SELECT student leaders: The future of healthcare

by Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA

At this time last year, 19 brave students arrived on the USF Health campus.

They were pioneers: the members of the inaugural class of the SELECT program at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

SELECT is our new physician leadership program, in partnership with the Lehigh Valley Health Network of Allentown, PA. Students spend the first two years of medical school here, and their next two 1,100 miles away, in Allentown.

If that’s not wacky enough, students are selected based on more than their high science GPAs and stellar MCAT scores. They also went through a rigorous interview process, designed with the Teleos Leadership Institute, in order to assess their emotional intelligence.

Imagine the response they must have gotten from friends: “You’re going to do what? Go to med school in two different states? Talking about WHAT? Emotional intelligence?” 

Well, it looks like time has proven the SELECT pioneers right.

 The interest in the SELECT program has expanded ten-fold and our new class has doubled:

  • Applicants showing interest in applying for SELECT: 1,100
  • Offers of acceptance: 85
  • Expected to enroll: 44
Elizabeth Ciaravino, SELECT medical student, Class of 2016

One of our new SELECT students, Elizabeth Ciaravino, on a mission trip in the Dominican Republic.

Our second-year SELECT students already have returned to campus; our new crop of SELECT students joins us this week.Just by their willingness to take this leap, the students of our inaugural class have demonstrated that they have the courage to innovate and experiment. That boldness will serve them well as they take on leadership roles in the years to come.

Over the summer, the inaugural class has worked on special projects across a broad spectrum. They have examined everything from how to practice values in medicine to how different genders and cultures approach end-of-life issues to how physicians can provide patients with better guidance about exercise. What ties those projects together is the fact that these are all issues they will deal with in the future.

 The success of our first-year students in blazing the SELECT trail is already evident as we look at our new SELECT students.

Our new students come from institutions such as Stanford, Emory, Georgetown and the University of Pennsylvania. One ran the New York City Marathon to raise money for cancer research. Another has painted houses in the Dominican Republic and helped set up mobile medical clinics in Costa Rica. Another worked in radiation oncology research to design a new laser delivery apparatus.

Kristian Johnson, NYC Marathon, SELECT medical student, Class of 2016

Another one of our new SELECT students, Kristian Johnson, raises her hands in the air during the New York City Marathon.

I am extremely proud of all our accepted students, and the members of the SELECT group are no exception. They are impressive young people who truly will change the face of healthcare. They are proof of what a success SELECT has already become.