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Partnership connects students to physicians

A new partnership between the University and Texas Health Resources offers undergraduates pursuing medical careers a unique opportunity to experience a physician’s work firsthand.

Begun in spring 2015 as a pilot project, the Pre-Medical Student Preceptorship Program launched this fall and pairs high-achieving students with physician-mentors in a hospital setting. The students participate in a six-week, for-credit course, shadowing physicians at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital in the operating room and in patient settings.

Participants analyze medical literature and present case studies to their physician-mentors for critique. They also meet with UTA faculty members to evaluate, discuss, and enhance their clinical experience.

“Not many pre-med students get this kind of exposure before medical school,” says Joseph Balaban, a biochemistry major who was part of the pilot program. “One day we’d be working in the office, another day we’d go to the OR. That excitement of being able to do something new every day definitely had me hooked and strengthened my resolve to go to medical school.”

Joseph Borrelli Jr., an orthopedic surgeon at Texas Health Arlington Memorial, worked closely with UTA leaders to establish the program.

“It’s critical for students to know early on how important it is that they learn the sacrifices, the commitment that we make,” Dr. Borrelli says. “They also see what a positive interaction health care is. We spend a great deal of time helping our patients, treating our patients, and bonding with our patients.”

Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the United States.

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