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Physician Refresher/Re-entry Program Testimonials

Re-entering Physicians

Dr. Shah - Re-entering Physician - March 2021

“This peer session helped me gain insight on the licensure and job application process from physicians who have been in my position before. I enjoyed the supportive and compassionate atmosphere and having the opportunity to share my challenges and worries, while getting encouraging and actionable advice. It was definitely a valuable experience that I’d highly recommend to any physician in the refresher program. I did have all of my questions answered but our peer was kind enough to share their contact information to stay in touch.”

David Bourland Jolly, MD - Internal Medicine - January 2021

Licensed in the state of Mississippi
Board certified in Internal Medicine

Goals:
“My main goals for participating in the Drexel Refresher/Re-Entry Virtual Course were two-fold: 1) To refresh and enhance my medical knowledge; to refamiliarize myself with communicating with peers regarding patient care; to enhance my clinical reasoning skills; to enhance my medical documentation skills; and to enhance my patient communication skills. 2) To assist in having my Mississippi state medical license reinstated after a period of inactivity.”

My Experience:
“The Drexel program, while intensive and demanding, provided a soft landing spot for me to start my journey back to clinical practice. I gained confidence in my ability to teach my peers through the oral presentations that I gave.”

“The detailed write-ups/H&Ps that I wrote, reviewed, and received feedback on from preceptors/peers greatly improved my knowledge and skill regarding clinical documentation. The DocCom modules improved my patient interviewing skills in general and in potentially difficult situations. The standardized patient exams allowed me to put those skills to use. The Internal Medicine Aquifer on-line cases covered a broad range of pathology and internal medicine principles between the cases and within each case. ”

“The many learning modules completed including modules on the opioid crisis and pain management, cultural competency, the ACP High Value Care modules, professionalism really updated my knowledge in specific areas. All feedback and/or criticism received throughout the course was constructive and extremely helpful. ”

“I believe this course would be beneficial to all physicians, not just those that have been out of practice for a period of time. ”

General Internal Medicine Re-entry Physician - 2019

“I participated in the Drexel Physician Refresher/Re-entry program in the fall of 2018 after being away from patient care for several years. My 12 weeks in this program helped to restore my passion for primary care and renewed a desire in me to continue to research and grow professionally. The modules were professionally stimulating and were very helpful in preparing me for the PLAS exam at the end of the course and also for the Internal Medicine Board exam.”

“The mock patient encounters allowed me to simulate the day-to-day skills needed in primary care practice while receiving valuable feedback about how to be more thorough and efficient. However, the biggest benefit of the program is the opportunity to have mentorship from experienced clinicians and to have a chance to work peer-to-peer with other participates of the program as well the other attendings and residents during conferences and rounds.”

“Time away from practice can prove to be very professionally isolating for a physician, and this program provided an invaluable way to regain knowledge, confidence and skills as well as to establish professional connections. As a result of my time in the program, I was able to return to unrestricted medical practice, I passed the PLAS exam and successfully passed the Internal Medical Board exam. Now, as I have returned to private practice, I remain grateful for my time and experience at Drexel. I would recommend this program to anyone who has been away from practice and is seeking re-entry.”

Varsha Shah - Re-entering General Internist - 2019

"Physician Refresher Course is a unique program for physicians who are out of practice for several years and want to return to clinical medicine. This program helped me to update my medical knowledge and clinical skills in an encouraging environment. There were weekly history and physicals which required for me to research current diagnostic and treatment options, and feedbacks by my peers and my preceptor’swere constructive and productive. My preceptor helped me to improve my skills and medical knowledge in a positive, nurturing manner. During my rotations, facultywere very supporting and teaching me current guidelines. Teaching rounds, noon conferences, and lectures further enhanced my medical knowledge. Also, I was every step of the way encouraged and guided with goals. The program is rigorous, and I will continue to use what I have learned in this program to my current practice. I am glad the program director is part of my professional development. Thank you."

General Internal Medicine Re-entry Physician - 2018

"I participated in the Drexel Physician Refresher/Re-entry program in the fall of 2018 after being away from patient care for several years. My twelve weeks in this program helped to restore my passion for primary care and renewed a desire in me to continue to research and grow professionally. The modules were professionally stimulating and were very helpful in preparing me for the PLAS exam at the end of the course and also for the Internal Medicine Board exam. The mock patient encounters allowed me to simulate the day to day skills needed in primary care practice while receiving valuable feedback about how to be more thorough and efficient. However, the biggest benefit of the program is the opportunity to have mentorship from experienced clinicians and to have a chance to work peer to peer with other participates of the program as well the other attendings and residents during conferences and rounds. Time away from practice can prove to be very professionally isolating for a physician and this program provided an invaluable way to regain knowledge, confidence and skills as well as to establish professional connections. As a result of my time in the program, I was able to return to unrestricted medical practice, I passed the PLAS exam and successfully passed the Internal Medical Board exam. Now, as I have returned to private practice, I remain grateful for my time and experience at Drexel. I would recommend this program to anyone who has been away from practice and is seeking re-entry."

Kathy O'Connor - Re-entering Pediatrician - November 2018

"I strongly recommend Drexel University College of Medicine Physician Refresher/Re-Entry Program for any physician who has spent time away from practicing medicine. I definitely accomplished my goals at Drexel and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. My experiences working with attendings and fellows in primary care pediatrics as well as in the many subspecialties were crucial in enhancing my academic knowledge and training. The program was challenging, current, and well executed. I feel very qualified and excited to return to practicing pediatrics."

