"Harvard Medical School DOES NOT MATTER. My family is full of MDs (SU med although all got into HMS). When you get out in the real world, no one knows or cares where you went."
I realize this is straying off-topic. But to continue with it ... of course on some level it doesn't matter where a doctor attended medical school. By that line of reasoning, it doesn't matter where somebody went to college -- obviously people will "succeed" or "fail" based on their personal characteristics rather than their diplomas. However, it is overly simplistic to say that you can "make the same salary" as an MD regardless of school -- there is *much* more to education than how it affects your earning potential.
And incidentally, information about physicians' backgrounds is becoming much more widely available to patients via Internet and other accreditation bodies than ever before ... so anybody who uses Google can almost always find out where their doctor trained in <5 minutes.
Boston does not have the best er OR trauma training.
Patients would not leave a waiting room because they don't see a Harvard dipoloma hanging on the wall. Nor does anyone I know book an appointment by first asking whether the doctor went to Harvard. Nor does someone reject treatment for a gunshot wound because the trauma doc didn't go to Harvard. It's a nice diploma to have if one is interested in research. I know people just love the name and reputation...just like designer jeans...it's just human nature.
In my humble opinion, don't go into medicine if just to go to Harvard Med. We don't need doctors like that. We need doctors who are committed to patient care...it's a calling and if you are not called...do what I did...go to law school.
By the way...as to quality of education....like jeans, just because it has a designer label does not necessarily mean that it's a higher quality pair of jeans. Just because there's a Harvard stamped on your diploma, does not mean you are getting a higher quality education. I'd be very careful with that assumption. You are paying for prestige, ego satisfaction and a foot into a nice residency (maybe). You are not paying for much else unless you want to stay in academia. I know students never want to hear that....because it doesn't justify all the hard work getting great grades and MCAT scores...but it's the truth. Believe me, I was there...and I'm glad I wa because it was a unique experience...not because it got me further than I would have gone had I attended another institution.
Sorry we're off topic.
Symphonymom, you are really posting some absolutely absurd stuff. You really don't know what you are talking about. And I feel required to debunk some of your more inane statements so that we don't lead these kids astray (as a disclaimer, I went to Yale for undergrad and HMS). I'll focus on your first post:
"Harvard Medical School DOES NOT MATTER. My family is full of MDs (SU med although all got into HMS). When you get out in the real world, no one knows or cares where you went. My brother is fond of saying that he shares an office with someone who went to UCSB for undergrad and some little known med school, and he makes the same salary as someone with a Harvard undergrad, SU Med/PhD degree/ Chief Resident. There's a lot of folklore out there that suggests it matters more than it does. You'll make the same $ as anyone else once you start working. An MD is an MD....Do you know where your internist went to school? I don't."
It does matter where you go to medical school for a number of reasons, non of which are for money.
1) If you want to do a specialty outside of internal medicine or primary care. These fields are the dregs of medicine, which anyone can match in given they can pronounce a few words and use a palm pilot (really). But if you aspire a tad higher, let's say are residency like neurosurgery, or urology, or even radiation oncology, well then it sure does matter where you went to med school as it will be far easier matching in those competetive fields coming out of a top 20 medical school than Ross University on St. Thomas.
2) As we are talking about some of the most elite students in the country here, maybe they want to do some research or academic work as well, in which case again going to a top 20 medical school would be beneficial as the rank of a medical school is almost parallel with NIH funding.
3) teaching and resources are different between medical school as are patient bases. At HMS for example you will have three of the very best hospitals in the country to do your clerkships at. They have some of the best doctors in the world and frankly, your clinical skills are going to be related to the quality of your clerkship training. Mediocre doctors at a primary hospital in the middle of nowhere aren't the same nor are they going to impart a dynamic knowledge base of diagnosis and management to you as a third/fourth year clerk. You will see a greater variety and be taught a greater base.
4) Your medical school will most definitely be a factor in trying to get a fellowship. Let's say you're interested in laparaoscopy, or plastic surgery, or transplant, or GI or onc, well going to best medical school is going to help open up choices of fellowships. And the more choices you have the better.
Your proof that it doesn't matter where you go to medical school - you won't make any more money - is scary. People shouldn't go into medicine for money and you shouldn't be promoting that. Those that do are enterring for the wrong reasons. In fact, I would say that the best doctors in the country are the academic ones and they are the least paid. Its fine if you don't look at the diploma on the wall, but I think you should. Especially when you need bypass surgery or something a little more critical than medical management of your blood pressure, high cholesterol, and post-menopausal osteopenia.
You are correct to say if you just want to go into primary
care or internal med, then it really doesn't matter where you go to medical school. But we're talking about applicants to Yale and Harvard and Princeton, and I doubt that the instilled drive to succeed and be the best will stop at college.
Now I want to clarify myself a little. I am not talking about Harvard per se, but rather the nebulous top 20/30 medical schools. I personally feel that the absolute best doctors in the country come out of Hopkins. Hands down. Harvard doctors tend to be a little softer. There must be something in the Baltimore water - pollution probably. Residency training and fellowship training if applicable, are more important than medical school however. And don't expect to know what the best residecies or fellowships are, because you won't. For instance, if your opthalmologist went to the University of Miami, that's amazing as it is the best program in the country (so don't try to apply your notion about the institution to its residencies)
PS: Trauma is a fellowship after surgery residency, not a part of medical school, and Harvard has a fine program. You need to be associated with inner city desolate hospital for good training, and I guess unfortunately or fortunately, Boston is a tad too nice...
