Pre-med advising revamped
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 21:09
Dana McDowelle and Anthony Pulido, the two former pre-health professions advisors for all students, left their positions at Rice prior to the start of the academic year, prompting several structural changes to pre-health advising at Rice, according to Associate Dean of Undergraduates and Director of Academic Advising Brian Gibson.
McDowelle assumed her current position as assistant dean of student diversity and professional development at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio on Sept. 1, McDowelle said.
McDowelle, who had been associate director of academic advising since 2006, left the Office of Academic Advising in December 2011 to become Director of Civic Research and Design in the Center for Civic Engagement. Now at UT San Antonio, McDowelle said she is working on changing medical education to accommodate the medical student better.
“As medical students continue with their education, they are subjected to high levels of stress,” McDowelle said. “Their overall wellness deteriorates. As this declines, their soft skills, such as etiquette and bedside manner tend to decline as well. My role is to change medical education to help the students through their studies.”
Pulido, who was assistant director of academic advising, left Rice on June 1 to pursue an opportunity in Dallas closer to home, according to Gibson.
From 2006 to December 2011, Pulido advised the freshmen and sophomore pre-health professions students, while McDowelle advised the juniors and seniors, McDowelle said.
Gibson said a number of changes were made to pre-health professions advising.
“We now have five official health professions advisors registered with the Association of American Medical Colleges,” Gibson said. “We also created a Health Professions Advising Committee [within the faculty], which has representation across the academic schools and works collaboratively to write committee letters on behalf of our applicants to medical school.”
According to McDowelle, the Office of Academic Advising was restructured so that all advisers were trained to be health professional advisers. As a result, students can have multiple pre-health professions advisers, including Gibson, McDowelle said. Gibson said these advisers are overseen by the OHPAs, who help students on a case-by-case basis.
Will Rice College sophomore Meg Cornaghie, who is also a part of the Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars Program, said the advising styles have changed since McDowelle left in December.
“I feel like [McDowelle] was more firm with pre-med requirements than [Gibson, my current adviser],” Cornaghie said. “For example, [Gibson] said that it’s fine to study abroad and fulfill my pre-med requirements later, whereas [McDowelle] wanted us to finish our requirements before other experiences.”
Baker College senior Kunal Rayakar said that McDowelle was a very valuable advising resource.
“Dr. McDowelle was an insightful health advisor, whose candid advice and experience will be sorely missed by Rice’s pre-medical community,” Rayakar said.