"On a daily basis, I benefitted from the excellent teaching at St. Christopher’s. Formally there were daily inpatient rounds, chief resident conferences and noontime lectures to assist me in becoming up to date in pediatrics. There was additional teaching on specific patients throughout the day, time for presenting patients, discussing differential diagnoses, treatment recommendations, and computer integration."

"Due to patient and coworker feedback, I believe I was a good doctor when I was in practice. And now I am confident that I can return to practice as a better, more knowledgeable and current practitioner. I am very appreciative of my time at Drexel and St. Christopher's Hospital. I will carry this new information, past practice experiences, and life-long love of learning into my next pediatric practice."

Deirdre Gundy, MD, FACOG - Ob/Gyn - July 2018

"My goals for the six week Physician Refresher Course were to re-familiarize myself with the medical knowledge of Obstetrics, the clinical skills required for various types of deliveries, review of the most up to date literature and recommendations with regards to the practice of Obstetrics, as well as management of complications."

"I met my goals during this outstanding course! The opportunity to work with attendings, residents, midwives and labor and delivery nurses allowed me to strengthen my knowledge base and revisit my role as part of the Obstetrical team. It was truly an invaluable experience to work with my preceptor on simulations with Real Mom 2.0 and C-Celia. The opportunity to work with my preceptor on standardized patients and receive feedback was extremely valuable. The access to programs and modules such as Gnosis, Aquifer, doc.com in addition to receiving CME credit was also beneficial. This course was exemplary and I am confident with my knowledge and skills to re-enter the field of Obstetrics. I would highly recommend this course to others."

"Please know that your refresher course was invaluable, all encompassing, challenging, up to date, real time (especially with "Real Mom” and everything I wanted and valued in a refresher course. The Hahnemann Obstetrics and Gynecological program is bar none the best place to be re-acclimated to the field of obstetrics!!! Thank you so much for allowing me to refresh my Obstetrical skills with Dr. Delvadia, Dr. Montgomery and the entire Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. I am confident in my return to Obstetrics!"

Neelima Gonugunta, MD - General Medicine - July 2018

"The Physician refresher course is unique in providing support for physicians like me who plan on returning to clinical practice after many years. It aided in practicing and enhancing my clinical skills along with refreshing my clinical knowledge by providing me with the latest guidelines. Of note is the Standardized patient encounters which has helped me revise and improve my history taking skills, physical examination and the closure of a clinical interview, through the invaluable feedback provided by our preceptor and our peer group."

"This program helped me improve my patient documentation skills by working on a variety of history & physical write-ups which were reviewed by our preceptor. The [online] exercise is a distinctive activity that has helped in enhancing my clinical skills including patient interviewing, counseling on various lifestyle behaviors, and ethical issues such as delivering bad news, medical errors, advance directives and so on. Regular participation in inpatient rounds, subspecialty clinics and teaching rounds supplemented with mentorship by attending physicians assignments helped in improving my analytical skills and in learning a systematic approach to develop a management plan."

"I will continue my self-directed learning with the latest evidence based medicine, resources like up-to-date, MKSAP, NBME self assessment exams and other CME activities. I will definitely carry my skills that I learned in this course into my future medical training and clinical practice."

"To conclude, I would strongly recommend this course to anyone who wishes to return to clinical practice after years of being away as well as to any international medical graduate who wants to pursue further training in the U.S medical system."

Internist - February 2018

"After being away from clinical practice for few years I have been thinking about getting back to internal medicine practice. I was looking for a refresher program and Drexel Physician Reentry Program stood out to me. The program started off with a full assessment of my skills to give me a solid understanding of topics that I needed a refresher on. In fact the program was more intense than I thought and there was plenty of clinical exposure in all specialties supplemented with lectures and online learning. The program director and attendings were extremely knowledgeable and attentive to my needs and facilitated my learning in all possible ways. The patients were a joy to work with and gave me feedback."

"Going through the program I became more convinced that I wanted to get back to clinical medicine. My credentials and board certification were current and I started applying for jobs halfway through the 12 week program at Drexel. The director and attendings were more than happy to act as professional references and assist me in all aspects of reentering the physician workforce culminating in an offer before the program finished. Overall it was a very good experience."

Gerald Parker, MD, JD - General Medicine - June 2017

"Not only were my goals met, but exposure to these facets of medical care exceeded my expectations. Both in the outpatient clinics and inpatient rounds, reference to guidelines via web-based tools were part of rendering patient care in real time. I found myself accessing various electronic resources "on-the-fly" to get the latest information pertaining to a variety of clinical matters while seeing patients both in the office and in the hospital settings. This experience has brought me "up-to-speed" with delivering evidence-based medicine at the point of care.

"In addition to my primary goals of becoming familiar with current practice guidelines and web-based resources, participation in the program enhanced my broader knowledge of present general medical practice and the contemporary approach of evidenced-based medicine. This process began with my off-site participation in the web-based "Medical Update Curriculum" in which I earned 143.5 AMA PRA Category 1 continuing education credits. In addition, my participation in the communication series entitled "DocCom" not only enhanced my communication skills in a number of areas including advanced directives, medical errors, informed consent, and tobacco and substance abuse, but also introduced me to current approaches and techniques for dealing with these matters. Accordingly, these program components have not only served to provide me with meeting my didactic program goals but have also provided me with a platform from which to continue my ongoing medical education."

