about the nationally recognized "Scribe" program
will impart this Art by precept, by lecture and by every mode of teaching.
. . according to The Law of Medicine.
Nearly 18,500 applications were filed at seven Texas medical schools in
1997--all vying for only 1,150 slots.
filled nearly 40--an acceptance rate and bill of health that is almost
two times the national average.
are really not what it's all about," said Biology Prof. Phil Hartman,
prehealth professions committee chairman."What we plug very highly is
that we can deliver three things: a quality, rigorous education, personalized
context and extracurricular activities like the observation program, things
that don't make it into the transcript but are commodities when one goes
a student whose"extracurricular" work includes a position in patient services
at Harris Methodist Hospital, describes the value of TCU's premed efforts
a bit differently.
student has got to be into everything and succeed at everything if he
or she wants to get into medical school," he said."They (medical schools)
want you to walk on water."
to be well-prepared, said Dr. Barbara Waller, associate dean of student
affairs at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
adds, TCU students are.
excellent students from TCU. . . and certainly have no concerns about
the kind of education they get from TCU."
WANG '97 remembers the smells.
cold, which didn't chill the odor of cauterized blood vessels but did
seep past the paper slippers before settling deep into her scrub-clad
remembers the fatigue. Standing in one spot for four hours, focusing intently
on a gaping hole in a living person will do that to you. The oldies radio
playing in the background helped a bit, as did the chatter of the nurses
and doctors who were removing the troublesome gall bladder.
her first surgical observation was over the then-premed freshman was finally
it on TV but to actually be there was really amazing," said Wang, now
a first-year med student at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas."I
had thought about it in theory, but being there and watching the doctors
perform surgery made it a reality, gave me a sense of what it would really
go away thinking that I want to do surgery, but I did know then that I
wanted to be a doctor."
most students say they figure out during"observations," opportunities
for students to shadow doctors during surgery, in the emergency room,
with a family practice physician or maybe in an oncology unit. Dr. Stan
Speegle, one of 10 Harris Methodist Hospital emergency room doctors who
work with observers, says students need to have that kind of experience
before embarking on a life-long career path. "These students see a lot
of illness and how it's dealt with," he said."They know ahead of time
if they can handle taking care of sick people or not."
the pulse of the premed program, these O.R.-type experiences throb from
what may be the heart of the premed track, Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED),
the pre-health professions honor society that has historically nurtured
some of the brightest and best doctors in the country. And TCU's Texas
Zeta chapter is among the most-accomplished in the state in providing
the practical experience often lacking in an undergraduate education,
giving students the chance to stand side by side and talk face to face
with practicing physicians--sort of a litmus test for future Marcus Welbys.
(The chapter is also among the most active. Two years of student planning
and undergraduate elbow grease brought some 400 AED scholars from around
the country to Fort Worth for the TCU-sponsored national convention in
TCU's AED adviser, said the extracurricular activities become part of
the total package presented at medical school entrance interviews.
to think our students help, rather than hurt themselves during the interview,"
he said."Strong experiences like the observations or the"scribe" program
(see story on page 9) and their activities with AED help them learn how
to interact and communicate. We do some good things that round them out."
'96 agrees, for profound reasons.
from Duke University in 1991 with a business degree, a new wife and plans
for a family, he found his place in the Fort Worth banking industry.
there was the accident. Suddenly widowed and emotionally distraught, the
former national merit scholar packed up his gear and went on a two-month,
17,000-mile search for meaning that took him east to Maine, north to Alaska
and south to California before landing at TCU's door with a dream.
guidance, the future pediatrician, then 26, punched out the medical school
prerequisites in two years, took the Medical College Admissions Test and
began applying. But because of his less-than-stellar GPA from Duke, the
nontraditional applicant didn't look that great. That's where TCU's premed
reputation and Hartman's expertise came in.
into the school of my choice was in large part due to Phil's guidance
and assistance," said Bonnell, now in his second year at Baylor College
of Medicine in Houston."It was his relationships with the deans of the
medical schools that made the difference. If they only took a cursory
look, my application would go in trash. He (Hartman) made sure through
his contacts that they took a little harder look." As this year's AED
President Paul Whatley pointed out, the first half of the premed track
lets students know what they must do to maximize their chances of getting
into med school. "The other half," said the senior who has already been
invited to four medical schools,"takes you past acceptance, past med school
and paints a realistic picture of what it will be like after you start
ANN BLOCK '81 didn't begin her practice until 1990, but she was intimately
acquainted with illness long before then. Daughter Michelle, then 12,
was sick and doctors, she said, were making it worse. After her anger
cooled into determination, the full-time mother decided her job description
included finding out what would heal her daughter--even if that meant
becoming a 37-year-old student.
