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Support

We’ve designed our support structures to work just as hard as our curriculum does.

Yes, the curriculum here will challenge you academically and personally, but we’re committed to supporting you every step of the way. Our support resources will provide you with all the tools you need to thrive in Vanderbilt’s unique academic environment.

Academic Support

There’s no such thing as “going it alone” in med school.

From the moment you step on campus for summer orientation, you’ll be supported by a myriad of professional and personal advisers who have all taken the same journey before you.

Portfolio Coaches

As your first and most important adviser, your portfolio coach is a VUSM faculty member specially trained to advise you holistically.

You’ll meet several times a year to discuss your academic competencies, specialty interests, and general professionalism, as well as to process any feedback you’ve received from course directors, residents, and peers.

The end goal? To foster self-assessment and life-long learning practices that you’ll carry with you no matter where you go.

Specialty Advisers

On top of the counsel from your portfolio coach, you’ll also receive guidance from specialty advisers: Vanderbilt faculty who are prepared to guide you in exploring and choosing a specialty.

As experts in their fields, these advisers will answer your specialty-related questions and share their personal experiences from their own specialty. They’ll also connect you with shadowing opportunities to let you experience firsthand what it’s like to work in a particular setting.

College Mentors

Within the first months of your first year, you’ll be matched into one of VUSM’s four medical student colleges⏤ complete with two faculty mentors.

Besides sharing their own personal experiences and advice, these deeply invested faculty members will work closely with you on questions about elective subspecialties, clerkships, your class schedule, and the residency application process.

Your college peers will become your strongest community of support, and your faculty mentors are there to provide stability and personal encouragement through your years in med school.

The Student Assistance and Tutoring Program

Struggling in a specific class? We’ll pair you with a peer tutor based on your personality and academic needs. Dean Cathy Pettepher, the program’s director, also keeps an open door for any student who wants to discuss study strategies or time management.

Personal Support

At VUSM, personal wellness is our priority.

Meet Dean Amy Fleming, MD, MHPE, the top personal supporter for each of our med students. As the Associate Dean of Medical Student Affairs, Dr. Fleming directs the formal advising process, but her door is always open to students’ personal questions or concerns.

Whether you’re feeling short-term stress or seeking long-term mental health services, Dean Fleming is here to help you access the best-fit resources as easily and quickly as possible.

As part of the larger Vanderbilt community, you’ll have access to our Student Care Network, including the University Counseling Center and the Center for Student Wellbeing. Our med students also have access to other university-wide resources, such as the Student Health Center, the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center, the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life, and LGBTQI Life and Health.