M. Waseem Anjum, MD - October-December 2016

"The Physician Refresher/Re-Entry Course at Drexel University College of Medicine is an excellent course which offers a lot of opportunities to out-of-practice clinicians and new international medical graduates to refresh clinical skills, medical knowledge and assist in enhancing communication skills.

"Before starting this course, I had the impression that the course is very well-structured and is very good; but after attending the course, my impression is that this course is not simply very good and well-structured but also an excellent course to refresh medical knowledge and clinical skills.

"The course has been tremendously helpful in bringing me back on the clinical track. Based on my findings and experience in this course, I strongly recommend attending this course for at least 11 or 12 weeks."

Adam C. Gilliss, DO - Family Medicine - 2016

"I am happy to inform you that my medical license was reinstated this past Thursday and I am back to practicing Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine in Merchantville!! When I finally got to go before the board they were extremely impressed by the program I completed with you. In fact it is the only program they mentioned in their approval of my request for reinstatement."

"Thank you for allowing me to complete your program and for all of the time and effort you gave to me in my journey back to practicing medicine."

Kristin Hanson - General Medicine/Endocrinology - October 2015

"Since I attended the physician re-entry program last year, I have had excellent outcomes. I spent four months at a "638" as a locums for the Navajo Nation at Fort Defiance, Arizona working in a walk-in clinic for primary care from March through June. I was very pleased that I was asked to stay an extra month from the original three-month contract, which allowed me to work without a gap when I departed from the Navajo Nation."

"After returning to Phoenix, I opened a solo endocrinology practice and have been building my patient base since. With the exception of Blue Cross commercial insurance, all of the insurers accepted my training from Drexel. I obtained malpractice insurance from MICA at standard rates, and have built from there. The practice is doing well, and I owe the excellent support and preparation I received from the re-entry program for this success."

"I was told many times that it was 'impossible' for me to go back into clinical practice. It was depressing and disheartening. Thank you for being there, believing in people like me, and thank you for being an integral part of the re-entry program. You made the impossible into possible, and I couldn't have done it without all of you."

Joseph A. Berrang, MD - Family Medicine - 2015

"The Drexel University College of Medicine Physician Refresher Program is an exceptional opportunity for physicians like me who pursued careers outside of clinical practice but heed the inner voice calling us back to providing patient care.

"I am a family physician and in my initial years of clinical practice after completing residency I saw patients in an outpatient office setting, in skilled nursing facilities for post-acute care, and also served as a hospitalist. I greatly enjoyed the diversity of this type of clinical medicine but I was also intrigued by an amazing and innovative company which helped hospitals identify which admissions were per CMS guidance more appropriate for inpatient and which were more appropriate for outpatient / observation. As a physician adviser for hospitals throughout the United States I helped case managers navigate the challenges in interpreting CMS guidance. I greatly enjoyed speaking with the attending physicians providing care for the patients referred to me for CMS compliance reviews. As I spoke with the attending physicians more and more I felt the growing desire to return to the front line as a primary care provider in addition to providing CMS compliance guidance. I learned how to be an advocate for the hospitals, the case managers, and the physicians but I wanted to take what I learned a major step forward and advocate even more directly for the elderly.

"Drexel's Program provides a comprehensive assessment of each participant’s proficiencies as well as opportunities for improvement. It became very quickly apparent (initially by hunch and soon confirmed by videotape) that my opportunity for greatest improvement before I returned to clinical practice was to be found in the under-recognized and under-appreciated skill sets necessary to meaningfully participate in “difficult” conversations. By “difficult” conversations I mean the following: 1) addressing domestic violence, 2) explaining poor prognosis, 3) informing family members of patients’ deaths, and 4) acknowledging medical errors. There are myriad other “difficult” conversations that physicians have with patients, even on a daily basis, but the above particularly spoke to me in my plans to return to geriatric care. I improved considerably during my preceptorship. The “doc.com” modules (of which there are over 40) provided video and text vignettes addressing humanistic components of patient care, such as the above “difficult” conversation topics as well as teaching the value of the pause (which permits patients time to absorb what the doctor just said), the setting of the office visit agenda upfront, the elicitation of the patient’s understanding of the pathophysiology of her/his disease / diagnosis, and the firm but supportive manner in which a patient can be told she or he has an addiction. The Physician Refresher Program also provides opportunities for participants to have videotaped office visits with “standardized” patients. These office visits provide the opportunity to demonstrate and develop one’s skills in history taking, physical examination, diagnosing, and care planning. Most of the patient encounters are straightforward but some do have unexpected clinical twists (which, to permit future participants to have the same learning opportunities I enjoyed, I won’t disclose here) which proved to be very educational. It was tough for me to watch and listen to my standardized patient office visit performances on videotape, and even more so to watch these recordings in front of colleagues, but the gain I achieved in insight via the post-video discussions has been immense. The “doc.com” modules and the standardized patient encounter analyses have greatly assisted me in my current clinical practice. I find that when I reflect upon the “difficult” conversations I’ve had since I’ve returned to clinical practice I’ve seamlessly incorporated lessons I learned during this excellent preceptorship.

