Alumni Stories: Matthew Megill ’00, Missionary Physician in Niger

M.Megill_2

Photo courtesy of the Christian Union

Matthew Megill ’00 is a missionary physician at a Christian hospital in Niger. His work focuses on HIV prevention and treatment. The hospital  employs 30 to 40 full time staffers and cares for about 300 outpatient and 100 inpatients daily.

Megill was a Classics major and involved in various Christian groups in his time at Dartmouth. He spent an off-term volunteering at a hospital in Jordan and taught middle school students at an English-speaking school in Cairo, Egypt following graduation. He received his medical degree from Temple University in 2005.

Position: HIV Program Director at Galmi hospital

Please provide a two sentence description of what you do:

I am a missionary physician serving at a Christian hospital in Niger. As HIV Program Director, I head HIV services, which covers screening, treatment, and outreach.

What is most satisfying about your current work?

I love to see our patients get better on ARVs (anti-retroviral medications). In 2012, we screened over 22,000 patients for HIV and follow about 600 on ARVs.

What’s the best way to enter your field? Any essential elements of preparation?

Medical school is pretty linear. Missions preparation involves quite a bit of concurrent screening and preparation as well.

What advice would you give to others seeking opportunities in this field?

Read widely and have a strong intellectual appetite.

How has Dartmouth supported you in your career development?

Dartmouth was a wonderful stepping stone.

Trends in Medical School Enrollment

M.Megill_2Interested in a career in medicine?  You’re in luck – according to a recent news release by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), U.S. medical schools are on track to increase enrollment 30 percent from 2002 to 2017, a goal that AAMC had called for in 2006 in order to meet the medical demands of aging baby-boomers.  AAMC has projected that there will be a shortage of 90,000 primary care and specialty doctors in the U.S. by 2020.

The news was not all positive, however, as federal funding for residency positions has remained stagnant.  According to AAMC President and CEO Darrell Kirch, this is a problem because students studying medicine are required to complete these training programs in order to become practicing physicians.  Congress’s failure to increase funding for residency programs has caused the enrollment increases at medical schools to have only limited effectiveness at increasing the number of practicing physicians.

Given the highly competitive nature of medical school admissions, how can you best prepare yourself for acceptance?  Check out these trends in medical school admissions for some helpful hints:

1. Medical schools are implementing holistic review

While medical schools traditionally relied on GPA and MCAT scores to evaluate applicants, new research that found MCAT scores highly correlated to test takers’ race, gender and socioeconomic background has caused schools to re-think the way they review applications.  Groups like the AAMC have promoted holistic review processes where applicants’ intellectual achievement, employment experience, personal background, community service and leadership qualities, among other intangibles, are evaluated as well.   According to a recent article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, an early proponent of holistic review, saw its 2012 entering class GPA and MCAT scores rise to 3.66 and 33.62 from 3.57 and 31.68, while students underrepresented in medicine rose to 20% from 12%.

Take away: Get involved in community programs and volunteer groups that match with your interests, especially if they are relevant to your future career in medicine. Think about attending events run by Globemed, a student group that addresses global health inequity, becoming involved in Dartmouth’s Emergency Medical Services, or volunteering at events run by the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical School in order to round out your classroom interests with relevant extracurricular programs.

2. “Early assurance” programs are expanding

Schools like Dartmouth, Georgetown, Northwestern and Tufts, offer undergraduate students a chance to apply to their affiliated medical schools as rising juniors.  The goal of such programs is to allow students a chance to broaden the scope of their college academic pursuits and avoid the substantial time and energy investment students usually make studying for the MCAT exam.  Dartmouth began offering an early assurance program to Geisel in 2012-2013 and extended admission to five members of the class of 2014 through the program.

Take away: If you are sure you want to pursue a career in medicine, check out Dartmouth and other programs that offer early assurance admission as a way to reduce stress during your senior year and avoid preparation for the MCAT exam.

3. More students are taking time off before medical school

80 percent of Dartmouth students take at least one year off before attending medical school, a percentage that pre-health advisor Sarah Berger said she expects to see grow in coming years. Some students pursue academic programs to help round out their medical school applications or gain further research and lab experience, while others take time off to pursue opportunities unrelated to medicine, Berger said.

Take away: If you know you want to attend medical school, think about whether it would be helpful to take a year or more off.  This time might contribute to stronger professional skills that you can list on your application, or it might help you narrow the focus of your medical studies.

