Many of the physicians who complete the Physician Refresher/Re-entry program are seeking to reinstate their U.S. licensure, undertake a refresher before returning to practice after time away from the field, while others’ circumstances are more unique. No matter your situation, our program is here to help you meet your professional goals. Take a look at a few of our alumni testimonials to see what program graduates have to say about our course offerings.
Meet the Alumni
My name is Alireza Hashemi, and I am a recent graduate from Ross University School of Medicine. I am an aspiring 2024 match applicant. I had the privilege of participating in a four-week nephrology observership in the Physician Refresher/Re-entry program. Participating in this observership was an invaluable experience for me, as it allowed me to delve deep into the complexities of nephrology diseases. Working closely with Dr. Krevolin, a seasoned nephrologist, both in his clinic and during rotations in various hospitals in Philadelphia, gave me a comprehensive understanding of the field. I witnessed firsthand the dedication and expertise required to manage renal disorders.
For anyone thinking about enrollment in this program, I would offer the following advice: Search and study the latest research articles and developments related to the specific observership you're attending. It will not only enhance your learning experience but also enable you to actively contribute to the medical field. This observership has truly been a stepping stone in my medical journey, and I am grateful for the knowledge and skills I've gained.
Back to Top
HEATHER KEMPCZINSKI, MD
My goal in entering the Drexel Medicine Physician Refresher Program was to explore the path back to clinical practice after a period of two decades spent taking care of my family. I found the program to be well-organized and challenging. The instructors were highly qualified and supportive of the reentry journey. The fellow students were engaging and it was a very positive learning experience. I would advise others in my position to enroll and make use of the opportunity to update their medical knowledge, understand current clinical practices, demonstrate patient care skills and receive feedback in real time. I ultimately decided not to pursue a return to practice. My month in the program provided closure on lingering questions about a future in medicine.
Back to Top
JESSE KARMAZIN, MD
Participating in this program has undoubtedly enriched my understanding of medicine.
My clinical skills have grown significantly. I had the opportunity to conduct numerous patient interviews, which bolstered my ability to gather comprehensive and relevant information effectively. Writing detailed patient notes and presenting complex cases provided an opportunity to refine my communication and analytical skills, key elements in the day-to-day life of a practicing physician.
My medical knowledge has vastly improved. The program's extensive resources, including online interactive case studies, advanced topic educational videos, physical exam skill reinforcement sessions, and varied medical topic multiple-choice questions, have given me a broader and deeper understanding of diverse areas within medicine. Moreover, the online modules across various medical subjects offered valuable insights and knowledge that will enhance my clinical practice.
Lastly, I've had the privilege of learning from esteemed mentors. Their vast clinical experience and insightful feedback have significantly influenced my clinical reasoning and patient management skills. Their mentorship has guided my learning journey, providing me with a strong foundation for my return to clinical practice.
This program has allowed me to grow both as a person and as a medical professional, providing me with the tools, skills and knowledge necessary to deliver high-quality patient care. I am confident that these improvements have made me a better physician, ready to return to residency training.
Back to Top
SNEH SONAIYA, MBBS
My time in the Physician Refresher/Re-entry program was a wonderful learning experience. During my rotation, I had the privilege of working under the guidance of Dr. Rene Rubin, MD, at the Rittenhouse Hematology/Oncology Center. Dr. Rubin is an outstanding clinician and a very supportive mentor. We frequently discussed patient presentations, diagnostic approaches, and treatment strategies. Dr. Rubin was always available to address any questions or concerns I had, fostering an environment where learning was both encouraged and enjoyable. I particularly appreciated our discussions about current research articles in the field of oncology, which enhanced my understanding of the latest developments. I also got an opportunity to present some of the research papers that I reviewed to Dr. Rubin, and we could engage in discussions about the clinical developments in the field.
The diversity of cases and the wide range of patients I encountered on a daily basis were noteworthy. Each case presented a unique learning opportunity, allowing me to expand my knowledge and skills continuously. The entire staff at the Rittenhouse Hematology/Oncology Center was incredibly kind and supportive, making me feel like an integral part of the team.
The exposure I gained at the program truly helped me prepare for the next step in my career of being an internal medicine resident. This rotation also helped me reinforce my interest in the field of oncology. Overall, this was a great learning experience, and I would highly encourage physicians to be a part of this program.
Back to Top
ADARSH VARDHAN TANGELLA, MBBS
Rheumatology - April 2023
I’m Adarsh and I’m an international medical graduate from India. I’ve finished my MBBS in 2021 and I’ll be applying for internal medicine residency in this match. My intention in doing this rotation was to gain more experience in the United States health care system, as I would be applying for residency here. If I should appreciate one very good aspect of this program – it is definitely their timeliness and responsiveness. I had no trouble while trying to apply for it and the team at Drexel CME made it so seamless and easy.
Coming to the rotation, I rotated under Dr. Huppert in rheumatology in the month of April 2023. It was an absolute pleasure working with him. His patient care is unparalleled. He makes sure to remember even the minute details about his patients, which makes them feel heard and understood. We were taking histories from at least 8 to 10 patients a day. A lot of them had complex medical histories riddled with difficulties and pain. But this rotation helped me understand how important pain management is and how impactful pain control can be on a patient’s quality of life.