"I hope the above stands as a sincere attestation of the merits of the Drexel Physician Refresher Program. It would be a great underrepresentation of the strengths of the program, however, for me to conclude this note without drawing attention to the truly exceptional team members of the Pro-gram. The support begins with the first communication of interest with the Program and continues during the days and weeks after Program completion to coordinate communications with state medical boards. I would like to provide a very positive professional and personal endorsement of Dr. Nielufar Varjavand. She is, by title, the director of the Program. However, by experience, I can say she is an exceptionally thoughtful mentor. Her candor and her support continue to have a very positive impact in my clinical practice though I completed the Program months ago. Dr. Varjavand is the type of mentor one always hopes to someday have, cherishes when one meets, and aspires to emulate in future opportunities to serve as a teacher. It was a sincere privilege and pleasure to learn from and work with Dr. Varjavand. The Program has helped me become a better clinician, and Dr. Varjavand has helped me become a better educator. On a daily basis I find myself referring to a very helpful insight I gained in the Program or asking myself, “What would Dr. Varjavand do in this situation?” I am immeasurably grateful."

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Nina Poliak - Pediatrics - January 2015

This was a great experience for me. I felt very welcomed at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. Every resident and attending was extremely friendly and tried to help me as much as possible to learn the system and new environment. I attended many different settings, such as inpatient rounds, pediatric intensive care rounds, emergency department rounds, and different clinics such as infectious disease/immunology, rheumatology, neurology, GI, development, and adolescent medicine/general pediatrics. I was able to participate in diagnostic and therapeutic decision making during the inpatient rounds. The residents and attending teams included me in their rounds and allowed me to be an integral part of the team. I participated in one-on-one preceptorship with Drs. Cooperberg and Thompson and it was very helpful as well. It was a great learning experience. I would highly recommend this course.

Rodney Sessoms, MD - 2013

Survival Quotient

I met Dr. Seaborn Blair in 1985 , while I was a second year student at East Carolina Brody School of Medicine. Dr. Blair, a long time, respected physician in the Duplin County rural community of Wallace, North Carolina, had just completed a Primary Care lecture . After the lecture, I introduced myself and asked if he knew my grandfather. He immediately responded, “I sure did; I loved the man.” He continued to tell me how he and my grandfather, a retired school principal had served on several school and community boards during the civil rights and integration era. One particular meeting and moment stood out in his mind: discussion of IQ’s (Intelligence Quotient). In particular, what the Black students’ IQ’s were as compared to white students’. The discussion went back and forth for some time. Dr Blair said my grandfather ended the discussion on the following note: “Well until the studies are concluded, I can say for certain that Black student certainly have a higher SQ.” The members of the committee were perplexed and looked to my grandfather for further explanation. “What is SQ?” the members queried him. “It is the Survival Quotient” he stated.

I found it ironic that several years later I recalled this story as I continued my journey to regain a full and unrestricted license to practice medicine. In 2008, my license to practice medicine was suspended after an evaluation suggested cognitive impairment due to depression, stress or fatigue.

Thus began a 4 year journey to restore my license to an unrestricted status and utilize my Survival Quotient to the fullest. I had to obtain my Internal Medicine Board Certification, as it expired in 2008. But I could not sit for the exam in 2009 after my license was restored because my license was restricted by the Medical Board in the number of weekly hours I could work. Gradually, the hourly restriction was lifted in 2010, I was allowed to sit and recertified successfully in Internal Medicine. Recertifying was no easy task as I had no financial resources to prepare. Board Preparation Courses cost thousands of dollars, not to mention income loss from being away from my solo private practice. Using a $150 Med Study Program, I passed the re-certification exam.

The next obstacle was finding desired employment. My passion is inpatient care. However, I was met with denial after denial in regaining hospital privileges, because I had been out of hospital practice for 2 years. I sought help from the North Carolina Medical Board and understandably, they recommended a period of observation to update my knowledge and skills. While the board asked that I obtain a mentor for this, institutions perceived this as a restriction. Even after I gained colleagues’ assistance as mentors, I continued to be denied hospital privileges. Yet, I persevered to survive.

I sought the needed experience at the The Drexel University College Of Medicine Physician Refresher/Reentry Course In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My experiences during this program were rewarding in many ways. During daily morning reports, hospital rounds and outpatient clinics, I reviewed key learning issues in lectures, self-study and discussions with attending physicians, fellows, and residents of the various specialties of Internal Medicine. This helped me gain a tremendous amount of updated medical knowledge across various specialties.

In addition to updating my knowledge, I gained clinical pearls of more effective patient communication skills indifferent clinical situations through the DOC.COM program. This would have undoubtedly assisted me in avoiding problems earlier in my career. My newly gained communication skills are valuable to me on a daily basis. Finally, I improved my interviewing and exam skills through simulated patient exercises, constructive counseling, and documentation of these encounters.

I had the opportunity to put this into practice on my initial return home to attend my daughter’s high school graduation. The first patient I encountered upon my return to the office was a woman with an abnormal mammogram report. I immediately ran through my brain’s rolodex of DOC.COM programs addressing the delivery of bad news. While watching the patient cry after delivering the news regarding her test results, I waited patiently to speak and could hear my preceptor’s voice saying, “tell me what you’re thinking or feeling now?” I repeated these words and she immediately informed me of her fears of leaving her daughter alone because she (her daughter) had no other family. Had I not just spent five weeks at Drexel’s refresher course, I would have made the wrong assumption that she was crying due to the bad news I had just delivered. How wrong I would have been. Like many mothers (and such patients), she was more upset and concerned about her child and loved ones, not about her own fears. I can say without a doubt that of all of the newly gained clinical pearls, the most valuable was effective communication skills learned at Drexel.

