Undergrads get insight into surgery through Baylor summer program

Michael E. DeBakey Summer Surgery Program 2014This year, the Michael E. DeBakey Summer Surgery Program was comprised of 15 outstanding college students from across the country with diverse backgrounds.

“All of them are highly accomplished at a very young age. We hope that through the Summer Program, we can help stimulate the maturation of the next generation of leaders in our field,” said Program Director Shayan Izaddoost, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of surgery.

I recall a comment made once to me by Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, “One of the legacies of which I am most proud are the many former trainees, at all levels, who dot the globe, practicing the principles learned here – attention to detail and pursuit of excellence, while serving as role models to others.”

Dr. DeBakey created many educational venues, and in the 1960s, while he was a judge for the regional “Science Fair” finals competition, he had the vision and foresight to ask the 12 winners of this competition to join him during their summer away from high school and/or college to do research in the Baylor College of Medicine surgical laboratories, participate in clinical activities and continue to pursue the answers to the questions that prompted them to compete in the Science Fair (and win).

That program soon became formalized, with more than 400 “top of their class” students from around the country applying for the 15-25 clinical and research positions within the Department of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Those accepted were high achievers with excellent academic records, a biomedical aptitude, and a record of community service. It is, therefore, not surprising that of this group completing the DeBakey Summer Student Program and choosing to ultimately attend medical school, over 95 percent are admitted to the medical or graduate school of their choice.

As “the best of the best” apply to the DeBakey Summer Student Program, it is also no surprise that former students currently hold positions such as Dean, President, Chair, and Chief of Staff, and are the recipients of distinguished service awards.

A stimulating educational environment, such as the one provided by the Michael E. DeBakey Summer Student Program, gives bright young minds the opportunity to thrive, reach even greater potential, and building confidence in their skills. It provides a firm foundation for the pursuit of knowledge. Without question, this visionary program has fulfilled the desires of its designer, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey.

-By Dr. Kenneth L. Mattox, distinguished service professor, chief of staff and surgeon-in-chief at Ben Taub Hospital

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