Class of 2020: Welcome to the Pre-Health Community at Amherst!

Amherst College Health Professions Orientation Information: Fall 2016

By Prof. William Loinaz and Dean Richard Aronson 

       Whether you have always known you wanted to be a doctor, veterinarian, dentist, nurse, physician’s assistant, mental health professional, medical social worker, physical or occupational therapist, or public health professional, or if you are just interested in exploring the possibility of a career in one of the health professions, Amherst College has information you’ll find useful, and people to help guide you throughout your time here.



Appointments with Dean Richard Aronson

To schedule a 30 minute appointment with Dean Aronson:

  • Alumni, please call the Career Center at 413-542-2265.


Careers in Health Professions Advising and Mentoring Program

The Amherst College Careers in Health Professions Program carries out the following:

1. Advise, mentor, and provide various forms of academic and career counseling to about 400 students and young alumni per year. They are all, at various stages, exploring and pursuing a career in the health professions - any kind of career. Although many of these individuals are aiming for a medical career as a doctor, a large number are interested in a wide variety of health professions - from dentistry and nursing and physical therapy to mental health, psychology, physician assistant, veterinary medicine, medical social work, community health worker, and in increasing numbers, public health - including global health. This is all very exciting! Students from all classes are encouraged to meet with Dr. Richard Aronson by making an appointment on-line through Quest. In fact, we strongly recommend that all students exploring a career in health professions meet with Dr. Aronson at least once per year, either at a regular appointment or during the drop-in hours when classes are in session.

 2. Guide about 50 to 60 pre-med students and young alumni per year through the 20 month long medical school application process that starts in January of the year before matriculation. Important: If you plan to apply to medical school for matriculation in August 2018, send an email to Erin Cherewatti, the Health Professions Coordinator, and meet with Dean Aronson at least once during the fall of 2016 in advance of the official start of the 2017-2018 application cycle. This process includes gathering materials, and preparing and writing a Health Professions Committee Letter of recommendation for each applicant. This culminates in the uploading of the committee letters, along with 4 to 5 individual letters of recommendation, to the medical schools in late July. It’s important for pre-med students to start meeting with Dean Aronson and Professor of Physics William Loinaz (Chair of the Health Professions Committee) from early on, well before the application season starts, and preferably when they first decide to explore a health related career of any kind. A workshop on writing the personal statement is held every year in December, and registration and a detailed questionnaire are due on January 1 of the year before matriculation.

 3. Help students seek health-related internships, jobs, fellowships, and apply to other health professions graduate schools.

 4. Serve as liaison and support to the student-run campus organizations that relate to health: GlobeMed, Amherst College Public Health Collaborative, and Charles Drew Health Professions Society.

 5. Serve as advisor to the peer mentoring pre-health program.

 6. Serve as general academic advisor to a group of first year students and sophomores.

 7. Coordinate the Michael Kauffman Research Fellowship, and help run the Amherst College Post-Bac Program.


"Reproductive Health Onscreen"

On Tuesday March 24, 2015, Gretchen Sisson ’06 spoke at Amherst on "Reproductive Health Onscreen: Choice, social myth, and consequences for health policy." Gretchen does her research at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Science at the University of California San Francisco. From MTV's 16 and Pregnant to teen pregnancy prevention efforts that label young parents as "Dirty" or a "Reject;" from a First Lady disclosing her abortion on House of Cards to an abortion patient committing suicide from fear of disclosure in Ides of March -- these stories, both real and fictional, can have tremendous influence on shared ideas of individual behaviors, adverse outcomes, and appropriate public health response. Gretchen will be exploring the representations of these marginalized choices, with attention to social myths and consequent health policy. She will also discuss her career development as a social scientist within the medical field, and share how her work in various sectors (academia, non-profit organizations, and for-profit social enterprises) contributes to her efforts for better-informed social change. Gretchen's research focuses on social constructions and representations of parenthood, specifically examining teen pregnancy and young parenthood, infertility and assisted reproductive technologies, adoption and birth motherhood, and abortion and reproductive decision-making in popular culture. She graduated from Amherst in 2006, and completed her doctorate at Boston College.

Narrative Medicine

On Tuesday, February 3, 2015 Dr. Rita Charon came to Amherst to speak on Narrative Medicine, an emerging clinico-textual discipline that brings narrative skills and creative methods to the practice of medicine. 75 Amherst and Five-College students, faculty and community partners listened to her speak and share the importance of narrative medicine to patient care.  As the Executive Director and founder of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University, Dr. Charon is an expert in the field.

Remembering and Honoring Mohamed (“Moe”) Zeidan ‘08

The Amherst pre-health community is saddened to share the news that Moe Zeidan ’08, a fourth year medical student at Tufts Medical School, was killed in a bike accident on September 5, 2014. Moe was a neuroscience major at Amherst who lit up the soccer field playing goalie for the men’s soccer team, and he was deeply engaged in community service here. Moe was an exceptional young man who persevered to reach his goal of a career in medicine. In his time at Tufts Medical School, he had already made an inspiring impact on the community there. Moe represented the best of Amherst College, and specifically he exemplified the best of the Amherst pre-medical community that we aspire to. He believed in the collaborative and community spirit, and he lived out his life with the compassion and empathy that are at the heart of the health professions and that characterize what we aim to create here at Amherst College among pre-health students. His tragic death at such a young age  is another reminder – and a huge one – to cherish every day, be filled with gratitude, and do our imperfect best to show love, appreciation, and respect for people we come into contact with.