Overall, my goals of updating my inpatient management skills were not only met but exceeded my expectation during my time spent at Drexel’s refresher program. I left with a renewed enthusiasm in my profession and confidence in my clinical abilities and skills. I am very appreciative to the Drexel Physician Refresher/Reentry Course committee and staff for giving me this opportunity. Furthermore, I proved to myself my strong Survival Quotient; I was presented with a huge obstacle, which I remedied patiently and fully.

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Marina Makous, MD - General Internist - February 2012

Marina Makous, MD

I was a practicing family physician for about 10 years before moving overseas due my husband's career. My family and I were overseas for about a decade, during which I could not practice medicine for logistical reasons, and, instead, developed expertise in psychiatry and counseling, running my own practice in several countries we lived in.

Returning to the US, I needed to find a way to get back to clinical medicine. Though I maintained my medical license during my years away, and complied with the CME requirements, I did not feel comfortable restarting primary care medical practice without a thorough review: not only the new developments in medicine and pharmacology, but the whole medical system, medical record keeping, and billing had undergone a substantial change during the decade I was away. In addition, I quickly found out that prospective employers were only interested in candidates who had practiced medicine within very recent past.

I was fortunate to find the Physician Refresher and Re-entry program at Drexel University. Complete immersion into clinical medicine through attending the Morning Report and other medical rounds, specialty clinic hours, and doing the online assignments required by the program provided a thorough review of medicine, while history and physical exams with mock patients helped to restore confidence in my clinical skills.

The program's staff is extremely dedicated to providing meaningful training, and goes out of their way to customize the Refresher program to each participant's wishes and needs.

Within a month of completion of the Refresher Course I was able to get employment in clinical medicine, and shortly thereafter, proceeded to enter a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at one of the leading institutions in the US, pursuing my interests in medicine and psychiatry. I thank the Drexel Refresher Course for enabling me to not only return to clinical medicine, but help take me further professionally than I thought was possible.

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Craig J. Ball, MD - Surgery - November-December 2010

Internist

"Drexel Physician Re-Entry Program offers doctors out of practice unique opportunities to participate in clinical experience, an intensive small group clinical learning, great support group and resources for learning. The Drexel training assisted me to obtain an unrestricted medical license and a job to practice medicine."

Pediatrician

"If you are not in medical practice for a long time, it makes you a little uneasy to come back again. I think this course is a good remedy for that. The program gave me a sense of security, encouragement, and support, and that helped."

Internist

"The Physician Refresher Course was of immense benefit. The DOC.COM modules have been EXTREMELY valuable in helping me establish rapport with patients and to gain their trust and cooperation. I cannot recommend the modules highly enough."

Internist

"The rheumatology, diabetes, ob/gyn and nephrology clinics gave me the updates needed to function effectively in a population where these are the predominant case load. We see a large population of diabetic patients, many of whom have not seen the same physician consistently for years. Gradually we are getting their management and treatment plans in order thanks to the skills I learned in the course."

General Medicine

"Observation in the rheumatology clinic helped with the large number of patients that I have with gout and rheumatoid arthritis."

Academic Physician

"I have nothing but praise for the Drexel Physician Refresher Course. It was a sound investment, well worth every penny."

Internist

"I highly recommend the program and commend your work, professionalism and attention to detail."

Pediatrician

"Things I learned in the course came in handy and there were multiple opportunities to apply the skills and knowledge acquired."

Academic Physician

“Nothing short of remarkable!!"

General Medicine

“I enjoyed my learning experience immensely. During patient rounds the attendings were approachable, eager to teach and always willing to answer my questions."

Internist

“I have without any doubt enjoyed every single day of the morning report with the faculty. The depth of their knowledge always left me feeling amazed. They have really been a great source of inspiration for me."

International Physicians

Andrey Kisel, MD, Internal Medicine, November 2020

“I joined the Drexel Refresher course to work on my H/P skills, practice note writing, and interact with other colleagues in the medical field. The course provided a lot of options for you as the learner to choose a focus and tailor your studies to your interests. During the COVID pandemic, the course offered modules on COVID management and the ability to advance telehealth skills. After the four weeks with Dr. Varjavand, Dr. Greco, and my colleagues, I was far more comfortable in my abilities.”

“I would highly recommend this program for anyone interested in: refreshing or maintaining their clinical skills; working on their public speaking and presentation skills; or as a way to get feedback and learn key skills necessary for the USMLE Step 2 CS exam.”

“I would highly recommend this program for any international medical graduate that would like to enter practice in the United States or for a physician that has not been recently practicing. To get the most out of this program, be active with your colleagues and be open to feedback from the preceptors. Everyone genuinely wants to help you achieve the goals you set. The program is just as willing to receive feedback as it is to give it out!”

International Physician, Internal Medicine, June 2020

“It was a busy time! I got to know my peers well over the four weeks that we worked together. Dr. Varjavand would work with us three or four times per week, doing board questions, H&Ps, and having us present new material to her. She would always ask questions, including “how can we make this better?” We took a boards-type test the first week to see how we did and then took it again the last week, and I was surprised to increase my score over a hundred points. We did the same kind of thing with standardized patients, where we “took care of them” the first and last weeks, and I was pleased to see my scores go up there as well. I talked about two topics for my peers, which is a different kind of talking to people. Overall, it was a very good and busy month!”

