In 2004, the newly formed Medical Student Alumni Ambassadors (MSAA) launched an alumni-student dinner series, which became known as Dine With a Doc. The popular student-run program, now in its eleventh year, brings current medical students together for casual dinners hosted by alumni. Dine With a Doc supports the goal of MSAA, promoting professional and personal relationships between current medical students and Georgetown School of Medicine alumni.
Every year the program engages over 100 students and 25 medical alumni representing a variety of specialties, career paths and graduation years. It is not uncommon for medical alumni couples or classmates and friends to host dinners together. Additionally, the reach of the program extends far beyond the walls of the School of Medicine, with a number of past residents and fellows of the MedStar Georgetown UniversityHospital and even alumni who live outside of the Washington, D.C. area hosting dinners.
Although Georgetown Medical Alumni Board chair Tim Duffin, M.D. (M’88, R’90), resides in Clarksville,Tennessee, he has been hosting Dine With a Doc dinners for the past eight years. “Before I began participating, I would hear how much fun the local doctors would have by hosting students, and I felt like I was missing out on something unique,” he says. Realizing that he didn’t need a house in the area to have a meaningful dinner experience, Duffin joined the fun in 2007, hosting a dinner at Morton’s each year he is in town.
At the dinners, students have candid discussions with alumni about their career paths, specialties and work-life balance, among other topics. Long-time participants Jacqueline Wieneke, M.D. (C’85, M’90, R’97), and her husband, Kerry DeGroot, M.D. (M’92), value the chance to offer students practical insight into what life as a physician could look like in the years to come. “There is a great sense of satisfaction in providing students with a forum to ask these types of professional and personal questions,” says Wieneke.
As for alumni, the dinners offer not only an opportunity to share advice, but also a unique occasion to show current medical students how much the alumni family at Georgetown cares about them and wants them to succeed. “The students are so grateful, appreciative and enthusiastic,” says Nancy Ripp Clark, M.D. (C’77, M’81). “As a host, it makes me happy to provide a venue where students can unwind from their day-to-day stresses and enjoy a home-cooked meal.” Ripp Clark adds that not only do the students learn from alumni, but the alumni learn from students as well. “Having once been in their shoes,” she says, “I am able to put a long-term process into perspective for the students. At the same time, I am always interested to learn how the school and the curriculum has evolved and improved since I graduated.”
Each year MSAA elects a student leader to champion the efforts of the program. Vivian Yu (M’17), the current Dine With a Doc chair, serves as the matchmaker and direct line of connection between alumni and student participants in the program. “Helping to foster a community between students and alumni has been very rewarding,” she says. “There is a significant amount of pride in the Georgetown traditions. Alumni feel a commitment to give back and mentor students in hopes that current students will someday do the same. It can be easy for students to lose perspective on the future when academia can be so challenging. They appreciate the encouragement from alumni.”
First year medical student and MSAA member Daniel Otterson (M’18) shares that sentiment. “The Georgetown alumni I met were so excited to tell us about our potential future in medicine and how to get the most out of medical school. My experience at the dinner made me realize how approachable and friendly the alumni base of Georgetown School of Medicine is.”
Many connections made through Dine With a Doc develop into impor-tant mentoring relationships that last beyond the students’ time in medical school. Not only are alumni sharing real-life experiences from their time as students and now as physicians, they are providing a window into the future to help students carve their own paths in medicine.
By Kate Corboy
Coordinator, GUMC Engagement & Annual Giving
If you are interested in hosting a dinner, please contact Kate Corboy, (202) 687-6673, coordinator, GUMC Engagement & Annual Giving.