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April 22, 1994 - Image 46

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-04-22

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Jewish medical students
of the '90s
work toward their M.D.s
in a field
of change.

in yes








i1P-- ^lb dik.11E.Ar `Ak

Michael Lumbers, WSU first-year medical student, still makes time for ESPN.

-. 40

r. Joseph Honet, a specialist
at Sinai Hospital in Detroit,
graduated from Albany Med-
ical College in 1957, a time
when academic quotas threat-
ened his chances of becoming
a physician.
"Jews were discriminated
against," he says. "I was lucky in terms of
being accepted to medical school, but it was
still difficult."
Today, young M.D.s-to-be face other chal-
lenges. Although Jews are well-represent-
ed in medical schools across the country,
competition for spots in colleges and resi-
dency programs is stiffer than ever.
Dr. Honet graduated with a class of
about 7,000 nationwide. Today, medical
colleges annually produce more than 15,000
physicians. The Association of American
Medical Colleges reports an upsurge in
medical school applications from nearly
27,000 in 1989 to more than 42,000 last
Wayne State University's School Of
Medicine parallels this national trend. In
1989, the school received 1,500 applications
for 256 places in its first-year class. Last
year, it received 4,763 applications for the
same number of spots.
Dr. Joseph Dogariu, director of WSU
Medical School admissions, explains that
"enrollment is likely tied to the economy."
An economic downturn seems to increase
the popularity of medical school and other
graduate programs — despite the cost.
Although 1992 medical school tuition
ranged from about $8,000 (for in-state pub-
lic school students) to an average of $20,600
(for private medical schools), loans and
scholarships tend to mitigate short-term
financial strain on students and their fam-
While it is more difficult than ever to get
into medical school, it's not harder to grad-
uate. WSU Medical School's attrition rate
is less than 2 percent, and once students


graduate, they are generally assured of
finding a job.
"The job security in medicine is very
good," says WSU second-year student
Kevin Feber. "You're not like an assembly
line worker where the plant is going to
close. People are always going to get sick
and they're going to need someone to take
care of them."
Impending health-care legislation is an-
other issue on the minds of medical stu-
dents these days. Though many students
support some type of health-care reform,
they worry about how it eventually will af-
fect their autonomy and ability to care for
"We don't know exactly what we're go-
ing to end up with," says Mr. Feber, who
also serves as president of the Jewish Med-
ical Students Association at WSU. "But I'm
going to roll with the punches. I want to be
a doctor and I'm going to be a doctor. I'm
going to be helping people. To me, that's
what's important."
Despite all the uncertainties, medical
students still say security, to a large de-
gree, motivates their choice of career. But
most students do not define security ex-
clusively in terms of income.
Like Mr. Feber, WSU fourth-year stu-
dent Scott Segel says the medical profes-
sion guarantees him the opportunity to help
people in a context that promises challenge.
"It's kind of like problem-solving," he
says. "Someone comes in with symptoms
and certain signs that you detect, and you
try to make a diagnosis. You plug the in-
formation into a puzzle."
Mr. Segel, who worked in customer ser-
vice jobs as a teen-ager, believes the chal-
lenge of medicine arises not only from the
vast amount of material students must di-
gest and retain, but also from learning how
to communicate with patients.
"I think there are doctors who are ex-
tremely brilliant as far as their book knowl-
edge, but do not relate well enough or enjoy

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