“I was able to do twelve hour days of reading and learning, day after day, and figure out techniques for keeping my skills fresh. I was able to talk not just to the standardized patients, but accurately present patients to my teachers and to collegially talk about patients with my peers. I feel that this will allow me to do an eight-hour day, talking to patients and colleagues, week after week, without difficulty.”

“I learned new sources to go to when I had questions. I was able to improve my skills and speech, talking about sore throats and transgender health care to my peers. I really thought about what I was going to do at my job at University of… taking care of students, and what they needed.”

“Most importantly, I was able to keep up with all the work, and show that I can still do the work of a physician.”

Avi Patel, International Physician, Internal Medicine, June 2020

“I came into the program wanting to refresh my clinical skills that I learned throughout medical school. During the program, I not only refreshed my clinical skills through standard patient assessments, but I was also able to learn new skills from the preceptor and my colleagues in the course. An important skill for residency is the proper technique on how to approach a physician patient encounter. The Drexel physician refresher program helped me gain the skills necessary for this encounter such as, active listening, shared decision making and checking for patient understanding, among others. I was also able to gain skills in giving presentations to my peers and preceptor which is important during residency as residents are also teachers. Through these presentations I was also able to refresh my knowledge of guidelines of various medical conditions. The learning activities that Drexel provided were very informative and were appropriate for the current COVID-19 pandemic. I learned how to take care of patients who have COVID-19 by doing simulated cases. I was also able to learn about the opioid crisis and how to combat it. The clinical breadth of knowledge that I received was enlightening and will help me be successful during residency.”

International Physician, Internal Medicine, August 2020

“From orientation to present day and conversing with my new-found friends, the Drexel Physician Refresher/Re-entry program has been bursting with an abundance of invaluable resources and everlasting connections.”

“I am so incredibly fortunate to have been informed that such a program exists. Being a part of this program helps me to appreciate that I am not alone. My new-fangled colleagues, alumni of the program, and I may have experienced different paths and challenges throughout our journey in medicine, but we share a common goal: dedicating our lives to helping people strive to lead their best lives.”

“The Drexel Physician Refresher/Re-entry program has notably offered me a chance to grow as a physician and as a person. During the program, heavy emphasis was placed on engaging in a patient-centered approach by means of clearly communicating with patients themselves, preceptors and peers. Open communication establishes a concrete clinician-patient relationship and ultimately benefits the patient throughout their experiences with diseases and illnesses, acute and chronic.”

“I will admit with transparency that in the beginning, I was not terribly confident about my critical reasoning and thinking skills, nor my history taking skills. Self-doubt is a major hindrance that I have been able to work through and markedly improve upon within the 4-weeks of this program. I have also massively enhanced my clinical history writing skills. Not only do I have refreshed and strengthened clinical assessment skills, but I now have the dexterities necessary to successfully communicate and evaluate my patients from cultures outside of my own after reviewing the cultural competency models.”

“Receiving constructive feedback from my colleagues has compelled me to hold fast to what is most relevant and applicable so that the information I convey to others can be meaningful and useful, not superfluous and tangential.”

Valerie Williams, International Physician, Internal Medicine, August 2020

“I was able to meet the goals of enhanced medical knowledge and clinical reasoning both by utilization of dynamic simulation methods as well as other multimedia experiences offered by the program. While doing so, I gained a wealth of knowledge in a wide range of areas. I was exposed to advanced levels of patient care management, including such areas as Medication Assisted Treatment and Covid 19 management, areas I was not expecting to come away with. Having attained education certificates in these areas, I have significantly improved my confidence in being able to assist patients with a much wider range of concerns.”

“The Standardized Patient Assessments challenged me to interview patients efficiently yet thoroughly while continuing to build a trusted relationship with them. Utilizing a patient centered approach, yielding, and encouraging high-level open-ended patient input, I learned to achieve these goals. Because I believe connecting with patients in a trusted manner is an important part of healing, I am ever grateful for this teaching.”

“Finally, the regular, personalized feedback I received from my presentations helped to bring greater confidence in my ability to share clinical knowledge with my colleagues in an effective and meaningful manner. ”

“In short, The Drexel Structured Preceptorship has met my goals toward the independent practice of medicine.”

Tian Li, International Physician, Internal Medicine, July 2020

“I highly recommend the program to those who decide to enroll in the program. When I registered for the course, I was not working in a clinical setting. For me, the course was a powerful learning tool to enhance my interest and knowledge in clinical medicine. Even after the course, I went back to my non-clinical work; I could keep learning with my friends for residency application, MKSAP and Uworld.”

Internal Medicine, International Physician, July 2020, Remote Drexel Preceptorship Course

“It is my pleasure that I got the opportunity to join remote Drexel preceptorship course in July, 2020. It was conducted in a remote online format due to COVID restrictions. However, the tireless efforts of the CME staff members and Dr. Varjavand proved it to be extremely helpful even in the virtual format. I must say, these four weeks comprising of self-directed learning activities along with peer sessions were beneficial for re-capitulating my knowledge and clinical skills. I expect to enter the US healthcare system now with a desire to incorporate my learnings in this course into clinical practice.”

Palina Sudnik, International Physician, Internal Medicine, August 2019

"I want to thank you for providing me with guidance about the clinical skills assessment, teaching me up-to-date management, giving advice about online references and resources, and letting me observe patients in the clinic."

