With nearly 100% attendance, first-year students participate in an opportunity to learn about different specialties through a “Speed Dating” event.
Residents and attending physicians from many different specialties – encompassing representatives from both Vanderbilt and community practices - are invited to the medical school to present their respective specialties. Prior to the event, medical students are provided a “little black book” containing basic information about each specialty such as match requirements, residency length, sub-specialization options, and salary data. They are also provided sample questions to assist each interaction. In groups of two to three, students rotate through a series of “dates” lasting 3-4 minutes. The relative brevity provides an appropriate amount of time to develop an impression of the physicians and specialty while still allowing for exposure to a large number of careers.
The speed-dating portion of the evening concludes once each student has met with all the representatives in attendance. At this time the students have the opportunity to go on a longer “date” with 3 specialties of their choosing. These longer, 20-minute sessions involve groups of 10-15 students who learn more about the selected field and begin the process of developing professional relationships. Many of these interactions have resulted in future mentorship and research projects.