Last edited by crimsonbulldog; 04-18-2006 at 09:32 PM.
Why do the Harvard critics always imply that applicants choose it for shallow, insubstantial - or even venal - reasons, while implying that those going elsewhere do so for solid, morally upright reasons? The cliche being bruited about as usual by symphonymom is that nobody goes to Harvard except for the ... what is that word??? ... "prestige" .... which impliedly is as at odds with reality and has nothing to do with reputation that is earned. The opposite implication is that nobody goes to a Yale or a Stanford for the "prestige". Or are Stanford or Yale "prestige" the good kind - vs the bad kind associated with Harvard?
Internists and primary care doctors are the ones with the calling for patient care. They are not "dregs." Seriously, Crimsonbulldog, that is so elitist and self-serving....I'd be breathless had I not encountered many of your type at Harvard. Harvard folks tend to be very full of themselves. MDs are taught by their academic professors to revere an academic career..revering themselves makes it easier to make little money after twenty years of higher education. No, it's not all about money...but you'd think doctors would get paid as much as basketball players...and not have to struggle when it's time to put their own children through medical school. Yes, many of the lab MDs are highly intelligent, but many should stay away from treating patients because they lack basic people skills. As for people "stopping" at primary care...oh, come on....seriously...My family didn't...all of them are specialists, but none of them would EVER speak so disrespectfully of their peers (the ones in the trenches who are actually treating patients and not the ones killing mice in the lab).
Yes, of course people go to all of the best schools for the prestige. One hopes they also go for the educational experience and for the experience of interacting with great professors and wonderful students. This experience can be gained at many different places depending upon one's personality, career goals and geographical preferences. Going to Harvard or Yale or Stanford because one argues that it's the "best" is just silly.
At the end of the day...it's the person, and not the school, who will determine how far he can go. Good schools can be stepping stones...but they aren't the keys to the kingdom.
yes internist and primary care docs, along with physicians assistants and nurse practioners are the ones in the trenches so to speak. But you have completely missed my point (and I frankly don't care if you think I am elitist) - what happens if you don't want to be in the trenches treating the mundane (its fine if you do), what happens if you are really interested in orthopedics once you go through the reality of each medical career. If you want to do a residency that has a difficult match, such as neurosurgery, or if you want the power to choose where you will match for a particular residency (like where you want to live because of a significant other), then you should try to go to the best medical school as the medical school reputation is directly and irrefutably linked to the match power of the fourth years (i.e. the better the medical school, the more power their fourth years have over the match). And since you have no idea about medicine and its branches until you hit medical school, the LOGICAL and SMART option would be to go to a medical school that gives you the most options - sort of like going to Yale over your local community college. Medical schools are not alike and do not all lead to the same road symphonymom and it sort of mediocre of you to say just go to any medical school. There is a difference in resources, research, and future career options between medical schools, and you seem to be oblivious to it, no doubt because you never attended one. This is a silly argument, and I don't know why I am wasting my time with someone who has no understanding of the nuances of the match process and residencies. Its about being in control of your career, which you don't really have in medicine because of the match process. So give yourself the most power by going to the best and most prestigious medical school. That way you can do you primary care whatever in Hawaii instead of middleofnowhere. Or you can enter a field where you can make enough money to provide for the medical education of you kids, unlike doctors who went into primary care and internal medicine. End of argument. Stop misleading people about things you don't understand.
Yes....a name medical school does give you options with residencies and fellowships...although, really, it comes down to recommendations when choosing between similarly talented students. Harvard medical students aren't the only ones permitted into residency programs obviously. If a student from "middleofnowhere" med is hailed as one of most brilliant ever, that student will probably stand a better chance to match than one who receives a lackluster rec from HMS.
Crimsonbulldog, comments like "I don't know why I'm wasting my time with someone who has no understanding" and "it is sort of mediocre of you" etc...is what makes me stick with my initial assessment of you.
You don't know who I am or anything about me, but feel that it's apprpriate to insult me because you disagree with me.
My point to the kids worrying on this board about whether to go to Harvard or Yale or Arizona U...is that, ultimately twenty years from now, it probably won't matter. Going to good schools does quite obviously provide good opportunities...but that's not the only way to get where you want to go. Just because a brilliant young medical student went to a "middleofnowhere" medical school does NOT mean he won't match or that he won't be a great researcher or doctor. There has to be some perpective about all of this...and I find the amount of time agonizing over Yale v Stanford to be futile (although when I was seventeen, I did exactly the same thing). Prestige is all well and good, and I'm not saying it's meaningless, but I do believe that
talent outs in the end. And the most talented don't always go to Harvard, Stanford or Yale. So, if you don't get in, don't worry...spend your time agonizing over something that really matters.
By the way crimsonbulldog...one of the best neurosurgeons around these parts went to Davis for med school. Went to SU when he was 15 and got into Hopkins but, for family reasons, stayed in CA. He's doing everything in his career he ever dreamed of because he's quite brilliant. It just doesn't have to be Hopkins, Harvard or Yale.