Internist, International Physician, August 2019

"When I first made the difficult decision that I would leave my current career to pursue the passion that kept nagging at me, I started looking for a reputable program where I would be challenged, interact with and observe interns, residents, and fellows going through residency, and be around attendings doing the teaching. I was lucky enough to come across the Drexel Physician Refresher/Reentry program and I was immediately hooked. The program did not disappoint, and neither did the program director, the dean or the staff, who all provided support, guidance and valuable feedback.

I was challenged to think critically, to improve my history-taking and physical exam skills, to learn effective communication skills, and to hone my knowledge through clinical cases. I was further impressed by the teaching rounds, especially with Dr. Boselli, who I could listen to all day without losing interest or attention, and by the resources available to us. Each and every preceptor was kind, willing to teach, and available for questions and discussions. I am thankful for each and every one of them.

I went there to make sure I still liked medicine and really wanted to pursue residency, and I came back with more resolve. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Drexel and would have stayed longer if I could. I am grateful for the opportunity afforded me and recommend this program without reservation to anyone seeking residency."

Dominic Chu, International Physician, June 2019

"I just want to thank you for working with me and my colleagues during the last six weeks. I really appreciated the time you took to walk through each and every case during clinic. It was a wonderful experience, and I learned so much, not just about practicing medicine, but also the logistics, business and politics surrounding the field."

"Your program was exceptionally comprehensive and educational. It is particularly suitable to those who have spent time out of the medical field. There is a strong emphasis on communication skills, which will not only help with the Clinical Skills exam, but also can shape the way you approach future interviews. Additionally, the program would be a great fit for those attempting to take the Step 2 Clinical Knowledge and Step 3 exams."

"Teaching from all staff was incredible and exceptionally detail-oriented. Staff physicians seemingly always made time to teach and explain the intricacies of every decision they made, which made me feel very welcome. I particularly want to highlight the "observer" status of attendees of the course. While some might view this as a hindrance to continued clinical learning, I found that it was quite the contrary, allowing me to delve back into medicine and grow from it."

"There is a great sense of community in the program; students will meet like-minded individuals who may be in a similar situation. These relationships have been helpful in navigating the intricacies of applying for residency."

Tam Tran, International Physician - Pediatrics, July 2018

“Thank you very much for Dr. Cooperberg and Dr. Varjavand’s teaching and for helping me have valuable experiences in St. Christopher's Hospital for Children . One of the interviewers in the Morehouse program where I matched noticed the good letter of recommendation from the Drexel Physician Refresher Program and the high training quality of Drexel University. This is one of the factors that helped me in matching.”

Dasuni Niyagama Gamage, International Physician, July 2018

"I thoroughly believe that my period at Drexel made an impact on my application by having both inpatient and outpatient experience at University based setting under the supervision of great mentors. Furthermore, I have enhanced my clinical knowledge and skills through online modules of Doc com, simple, DxR, H& P, 3 standard patient exams ... etc. I am sure, Drexel experience will be useful for me during the residency and future career."

Pilar Valencia Pena, MD, International Physician, July 2018

"After finishing my six-week clinical experience in Internal Medicine at Drexel, I really feel that I was able to meet my goals. I have had other clinical experiences in the USA, by far, the Physician Refresher Course was the one that best fulfilled my expectations as an international medical graduate. It helped me to become more familiar with the U.S. medical system in the setting of a university hospital."

"Throughout my rotation, I was able to appreciate the team dynamics and patient-physician relationship in various inpatient and outpatient settings. The conferences and rounds in which I participated, provided me with up to date medical information that will positively affect my medical practice by using new knowledge in the care of my patients. The multiple assignments over all this period of 6 weeks kept me clinically oriented and also challenged my logical thinking and analytic skills which improved with every feedback given by the preceptors. I learned how to lead a problematic patient encounter effectively, and strategies to approach difficult clinical scenarios such as discussing advanced directives, counseling alcohol and smoking cessation through 'online' videos and through the practice with my peers. The 'online' exercise assignment, helped me improve how to summarize the patient's clinical information precisely, and accurately present it to the physician on call. I prepared and gave an oral lecture about Melanoma to my peers, which helped me improve my teaching skills."

"I have also reinforced how to effectively communicate with patients about ethical issues, such as breaking bad news, confronting medical errors, and advance directives. It was also beneficial for me to understand the problem of opioid abuse in the USA through the three courses that I have taken during these six weeks. Writing up different cases for the H&P assignments and obtaining feedback from the preceptor and my peers improved my documentation skills. All these opportunities have helped me to sharpen my diagnostic skills and provided an opportunity to integrate what I had learned during this time. I will carry these skills into the next phase of my training, the medical residency. Overall, I feel a more competitive and confident candidate for a U.S. graduate medical education training program."

Gisele Podkameni, MD, International Pediatrics Physician, June 2017

"I have no doubt that I have made the best decision in choosing the refresher course program at Drexel. I enjoyed this course so much that it is hard for me to leave. It brought back my confidence in my own abilities and reassured me of my position on what I want with my life. I was impressed with your team. In addition, it gave me the opportunity to work on my communication skills with patients and the medical team. I also wanted to say thank you for your guidance and comments throughout the sessions we had together."