A specific aspect of his practice that intrigued me the most was the sheer volume of complex regional pain syndrome patients he had under his care. That was a one-of-a-kind experience that I might not get anywhere else other than under Dr. Huppert. He not only taught us but also let us present a topic of our choice at the end of the rotation – and I remember choosing CRPS as mine because it tickled my brain. I’m really grateful to Dr. Varjavand and the team at Drexel for being so welcoming and helping me at every step to ensure that my experience at Drexel would be a memorable learning experience. I would totally recommend students take this elective, learn as much as they can and implement it in their further endeavors!
Back to Top
BIDHISA KHAREL, MBBS
Bidhisa Kharel, has matched and is going to Ascension St Francis Hospital, Evanston, Ill., in fall 2023.
Rheumatology – May 2023
As an international medical graduate, I embarked on this program with high expectations, and I can confidently say that those expectations were not only met but surpassed.
Before joining the program, I was seeking a way to refresh my medical knowledge and gain exposure to the U.S. clinical system. The onsite Physician Refresher Program provided the perfect platform to achieve these goals. The interactive discussions and case studies were particularly beneficial in enhancing my diagnostic and treatment decision-making abilities. What impressed me the most was the program's commitment to providing a comprehensive learning environment. The knowledge and skills I acquired have not only bolstered my confidence but also elevated the level of care I will provide to my patients.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the entire Drexel Medicine team for their unwavering commitment to excellence, from the administrative staff, who ensured a smooth and seamless experience, to Dr. Huppert who shared his expertise generously. I am truly grateful for the impact he had on my professional development.
To any physician or medical professional considering the Physician Refresher Program, I wholeheartedly recommend it. This program has exceeded my expectations in every aspect, and I am confident it will do the same for others. It is an invaluable opportunity to sharpen your skills, expand your knowledge and connect with esteemed professionals. Once again, thank you to everyone at Drexel Medicine for offering such a transformative program. I am immensely grateful for the experience and the positive impact it has had on my career.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience for me. Dr Huppert was very approachable, easygoing and friendly. At the end of my observership, I felt comfortable enough to speak with patients as he often let me take a brief history. Rheumatology is a rare specialty in Nepal and hence, I had little experience in this sector. However, under Dr. Huppert, I got the opportunity to see patients with a variety of rheumatological illnesses ranging from mild rheumatoid arthritis to an advanced form of ankylosing spondylitis. Dr. Huppert and I had brief chats regarding the cases practically after each patient, and we would occasionally discuss specific topics outside the clinic hours.
The Friday conference and the presentations delivered by my colleagues, in addition to the day-to-day learning process, broadened my learning platform. I also had the opportunity to present a case of Sjogren's syndrome, which helped me develop a better method of presentation while also gaining a thorough understanding of the ailment. I learned how to work effectively as a team player in an outpatient setting in America. Even though I did not have access to electronic medical records, just by observing Dr. Huppert I gained a lot of insights about chart review, accessing the electronic records, and ordering common labs and medications.
Telemedicine was another interesting aspect of this observership as I understood how a detailed history, even without physical examination, can help you to nail the appropriate differentials so that you can order relevant work up. I feel fortunate to have had a mentor like Dr. Huppert, from whom I learnt a lot not just about medicine but life as a whole.
Back to Top
MANISH SHETTY, MBBS
Nephrology – May 2023
My experience at the Physician Refresher/Re-entry program has been nothing short of an amazing and rewarding experience.
Being an international medical graduate, I was looking for meaningful clinical experiences in the US where I would be able to shadow a physician and learn from them. My experience that followed was better than anything I could have possibly expected.
I rotated under Dr. Krevolin who was an excellent preceptor. At his clinic, he would attend to patients from various demographics in and around Philadelphia who presented with a wide variety of health problems. I was able to discuss about the presentation, approach and management of the patient's cases with him as well as ask any questions I had in mind. He used to also foster curiosity in the subject by discussing about various research articles pertaining to nephrology with me. The diversity in the cases as well as the patients which I would encounter daily was something to be noted as I could learn from each one of them. The doctor-patient relationship at the clinic along with the manner in which Dr. Krevolin builds a rapport with his patients was exceptional and was something I benefitted from. I was able to communicate and coordinate with other members of the healthcare team at the clinic who worked alongside with the physician and was able to appreciate their role in the management of the patient.
The rotation helped me to get accustomed to the health care system in the United States and the manner in which its delivered to the population. It also allowed me to acquire the knowledge and skills which are necessary for any medical graduate seeking to join a residency program. I would definitely recommend the program to anyone willing to gain clinical experience under the guidance of a skilled preceptor.
Back to Top
SUSAN MYERS, MD
Pediatrics - January 2023
The reason I sought out a review/refresher/re-entry course is because after practicing general medicine in an overseas, resource limited country for 22 years I was preparing to return to the US and work in a primary care pediatric setting. My goals included becoming familiar with updated ways of practicing medicine in the US including current trends, practice guidelines and expectations as well as a good, solid review of pediatric medicine specifically with a focus on those areas where the standards of care have changed or shifted. In Drexel University’s program there were lots of required and online assignments that were of a more general nature including approaches to the patient interview with more emphasis on physician-patient shared decision making. I have become aware of ways I can improve in that area. There was also a focus on high value care with an effort to decrease waste and overuse of medical resources in the US as well as specific state requirements for various training for health professionals in opioid prescribing, child abuse, human trafficking awareness and more. It would be helpful if these could be tailored to include resources from the state in which the learner intends to practice where possible.
The load is pretty heavy with limited time to focus on a specific medical discipline. Although there were some opportunities for that, this is not the focus of this refresher course. That said, the content of the H&Ps and presentations I prepared were pediatric topics of my choosing which allowed time for review. I enjoyed the Aquifer cases as there were pediatric medicine topics to choose from that were helpful. There were a few other tools that could be tailored to include pediatrics topics as well for which I was grateful.
