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November 21, 2000

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Question from Florida, USA:

I am a freshman, pre-med biology major at a University in Florida. One of my goals in life is to become a pediatric diabetes specialist. It has been a challenge to get a one-on-one interview with a diabetes specialist, and hopefully you will be able to assist me with my career assignment. I would appreciate you taking the time out to answer the following questions. What is your name, office address, and telephone number? Name of your career? Please give a description of the career. What are the educational requirements? Are there any license requirements? What is the starting salary? What is the average salary after five years? Where did you complete your undergraduate studies? What are the pros and cons about your profession? What tips can you give students who want to go into the medical profession?

Answer:

It’s always good to have clear cut goals for the future, but, in this case, I think that you are jumping the gun a bit. The first and hardest step is to go from ‘pre-med’ to ‘med’. To be sure of this, you have to have very good grades in the sciences and later on in the MCAT’s [Medical College Admission Test scores]. In addition, you need to show that you have had some exposure to medicine at some level in a clinic or lab or in a doctor’s office. A good reference from this experience can be crucial. Additional evidence that you care about people and are good with them is a big help too. After that there are four years of medical school another three or four in residency, and then two or three more in a Fellowship, by which time either autoimmune diabetes may have become a preventable disease like measles or your ambitions may have been attracted elsewhere. Also, remember that nurse educators, medical social workers, researchers, and nutritionists also help children with diabetes.

DOB