January 21, 2020

Providing an open forum: Medical Alumni Association programs impact every level of education

The Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Medical Alumni Association hosted its 16th and final Medical Specialty Lunch of the 2019-2020 academic year last week. The session featured Associate Professor of Ophthalmology Anju Goyal, M.D., Res. ’04.

“Work hard, be well-rounded and follow your passion,” Dr. Goyal told the crowd of first-year medical students who gathered in Scott Hall’s Room 1328 for a 45-minute discussion with the physician.

Anju Goyal MD
Associate Professor Anju Goyal, M.D., talks Ophthalmology at the Jan. 15 Medical Specialty Luncheon hosted by the Medical Alumni Association.

The association began hosting the lunch series in 2012. Since then, 3,160 students have attended a luncheon, including more than 600 this year. In addition, 245 alumni, faculty and residents have participated in 104 lunches.

“I really appreciate all of the presenters who take the time out of their day to come and share about their specialties,” said medical student Colin Lesoski. “It really gives M1s and M2s an early insight into all of the different opportunities that are in the medical field.”

Practicing physicians like Dr. Goyal speak on their experience, offer suggestions to students and answer questions students have about the specialty, including work-life balance, why the physicians chose their field and how to increase the chance of landing a residency in their chosen specialty.

“The Wayne students have a lot of camaraderie, and it makes them stronger, together,” Dr. Goyal added.

The Medical Alumni Association added Learning Community Dinners to its resource roster in 2018. Since then, 263 students have attended 10 dinners with 50 alumni and faculty.

Diane Puhl is executive director of the Medical Alumni Association.

“As Dr. Goyal mentioned, and as I learned from attending an Association of American Medical Colleges convention for alumni and development professionals last year, we have a much more robust alumni/student engagement program than other medical schools,” Puhl said. “Because our medical students focus on community engagement and volunteerism when they are here, it makes sense that when they become alums they are more willing to volunteer when asked.”

The WSU School of Medicine is especially committed to providing students strategic alumni engagement opportunities at every level of their medical education, she added.

“These specialty lunches had a significant impact on my decision-making process for my future specialty. Having the open forum with students and faculty involved in the field was a great help. Much appreciated,” said medical student Jesse Haddad.

Medical Alumni Association programming opportunities include:

  • Year One – Medical Specialty Lunches, Learning Community Dinners and physician shadowing
  • Year Two – Medical Specialty Lunches, Learning Community Dinners, Dinner with a Doc and physician shadowing
  • Year Three – Help our Students Travel, Dinner with a Doc and mentoring
  • Year Four - Help our Students Travel, Dinner with a Doc and mentoring

For more information on resources provided by the Office of Alumni Affairs, visit https://alumni.med.wayne.edu/engage