I would strongly advise anyone taking the course to ensure they have a minimum of a full week they can commit to the pre-course material in order to afford time to complete it in full prior to starting the course. If not, they should consider waiting till the next month to begin the program. I found the pre-course material to be good but very labor intensive. The workload of the course itself is a lot and requires your full attention.
Back to Top
HARKIRAT KAUR, MBBS
Rheumatology – April 2023. Government Medical College, Amritsar, India, 2021.
As an international medical graduate and prospective residency applicant, I was keen to broaden my clinical skills and gain first-hand understanding of the American health care system. The Drexel Medicine Refresher/Reentry course provided me with an excellent opportunity to do so.
During my one-month course, I was able to actively engage in patient consultations, observe various diagnostic procedures and get an understanding of the intricacies of handling complex medical conditions. The exposure to a wide range of cases has undoubtedly sharpened my clinical acumen and deepened my understanding of health care in the U.S., for which I’m extremely grateful.
This Drexel program is fantastic for international graduates like me who are on a similar journey and want to expand their clinical experience in the United States!
Back to Top
KASHIF AHMAD, MBBS
Hematology/Oncology – January 2023
As an international medical graduate, Drexel observership program is the perfect transition into U.S. medical education for anyone seeking residency. I participated in the hematology/oncology observership for one month and had the privilege of working with Dr. Rene Rubin, it was inspiring to see how deeply she cared about her patients.
During my rotation I was exposed to a variety of cases, from the most common to the most rare and complex. It allowed me to gain significant experience in providing across the board care to patients with various haematological disorders and malignancies. Here I learnt about chemotherapeutic regimens and targeted immunotherapy with miraculous outcomes. One of the most rewarding aspect was being able to interact with patients, giving me a chance to witness firsthand the impact that cancer has on patients and their families.
I was given EMR access and I reviewed patient charts as we saw patients. My supervising doctor was a wonderful teacher and mentor, she encouraged asking questions and discussed patient cases with me which helped me learn a lot. She was very friendly and her office staff was equally warm and welcoming. I also had the opportunity to attend a work dinner which was fun and a great learning experience for me.
I am now an incoming PGY-1 pre-residency fellow in memory disorders at the Medical College of Georgia and will be seeking residency in the Match 2024. I had a great time and will highly recommend Drexel observership program to anyone looking to gain clinical experience in the U.S. at a notable academic institution, that too in a fun city like Philly!
Back to Top
ERIN MCKAY, DO
Internal Medicine – February 2023
Prior to entering the Drexel program, I had been an osteopathic-educated internal medicine physician working predominantly in a very busy outpatient primary care clinic for 15 years. However, with tentacles in outpatient as well as inpatient, local nursing home, and county correctional facility settings, my practice was uniquely diverse. With such training and experience, I believed I had already achieved an appreciation for the biopsychosocial approach to patient care, a high level of efficiency within chaotic systems, and an idiomatic breadth of internal medicine knowledge. I was mid-life, clinically-experienced, and comfortable within my practice. Then my mother became ill, and I took an unexpected 13-month leave in order to care for her. Upon my readiness to return, but given my prolonged absence, my employer stipulated completion of a re-entry program; they recommended Drexel University.
Perhaps sheepishly, I will reveal my goals, at least initially, included the following:
- Complete and pass the course in order to satisfy my employer’s requirement.
- “Excel” in the course in order to satisfy my own personal standard.
- Obtain updated clinical guidelines on and treatments for common medical conditions in order to be current with medical knowledge.
Did I meet these goals?
It appears that I am platformed to complete and pass this course, though this essay is premature to that conclusion. I do believe I excelled in some areas of this program, but there always remains opportunity for further improvement. The third goal was less obviously achieved, but this has become somewhat irrelevant.
Listed above were my initial goals for the program. However, within hours of beginning the DocCom modules, within moments of beginning the pre-assigned books, and within seconds of meeting Dr. Varjavand, I realized I had opportunity for an immersive educational experience, and my sole aspiration then became to fully exploit the resources before me.
Through this course and through exploitation of said resources, I have acquired, achieved, and/or refined all of the following:
- A more holistic approach to patient care
- Greater efficiency with and yield from the interview process
- An expanded skill set for addressing sensitive but prevalent medical conditions, including alcohol and substance use disorders, obesity and end-of-life issues
- High-yield physical examination maneuvers and the improved techniques for performing them
- A heightened awareness of my own biases, the impact of these on my entire practice and strategies for overcoming them
- An in-depth review of important, complex ethical issues
- A more realistic understanding of my role, both scope and limits, as physician, within our current, complex, dynamic medical environment
- A rejuvenated sense of having high potential for positive impact on my patients and my profession
Given the explicit benefits of the above, it would be superfluous to state the strengths I will bring to clinical practice as a result of my Drexel training. Suffice it to say that I have been overtly enriched, if not enlightened, by this course.
That third goal, obtaining updated clinical guidelines on and treatments for common medical conditions, was achieved; I do not want to infer otherwise. Through multiple choice questions with Dr. Varjavand, completion of Aquifer exercises, COVID modules, and with the plethora of resources available through the online library, there was ample opportunity to amass such contemporary knowledge. However, this course placed emphasis on areas broader, deeper, more integrated, and more expansive than those beheld by guidelines and treatment recommendations.
