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Prehealth Advising Job Shadowing Day Opens OR to MIT Students

MIT students in the OR

MIT students scrub up and prepare to head into the OR at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Photo: Meaghan Shea

On January 29, MIT Prehealth Advising hosted a special job shadow day at local Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).  Twelve MIT students who expressed a strong career interest in the field of surgery participated in this unique opportunity, which allowed them to hear from current physicians, explore the simulation skill center where residents train, and shadow in the operating room to view live surgeries.

Prehealth Advising coordinated the program with long-time collaborator, MIT alumnus and Surgeon-in-Chief at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Dr. Elliot Chaikof. He opened the day with a welcome speech that reflected wistfully on his own time walking the infinite corridor and encouraged students to seek out the problems that make them angry and use that feeling to motivate their career pursuits. Students also had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Chun Li, another MIT alum who is in the third year of her surgical residency at BIDMC. Dr. Li and her colleagues Dr. Wong and Dr. Arndt guided students as they explored the surgical training tools used to prepare residents to perform laparoscopic/minimally invasive surgeries. “Hearing the residents’ and attendings’ real experiences both in the OR and on the path to becoming a physician gave us a real and humanized account of what it means to be a surgeon,” Alice Zhou ’20 said of her shadow experience.

Students in the program enjoyed the experience so much that many are working with Prehealth Advising to coordinate additional opportunities to shadow during the spring semester. Prehealth Advising also offers a larger shadow program where students can visit MGH, Tufts Medical Center, and Boston Children’s Hospital in the spring. (Please email for more information.) In addition, BIDMC has collaborated with Prehealth Advising to offer a special visit in the summer for first-year students participating in the Discover Prehealth FPOP.

These programs reflect the true advantages of being part of the MIT community, especially for those interested in a career in healthcare: an amazing location minutes from the some of the greatest teaching hospitals in the country, and generous alumni willing to provide support and mentorship to current students as they discover their career passions.

— Meaghan Shea, CAPD