Alumni and friends of the Colgate community came to campus to share their global health care experiences with students on Oct. 20 and 21 during the semi-annual Michael J. Wolk ’60 MD Conference on Medical Education. Organized by the Center for Career Services, the conference allowed students to engage with health care professionals and organizations in order to better understand the many career paths after Colgate.
Theodore A. Bass ’72 gave the weekend’s keynote address, “A Life in Medicine, 40 Years and Beyond.” An interventional cardiologist, Bass highlighted the ways in which the medical field has changed in his 40 years of practice. For example, he has worked with balloon catheters and stents throughout his career. The technology was invented as Bass entered the medical field in 1977 and has developed extensively in his time as a clinician.
Though advances in technology have helped him to treat patients, his philosophy for providing care has not changed. “The assignment for academic clinicians has always been threefold,” he said. “It’s consisted of clinical care, teaching the next generation of physicians, and research, with the goal to provide better patient care.”
One way that the medical field has developed to provide better patient care is through better record keeping and the collection of data. By looking at all of the variables that might affect a patient’s health, physicians can provide more personalized care. Bass emphasized the ways that his Colgate education has helped him to better understand his patients.
“As physicians, you’ll find there is so much information out there, that you’ll have to recall your liberal arts courses to ask yourself what’s important and what’s not,” he advised students.
Throughout the conference, students attended panels including “Medical School Admissions: A View from the Other Side of the Table,” “A Day in the Life of Medical Students,” and panels of physicians and health care professionals from various specialties. Panelists informed students of the many paths that they can take after graduation and the ways that their paths may change throughout their careers.
Emily Zlotnick ’18, an environmental studies major and biology minor on the pre-medicine track, plans on going to medical school after working at a community health center or public health organization after graduation. She said that the conference helped her to solidify her post-graduation goals. “I’ve really begun to notice the need for more public health providers who are also physicians as the future of medicine shifts from intervention to more preventive population-based care,” she said. “It was exciting to hear that my passions will hopefully be put to good use one day.”
Colgate supports pre-health students in a variety of ways. Colgate’s Health Science Advising works with students from their first year to provide information about professional school requirements and application. Students work with the committee of advisers to meet academic requirements and find summer work opportunities to make their applications as strong as possible. As part of the Health and Wellness Network, alumni work with current students to create mentorship opportunities. The Wolk conference has brought members of the network back to campus to share their experiences since the inaugural event in 2006.