Tucked away inside H.J. Patterson Hall is an office just for University of Maryland students who want to pursue a medical career after college.
The Reed-Yorke Health Professions Advising Office (HPAO) offers a variety of services every year to nearly 3,500 Terps who want to become physicians, dentists, nurses and allied health professionals. The office is named for and supported by a generous gift from physician Victoria Yorke, B.S. ’82, biochemistry, and her late husband, veterinarian John Reed.
“We help students understand what it takes—both academically and interpersonally—to become a successful clinician,” says HPAO Director Wendy Loughlin, who recently received the Buck Hill ’68 Award for outstanding service from the Northeast Association of Advisors for the Health Professions.
Loughlin’s team provides one-on-one advising for every student and hosts frequent workshops on topics ranging from academic planning to navigating the application process and learning what professional schools are looking for in a candidate.
“Our role is to offer students broad ideas about how to gain the clinical, research and community service experiences necessary for admittance to a professional school,” Loughlin says. “We encourage students to pursue unique activities that speak to their values and interests. Then, during the application process, we help them write and talk about these experiences in meaningful ways.”
Since becoming HPAO director in 2006, Loughlin has increased the number of opportunities available to UMD students for obtaining clinical experience at local hospitals and community clinics. She also launched a clinical shadowing program with local Terp alumni physicians and dentists to expose students to different medical professions.
To encourage more information sharing among students, pre-health advisor Nick Celedón created the HPAO student advisory board three years ago. The board’s members host weekly office hours where they discuss topics like course options and how to survive the application process. They also run workshops on topics such as interviewing skills and how to write personal statements for professional school applications.
As many as 500 UMD students apply to medical and dental schools every year, and Loughlin’s team, along with a cadre of faculty and staff members and alumni, conduct mock interviews with the students and write a multi-page letter of support for every student.
“We have a strong record of acceptance to professional schools all over the country, though many students stay local,” says Loughlin. “This fall, 51 of the 160 students at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore will be Terps.”
Written by Abby Robinson
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- Aspiring Humanitarians: Meet four University of Maryland undergraduates who plan to pursue careers in medicine.
- Terp Family Dental Practice is All Smiles: Meet the mother-and-daughters trio of Terps at At St. Mary’s Dental.
This article was published in the Fall 2016 issue of Odyssey magazine. To read other stories from that issue, please visit go.umd.edu/odyssey.