I admit I entered this course, confidently not arrogantly, believing I had “little” to learn but “a lot” to refresh, given the sketch of my previous experience. However, as if founded on the words of Benjamin Franklin, this course proved his (and my) credo: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
Thank you for allowing me to learn.
What would I tell a friend?
In addition to all of the above, a focus on the value of this course is deserved. There was a strong emphasis on fundamentals, many of which were missed during my medical school education. The application of these fundamentals was rooted heavily in the biopsychosocial approach to patient care which, in my estimate, is the only relevant approach to patient care. The pragmatic application of these fundamentals in a modern medical practice was both elucidated and emboldened. The coursework was intensive, voluminous, expansive, enlightening, immersive, and worthy of each penny spent and every minute invested.
Back to Top
PRIYAL MEHTA, MBBS
Rheumatology – March 2023
My name is Dr. Priyal Mehta. I wanted to thank you for providing me with the opportunity to rotate and shadow Dr. Huppert during March 2023.
This rotation was such a huge learning curve for me. I was extremely obliged to be observing under the tutelage of such a well versed and highly experienced physician. I was a novice physician from India with no previous experience in the health care system of the U.S. Dr Huppert made me feel very comfortable and extended support as I navigated my first month in the U.S.
While observing Dr. Huppert throughout the month, I have learned everything from - how to adequately greet patients, to how to make them feel comfortable and keep an open mind when patients present their complaints. Like he always said, “today is the first day of the rest of our lives!” Hence, we should always try and try and then try even harder to optimally manage the pain and symptoms that our patients experience. He demonstrated, by example, the true meaning of never giving up, even when a drug seems so efficient in one patient but not in another. I have known that he truly, genuinely cares for his patients - which is what I found truly inspiring.
I will always remember the kindness of Miss Jones and Miss Maria who welcomed me with such affection and warmth. I truly wish I had more time to learn from Dr. Huppert. He reinforced my interest in rheumatology and for that I will remain forever grateful to him and the program. I yearn to apply these practical skills I gained during my residency. Thank you.
Back to Top
AWANWOSA VALENTINE AGHO, MD
Dr. Agho has matched at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pennsylvania for Internal Medicine, July 2023
I am very glad that I partook in this program; physician refresher course organized by Drexel Medical School. In a lot of ways, it exceeded my expectations as an international medical graduate.
It gave me the opportunity to see firsthand how patients are been taken care of both inpatient and outpatient settings in the United States.
When most other programs that offer the same services would not want to give IMGs the opportunity to participate in their programs even when they are qualified, Drexel physician refresher course would gladly accept everyone who qualifies regardless of where you trained as a medical doctor.
Initially, it looked like they were asking for too much in terms of the medical’s I was asked to do but, it stood me in good stead when I got into residency. All the tests were valid so I didn’t have to repeat them when doing my physical during the onboarding process into residency.
My experience during the on-site observership, is unquantifiable. I learnt a lot and made connections that proved very helpful in my professional advancement. I also got a letter of recommendation that my interviewer's kept on referring to which lend credence to the fact that it was well written.
I highly recommend this program to mostly IMGs who need US clinical experience to be considered a strong candidate for residency.
This is a great program for IMG’s who have graduated five years ago. It is a wonderful opportunity to understand the United States health care system as an IMG. This program helps us develop effective communication skills, clinical reasoning, and provides an update on our medical knowledge through group discussions and presentations. The MCQ/H&P sessions are amazing for updating medical knowledge while discussing the case from all participants perspectives. I definitely grew professionally as well as personally.
Dr. Lubochiner has matched at West Chester Medical Center, ob/gyn, July 2023.
I'm an international medical graduate from Argentina who didn't know anyone in the U.S. in the medical field. I started the journey of becoming a physician in this country and I realized I needed to get in touch with the U.S. health system first. I luckily found the Drexel Refresher Program.
During the month I was part of it, not only I learned about medicine but also got to know people that had their arms open to welcome you and guide you through the difficult path. Participating in the course helped me tremendously and I would recommend it to anyone in the same path as me, as a first contact point with the U.S. health system.
I matched in a residency position in a hospital that I hope becomes my new home. I can proudly say that working hard you can accomplish your goals. If you are reading this and feel a little like you don't know where to start, the Drexel Refresher Program is a great choice.
Back to Top
I spent three months in the Drexel Physician Refresher/Re-Entry program during the summer of 2022, and it was a fantastic experience. Having been away from clinical practice for almost eight years, I was unsure of my clinical skills and knowledge. The program is personalized and provides a unique environment of asynchronous and synchronous education that fosters independent learning and camaraderie. The physician preceptors serve as role models and mentors, and the administrative staff is focused on our success. I refreshed my clinical skills, regained my confidence and made lifelong friends.
I am so grateful to have attended the Drexel Physician Refresher/Re-entry program. It exceeded my expectations and was truly well worth the time and effort invested. I highly recommend the program to all physicians looking to renew/refresh their careers.
Update: Dr. Zakharchenko has matched at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, N.Y., July 2023.
I am an international medical graduate who seeks residency training. To get insight into the U.S. health care system, and gain clinical experience and knowledge, I chose the Drexel Physician Refresher/Re-entry Program. The experience I had there definitely surpassed my expectations. It was an unforgettable and immensely useful month for me that I spent in well-run arthritis and rheumatology office.
