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Mentoring program offers learning opportunities for students and physicians

Medical student Adrienne Schwartz and her mentor, Gregory Filice, M.D.

Less than a year after meeting her mentor through the Connections Physician-Student Mentoring Program, medical student Adrienne Schwartz, M.P.H., found herself working as part of his research team at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center for a summer.

Her mentor, Gregory Filice, M.D., an infectious disease specialist and professor in the Medical School’s Department of Medicine, now plans to publish the research paper Schwartz helped draft that summer—listing Schwartz as a coauthor—and to present it at a national meeting.

In addition to providing this career-advancing opportunity, Filice, a resident alumnus of the University, is glad to advise Schwartz on the challenges of medical school—as someone who has been there before. Together he and Schwartz have discussed their backgrounds, career interests, hopes, and aspirations.

“As students, we are introduced to many great physicians throughout medical school, but it’s nice to know a physician who sees you come in, encourages you along the way, and then sees you graduate four years later,” says Schwartz, now a third-year medical student. “Your mentor not only wants to see you succeed, but does his or her best to help make that success a reality.”

About 100 medical students are matched with community physicians each year through the Connections mentoring program. All physicians in the Twin Cities area are eligible to take part in the program, which is offered cooperatively by the University of Minnesota Medical School, the University’s Medical Alumni Society, the Minnesota Medical Foundation, and Hennepin and Ramsey Medical Societies.

“I enjoy working with young people early in their careers,” says Filice, who has been a Connections program mentor since 2001. “Doing that helps us reflect on what we do. It’s a growth experience for mentors as well as students.”

New mentor-student pairs will have a chance to meet at this year’s Connections program kickoff breakfast on November 9.

Students and physicians who would like to participate in the program should register by Friday, October 19, at www.mmf.umn.edu/goto/mentor or by contacting Katrina Roth at 612-625-0336 or k.roth@mmf.umn.edu.

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