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A Letter From the Student Association President

Dear Prospective Student,

Welcome to Emory University’s MD/PhD program website!

It is an amazing time to begin a career as a physician-scientist. Nevertheless, enrolling in an MD/PhD program is a huge commitment. Finding a program where you can achieve your professional and personal goals is critical. You should find a place that has exceptional physicians and researchers who will provide you with excellent training and a place that you will enjoy for the duration of such a long and intense program. You will want a place where students work hard and play hard. Having a supportive environment will also be critical to your success because at times you may feel like an imposter. For me, Emory has been this place for a number of reasons, which I’ll share below. As you begin this exciting journey, I hope that you too will find a wonderful place that fits your unique goals and desires.

The quality of the medical education at Emory has never been more superb. We have a beautiful medical school building. We are implementing a cutting edge curriculum in which students are involved in its further development. And, we have an ever growing network of affiliated hospitals and clinics. Since our medical school is housed in the main campus, we are afforded the opportunity to be immersed in a multitude of activities taking place in other fields. Our new curriculum uses an innovative systems-based approach, with a three-fold goal. It seeks to: 1) integrate basic and clinical medicine right from the beginning through early exposure to clinic experiences; 2) train physicians who have the highest degree of professionalism and clinical competency; 3) provide small group environments for active problem based learning under the guidance of established clinicians that mentor the same group of medical students throughout all our years of medical training.

Emory medical students benefit from training at numerous hospitals, such as Grady Memorial Hospital (largest public hospital and Level 1 Trauma center in GA) and Atlanta VA Medical Center. We are exposed to a diverse set of hospital environments and patient populations. Emory Healthcare has recently been in the national spotlight for its involvement in the care of patients with Ebola; we have demonstrated that we have the finest caregivers available in the world. It is an honor to train in such an environment. And through a course called Outpatient experience (OPEX), in our first year of medical school, we get to experience that privilege early on. In OPEX, students are assigned to a clinical setting in the community that they attend one afternoon every other week; in this way, we gain longitudinal clinical and didactic experiences during our first two years of medical school. My OPEX assignment during my first two years was at the Grady oncology clinic. Through that experience I developed my patient bedside manner and increased my confidence in conducting many parts of the physical exam.

Research at Emory is just as advanced as the medical training. We have world class faculty and exceptional facilities. Emory is home to several nationally-recognized research centers, including the Winship Cancer Institute and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Emory is also affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); they are located right next door to Emory's campus. These resources have inspired a wonderfully collaborative atmosphere in Atlanta. Additionally, Emory has an established joint degree Biomedical Engineering program with the Georgia Institute of Technology. We have numerous core facilities including the Transgenic Mouse Core and the Emory Genome Center, and many others that provide specialized services. This enhances research productivity for the entire campus.  Perhaps, the most wonderful thing about these and other research related resources, is that, as an MD PhD student, the flexibility of our program structure allows us to individualize our own research experience across disciplines, departments, and campus as needed. We are this able to take full advantage of the multitude of resources and faculty that Emory has to offer. 

We are also fortunate to be located in an amazing city. Atlanta is a city full of charm and individuals with a whole lot of southern hospitality. The city is filled with many transplants from all across the country and the world. It is a big metropolitan city with the attendant superb amenities, culture, and happenings. While, one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the US, Atlanta is also one of the most affordable cities in the Nation to live in. It’s so affordable, that many of the students in our program buy a home or condo during their time here. Finally, the weather is usually beautiful year-round. As such, there are tons of street festivals and a myriad of outdoor and indoor events to attend. I really am glad to call this city home.

Above and beyond everything I’ve mentioned above, what most sets Emory’s MSTP program apart is the student body. Our students are diverse in every sense of the word. Students in the program come from all over the country and world, as Emory provides support for both groups. We pursue both traditional and non-traditional MD/PhD career paths, with some students pursuing degrees like anthropology and epidemiology (through our Rollins School of Public Health). We are incredibly involved in Atlanta’s medical, research, technology, and social communities. Yet we also pursue a number of activities to explore and balance our interests; these range from brewing beer to playing and coaching on sports teams. Our student body is a wonderful group of multi-talented people. All the students in the program are friendly, enthusiastic, and supported by a great and dedicated administration, actively involved in making our MD/PhD experience the best it can be. The support system our program directors create in every aspect of training is superb; it makes the program feel like a family.

These are just a few of the reasons Emory is a great place for MD/PhD training, but I encourage you to further explore our website to find more information for yourself. Where you decide to train is an important decision and we want it to be the best fit for you! I’d love to address any questions or concerns you may have so feel free to contact me. I wish you the best in this journey!

Sincerely,

Mfon Umoh

(mumoh@emory.edu)

Emory University MD/PhD Student Association President