Hamilton participants in the Upstate Medical University summer immersion program.

Eight Hamilton students with career interests in the health professions field are taking part in a volunteer immersion program for undergraduates through Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y.  Participants are Aliane Douyon ’20, Victoria (Vicky) Dunn ’22, Sophia Ficarro ’22, Samantha Kapphahn ’21, Mark Lutz ’20, Yeo Jean Song ’21, Christopher Victor ’21, and Madeleine (Maddie) Wallace ’22.

In the Hamilton College U-Care summer immersion program, the students are volunteering in the hospital to gain hands-on clinical experience to better prepare them for a career in medicine or nursing. The program will give them exposure to the field on “Doctoring Weeks” with lectures and opportunities to shadow during patient rounds.

Rising senior Mark Lutz said the experience has been valuable. “I’m currently on the pre-med track and working closely with the doctors, nurses, and PAs at Upstate has further solidified my desire to go into the medical field. I am taking the MCAT in August and seeing the doctors at Upstate deliver high level, compassionate care inspires me every day to go study even harder when I am done at the hospital.”

The program began in 2018 when Upstate Residency Program director and vice-chair for education Stephen Knohl ’93 was looking to create more hands-on opportunities for pre-med students in the world of medicine. Working with Leslie Bell, the director of health professions advising at Hamilton’s Career Center, Knohl created a partnership between Hamilton and SUNY Upstate.

Last year seven Hamilton students spent the summer volunteering at University Hospital, providing clinical support and shadowing the doctors. This year the program has expanded to 24 participants from Syracuse University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Hamilton.  

For the first four weeks of the program, participants are working directly with an interprofessional healthcare team and provide various types of support to the staff and patients.  During the final two weeks, students will work directly alongside doctors in the hospital in various settings. They will also connect with the admissions team to learn more about applying to health professions programs.

Lutz concluded, “I’m an EMT on campus and in my hometown so this experience has been amazing because it allows me to see how patient care is continued in the hospital. It has not only made me a better EMT, but also improved my understanding of health care as a whole.” 


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