First and foremost, I was delighted to observe and learn an excellent patient-centered approach shown to me by my preceptor. My supervising doctor was able to speak many languages and had a very diverse patient population. His awesome ability to establish a meaningful rapport with his patients and to develop friends in them even prompted me to start learning Spanish! The doctor who supervised me helped me get the most out of each training day and was very involved in giving as much as he could for a future practitioner in the U.S. We took histories in various clinical scenarios, discussed patients, and created diagnostic and management plans for a wide scope of rheumatologic and autoimmune diseases. We differentiated the causes of acute and chronic pain and managed it using a multidisciplinary and multimodality approach. Also, it was my first time in Philadelphia and only second month in the U.S. ever, so he recommended to me a lot of things to do in the city for recreation and exploring, and I really enjoyed my stay there because of that.
Without a doubt, I highly recommend the Drexel Physician Refresher/Re-entry Program for those who were away from practice for some years and would like to return, for those who seek clinical experience in America before future training-practice in the country, or who seek opportunity to fortify the skills and knowledge in medicine. I am happy I had my experience in such a place, which has become and shaped a very memorable and warm reflection in my head.
Back to Top
CHIA CHI "CHELSEY" LOH
Update: Dr. Loh has matched into their first choice, family medicine specialty at Hamilton Medical Center in Georgia, July 2023.
Like many other international medical graduates, my path to residency has been a long and winding one, and I learned the hard way how crucial mentorships are to success. Therefore I am writing this testimonial to all potential candidates, especially to IMGs: PLEASE DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND SIGN UP FOR THIS LIFE-CHANGING PROGRAM!
Where do I even begin? The good things and lessons you will be able to learn from this course are innumerable. Here's a few:
First: Committed mentorships and guided curriculum. My EMR documentation skills, patient interview skills, and confidence in handling cases like domestic violence and addiction have significantly improved over the course of weeks, via the on-point yet thoughtful feedback from multiple preceptors and peers.
Second: Conducive environment to grow both professionally and personally. From discussing weekly H&P write-ups and reviewing timed standardized patient encounters, to doing MCQs while learning about each other's approach to patient assessments and attending peer-led PowerPoint presentations. Every session spent virtually together provided me a space to learn more about evidence-based medicine; interacting with amazing preceptors, standardized patients, and peers from all over the world has definitely helped me get closer to the competent physician I aspire to be.
Last: The intense and packed schedule mimicking full-time residency training! It really helped prime me to get ready with the stamina I need in order to start residency (which is probably going to be more intense than the course). This course also made me understand the importance of a strict sleep schedule and time management skills, which is going to help tremendously in residency for my own wellness!
All in all: This has been such an eye-opening course for me to be directly mentored by Drexel University professors and has enhanced my confidence in advocating for patients in the U.S. health care system!
Back to Top
The Drexel physician refresher program was a wonderful experience for me!
Even though I have been working in medical research for years, I needed a systematic evaluation and retraining to boost my confidence further. This program gave me an immersive experience into clinical medicine and its current practice.
Dr. Greco and Dr. Varjavand are very caring, knowledgeable and dedicated mentors. I benefitted the most from case simulations and detailed case presentations. Having a peer group to discuss assignments and engage in intellectual exchange was invaluable!
I would highly recommend this program to retuning physicians and foreign medical graduates looking apply to residency programs in the United States.
Back to Top
ANNA LIGOCKI, MD, MS
Update: Dr. Ligocki has matched to a one-year preliminary medicine position at Ascension Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, Md., July 2023.
My experience in the Drexel Physician Refresher/Re-entry Program has been fantastic and enjoyable! The curriculum for the course has been carefully created to strengthen the fundamental skills and attitudes needed to care for patients in many settings. I practiced essential clinical skills through simulated patient interactions as well as history and physical exam write-ups. Additionally, preceptor-led diagnostic and therapeutic decision-making sessions emphasized the importance of being a curious lifelong learner to swiftly incorporate the best available research clinical experience, and patient choice into medical practice. Finally, multiple discussions and presentations helped me enhance my interpersonal and communication abilities. Another strength of the program is its encouraging learning environment, full of interaction and constructive criticism, allowing you to immediately see your own improvement over a short time.
CHEN CHEN, MD
Update: Dr. Chen matched into a neurology program at Northwell in New York, N.Y., July 2023
The Drexel University College of Medicine Physician Refresher/Re-entry program was really great! There were assessments and assignments to test your clinical skills. A preceptor would provide teaching and feedback in order to help you learn and grow. There were also independent courses to teach you ethics, professionalism and high-value care. You will improve really quickly. I really recommend this course.
Update: Dr. Zhao has matched at Mayo Clinic, pathology, physician-scientist track, July 2023.
I have met all my goals in this one-month structured program. Completing the course helped prepare me for getting residency training and coming back to clinical practice.
The comprehensive training in clinical communication skills made me feel more confident in routine clinical encounters and coping with potentially difficult situations. The H&P-writing section provided me with an excellent learning environment to improve my medical documentation skills. Drafting and reviewing detailed H&Ps write-ups and receiving feedback from preceptors and peers greatly strengthened my knowledge and ability regarding high-quality clinical documentation.
The clinical reasoning training is another reason that I took the course. The group work on discussing clinical questions encouraged a positive and nonjudgmental learning environment. The open discussion between peers and preceptors allowed me to learn from other physicians and refreshed my clinical thinking and decision-making ability. I also practiced my presentation and teaching skills.
In addition to the interactive learning sessions, the course provided a vast number of CME materials.
The program, while very intensive and demanding, provided a soft landing spot for me to start my journey to residency training. I feel lucky that I took this course and am proud of my accomplishments.
I would tell my friends: The Drexel University College of Medicine Physician Refresher Course is an impressive clinical training experience. Taking the course made me more confident to start my clinical work. Also, this program will provide you with the opportunity to meet physicians from all over the world.
