate New York, the opportunity to understand healthcare today and shape healthcare of tomorrow, the longitudinal patient relationship, an medical education that included training at an elite academic health care setting and a sophisticated rural health care system. More specifically to Bassett, an amazing surgical program, with opportunity to be first assist and apple picking. What do you hope to do in the future? Very interested in surgery and women's health, but fascinated with almost all areas of medicine we have studied thus far. What has been your favorite part of the program so far? Exposure to individuals who are both brilliant thinkers and compassionate physicians, currently involved in exposing the best practices, weaknesses, and opportunities to improve within our hospitals and national healthcare system. Their passion to improve health care delivery, on wide or institutional scale, is inspiring. What outside interests, clubs, or hobbies do you enjoy? LOVE the outdoors - running, hiking, skiing, brunching...anything that involves fresh air and vitamin D. I moonlighted as a restaurant hostess while living in Jackson Hole for a ski season; one of the more enlightening experiences in my life...everyone should work in the service industry once. In many ways, medicine is trending that way, so potentially you can spend your entire life there, and skip the sassy customers. I love making pie, second to eating pie. I'm hoping to plant a garden in Cooperstown - gardeners welcome. What did you do before med school? University of Notre Dame, Finance. UBS Investment Bank...NYU, Post Bac; Jackson Hole Ski Instructor. Your standard path. Anything else to share? Columbia/Bassett is great opportunity to not only understand medicine, but also better understand the macro environment you are diving into as a future physician. For all of you Type A'ers out there (and you know you are) why not have a hand in shaping what that environment will look like for you and your patients.
Its also a unique experience to complete your medical training at both an urban, academic health care center and within sophisticated rural health care system. I believe the Bassett student acquires a skill set that will prepare them for whatever path they decide to pursue in medicine.
Advice: Follow your heart.
Mark J. Harris - Class of 2014
Rye Brook, NY
What drew you to the Bassett program initially? I was initially drawn to the Bassett program because of its SLIM component. I am interested in the way that health care is accessed and delivered, and I was excited to have the opportunity to learn about these subjects in medical school. I was also attracted by the level of personalization and individualized attention that a program like this would offer. What do you hope to do in the future? I am planning to take a year away from medical school (between 3rd and 4th years) to get my MPH at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. In the future, I hope to practice medicine but also work in a setting that allows me to apply public health tools to clinical problems. What has been your favorite part of the program so far? I am really enjoying the amount of one-on-one time that I get to spend with attendings in the hospital. I am also happily overwhelmed by the institutional support that we get as students from Bassett - sometimes it certainly seems like the sky's the limit in terms of our education and our academic endeavors. What outside interests, clubs, or hobbies do you enjoy? At P&S, I was involved primarily with SIGNN, IMIG, P&S for the Arts Club and the Lambda Health Alliance. I like to cook, exercise, and do crossword puzzles. What did you do before med school? I worked as a Post-baccalaureate IRTA at the NIH doing research on autism at the National Institute of Mental Health.
Anything else to share? This program has so much to offer so many different types of students - there's no "one type" of student that they're looking for. We all have different backgrounds, different interests, and different goals. This is NOT a program strictly for people who want only to study Primary Care or practice in a rural area (two common misconceptions).
Monika Laszkowska - Class of 2014
Queens, NY (Born in Lomza, Poland)
What drew you to the Bassett program initially? The Columbia Bassett Program gives us the best of both worlds - access to Columbia's extensive resources as a prominent academic medical center as well as the hands-on longitudinal experience and clinical exposure that Bassett Hospital provides. As students, we work directly with attendings much of the time and take ownership of patient care from the first day of our clinical education. The longitudinal component of the curriculum fosters strong patient relationships by enabling us to follow our patients through the ins and outs of the health care network across a variety of clinical fields. This translates to into a high level of responsibility, flexibility, and personalization that has a profound impact on how we learn and practice medicine.
The SLIM curriculum is a parallel venue in which we can further develop a well-rounded understanding of medicine. With a mix of formal lectures from professors at the Columbia Business School and the School of Public Health, intimate discussions with prominent guest speakers, and practical hands-on experience through serving on functional committees with executives at Bassett Hospital and individually leading projects to address real challenges the hospital faces, we are able to get a realistic glimpse at what it takes to tackle concrete problems in today's health care environment.
These are all attributes of the program that first caught my attention when I was applying to medical school. Two years into the program, they are still the reasons why I have no doubt that I made the right decision. What do you hope to do in the future? Undecided. What has been your favorite part of the program so far? My favorite aspect of the program has been starting clinical rotations. Since we focus on all specialties longitudinally throughout the year, I feel like I am growing as a doctor as a whole rather than tucking away skill sets as each rotation comes to a close. I like having this opportunity to integrate what I learn across the various fields. Each day brings something new, while at the same time forces you to continuously reinforce what you have already learned. What outside interests, clubs, or hobbies do you enjoy?
• Curriculum Representative for Class of 2014 (Student Council)
• Lang Youth Medical Program (Academic Success Tutor)
• CUMC Blood Drive Co-Coordinator
• P&S Dance Club
• Summer Experience: Clinical rotation at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain & travel to India, Thailand, Poland, and London What did you do before med school?
Undergrad: Harvard, Class of 2007
Work Experience Prior to Medical School:
• Google - Account Manager (AdWords, Online Advertising)
• UCSF Department of Surgery, Transplant Lab - Research Associate
Seth Mathern - Class of 2015
A town in the Riverton, WY
What drew you to the Bassett program initially? Initially I was drawn to the program because of the longitudinal portion of the program and the incredible opportunity to be exposed to the Bassett Healthcare System and the Presbyterian system. I really loved the interview experience at Bassett and I immediately fell in love with Cooperstown and its people. The opportunity to work in such a great system with such eager-to-teach, supportive staff was a huge draw. What do you hope to do in the future? Currently, I'm not certain. I will definitely continue acting (which I discovered a passion for in my first year of med school here at Columbia), perhaps write some music and play in local bands, and continue hiking and gazing in awe at the stars, hopefully with a wonderful family of my own some day. I would love to be out west again (I'm not a big city kind of guy). If we're speaking medicine in general, I'm currently drawn to family medicine, or just medicine in general. I'm really starting to love healthcare policy and I would love to be involved in quality improvement and creating healthcare systems that can provide efficient and quality care to patients. What has been your favorite part of the program so far? The family-like experience... My Bassett family is very dear to me and they are a constant group of individuals who have provided continuous support for me. I love how much I feel cared for by the Dr. Weil, Dr. Frank and the entire Bassett staff. We are so fortunate to have meetings with such prolific figures and to have such constant support. I continue to be surprised at how supported I feel... What outside interests, clubs, or hobbies do you enjoy? Bard Hall Players, Coffeehouse, guitar/music/singing, juggling, hiking and exploring the world at large, Cultura, Bacchus. What did you do before med school? Double major in Physiology and Spanish at the University of Wyoming. I took a victory lap (i.e. a fifth year) in undergrad before coming to medical school.
Anything else to share? Honestly, I know this advice is perhaps cliche, but think long and hard about what matters most to you for a school. I think going to a place in which you can strive is perhaps the most important factor. Also, if something doesn't feel right about a school, give attention to that feeling.
Bassett is not just a primary rural care program... it is an incredibly rich opportunity with no strings attached minus the fact that you have to like Ommegang beer (jokes, but seriously...).