Master organic chemistry, and you can conquer the world.
OK, maybe that’s a stretch. But if you talk for a few minutes with first-year College of Medicine student Vissy Elad, you’ll feel the determination that helped her power through a subject famous for challenging pre-med students.
“I said to myself, ‘You’re going to get this done!’” the extroverted Elad remembers.
And she did.
A Canadian who completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Elad knew that she wanted to become a physician. To make it happen required a year of post-baccalaureate work at Cleveland State University and then a year earning a master’s degree in Modern Anatomical Science at Northeast Ohio Medical University.
The effort paid off. Elad matriculated this summer into NEOMED’s College of Medicine Class of 2025.
How’s it going so far?
Elad notices some differences in the way people from the Midwest speak. (Here in Ohio, it’s a restroom. In Ontario, it’s a washroom.) But it has been easy to understand and fit into the culture at NEOMED, she says: “The MAS program was a great catapult into medical school.”
Her sense that she would feel comfortable on the Rootstown campus began when two members of the Student National Medical Association invited her to get together with them and other students who are underrepresented in medicine (UiM) – part of a larger group identified as URM (underrepresented minority) students – as she was interviewing at the University.
Conversations with faculty members such as Yoleetah Ilodi, M.D., assistant dean of diversity in the College of Medicine, revealed empathy for issues faced by URM students. All told, Elad had the feeling she would feel welcome at NEOMED.
“Those conversations with people who understood me as a URM student helped me decide to come here,” Elad says now.
A tight cohort
Elad didn’t have to do it alone.
She is one of 14 May 2021 graduates of NEOMED’s Modern Anatomical Sciences program who matriculated into the College of Medicine Class of 2025. (Of the group, 13 completed a one-year master’s degree and one completed a two-year Master of Science degree.)
The MAS curriculum is designed specifically to prepare students for medical school. It was solid grounding for Elad after a year of studies (including the infamous organic chemistry class) at Cleveland State University to strengthen her foundation for medical school.
Being part of a small cohort helped the MAS students bond and support each other, says Vissy. One way was through study groups. She credits the good study habits she cultivated during her MAS year as one reason she feels so comfortable and confident as a first-year medicine student.
“I never studied with other people when I was an undergrad, and you do have to study by yourself sometimes,” she says. “But studying in a group gives you different perspectives on what you’re learning and different ways to put it together.
“I did much better because of studying in groups – 100%!”