Pre-health Advisor Reflections: Michael D. Druitt
Name: Michael D. Druitt, MS
Position: Medical Science/Pre-health Coordinator; Assistant Professor – Biological Sciences; Assistant to the Dean
Institution: Hampton University – School of Science, Hampton, VA
How long have you been at your current position at this institution?
I became Assistant to the Dean, and Medical Science / Pre-health Coordinator in the spring of 2007.
How did you find yourself on the path of becoming a pre-health advisor?
While serving as the Fredrick D. Inge Biology Club Advisor in 2005, I learned about the needs of majors in the Department of Biological Sciences. Pre-medical preparation activities were among the majority of requests and I started making valuable connections in the community to help pre-medical biology students succeed in their endeavors.
What are common errors that you see pre-health students make and how do you correct them?
Prior to developing our formalized program, pre-health students would attempt to apply to professional schools without taking into account the school’s minimum standardized test score requirement for admission. Many times students felt that other items (i.e. extracurricular activities such as shadowing, volunteer work) would enhance their application and get them in, but this is not the case. Although schools consider the entire applicant, they rarely take students who do not meet the minimum standardized score requirement for admission.
How did you find out about the Tour For Diversity?
I first learned about the Tour for Diversity from one of my former students, Thomas Cudjoe, MD who is a member of the Tour for Diversity team. Dr. Cudjoe informed me of the opportunity to host the inaugural event in Hampton, VA and he connected me to the co-founder – Dr. Alden Landry. I later learned from conversations that Dr. Landry attended Hampton High School and shared my commitment to reach out to the local community. I truly believe it was due to divine design that everything worked out because our Medical Science/Pre-health program mantra at Hampton University is “Your Network = Your Networth!”
Can you discuss any memorable events from the day?
Ephasia Goodall, who at the time was a Medical Science graduate student was “almost overwhelmed with the realness and love that was in the room…I mean all day.” Ephasia is currently enrolled in her second year of medical school at the Medical University of Lublin, Poland. She opted for international training due to her family’s tour overseas and her desire to work with the Doctors Without Borders organization.
How important is the relationship between pre-health advisor and student?
The relationship between pre-health advisors and students is essential to the success of students and the program. Students gain vital information and tips for success by consistently visiting and meeting with their advisors. This includes things such as: new scholarships, summer programs, volunteer and/or community-based events – all opportunities that will enhance their resume. These meetings also provide students the chance to request letters of support for summer programs, scholarships, and applying to professional schools.
What advice would you give to other pre-health advisors?
The advice I would give to other pre-health advisors is massive but two-fold:
1. Seek a mentor who can help you understand the complex role of an advisor. This can be done through gaining membership with organizations like: the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP); National Association of Minority Medical Educators (NAMME); Society of Osteopathic Medical Educators (SOME).
2. Connect with your students to learn about their strengths and weaknesses, and stay up to date on the availability of campus resources to help them succeed.
What challenges do you encounter in your role as a pre-health advisor?
One challenge that I have encountered involves emphasizing the need for students to be involved in health-related activities and organizations throughout their college career. It’s not only important during senior year in college, but even as far back as high school – all in an effort to prove they have a life-long goal to pursue a career in the health professions. Another challenge is encouraging pre-health students to regularly attend academic drills and preparation activities that help them to strengthen their knowledge base and foundation.
What role do post-baccalaureate programs play in a pre-health student’s career?
Post-baccalaureate programs are designed to help pre-health students improve their undergraduate records and profile for admission into professional school. The Hampton University Medical Science Program is a post-baccalaureate, pre-health program that admits at least 20 students per year. The Medical Science Program provides academic and credentials enhancement for pre-health, graduate students from Hampton and other accredited institutions who desire to pursue a career in medicine, dentistry or the allied-health professions. Hampton University Medical Science Program
What are your Top 5 Do’s for pre-health students?
1. Find a knowledgeable mentor in high school or during freshman year in college
2. Connect and try to spend a lot of time with students who have similar goals of attending medical or dental school
3. Participate in volunteer, health-related and community-based events to learn more about yourself and your affinity for helping others
4. Speak with current medical/dental/veterinary/podiatric school students, or visit those schools if they have an Open House event to get a better idea about the admission requirements and student expectations
5. Learn how to manage your time wisely and effectively by creating and sticking to a manageable schedule.
What are your Top 5 Don’t(s) for pre-health students?
1. DO NOT wait until your junior or senior years to decide to apply to any of the health professions schools
2. DO NOT avoid the Pre-health Office/Advisor at your institution because they are there to help you achieve your life-long goals
3. DO NOT attempt to take the MCAT or DAT without properly preparing for months (sometimes years) in advance
4. DO NOT frequently miss meetings with advisors, mentors and peers because it will give the impression that you are not serious
5. DO NOT perform poorly in the required prerequisite classes because grade point averages (GPA) weigh heavily in the medical, dental and allied-health professions school admission process