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October 2007 Issue

Heather Kaiser
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'Bearcat-Host' Program Helps New Students Adjust

Published October 2007

Adjusting to medical school can be difficult. Break-neck schedules and multiplying work-loads easily become overwhelming.

New medical students—particularly those who’ve relocated to Cincinnati leaving behind family and friends—often need somewhere to turn for help when academics and day-to-day issues become too much to handle.

Third-year medical student Heather Kaiser took a look at the current re-sources available to medical students and noticed that all existing options for helping students cope involved interactions with other students or physicians—the same physicians who also happen to be responsible for advising and assessing students on their education and training as a physician.

“Incoming medical students often need and want someone to confide in as they transition into medical school,” says Kaiser.

“Building a professional relationship as well as a friendship with a physician—one who has no influence on academic decisions—is essential to mitigate this transition. This is why I wanted to develop the Bearcat Host-Physician Program.”

So Kaiser, who serves as UC’s student representative to the Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati, collaborated with the Academy and the College of Medicine to plan and implement her idea.

The program uses a questionnaire to gauge interest and match first-year medical students with a local physician—and in some cases, that physician’s family.

“Students and their host physicians or families determine how often they plan to meet,” says Kaiser. “It could be as simple as grabbing a cup of coffee, or they could catch a sporting event together.”

Kaiser says a number of students and physicians have already applied for the program, but continued success of the program depends on the sustained effort and support by physicians in the community.

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