The future of health care starts here [VIDEO]

The second group of students arrived this week for USF Health’s SELECT MD program, which chooses medical students based on criteria beyond the traditional science GPA and MCAT scores.

At 44 strong, the SELECT cohort of the Morsani College of Medicine Class of 2016 is more than double that of last year’s inaugural group of 19.  They emerged from 1,100 applicants interested in SELECT as among the best matches for the program, which seeks students with high emotional intelligence, including the empathy, creativity and passion to change patient care, the health of communities and the medical profession.  


At the USF Health CAMLS Virtual Patient Care Center, incoming SELECT MD student Kristian Johnson, left, interviews standardized patient Alicia Menzies during an exercise that draws upon the principles of emotional intelligence. Observing in the background are student Peter Hwu and Dr. Kristan Bresnan of the Lehigh Valley Health Network.

 SELECT is USF Health’s physician leadership program in partnership with Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, PA.  Students spend their first two years of medical school at USF in Tampa, and then to Lehigh Valley for two years of clinical training.

The success of first-year year students in blazing the SELECT trail is evident in the stellar backgrounds of the new students, who come from such institutions as Stanford, Emory, Georgetown and the University of Pennsylvania.

“I’m extremely proud of all our accepted students, including the SELECT group,” said Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA, dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and CEO of USF Health.  “They are impressive young people who truly will change the face of healthcare. They are proof of what a success SELECT has already become.”

Jamie Dyal, Keith Groshans, SELECT, CAMLS, medical students

SELECT student Jamie Dyal,left, practices his injection technique (without actually dispensing medication) with assistance from fellow medical student Keith Groshans. The faculty-supervised orientation activity at CAMLS gave  students a chance to  practice basic skills used during health fairs.

Positive feedback from the inaugural group of students and faculty mentors led to SELECT’s accelerated growth over the last year, Alicia Monroe, MD, the college’s vice dean for educational affairs, said in a Tampa Tribune article this June.  Eventually, the college expects to admit 56 SELECT students a year, in addition to a core medical class of 120 students. Dr. Monroe said

The SELECT program’s emphasis on emotional intelligence and how it relates to effective leadership appealed to Kristian Johnson, 25, of Eagleville, PA.  Johnson organized and participated in an NYU student volunteer relief and clean-up effort along the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina, and ran the New York City Marathon to raise money for cancer research.

“SELECT was exactly what I was looking for,” Johnson said. “I believe it’s very important for physicians to be able to put themselves in their patients’ shoes and understand the challenges people face in negotiating the healthcare system.  To be an effective leader you need to connect with your patients and the team you work with.”

SELECT, Nick James, Rachel Snow, medical students, CAMLS, Prologue 1

SELECT students Nick James and Rachel Snow at one of the blood glucose monitoring stations.

Johnson conducted research in interventional radiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC for more than two years and for a summer at Stanford Medical Center. But, she has also worked several summers as a physical therapy aide and nursing assistant to help pay for her education.

“These are tough jobs that often go unnoticed, but having had that experience gives me a better perspective about the importance of every member of the healthcare team.”

In addition to Johnson, who holds an interdisciplinary MS degree in medical science from USF, the second class of SELECT students includes:

  • Jamie Dyal, 26, of Sarasota, did his undergraduate work at Stanford University and recently completed a master’s degree in bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania. His honors thesis explored factors that affect the end-of-life decision making and medical care of terminally ill physicians. Dyal has made several clinical service mission trips to Ghana and Uganda, Africa.
  • Elizabeth Ciaravino, 23, a Georgetown University graduate who grew up in Tampa, is trilingual (English, Spanish and Italian).  Ciaravino was an American Cancer Society Fellow in Dr. Daniel Sullivan’s research laboratory at Moffitt Cancer Center. She has served as a reading and writing tutor in Washington, DC schools, helped set up mobile medical clinics for health screenings on a medical mission trip to Costa Rica, and painted houses and planted sustainable gardens as a volunteer in the Dominican Republic.
  • Michael Goodwin, 21, who grew up in Allentown, PA, has a bachelors’s degree in physics from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He worked in radiation oncology research at University of Pennsylvania Hospital to help design a new laser delivery apparatus. Fluent in sign language, Goodwin has worked as both a Special Olympics and hospice volunteer.


Elizabeth Ciaravino, SELECT, medical students, Class of 2016, Prologue

New student Elizabeth Ciaravino in one of the standardized patient exam rooms at USF Health CAMLS.

 They all echo Johnson’s enthusiasm about following in the footsteps of the first class – the SELECT pioneers who will help to mentor the new students along with faculty.  And, as they integrate into the core Class of 2016, they are eager to leave their own imprint.

“I’d hope we can take the best of SELECT and build upon the great foundation that has been created for us,” Johnson said.

SELECT MD, Class of 2016, CAMLS, orientation, Prologue 1

The 44 SELECT MD students in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine’s Class of 2016 emerged from 1,100 applicants.

CAMLS, SELECT, medical students, Prologue 1

Incoming SELECT medical students toured USF Health CAMLS.

 – Photos and Video by Eric Younghans, USF Health Communications