UMaine News

Maine is our campus

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The innovative Maine Track Program, a partnership between Maine Medical Center and the Tufts University School of Medicine, is building a pipeline of physicians with skills in rural Maine medicine. Learn about the program and hear from University of Maine graduates India Stewart and Kim Dao about their experiences in medical school and in community hospitals.

Transcript

Dr. Jo Linder:
The Maine Track is a track, part of the Tufts University School of Medicine, that uses Maine as our campus.

Kim Dao:
We spend two years in Boston, in the classroom setting, and then we spend two years doing our clinical rotations in Maine.

Dr. Jo Linder:
From Fort Kent to Kittery, from Eastport to Norway. They cover the entire state.

Patti White:
The Maine Track Early Assurance Program is an opportunity for students at the end of their sophomore year — or actually they would start thinking about it at the beginning of their sophomore year — to make a little bit more of a formal commitment about their desire to pursue a career in medicine.

India Stewart:
Knowing that I was going to medical school after I graduated really allowed me to focus more on extracurriculars and career exploration within the realm of medicine.

Kim Dao:
One of the biggest things with my experience at UMaine was actually I wasn’t a student here yet. I was a volunteer for the Special Olympics, and that was my first time on campus, and that was actually one of the defining moments that I realized I wanted to go into medicine.

India Stewart:
I was able to shadow a neonatologist at Eastern Maine Medical Center when I was a freshman in college, and one day I’m sitting in his office and I am called into a delivery that required a neonatologist to be there.

I go into the room and I’m standing there, and I’m seeing this baby be brought into this world, and all of a sudden, I feel this huge smile go across my face. I felt extremely comfortable, and it was almost like that’s where I was supposed to be. That’s what it’s been like ever since.

Kim Dao:
They’re in rural community hospitals, and the beauty with that is there’s no hierarchy. You’re really engaged with the doctors and other health care workers there. There’s no other fourth-year student or resident that you’re competing with to be engaged in someone’s health care.

They really try to get you involved and get direct experience. Some of the experience I feel that I get as a third-year student, a lot of other medical students haven’t experienced until their internship or residency.

India Stewart:
There is a need here for physicians. There is an older population of physicians that are cycling out, and there’s definitely going to be a need for every field of medicine, so that’s one reason why I feel really strongly about staying.

Kim Dao:
Being in a suburban or rural community is where I feel like I most fit in, and I think those are the areas that need a lot of help, especially in Maine where we’re in need of every specialty, but primary care especially really has a deficit in professionals, and I think that I would be most useful there.

Patti White:
The Maine Track Program is very innovative. I think it is cutting edge, so exciting.

Kim Dao:
It’s awesome. [laughs] It is definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I was just telling some people that some days, I just want to lay in bed and cry. It just is so hard, but at the same time you have these amazing experiences being with people, whether them losing a loved one or them welcoming a new member of the family into their lives. It’s really amazing to experience those events back-to-back, and that’s the beauty of the LIC.

Dr. Jo Linder:
It’s a way for students to get a Tufts University medical education, but have the innovation and the real dedication of physicians and health professionals in the state of Maine to teach them.

India Stewart:
It has opened my eyes to the possibilities of what my career has for me, but also I’ve learned the knowledge and created this foundation for what I’ll need in order to exceed and get my goals in the future.

Patti White:
This is really great stuff. We’re producing very high quality doctors, who are matching to very high quality residency programs, which is at this stage the proof in the pudding.

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