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November 14, 2013

Medical school program at Bassett drawing hundreds of applicants

Bassett Medical center has become a sought after destination for aspiring medical students from across the country, thanks to a recent partnership with Columbia University.

“We formed a partnership with Columbia to develop a special track within the existing Columbia Medical School,” said Henry Weil, Assistant Dean for Education at Bassett Healthcare for Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons

Weil said that Bassett received interest from a number of medical schools, but ultimately decided to partner with Columbia University in New York City. The Columbia-Bassett Program began admitting students in 2010, and will graduate its first class next year.

The program has proved to be quite attractive, drawing between 700-971 applicants a year for just 10 slots. Every year, students apply from all 50 states and from over 200 colleges.

“The number of applicants per space is as high as any medical school in the United States,” said Weil.

Weil said that Columbia has been sending medical students to Bassett to do rotations since 1931. Indeed, prior to the establishment of the Columbia-Bassett program, five medical schools were sending students to Bassett.

Weil and Dr. Walter Franck, now Senior Associate Dean for the Bassett Affiliation at Columbia, saw the opportunity, however, to establish a program that would be based in Bassett Medical Center.

One of the reasons why Weil and Franck decided to pursue this is the nature of the Bassett Healthcare Network. 

Weil said that the Bassett Healthcare Network is an integrated environment, where doctors with a variety of specialties, as well as other healthcare providers, work for the same organization. Weil said that integrated environments like Bassett help to facilitate the sharing of goals and information and, by extension, help improve patient care.

“The idea of training students in an environment such as that was very appealing to us,” said Weil.

Weil also noted the quality of Bassett’s doctors, and there ability to teach.

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