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Thursday, April 17th 2008

Political Considerations In Medical Student Admissions

A student with political connections gets into a Florida medical school despite the wishes of the admissions committee.

I’ll be honest, I think something like political connections has a place (a small place) in a medical school admissions decision. Distinguishing students for admission becomes almost a crap shoot once you reach those essentially qualified academically. I’m sure the applications and CVs and awards and service commitments all blend together. Political connections are, in perhaps an unfortunate reality, something that may benefit the school and thus arguably community health. Why not put them into consideration?

I say that with a straight face despite the LCME standards for admission.

Whatever my controversial opinion above, in this instance the weight of such connections appears to have been overvalued. And more stunning is the backdoor method by which the admission went down.

[The father] is a known fundraiser in the medical community. In 2005, he held a fundraiser in his own home where more than 150 physicians raised more than $100,000 for [Florida governor] Crist, according to a news release from the Florida Medical Political Action Committee.

Kone said he thought he was within his rights to admit a student absent committee support, but the move breaks with procedures described by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, which provides accreditation to UF and medical schools throughout the U.S. and Canada.

“The final responsibility for selecting students to be admitted for medical study must reside with a duly constituted faculty committee,” according to the accrediting body’s standards.


Dr. Craig Tisher, former dean of UF’s College of Medicine, said he never broke with Ira Gessner, chairman of the Medical Selection Committee.

“During the five years that I was dean, I did not go against the wishes of the admissions committee,” Tisher said. “I let them make the selections, and I relied upon the judgment of the people who were interviewing the students and the chairman of the admissions committee, Dr. Gessner. All I can tell you is I didn’t exercise that prerogative (to overrule the committee), if in fact that prerogative exists.”

The story is via Kevin, MD via Health Care Renewal