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Health care requires more than just doctors

| Monday, February 17, 2014

As a result of the particular challenges pre-medicine majors face, these students are often viewed as some of the most ambitious students on campus. I don’t disagree. Unfortunately, the flip side is that students who drop pre-medicine or do not decide to go to medical school are too often seen as “not good enough.”

I am saddened to think there are former pre-medicine students who were pushed out of pursuing a health-care career because they saw a track in the sciences as a medical-school-or-bust degree. However, this issue permeates the administrative level, emphasizing our narrow view of health-care provision. There is extensive support for pre-medicine students and a severe lack of support for students pursuing health-care careers outside of medical school. Deceivingly, though, the pre-professional major, the “Preparing for Health Professions” class and the Center for Health Sciences Advising nominally appear to support these students.

I understand that if there isn’t a significant demand for health-care advising outside of pre-medicine students, then there won’t be as many resources available. However, if Notre Dame claims to support students pursuing “health professions,” it is fair to expect support and even encouragement from both fellow students and administrators for students pursuing other careers in the health care field.

There is a growing shift that will hopefully expand Notre Dame’s support for students interested in health care beyond pre-medicine. At the graduate level, this will be the second year for the Master of Science in Global Health program at the Eck Institute. “U.S. Healthcare Policy and Poverty,” a recently added seminar within the Center for Social Concerns, is expanding students’ ideas of health care into policy. Nationally, the 2015 MCAT will expand pre-medicine students’ exposure to liberal arts classes, hopefully broadening the perception of healthcare beyond the physician-patient relationship.

I do not intend to diminish the role of physicians in health-care or pre-medicine majors at Notre Dame. These are integral people who shape much of the health-care environment, but I want to invite students and staff to consider emerging health-care careers and to respect the function of these jobs, both at Notre Dame and within the health-care system.

Emily Mediate
Lyons Hall
Feb. 16

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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