A recent NPR article highlights Mount Sinai’s school of medicine in New York City for it’s revolutionary shift in their admissions processes.
A growing number of their students came not from traditional pre-med undergraduate programs, but from a humanities-oriented program at Mount Sinai known as HuMed, where they majored in various programs, English and Literature standing out among them. The Humed program was created to prevent pre-med syndrome, or medical students who were too single minded, and it’s done just that.
Dr. David Muller, the dean of medical education for the school, has a quote in his office that illustrates this line of thought. It reads, “Science is the foundation of an excellent medical education, but a well-rounded humanist is best suited to make the most of that education.”
Success With a Twist
It may come as a surprise that these non-traditional students are often indistinguishable from the traditional ones in terms of grades.
“Studies have shown that the students in Mt. Sinai’s Humanities in Medicine program are just as successful in medical school as the students who take more science classes in college. And they are slightly more likely to choose primary care or psychiatry as a specialty — both areas of high need.”
Another benefit to having more humanities focused students is the different perspective they bring in, which creates a “cross-fertilization of ideas”, as third-year student Harsh Chawla explains.
The HuMed program has been such a success that Mount Sinai is expanding their efforts to bring in more diversity. They are welcoming students from any undergraduate major from other schools, who will be put in a reconfigured program called FlexMed.
The Impossible Made Possible
Not only is it possible to become a doctor and major in English, it is a pretty wise route to take. The field of medicine needs well-rounded people who can bring something different to the table, and majoring in English is an ideal way to jump-start that.