Specialty & Career Advising

Medical careers are among the most diverse and flexible professional pathways. Not only are there a multitude of clinical specialties and subspecialties with widely varying characteristics, but many physicians pursue careers that also contain major activities in service, research, education, administration, business, or entrepreneurship. Picking a specialty alone can be a challenging and sometimes overwhelming life decision for many students. In addition, it is critical that students interested in other career goals (eg. service, research, etc.) also begin to think about and prepare for these roles early in their medical education and training. The Medical School provides a wide range of opportunities for you to investigate medical specialties and other career paths beginning as early as your first year and extending to your graduation or beyond.

Your Career Advisory Dean:
All students are linked to a Career Advisory Dean at the time of admission to medical school. Deans Chretien (Internal Medicine), Haywood (Emergency Medicine), and Norris (Psychiatry) will help you think about your future specialty choice and other issues related to your career interests such as service, research, and leadership. They will communicate closely with departmental specialty advisors and residency program directors. They oversee preparation of your Medical Student Performance Evaluation (the MSPE, aka Dean's Letter) and assist you in all phases of residency selection, application, and matching. The MSPE is a summary of your academic performance during medical school and an important component of your future application to residency and fellowship programs. Therefore, it is critical that you and your Advisory Dean get to know each other well starting in your first year at GW. We recommend that you plan to meet with your Advisory Dean at least once each semester throughout medical school, or more often as necessary. You can schedule appointments with Dean Haywood by contacting LaQuita Ross at 202-994-2987, lbeale@gwu.edu, or with Deans Chretien and Norris by contacting Sherry Brody at 202-994-2202, sherrybrody@gwu.edu.

Careers in Medicine:
Careers in Medicine was developed by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to assist medical students with specialty choice and career planning. It is the single best resource for all students interested in investigating specialty opportunities and understanding the entire pathway from medical school to professional career. This online, individual, self-paced program is designed to start during the first year in medical school and leads students through a programmed, phase-appropriate pathway from initial specialty investigation all the way to final decision-making and residency matching. It has extensive information on virtually all medical specialties and a series of self-assessment tools that help medical students understand their specialty and career preferences. We most strongly advise you to establish your CIM account early in medical school and periodically visit your account each year. Your Advisory Dean will be happy to review and analyze your self-assessments throughout medical school and steer you to other resources and advisors.

Your Specialty Advisor:
During the third year of medical school, all students are required to identify one or more specialty advisors in your area(s) of interest. Your specialty advisor will assist you in planning your final year of study, advise you about the specialty, and steer you through the residency application process. Each year, an updated list of advisors selected by each department is made available for students.

Alumni Advisors:
In collaboration with the SMHS Office of Development and Alumni Relations, your Advisory Dean can direct students to GW SMHS alumni for advising and information. Alumni advisors are available in a number of non-traditional career areas (business, government service, consulting, global health, etc.) or in specific specialties or geographic areas of interest to the student.