Reflections from the Clinical Student Dean

Dr. Kirkland introduces the new AUC Clinical Connections Newsletter and shares her experiences at AUC for the last 17 months through a Clinical Sciences lens

Kimberly Kirkland
Kimberly A. Kirkland, PsyD, Associate Dean, Clinical Student Affairs for AUC

Coming into the role of student dean for clinical sciences, I thought that my experiences teaching behavioral science at the medical sciences campus in St. Maarten from 2006 to 2013 had provided me the basics of what I needed to know about medical education and your needs as medical students.  Boy, was I wrong!  Over the last 17 months, I have discovered the other half of the medical school – the often winding path you take after leaving the shelter of the island campus.  I’ve watched you navigate the waters that divide the medical sciences and clinical sciences, literally and figuratively, and worked, at both the individual and the programmatic levels, to help ease this transition.  I’ve been moved by your professionalism, courage, and dedication as you begin your clinical rotations, prepare for USMLE examinations, and enter the residency match.

I envision this new clinical sciences newsletter as a means of sharing useful information with you, celebrating your successes throughout the four years of medical school, and providing opportunities for you to reflect upon your medical training. There are two articles in this issue one written and one co-written by Dr. Hedy Wald, AUC’s consultant for student scholarship and Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University where she directs the reflective writing curriculum in the Family Medicine Clerkship.  Dr. Wald’s article, To Be A Doctor: Reflections on Professional Identity Formation, was originally published in a special issue of the journal Academic Medicine devoted to the professional identity development of physicians.  It introduces the topic of reflective writing as a means of developing your professional identity and the importance of “educating the heart and the mind.”  It is my hope that in its own small way, this newsletter, which will be published once a semester or three times per year, will help to support that process. 

The first issue of this newsletter - which is dedicated to AUC students in their clinical sciences training but will be distributed much more widely across the AUC family - introduces you to some important people who are working behind the scenes every day to maximize your medical education experiences, such as Alex Carrasco, AUC’s new manager of clinical affiliations.  It also has links to current research that may impact the practice of medicine.  I also hope that this regular communication will help to further connect all of the AUC student community, whether on-island, in the US, the UK, Canada, or even on a clinical elective in Zimbabwe! 

Many of you have been busy during the last few months with residency interviews and are now in the long wait for Match Day.  This inaugural newsletter includes details about last year’s residency match results which will hopefully help ease your mind a bit. 

I would like to thank all of our contributors in making this newsletter possible.  I look forward to student feedback and suggestions for future newsletter topics.

My very best to all of you!