I’m keeping this post for the period leading up the Match. It shows how MSIH helps its student during that period. Should be published around end of February, beginning of March.
With a plane ticket in his pocket and just three days until a flight to India, Aaron Dobie had already interviewed for residency at 10 hospitals across the US. He more or less knew his residency ranking order as he prepared for the last few months of medical school, far from home.
Dobie, 27, from Bakersfield, California had been studying medicine at the Medical School for International Health (MSIH) at Ben-Gurion University in Israel, a small, boutique school that weaves Global Health studies into the fabric of its MD program.
“I had a good idea where I’d be going for residency,” recounts Dobie. “I certainly didn’t expect another interview.”
His email chimed as he was packing for yet another trip abroad; studying medicine at MSIH meant regular transcontinental flights. During his four years at the school, he’d visited nine countries.
Science and Humanism
With a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley in Geography, Aaron Dobie’s decision to study medicine emerged after several classes he took in International Development and Economics. During his studies, he realized that medicine would be his perfect combination of science and humanism – practiced properly, it would give him tools to make his contribution to repairing a severely damaged world.
“I learned about MISH from an announcement I received at Berkeley,” he explains. “I realized that attending a school that combines an MD with global health in a foreign country was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
The last-minute new email was from the Medicine-Pediatrics Residency Program Director at Tulane in New Orleans, the place that Aaron dreamed of doing his residency. The Director wanted to interview him the following week.
“It’s the kind of thing you get used to working globally,” explains Dobie. “You learn to expect the unexpected and find a way to work with it.”
The final year of the MSIH MD program takes place mostly outside Israel. For four months students take electives at affiliated US hospitals before traveling to one of several international sites in resource-scarce countries. There, students embark on a cross-cultural clinical experience that exposes them to the medical realities of that country. Many refer to the clerkship as a life-changing experience.
When the late interview came through, Aaron called MSIH in Israel to explain he’d need to delay his trip to India.
Cooperation of the School
“The school administration is also accustomed to the vagaries of working globally,” he explained. “They were very helpful and understanding and we pushed back my start date in India. They agreed that I could make up the time during weekends and Passover.”
Dobie is hugely enthusiastic about his time at MSIH, as he reflects on his three years living in Israel:
“In my opinion, as equally valuable as the great students and global health curriculum is the city we studied in, Beer Sheva. It is a melting pot of cultures: Israelis, Ethiopians, Eritreans, the Sudanese, Moroccans, Israeli Arabs, Russians, Bedouins, Americans, Hungarians, and many others are all heard and seen on the streets everyday. Studying in a country with universal health care means you run across all of these peoples in the hospital. It is a stimulating way to study clinical medicine and also forces one to consider the ever present questions of global health inequity seen in our neighborhoods, cities and countries around the world.”
The student body is also eclectic, with many different identities, backgrounds and points of view.
“My first year summer break,” explains Aaron, “I spent with my classmate at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit for Infectious Disease in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam…I would have never had that opportunity had Seth and I not met at MSIH.”
In the end, Aaron Dobie went to India and did his eight week stint.
A week after his return to MSIH he learned he’d matched at Tulane.
“I couldn’t have done it without MSIH’s consideration and understanding of my situation,” he admits.