Back to Top
ISABEL POLSKY, MD
I enrolled in the Drexel Medicine Refresher/Reentry course after an extended period away from practice with the aim of returning to clinical medicine. The course has been instrumental in helping me find my way back.
The program includes structured group exercises, self-study components and activities that join the two. This combination is extremely helpful. The mentors guide course participants through case presentations, peer-led didactic presentations and review of standardized patient interviews. Their criticisms, in my experience, were constructive but friendly, providing guidance and promoting growth and improvement. The faculty is highly engaged.
The immediate feedback from peers, meanwhile, is helpful and meaningful. The group includes clinicians from different disciplines with different training and work experiences, creating the opportunity for exchange from alternative perspectives.
The course places emphasis on clinical reasoning and management, and also physician-patient communication and ethics. The structured class time together is balanced by assigned self-study modules in clinically relevant topics. Beyond preset content, the course can be tailored to participants’ needs and interests.
Perhaps the greatest strength of the experience is the exceptionally supportive environment that the program creates for the learner. The faculty, the administrative team and the fellow learners are invested in the success of each participant. You are learning from each other and also helping each other along the way, under the guidance of a team that is invested in your progress. It is enormously helpful.
All that said, it is an intensive program. Be prepared to be busy!
Back to Top
The Drexel Physician Refresher/Re-entry program has been life-changing. I had spent over a decade out of the practice of medicine and was very unsure if returning was even an attainable goal. Through the program, I regained my confidence and was able to find and secure an amazing clinical opportunity! The course provided a scaffolding to refresh my knowledge and clinical skills. The faculty gave constructive feedback to help me home in on areas where I needed additional focus, and I found it very reassuring to find support and comradeship with other peers who were facing similar experiences. I am truly fortunate and grateful that this program exists!
KRISTIN H. COLEMAN, MD
I highly recommend the Drexel Physician Refresher/Re-entry Program. It far exceeded my goals and expectations for remediating my medical knowledge deficits and for preparing me to return to practice after being away for 14 years. The program creates a safe, supportive and stimulating environment in which you have the time needed to evaluate your medical knowledge and clinical skills and update your deficiencies. The multi-faceted program is challenging, demanding, time-consuming and rewarding.
The community created by the preceptors, staff and peers was, in itself, beneficial in its support during this challenging process, and it was a privilege to collaborate with smart, interesting and diverse peers. The preceptors were bright, skilled, insightful and supportive. The feedback from both preceptors and peers was very helpful. The added bonus of accomplishing the challenging assignments, giving peer presentations and managing simulated patients was that it developed my clinical/professional skills as well as improved my confidence.
The medical board was right in recommending Drexel for those physicians who have been out of practice for some time, because being prepared to return to practice really is a lot more than just passing a board exam. Finally, I can’t say enough superlatives for what a positive experience I had and how appreciative I am of our role-modeling preceptors and the supportive administrative staff that made this program a great success for me. My hope is that in addition to becoming a lifelong learner, I have made new lifelong friends.
Back to Top
HOSPITALIST, GENERAL MEDICINE
I appreciate Drexel and the Med Exec committee giving me a path back to hospital medicine.
Drexel is an online course for physicians from a variety of backgrounds, many of which are coming back to clinical medicine after a break, or are changing disciplines. Three days a week are spent doing synchronized group work where you discuss cases, board review questions, and do peer presentations on clinical topics. Two days a week you work on your own doing didactic modules and your assignments. If you are in primary care, it is a thorough review of history taking skills, the physical exam, interpersonal communication skills and writing H&P’s. During the course you will review the management of many common clinical scenarios, but this is not a board-prep type course. It also gives you access to resources used to train medical students like standardized patients and online Aquifer assessments.
DAVID SHARE, MD, FACP
I spent a month in the Drexel Physician Refresher program in the spring of 2022, as part of an effort for me to transition from being a nephrologist to a general internist. Unlike some of the people in my group, I had not interrupted my time in practice, and I was already licensed and boarded.
I found the program very helpful. Under the tutelage of the physicians running the program, I refreshed my ability to generate a complete differential diagnosis, and focused my efforts as well on reviewing and relearning parts of the physical exam and history-taking that had grown rusty during my time as a sub-specialist. We as a group also spent a lot of time collaborating on case reviews, reviews of question banks and discussions about practice in general.
The physicians who were our mentors offered concise and helpful criticism and feedback as we made case presentations, performed H&Ps on sample patients and delivered topic presentations. What was very helpful as well were the numerous videos we watched, many of which are/will be helpful in licensing and board reviews.
Attending the program was well worth the time and effort expended and I recommend it to those desiring a renew/refresh in their career.
Back to Top
SHRUTI DIGHE, MD, MPH, PHD
Current position: research epidemiologist AHN Singer Research Institute
Matched into family medicine residency PGY1, 2022 match
Goals for taking the course
- Refresh clinical skills and practice tackling clinical scenarios using evidence based techniques.
- Familiarize myself with the expectations of a primary care physician in the United States.
- In addition to shadowing physicians I wanted to strengthen my CV and have the experience of attending a structured re-entry program.
- Be a confident and effective communicator.
Advice for a person deciding whether to enroll in the program
I highly recommend this program to international graduates looking for structured opportunities. The preceptors, Dr. Varjavand and Dr. Greko, are absolutely amazing and very approachable. This program will give you the opportunity to meet physicians from all over the world. You learn not only from your preceptors but from your peers. In addition to effective history taking and physical exam, the one thing that benefited me was reviewing our standardized patient encounters together as a group. It gave me the chance to retrospect, get feedback, better understand my strengths and weaknesses and areas I needed to improve.
