For many students, applying to medical school is a tedious and overwhelming process.
Rather than hosting events for students to make this process easier, the University of Minnesota Medical School Admissions Office opted to create a podcast in an attempt to engage on-the-go students.
The first episode of the podcast, called Represented in Medicine, was released last month. Each episode will feature a different speaker from Minnesota’s healthcare field who will address concerns of students in the medical school application process.
“We [came] into this podcast wanting to make the voices heard of students and physicians and everyone in the healthcare field who at one time might have felt underrepresented in medicine,” said the podcast’s host and University Medical School Admissions Coordinator Rachel Rudeen.
Rudeen said she hopes to interview guests on the podcast who had unique or unusual pathways into medicine.
“We want to make those voices heard,” she said.
Anisa Suleiman, a first-year medical student at the University, said she joined Minnesota Future Doctors — a student group for historically underrepresented groups in medicine — as an undergrad to help with medical school concerns.
“A problem I was coming across is my parents aren’t doctors,” Suleiman said. “I couldn’t find a lot of things because I didn’t know anybody, I didn’t have any connections.”
She said the group connected her to resources, mentors and information that helped with the application process. Suleiman still struggled through the process, and found that advice from her pre-med adviser was rarely helpful or applicable. She feels a podcast would not have simplified the process either.
Tobias Donlon, a first-year medical student, also said he probably wouldn’t have listened to Represented in Medicine when he was applying for medical school.
However, Donlon said the biggest challenge in the application process was making sure he fulfilled all the necessary requirements.
While applying, Rudeen said many students might feel compelled to participate in certain things they may not enjoy to improve their application.
“If you’re going to be miserable in that experience or you’re not that interested in it, don’t waste your time,” she said. “There’s so many things you could choose. Find something that interests you.”
Marc James Uy, a second-year master’s student in public health, said a podcast would be beneficial to him as he continues the application process.
Uy said he had a lot of assumptions as an undergraduate student about what doctors are like.
Rudeen hopes the podcast will help combat stereotypes of who can or can’t be a doctor.
“Our goal is … to help show that it is a possibility, and we need those physicians to serve the ever-changing patient population,” Rudeen said.