The other match

January 24, 2013

host12413OHSU HOST program links interviewing fourth-year M.D. students with alumni hosts

Katie Iverson, MS4, counts herself lucky. With an interest in general surgery, Iverson is interviewing at 14 residency programs across the nation this year. But for her very first interview in November, she stayed not in a hotel room or on the couch of a friend-of-a-friend but in the home of Carina Curnow, M.D. '09.

Dr. Curnow, who lives in New Orleans and is a surgical resident at Louisiana State University, gave Iverson tips for interviewing and drove her to the interview itself. She took her to dinner afterward, and then, to make sure she received the full New Orleans experience, treated her to a local bar that Iverson characterizes as one "I never would have found myself." Dr. Curnow even put her in contact with a fourth-year medical student at Tulane, where Iverson is interviewing, for additional insights.

"Carina went above and beyond," said Iverson. "It was wonderful to get an insider's view of a place and to experience, however briefly, what it's like to live there. It was very helpful. And the ability to save money is a clear bonus."

The OHSU Help Our Students Travel, or HOST, program, administered by the OHSU Alumni Relations team and overseen by the School of Medicine Alumni Council, began more than 15 years ago. More than 80 alumni are signed up to participate, and the program is growing in student popularity.

"We've doubled the number of students who've submitted requests from last year and have a 50 percent match rate for students who make requests," said Lauren Shatz, assistant director of OHSU Alumni Relations and HOST coordinator. She adds that there have been 30 total matches so far this academic year in cities across the country, from Massachusetts to Texas, Hawaii to North Carolina.

And Georgia. Iverson also interviewed in Atlanta, and there she stayed with Pamela Winterberg, M.D. R '09, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine.

"I remembered how tiring the interview season was especially when traveling to cities with which we had no familiarity," said Dr. Winterberg. "I stayed with a few residents during some interviews, but I believe the arrangements depended on the residency program that I applied to. I don't recall having the opportunity to utilize the resources of my medical school's alumni network. So we thought this was an innovative and useful program, and we're excited to be a part of it."

In addition to hosting Iverson overnight, Dr. Winterberg and her husband also shared information about what drew them to Atlanta, fun things to do locally and other appealing aspects of the area as well as general career advice. "Katie was delightful," said Dr. Winterberg. "My three-year-old son was immediately glued to her, and he was the real host. I'm glad we were able to help."

Alumni: Volunteer now for the HOST program!

We are in particular need of alumni hosts outside of Oregon.To volunteer, please fill out this form.


Pictured above: Katie Iverson, MS4