Looking for further advice about pre-health academic advising? Visit Berger at the student advising offices located on the first floor of Baker-Berry library or her colleague, Lee Witters, at his office in the Life Sciences Center.  Career services can help you to navigate your search for off-term or post-graduate internships and fellowships related to health, but see Berger and Witters for specific MCAT test preparation practice or pre-health academic planning.

2/28 & 3/1 Tuck Conference on the Power of Incentives (Apply Now!)

Apply now to attend. Applications due 2/13.

 

Every year, MBA students at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business organize and host a conference that examines the impact of a selected initiative on business and society. This year, the conference examines the influence that incentives can play in improving the quality of life across sectors — from healthcare and education to clean energy and social change.

The conference organizers have graciously offered up to 30 undergraduates the opportunity to attend the conference for free. The application process for an invitation is simple — review the conference website, and tell us:

  • Why you want to attend,
  • What you hope to gain from the experience,
  • And how you hope to connect what you learn to your career.To apply, click here.

All applications are due by Wednesday, February 13. Invites will be issued by February 20. (If you have to miss a session or two during class, that’s okay!)

 

Alumni Conversations: Garrett Simpson ’11, Product Operations Fellow at PharmaSecure (India)

Position: Product Operations Fellow at PharmaSecurePhoto of Garrett Simpson '11 on the job in India

Location: New Delhi, India

Short description of what you do: As PharmaSecure is still a young company, I’ve been helping out with a variety of things. My main responsibilities are supporting the product development team by defining requirements for new products and overseeing their development, data analysis, and monitoring of current products.

Degree at Dartmouth: Bachelor’s of Engineering focusing in Mechanical Engineering

1. What is most satisfying about your current work?

The general work environment and the people I work with — the organization is very flat, and I’ve gained some great friends and mentors during my time here.

2. What’s the best way to enter your field? Any essential elements of preparation? 

Networking — I audited a Tuck class my senior year, Intro to Entrepreneurship, and met the CEO (Nathan Sigworth ’07) after a class in which he gave a guest lecture. Ten months later I Facebook messaged him out of the blue during a week of intense job searching, asking him if there were any internships or fellowships available and luckily there were!

3. What advice would you give to others seeking opportunities in this field?

Reach out to and network with alumni. There are so many amazing people, and they will want to help you.  There are some useful job sites/lists that are more geared toward social enterprise as well, like social-enterprise-jobs@googlegroups.com.

5. How has Dartmouth supported you in your career development?

Dartmouth’s Network is truly amazing.  I’ve only just started out on my career more or less, with just a handful of internships under my belt, but all of my gainful employment post-graduation has been the direct result of networking with Dartmouth alumni.  As I’m starting to look for my next step, classmates a few years older than me have given great advice on how to frame my job search in a way that will help me clarify my career goals.

Global Health Corp: Program & Operations Internship (Interim/Winter in NYC)

Interested in public health? Seeking an internship in New York over Interim and Winter break?
The Global Health Corps aims to mobilize a global community of emerging leaders to work in public health and build the movement for health equity.

The Global Health Corps is seeking 5 creative, well-organized, hard-working interns to support the programming and operations of the 2012-2013 Fellowship. Interns will work closely with the CEO, Vice President of Operations, Vice President of Programs, Operations Associate and regional Program Managers, and will gain a first-hand understanding of the day to day programming and operations of a young entrepreneurial non-profit.

For more information and application instructions, click here.

2012-2013 Global Health Corps Fellowship – DEADLINE: 2/17/2012

2012 – 2013 GLOBAL HEALTH CORPS FELLOWSHIP – DEADLINE: 2/17/2012

Positions are available in Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, and the USA. For each placement, two fellows are selected: One in-country fellow (citizen of the placement country), and one international fellow (US citizens for placements in Africa; any non-US citizen for placements in the US).

Learn more about this great opportunity by visiting the website at: http://ghcorps.org/apply/info

 

Research Assistant- Internship Opportunity!

Interested in health and medecine for a career?  Apply for a full-time research assistant position at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, New York.  The research assistant will have the opportunity to study new approaches to thrombosis prevention in patients undergoing joint replacement surgery.  The program is interested in the research assistant to begin in January if possible, and continue through June! 

If you are interested in applying, contact Anne R. Bass, MD. at BassA@hss.edu.