Back to Top
KATHY ALIZO, MD
After having been away from clinical medicine for an extended period, completing the Drexel Medicine Physician Refresher/Re-Entry Course helped prepare me for re-entry to practice. The program provided structured coursework but was also tailored to meet my specific goals, by allowing me to choose the content for my H&Ps, presentations and other individualized assignments. In addition to the individual work, the program provided a platform for consistent interaction with others. The group work encouraged a positive and nonjudgmental learning environment, which allowed for open discussion between the instructors and course participants. I enjoyed interacting with and learning from my peers in the course, who all had diverse backgrounds and experiences from all over the world in medicine.
During my recent job application process, potential employers appreciated the detailed course outline that Drexel provided and highly valued the experiences I gained in the program. The communication provided by the Drexel staff was excellent, and continuous check-ins allowed my coursework plan to change over time if needed. I appreciated that the Drexel staff displayed continuous interest in my wellbeing and job application process. I have now returned to clinical practice and believe that this program was the final door that opened a pathway for my re-entry. The Drexel Physician Refresher/Re-entry course far exceeded my expectations, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a personalized program to meet their goals for re-entry into clinical medicine.
DAVID BOURLAND JOLLY, MD
My main goals for participating in the Drexel University College of Medicine Refresher/Re-entry virtual course were two-fold: first, I wanted to refresh and enhance my medical knowledge, refamiliarize myself with communicating with peers regarding patient care, enhance my clinical reasoning skills and medical documentation skills, and improve my patient communication skills. Second, I wanted to assist in having my Mississippi state medical license reinstated after a period of inactivity.
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.
Drafting and reviewing detailed write-ups and receiving feedback on them from preceptors and 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 online cases covered a broad range of pathology and internal medicine principles.
The many learning modules completed, including modules on the opioid crisis and pain management, cultural competency, the ACP High Value Care modules, and professionalism, really updated my knowledge in specific areas. All feedback 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.
Back to Top
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.
Back to Top
Dr. Garcia obtained a pediatrics residency at St. Luke’s Episcopal in Ponce, Puerto Rico, July 2023.
I stepped into a program not knowing what to expect. However, it exceeded my goals on both an academic and personal level. Small group discussions allowed for a positive environment to learn difficult concepts and apply them to our practice. It helped to refresh clinical knowledge and skills by using video modules and DocCom videos. Building a relationship with the patient is vital for both patient care and their compliance with their medication. The videos allowed me to address difficult conversations, medical mistakes, domestic violence, and informing patients regarding a poor prognosis.
Our weekly encounters with Dr. Grecco helped to structure my H&Ps by organizing my thought process to ask questions in a logical order, stay focused on the chief complaint and formulate differential diagnoses accurately. I learned to ask all the questions about the patient's concern, address their issues and eliminate unimportant questions that could be left for our next encounter. This level of the organization helped me to develop a focused H&P, summary, assessment and plan for the patient.
I valued the standardized patients the most because it helped me to apply learned skills to real-life patients, and the recorded videos helped to correct my deficiencies so that I can be a better physician. The opioid modules made me aware of the opioid crisis that has swept the U.S. Being certified with buprenorphine, I can help prevent relapse in many patients once I am in practice.
Doing guided MCQs with Dr. Varjavand taught me how to analyze the question and come up with possible answers systematically by applying evidence-based learning. Not only do you eliminate the wrong answers, but you understand the evidence for the correct answer. This learning system helped me to retain difficult concepts and new information.
Overall, the Drexel Physician Refresher program helped my confidence in communicating with patients, conducting proper documentation, and using my medical knowledge to improve patient care. I will be looking forward to applying this knowledge as a PGY1 next year by continuing to do MCQs and applying patient communication skills learned at the program in my practice with patients. I immensely enjoyed this opportunity, and I am humbled by the vast amount of information still to learn both as a person and a physician.
ANDREY KISEL, MD
Dr. Kisel matched for internal medicine at Sutter Roseville Medical Center in Roseville, Calif., July 2022
I joined the program 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 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 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!
Back to Top
TIAN LI, MD
I highly recommend the Physician Refresher/Re-entry 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 and prepare for residency application, MKSAP and Uworld.
Back to Top
AVI PATEL, MD
Update: Dr. Patel has matched at University of California - Riverside, family medicine, July 2021.
I came into the program wanting to refresh clinical skills that I learned throughout medical school. During the program, I not only refreshed my clinical skills through standard patient assessments but was also able to learn new skills from the preceptor and my colleagues. An important skill for residency is the proper technique on how to approach a physician-patient encounter. The Physician Refresher/Re-entry program helped me gain the skills necessary for this type of encounter, such as active listening, shared decision making, checking for patient understanding, among others.
I was 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 on various medical conditions. The learning activities that Drexel provided were very informative and were appropriate for the current COVID pandemic. I learned how to take care of patients who have COVID 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.
Back to Top
VALERIE WILLIAMS, MD
Update: Dr. Williams has matched at Providence St. Joseph Family Medicine Program in Eureka, Calif., July 2021.
I was able to meet the goals of enhanced medical knowledge and clinical reasoning with utilization of dynamic simulation methods and through 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 (MAT) for substance use disorder, and COVID 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 trusting relationship with them. I learned to succeed in patient interactions by using a patient-centered approach, yielding, and by encouraging high-level, open-ended patient input. Because I believe connecting with patients in a trusting manner is an important part of healing, I am ever grateful for this teaching.
