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A Letter From the Student Association President

Aimée Vester, 2016-17 Student Association President

Aimée Vester, 2016-17 Student Association President

Dear Prospective Applicant,

On behalf of the MD/PhD Student Association, thank you for interest in Emory University’s MSTP! We are eager to share the strengths of the program and the city of Atlanta with you. Our program offers outstanding training in a collaborative, enriching environment. While you’ll certainly find this at other programs, I truly believe Emory offers a unique training environment for many reasons:

1) The strength and breadth of our graduate training opportunities

As one of the leading and fastest-growing research institutions, Emory received a record amount of external research funding and students in the Laney Graduate School received the most NIH predoctoral fellowships in the US last year. In this well-funded, supportive environment, Emory offers a diverse range of degree programs. In addition to the 8 interdisciplinary programs offered through the Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (GDDBS), we offer many strong “non-traditional” degree programs as well. Our joint biomedical engineering degree with Georgia Tech is repeatedly ranked #2 in the nation. Public health degrees are offered through the Rollins School of Public Health, which was recently ranked #7 nationally and regularly collaborates with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Carter Center. Last but definitely not least, our program enthusiastically supports degrees in the social sciences and some of our current students are pursuing Anthropology and Sociology degrees.

2) The exceptional medical training offered

Our medical education begins with a systems-based curriculum that incorporates small group sessions and clinical skills training throughout. Clinical training occurs at Emory Healthcare, the largest and most comprehensive health system in Georgia. Twelve of Emory’s specialties are nationally-ranked, and our Winship Cancer Institute is the only NCI-designated center in Georgia. Additionally, Emory students are known for their unparalleled training at Grady Hospital, one of the world’s biggest public hospitals. It includes a renowned Trauma Center, the world’s first Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center, and one of the top three HIV/AIDS outpatient clinics in the country. Emory’s longstanding partnership with Grady highlights the University’s dedication to working with vulnerable populations and bridging healthcare disparities.

3) The MSTP’s integration of graduate and medical training

The MSTP administration is dedicated to providing smooth transitions between medical and graduate school while also maintaining flexibility for our diverse career interests. The 18-month M1/M2 curriculum allows us to enter our graduate training earlier than most programs and also includes a biweekly MD/PhD Journal Club. The entire program attends our monthly Clinical Research Conferences (CRC), which aim to bridge clinical findings with current translational research. Graduate students present at CRCs after spending time on the wards with clinicians of their choosing, allowing us to explore specialties. There is a transition course offered for reentering students by Dr. Joanna Bonsall, an Emory MSTP alum and our Clinical Co-Director. Students may reenter at any point in the school year to facilitate scheduling of electives and away rotations.

4) The city of Atlanta

An important aspect of choosing the program with which to spend the larger part of the next decade is your personal life outside of the program. One of the reasons I personally chose Emory is because our students are able to maintain a healthy work-life balance in an affordable, fun city. The city of Atlanta is incredibly diverse and rapidly growing. To many, Atlanta is surprisingly green, with the Atlanta Beltline and numerous city parks providing tons of opportunities to get outside. Zagat named Atlanta one of the top food cities of 2015 and our arts scene has lots to offer as well. In this city, our students are not only able to be stellar physician-scientists, but also marathoners, triathletes, rock climbers, dancers, musicians, artists, and so much more.

Again, thank you for your interest in our program and we hope that you’ll take some time to explore Emory. I’m also more than happy to answer any questions that you may have, and provide guidance in finding the program that best fits your needs. Feel free to contact me at any time throughout the application process.

Best wishes,

Aimée Vester, G2

MD/PhD Student Association President

avester@emory.edu