Now a successful
osteopathic physician and author with two new books due out, Block's discoveries
about treating children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
are attracting patients from around the globe at a rate of about 50 a
week. They come because they want to treat their child's learning problems
discovered that ADHD is generally caused by a combination of allergies,
dietary and nutrition problems and learning differences. In her Hurst
office she helps families discover what causes the difficulty and develops
programs to overcome it. "What I do is rather unique because rather than
just treating symptoms with drugs, I try to find underlying reasons and
try to treat that," she said.
project is a school, opening in the fall, where ADHD children can come
and learn how to learn before returning to mainstream schools. It's an
extension of the home training program she developed for parents to help
their children become better learners.
in schools requires the use of the left brain, the logical side, and using
eyes and ears to learn," she said."These children use the right, or creative
side, of their brain and their hands for learning, so they fiddle with
stuff, mess with things, bother other children, because that's just how
they learn. They're doing the best they can with what they've got, it's
just that no one has taught them a better way."
she offers thousands of children today nearly ruptured her first semester
at TCU. An initial stab at biology produced a failed exam; a caring professor
convinced her it was only a little prick and dusted off the discouragement.
give it a chance, you've got nothing to lose, so take the next test,"
she said."He really is the reason I stayed. I did fine after that."
BROTHERTON '78, an orthopaedic doctor and team surgeon for TCU athletes
for 11 years, came back to Fort Worth after medical school so he could
work with the institution that gave him more than a leg-up for medical
school. In addition to doctoring the dancers at TCU and the Fort Worth
Dallas Ballet, and the cowboys who compete at the Southwestern Exposition
and Livestock Show in Fort Worth, Brotherton spends his days patching
together problems like the foot starting quarterback Max Knake broke while
running ropes on the first day of practice in 1994, the year he helped
lead the team to the Independence Bowl. After surgery, Brotherton, a former
bullrider and TCU wrestler, helped Knake through rehab, getting him back
on the field by the first game. Knake, now a backup quarterback with the
Dallas Cowboys, was named Southwest Conference Offensive player of the
year that season.
"I had (coach)
Pat Sullivan on the phone, calling me Sunday night, and he's about to
cry--it's the most emotion I've ever heard out of him--and he's saying
Doc, I've gotta have this one,'" Brotherton said, laughing."So we got
(Knake) in, stuck a screw in his foot and he didn't miss a play. He missed
a few two-a-days (practices), but he didn't miss a game."
said his years at TCU also prepared him in unexpected ways, like the medical
history class that led to his later involvement on the board of the Presbyterian
Night Shelter."It was the first time I really ever clued in to the fact
that not everybody was disadvantaged because it was their fault," he said."It
was an eye-opening experience."
was a theater class that introduced him to a world in which he now volunteers
as president of the board of Fort Worth's Casa Manana theater."You'll
be well-prepared in the sciences but being a liberal arts school. . .
. some of the most valuable things to me were not premed courses."
ROBINSON '84, a pathologist and University of California at Irvine
assistant professor for six years, recalls that when he headed to Vanderbilt's
medical school in 1984, he was quite apprehensive.
how, coming from TCU, was I going to compete with people from schools
like Harvard and Stanford," he said."But I was pleasantly surprised to
discover early on that I was very prepared, and maybe even more so than
Robinson's work today may one day save millions of lives. It's work that
actually began in Bolivia several years ago when researchers began collecting
indigenous plants for TCU chemistry Prof. Manfred Reinecke. Reinecke,
premed chairman from 1974-91, extracted chemical compounds from the plants
and shipped them to Robinson's California lab where they were tested for
their ability to inhibit one of the growth stages of HIV, the virus that
Of the more
than 500 extracts taken from 100 different plants, five had potent application
in the fight against AIDS. This year, those five were used as lead compounds
to create six new compounds that are more powerful than anything they
isolated from the plants.
moving toward better and better drugs and better and better chemicals
that might go into people," Robinson said.
Such a possibility
generates a great deal of excitement in the friendly pathologist who says
he's"absolutely hooked on biomedical research." "There's nothing like
working in a field that at any point in time I could make a discovery
that could heal people," he said.
for success is different for every premed student. For Laila Wang, it
was the emotion of the operating room that confirmed her choice to be
a doctor. Ed Robinson's was the assurance that he was as well-prepared
for medical school as his Ivy League colleagues.
all seem to need that dose of reality, those extra steps beyond organic
chemistry or genetic engineering.
what the premed track delivers.
"As a freshman,
I saw a lady die on the operating table," said sophomore Stephanie Mills,
who has taken part in at least 15 observations."It's just a shock, but
you'll have to deal with it in your career."
said biology sophomore Matt Barfield, you get to deal with joy, too. "I
got to tell this lady that she was pregnant," he recalled, eyes gleaming."She'd
been trying for a long time and was really, really happy about it.
expand perspective, reminding students that they aren't going to spend
the rest of their life in a lecture hall, studying DNA synthesis, Whatley
of this program, I always know there's something better that I'm going
recognized "scribe" program at the Harris Methodist Hospital emergency
room puts TCU students in the middle of the action while they give doctors
the write stuff.
That's why emergency room physician Elliott Trotter called TCU three years
ago, asking for premed students who might want to keep charts for him.
Trotter says, laughing."I have extremely poor handwriting and thought
I could provide some students with jobs in the hospital and get some much
better charts at the same time."
has evolved into a unique"scribe" program that is spreading to hospitals
around the nation. It provides on-the-job training for students with medical
ambitions and, of course, decent penmanship.