Hyelee Kim, International Physician, August 2016

"While searching for an opportunity to expose myself to the U.S. clinical system, I became aware of the Drexel Medicine® Physician Refresher/Re-Entry Course. I am really thankful for this program because the director and CME office staff members, including Ms. Johnson, tried their best to help me and adjust my needs as much as possible during the courses. This helped me adapt to the new environment quite quickly and I felt connected to the program."

"My pediatrics observership was done at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children and during my observership, I was very impressed with the close relationship between the doctor and the patient and also with the teaching atmosphere. Many attendings, including my preceptor Dr. Cooperberg, were eager to teach and I really appreciated it. Another gem of this course was the mock patient exams. There were two SP exams at the Drexel campus and I had a chance to review my performance video with Dr. Varjavand and other participants. By practicing with other participants for our last exam, I had a chance to improve my interpersonal skills and enjoyed the occasion during an otherwise stressful time. My experience during this course absolutely helped my interview process and I recommend this to other IMGs who are preparing for their match."

Veronica Merelo, International Physician, August 2016

"I matched and am so happy because it was number one on my list. One thing that I remember during my interview is that they were impressed by the curriculum of the Physician Refresher course, one of the faculty members that interviewed me told me that the fact of have taken this course speaks about my understanding that clinical knowledge is crucial in order to become a good pathologist."

"Thanks so much for your help during this process!"

Richie Xu, June 2016

"I sincerely appreciated the opportunity granted by you and staff for my participation in the program. The recommendation letter from Drexel had been highly regarded in all of my interviews. Program directors and interviewers inquired about my learning experience and the program curriculums. They appeared satisfactory with my performance listed in the letter. I believe it is a very strong component of my application package, that convinced the programs that I am capable of performing equally as American medical graduates."

"I would definitely recommend your program to my trusted colleagues, and share all my encouraging learning experiences. I also believe that while the refresher program provided a highly sophisticated teaching system, participant’s active learning and respectful attitude are also required for a final success."

Aqsa Malik, International Physician, 2016

"It's only been two days but I miss coming to Drexel. It was a great program and I have learned a lot. I feel confident in my knowledge and clinical skills and I must say your feedback was very valuable in getting here. Your sincerity and dedication to make this program as useful to the participants as possible was evident. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for this wonderful opportunity."

Soleil Schutte - Anesthesiology Resident - 2015

I am matched to the categorical anesthesiology program at the University of Florida and I am SO excited! I don't think I would have stood a chance if it were for my experience in Drexel and the great recommendation letter that you put together for me. THANK YOU!

Kiedren Lewi - International Medical Graduate-Seeking Residency - 2014

I learned so much over the six weeks that I did my structured preceptorship with your program. What was most valuable to me were the modules on ethics and communication. This year during my interview at Creighton Family Medicine, I was asked questions about ethics and remembered what I had learned in your program. I am very grateful for that and truly believe those lessons will remain with me throughout my career.

Sivaveera Kandashamy - International Medical Graduate - November 2014

The Drexel University College of Medicine Physician Refresher Course offered me a unique opportunity to learn about the high quality of care in the US and gave me insight in the academic schedule for residents. I was able to participate in morning and noon conferences, grand rounds, and educational lectures for board exam preparation. Being assigned to a faculty preceptor who encouraged participation not only allowed me to practice the fundamental skills of gathering a patient history and performing a full physical examination, but also made me more prepared in handling difficult scenarios that I may encounter in my career. The doctoring curriculum in particular helped me with this aspect, and I was able to get acculturated with current practices that will improve my future relationships with patients. The modules and virtual cases allowed me to brush up my clinical knowledge and defined a high standard in patient care that I will aspire to possess. I was fortunate enough to get involved with great attending physicians who were receptive to my enthusiasm to learn and did not hesitate to share their knowledge.

Overall, the program was a great experience for me and I look forward to applying all the skills I gathered throughout my career.

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Hyun Kyung Kim - December 2013

I am happy that I finished the Drexel program and gained confidence to acculturate into the U.S. system. The program helped me to make an additional good impression on the interviewers [for internal medicine residency programs]. If it were not for my attendance in the program, the interview trip would have been much more stressful.

Madhura Borikar - General Internal Medicine Preceptorship - July 2014

Drexel's physician refresher/re-entry program is one of the best observership courses available for International Medical Graduates. I did 6 week Internal Medicine rotation which was a great mix of inpatient and outpatient clinic, as well as core internal medicine and subspecialty clinics.

Highlight of my experience was getting to know the typical day for a resident at University programs, which included attending morning report, noon conferences and medicine teaching rounds with the current residents which is not readily available at private clinic observerships.

Along with the core experience clinically, I got to perform at several other things, including standardized patient cases pre and post course, many 'modules' directed towards physician-patient communications and interesting 'difficult case scenarios.'

Dr Varjavand was very involved in our course and made sure that we absorb the knowledge. Also, she gave a letter of recommendation, which helped me during my residency application, and at the end I matched at my first choice.

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International Medical Graduate

"Doc.com has helped me immensely with my patient interaction. I improved significantly from the first standardized patient encounter. I am feeling more confident now."

International Medical Graduate

"Participating in your program really helped my self-confidence."

International Medical Graduate

"Even as an 'observer only' I learned quite a lot. The ambulatory workshop was a great experience and a break from the everyday hectic schedule. Although I am by no means a great speaker, it actually helped me to get rid of my fears. All of the residents in our group were pleasant and very helpful with advice."

International Medical Graduate

"I will never forget this learning experience at Drexel."

 
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