August 13, 1999

Scholarships grant early clinical experience

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This year's Christie Scholars included (from left) Melody Knauf, Catherine Russell Linn, Erika Yamada, Erika Bono, and Emily Prough. (photo by Donna Jones Bailey)

Scholarships grant early clinical experience

Several Vanderbilt medical students received early, and valuable, clinical experience in pediatrics this summer through the Dr. Amos U. Christie Society scholarships and scholarships provided by the estate of the late Darlene Hoffman, a longtime supporter of Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

The seven scholars were offered a variety of clinical and laboratory research opportunities, including the opportunity to be placed in VUMC's pediatric and adolescent wards, clinics, basic science laboratories and pediatric offices. This summer, they each served two weeks in the Newborn Nursery, Pediatric Acute Care Clinic, Adolescent Service, and in a pediatric elective.

This year's Christie Society and Hoffman Scholars were first-year medical students Erika Bono, Melody Knauf, Catherine Russel Linn, Lindsay Mallard, Kristen Mol, and Emily Prough, along with second-year student Erika Yamada.

The Christie Society program was created in 1990 and honors Dr. Amos U. Christie, who was professor and chairman of the department of Pediatrics from 1943-1968. The Hoffman scholarships began in 1996.

"The application process is very competitive," said Dr. Harris D. Riley Jr., professor of Pediatrics and chairman of the Christie Society Summer Scholars Program. "The program's popularity has grown every year."

While shadowing the attending physicians, residents and more senior medical students who routinely provide care, the scholars also conducted their first diagnoses and helped construct case histories.

"It's a great experience because it gives first and second-year students some early clinical exposure," said second-year student Erika Bono. "You get to see a wide range of patients and scenarios that pediatricians are normally exposed to."

With such valuable early experience offered, it is no surprise that the awarding of Christie and Hoffman scholarships is so competitive.

"We would like very much to increase the number of Christie Society Scholars each summer, and that depends on the amount of funds available for stipends for the scholars," said Riley.