It's a symbiotic
relationship, Trotter said, one that benefits the doctor, the patients
and the student workers, all 20 of whom are hired by the emergency room
doctors to keep track of the charts.
the scribes do. Write it all down. Track down x-rays or lab reports. Remind
the doctors who is next, or what still needs to be done. The scribes become
organizational orderlies for doctors who must juggle rooms full of emergency
does speed up the process," said Bert Chauveaux, an emergency room physician
who admits that he wasn't very excited about the program at first."They
really smooth things out so we can spend more time with the patients.
And this way the charts are much better documents."
service is a nice side effect, Trotter said.
deal with the patients now," he said."I look them in the eye without fumbling
around with some chart. This way I give them immediate feedback since
I'm calling out things in the room for the scribe, they also hear what
they're saying. It makes for a more intimate situation."
'96, a full-time scribe who plans to enter medical school in the fall,
said the practical experience has been invaluable.
only learning about diseases and treatments," she said."I'm also learning
the doctors' thought processes, why they do or don't order tests or treatments.
I'm also getting clinical experience that you normally wouldn't get until
your third year in medical school."
And it seems
that Barriac isn't alone in her feelings.
40 scribes we've hired, we've only lost three to attrition," Trotter said."That's
an impressive thing to say about the dedication of these guys."
2,000 Frog physicians, dentists and veterinarians have measured their
pulses in the premed program since 1905. Here is just a sampling:
E. Taylor '60 admits it was nerve-racking to be among the first to
testify before the U.S. Senate in 1994 about the dangers of secondhand
smoke, but he still considers it one of the highlights of his 40-year
career in microcirculatory research."Of all the things I've done, I'm
most proud of that," he said of the chance to defend the ground-breaking
paper he compiled for the American Heart Association on the now well-documented
subject. That's a strong statement considering Taylor's other accomplishments:
In the fall the former math major was awarded the American Heart Association's
highest honor, the Research Achievement Award, for his discoveries in
how nutrients and oxygen are exchanged between blood and cells; he's published
seven books (one is considered the classic textbook on respiratory physiology)
and more than 700 scientific papers and abstracts; and as endowed chair
holder, professor and now chairman of the department of physiology at
the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, Taylor has been a
mentor for hundreds of students, 33 of whom earned their PhDs under him.
Sherwood Brown '85 (PhD '89) is an assistant professor in the department
of psychiatry at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He was awarded
a NARSAD Young Investigators Award of $50,000 to support his research
on schizophrenia and mood disorders.
(Marie) Le Holterman '80, Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University
of Illinois at Chicago, shares a pediatric surgery clinic with husband
Mark. The two are setting up a Microbiology and Immunology department
lab where they spend two days a week doing research in cellular immunology.
K. Coleman '53, president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross
and Blue Shield of Texas, Inc., has been elected to the company's board
of directors. He has served as president and CEO of BCBSTX since 1991
and has been with BCBSTX for over 20 years. Before joining the organization,
he was in private practice in Brownwood, specializing in general medicine
and surgery. In 1975, he was promoted to the position of Chief of Staff
at Brownwood Community hospital. He has received a number of awards for
his work in the federal Medicare program including an Award of Exceptional
Service (in fraud investigations) from the U.S. Government's Office of
internships, Kelly E. Helmick D.V.M. '88 is a third-year wildlife
and zoological animal resident of a combined master's and zoo residency
program at the University of Florida in Gainesville. She has also been
researching drug administration in exotic animals.
Probes '75, an expert in geriatric neuropsychiatry, is developing
a regional geriatric mental health initiative that uses distance-learning
technology to provide services to nursing homes in outlying areas. Active
in local nonprofit efforts, Probes spent time in Russia and Copenhagen
working for the International Red Cross and World Health Organization.
Murphy '76 limits his general dentistry practice to dentures in order
to allow more time for his other vocation, stage acting and directing
and producing films. His latest work, a '40s film noir spoof called Flowers
on a Moo Moo, will premier this year and be featured at a fall film festival
in Fort Worth.
Webb '79, a board certified anesthesiologist, works at the Fort Worth-based
Center for Assisted Reproduction, where his work includes research into
what impact anesthesia during surgical procedures has on the reproductive
processes. Dr. Jim Fox '64, an Austin plastic surgeon, continues his work
with Austin Smiles, a nonprofit organization he helped form that sends
medical teams to Mexico and Central America where they repair cleft lips
and palates for the poor.
years as a clinical psychiatrist and assistant administrator at Duke University
Hospital, Dr. Bruce Capehart '87 is now Director of Market Development
with Allegiance Healthcare Corporation where he is in charge of business
development and marketing for the health care services company.
Montgomery '73, a Dallas orthopaedic surgeon, served as the team physician
for the U.S. Olympic hockey and soccer teams in 1985-86, head physician
for the 1987 Olympic Festival, and in 1992, the head physician for the
entire summer Olympic team, some 1,200 athletes. Montgomery's knee-surgery
skills are renowned. Dr. Mark Redrow '80, is one of a 300 member team
of physicians with Texas Oncology who work frontline duty for cancer treatments.
His work includes clinical research trials and new treatments including
gene therapy in tumors.