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Information for NIH Pre-meds

Email from Elena Hernandez-Ramon regarding Pre-medical Program services, 3-17-2020 (updated 3-31-2020)

Dear all,

The Pre-Medical team at OITE will be providing advising support during these challenging times:

  1. One-on-one meetings: you can find new advising slots labeled as “Pre-Med(…) Virtual Meeting” with several OITE staff members on our online scheduler. You’ll receive an email with the link for the virtual session after you schedule your appointment. If you made this appointment for pre-med advising (both MD and MD/PhD applications), please fill out electronically the attached pre-med form and send it to your scheduled advisor by email before your appointment. If you have already sent this form in the past, you don’t need to do it again.  If you made this appointment for a mock interview, or if you are considering reapplying, please send your verified AMCAS. If you can, please remove the first page of that document before sending it. 
  2. Personal Statement Online Course: if you haven’t yet done so, please join the course to have access to materials and resources to help you write a strong medical school personal statement. The course is self-paced, we don’t grade you, and previous students have considered it useful. You may have more time these days to work on this important part of your application. Register: HERE
  3. Email: Please make sure you read the email sent by the NIH CIO and CIT Director regarding access to NIH email from Microsoft 365. If you CANNOT access your NIH email outside of work, please provide us with an email address where we can reach you by visiting and completing a short survey. We also encourage you to join the Online Personal Statement Prep Course for communication purposes, as we will be sending all the information to the NIH OITE Postbac listserv, personal emails for those who provided them, and the PSPC roster.
  4. Virtual Q&A Series: we will be holding a virtual series of Q&A sessions to answer questions about the medical school application, AMCAS and MCAT updates, and other general questions. It will meet every other week. We’ll offer a second series for MCAT strategy advice and continue with the Personal Statement Q&A series. The schedule for the next few weeks will be as follows.

Please not that ALL sessions are at 2 pm. When you register, you will be signed up for all the meetings of that series. You can attend one or more sessions:

  1. General Pre-Med and MD/PhD Q&A Series
    Register HERE
    Every other Friday starting March 20th (last scheduled session is on May 29th)

  2. MCAT Prep Strategies Q&A Series
    Every other Friday starting March 27th(last scheduled session is on May 22nd)

  3. Personal Statement Q&A Series
    Every Wednesday staring March 25th (except April 15th, last scheduled session is on May 27th)

Don’t feel obligated to join all of them; choose the ones that seem most useful to you.


I have received several emails with concerns about the interruption of volunteering (clinical and non-clinical) experiences, shadowing, research, etc., due to the Sars-Cov2 outbreak. First, I’d like to encourage you to reflect on the current situation and realize that this is probably the most important public health event of our lifetime. There are many lessons to learn, and many other opportunities to serve our communities without putting yourselves or others at risk.

Additionally, remember that everybody else in this country (and many other countries) is facing this situation and medical school admissions know that. You are not the only ones facing these challenges.

Other ideas that advisors are sharing to better prepare for the application process include:

  1. Read books that provide insight about being a doctor, applying to medical school, or learning about other health careers. Here some recommendations:
    1. Popular Medicine Books list for inspiration
    2. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
    3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
    4. Being Mortal
    5. When Breath Becomes Air
    6. The Emperor of All Maladies
    7. My Own Country
    8. Teeth: Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America
  1. Contact alumni medical students or physicians through the NIH Alumni database and LinkedIn. Shadowing may not be possible for a while, but it will be interesting to chat with them about their experiences as physicians, especially during this time.
  2. Learn more about the next step in your education: Surf through websites for medical schools in your home state (links to each of them are available here). Listen to the All Access Medical School Admissions podcast. Attend Virtual Fairs, virtual open houses, and other educational opportunities online
  3. Engage in free online learning opportunities, like this class about pandemics from Harvard or one about community change in public health from Johns Hopkins or essentials of global health from Yale.
  4. Keep taking good care of yourself! OITE is offering a number of resources for your wellbeing. Please see the OITE Wellness Webpage HERE.

 Wishing you the best during these uncertain times.

 Be well and take care of yourselves!

OITE Pre-Medical Team
Elena E Hernandez Ramon, MD, PhD.