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What Keeps Her Coming Back to Baystate?

February 28, 2019
Medical student Elizabeth Aherne started as a Summer Scholar

Bonds Formed as a 2013 Summer Scholar Are One Reason

Hundreds of medical students will do electives at Baystate Medical Center this year—but Elizabeth Tarbox Aherne is different from them all.

This is her third stint here, having first come to Baystate in 2013 as a college junior in the Summer Scholar program. After graduation, she returned as one of the first research interns and was instrumental in defining that role.

Aherne was back again in November 2018 as a fourth year medical student at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Maine.

Impressed by Diverse Community and Medical Diagnoses

Aherne did an ambulatory outpatient elective at High Street Health Center, which serves a lower income community, and has many patients whose first language is Spanish. She was impressed by the creative ways the clinic staff sought to better serve their patients and community.

"They arranged rides to the clinic and food pantry, provided interpreters and literature in Spanish, and did everything they could to maximize the benefits people are able to get."

During her inpatient rotation on Wesson 4, Aherne got an appreciation of the diverse pathology seen at Baystate Medical Center.

"I saw a lot of different pathologies—heart failure, withdrawal, pneumonia," she said.

Everyone at Baystate is Interested in Teaching

"You don’t see that everywhere you go," said Aherne. "At other places, it felt like people were too busy to teach. Here, residents spend a good amount of time teaching, and attendings teach both residents and med students.”

In addition, she enjoyed the interprofessional learning approach she experienced here.

“It was great to see the teamwork that happens. At High Street they have different levels of residents, medical assistants and nursing students," she said. "Everyone brings unique views to the learning experience.”

Relationships Keep Her Coming Back

Dr. Linda Canty, whom she worked with as a Summer Scholar, has become a mentor. Dr. Canty gave her advice about choosing medical schools, and more recently, about specialties and where to apply for residency.

“I admire her a lot. She’s a wonderful physician, is involved in research, does photography, and is a mother of four kids," Aherne said. "I recently got married so I’m interested in how she manages work and home life.”

She also keeps in touch with some of the many people she met as a research intern, saying, “I like to bounce ideas off of them.”

What’s Next?

Aherne has chosen internal medicine as her specialty, and wants to stay in New England for her residency training.

Residency Match Day is in mid-March—will she be back again?

 > More about electives for Medical Students