Finding clinical electives in North America can sometimes be a difficult task. For Foreign Medical Students (FMGs) – studying far from home – it can be harder still. Whether you’re in Europe, Israel, or the Caribbean, it’s often very difficult for students to pinpoint which institutions are the best fit for their professional interests and future specialties. Getting accepted is yet another hurdle to overcome.
Through years of experience, utilizing connections with alumni, hospitals and institutions throughout the US, MSIH takes pride in the sophisticated infrastructure it has developed to assist students in finding electives.
“The first step of the process,” says Israel-based Electives Coordinator, Liora Coren, “is an interview with each student conducted by our senior faculty. During the interview, students are questioned about their interests, and advice proffered about where they should apply. Each and every student receives personal attention to make sure they’re properly guided.”
Liora also maintains a comprehensive database of hospitals, disciplines and contacts at hundreds of institutions around the US where students have taken electives in the past. The database is up-to-the-minute and carefully maintained.
Meanwhile, at the MSIH offices in New York City, Electives and Alumni Association Manager, Victoria King connects students with alumni who can guide them throughout the electives process, and help them find placements. “They don’t just find electives,” says Victoria. “They become mentors of the students and advise them about many aspects of their careers. It’s a testament to our school that so many alumni are prepared to go to such lengths to help current students.
“Of course, our connection with Columbia University can’t be ignored,” explains NY Office director, Lenore Taplitzky. “Of the 120 or so electives we need every year, about half of them are arranged through our 20-year connection with CU. We are hugely appreciative of the support of Columbia’s Dean of Students, Dr. Lisa Mellman, who holds annual Skype conferences with our students in Israel, explaining how to apply, where to apply, how to behave, and how best to manage timing.”
In addition to our connection with Columbia University, MSIH is affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. The School also maintains special connections with the Mayo Clinic and Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
The Global Health orientation of MSIH helps to place students in interesting and unusual settings.
“MSIH is a member of AAMCs Visiting Student Learning Opportunities (VSLO) program,” explains Liora Coren. VLSO merged two existing visiting student programs: the Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS) that focused exclusively on U.S. domestic away electives and the Global Health Learning Opportunities (GHLO) program that facilitated international mobility into the United States, from the United States to electives abroad, and from one non-U.S. location to another. “Being a member of VSLO opens many opportunities for our students.”
MSIH’s Israel office helps students complete visiting student elective applications, and provides all necessary certificates and documentation.
“Sometimes we even need to arrange for our legal departments to sign an MOU to allow a student to take an elective,” explains Liora. “We really go out of our way to help where we can.