Finally, the regular, personalized feedback I received on 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 Physician Refresher/Re-entry program has helped me reach goals toward the independent practice of medicine.
Back to Top
DOMINIC CHU, MD
I am grateful to the program instructors for working with me and my colleagues over our course’s six weeks. I really appreciated the time they took to walk through each case during clinic. It was a wonderful experience, and I learned so much, not just about practicing medicine, but also about the logistics, business and politics surrounding the field.
The 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 can also 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 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 similar situations to theirs. These relationships have been helpful in navigating the intricacies of applying for residency.
Back to Top
VARSHA SHAH, MD
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.
Back to Top
PALINA SUDNIK, MD
Update: Dr. Sudnik matched for internal medicine at Easton Hospital, Easton, Pa., July 2019.
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.
Back to Top
KATHY O'CONNOR, MD
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.
Back to Top
DEIRDRE GUNDY, MD, FACOG
Re-entering Ob-Gyn Physician – 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!
Back to Top
NEELIMA GONUGUNTA, MD
General Medicine Physician – 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.
Back to Top
TAM TRAN, MD
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.
Back to Top
DASUNI NIYAGAMA GAMAGE, MD
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.
Back to Top
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.
Back to Top
GISELE PODKAMENI, MD
I have no doubt that I have made the best decision in choosing the Physician Refresher/Re-entry 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. 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 to the program faculty for your guidance and comments throughout the sessions we had together.
Back to Top
GERALD PARKER, MD, JD
General Medicine, Reentry Physician – 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.
Back to Top
M. WASEEM ANJUM, MD
The Physician Refresher/Re-entry program at Drexel University College of Medicine offers a lot of opportunities to refresh clinical skills and medical knowledge and to assist in enhancing communication skills.
Before starting this course, I had the impression that the course would be very well-structured and very good. The course met my expectations.
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 for at least 11 or 12 weeks.
Back to Top
ADAM C. GILLISS, DO
I am happy to inform you that my medical license was reinstated and I am back to practicing osteopathic manipulative medicine. When I finally got to go before the board, they were extremely impressed by the program I completed through the College of Medicine -- in fact, it is the only program they mentioned in their approval of my request for reinstatement.
Back to Top
VERONICA MERELO, MD
I matched with a residency 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/Re-entry program. One of the faculty members that interviewed me told me that the fact that I have taken its peaks to my understanding that clinical knowledge is crucial to become a good pathologist.
Back to Top
RICHIE XU, MD
I sincerely appreciated the opportunity granted by program faculty and staff for my participation in the program. The recommendation letter from Drexel had been highly regarded in all my residency interviews. Program directors and interviewers inquired about my learning experience and the program curriculum. They appeared satisfied with my performance as outlined in the letter. I believe it is a very strong component of my application package, which convinced Residency programs that I can perform equally to American medical school graduates.
I would definitely recommend the 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, participants’ active learning and respectful attitudes are also required for a final success.
Back to Top
HYELEE KIM, MD
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.
Back to Top
VERONICA MERELO, MD
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!
Back to Top
RICHIE XU, MD
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.
Back to Top
AQSA MALIK, MD
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.
Back to Top
JOSEPH A. BERRANG, MD
The Physician Refresher/Re-entry program is an exceptional opportunity for physicians like me who pursued careers outside of clinical practice but heeded the inner voice calling us back to providing patient care. I am a family physician and in my initial years of clinical practice I saw patients in an outpatient office setting, in skilled nursing facilities for post-acute care, and 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 more appropriate for inpatient and which were more appropriate for outpatient or observation.
I greatly enjoyed working as a physician adviser for hospitals throughout the United States, but in speaking with attending physicians in the course of my work, I felt the growing desire to return to the front line as a primary care provider in addition to providing CMS compliance guidance. 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 apparent to me very quickly that I needed to improve in patient communication, and the program provides opportunities for participants to have recorded 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. It was tough for me to watch and listen to my standardized patient office visit performances on video, 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 DocCom modules and the standardized patient encounter analyses have greatly assisted me in my current clinical practice. I find that when I reflect upon the conversations I’ve had with patients since I’ve returned to clinical practice, I’ve seamlessly incorporated lessons I learned during this excellent preceptorship.
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 program. The support begins with participants’ first communication of interest in the program, and continues after program completion, with staff members helping alumni to coordinate communications with state medical boards.
I would like to provide a very positive professional and personal endorsement of Dr. Nielufar Varjavand, the director of the program. 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. 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.
Back to Top
KRISTIN HANSON, MD
Since I attended the 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. 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, Arizona, I opened a solo endocrinology practice and have been building my patient base since. Many 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 that success to the excellent support and preparation I received from the re-entry program.
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, and for believing in people like me. You made the impossible into the possible, and I couldn't have returned to practice without all of you.
Back to Top
NINA POLIAK, MD
Re-entering Pediatrician – 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.
Back to Top
SOLEIL SCHUTTE, MD
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!
Back to Top
KIEDREN LEWI, MD
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.
Back to Top
SIVAVEERA KANDASHAMY, MD
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.
Back to Top
MADHURA BORIKAR, MD
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.
Back to Top
HYUN KYUNG KIM, MD
I am happy that I finished the Drexel Physician Refresher/Re-entry program and gained confidence to acculturate into the United States medical 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.
Back to Top
RODNEY SESSOMS, MD
Re-entering Physician – 2013
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.
Back to Top