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Curt Degroff
08-06-2002, 05:11 AM
Kristin:
I am somewhat biased but I faced similar questions when I was
considering going for a PhD bioengineering degree versus going to
medical school with the engineering degree I had (MS). I am very happy I
picked medical school. I feel it allows me (just as people predicted) to
be more in charge of my career. However, some say the physician
scientist is a dying breed. I think it really depends what you like and
who you are. Have you considered a combined MD/PhD program?

Curt DeGroff, MD
University of Colorado HSC

P.S. You can get through medical school even if you like math.
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Mitch Maltenfort wrote:

>Kristin:
>
>Locally, check out
>
>http://engineering.cua.edu/biomedical/index.html
>
>Go for the PhD. First, you get a stipend and a tuition waiver; med school
>makes you pay. Second, if you like math, you will not be happy in med
>school.
>
>
>Also, check http://www.smpp.nwu.edu, the link for the Sensory-Motor
>performance program at NU. That is a research program integrated with the
>PT department.
>
>Mitch M.
>Howdy...
>
>I'm not sure if this is the right forum to ask this in, so if it is, I
>
>apologize in advance.
>
>
>My name is Kristin Pilotte, and I'm a Masters of Science student in
>
>Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. My
>
>undergraduate degree is a BS in Physics, and I anticipate finishing my MS
>
>within a year (by May 2003). However, through my undergraduate and now
>
>graduate career, I've felt that I keep coming back to a strong desire to
>
>work with people, and work in a rehabilitation field. I went through the
>
>intro courses thinking I was going to apply to medical school after I got
>
>my BS, but decided fairly early on that I could never tell somebody that
>
>they were dying (just a personal issue) and that maybe medical school
>
>wasn't for me. I was working, at the time, in the Space Systems Laboratory
>
>at UMd, doing design work for a space robot called Ranger Telerobotic
>
>Shuttle Experiment. To stay involved with the project after gradaution, I
>
>opted to come and get my MS. Now the project is almost done, and all of my
>
>work with the robot is pretty much done. I was responsible for designing
>
>the end effectors for the dexterous robot to do satellite servicing tasks
>
>in space. I'm working on my thesis, which is a trade study on the ability
>
>of dexterous robots to do space servicing tasks, and an exploration of what
>
>level of dexterity allows you to do certain types of tasks. In my class
>
>work, therefore, I've focused mainly on design classes and classes related
>
>to human factors and biomechanics--the principles there easily extend to
>
>robots, particularly for space applications.
>
>
>Enough of my research and background. The other aspect that's important is
>
>that though I decided medical school wasn't for me, I never have given up
>
>that I want to work in the orthopaedic rehabilitation field. As a
>
>competitive soccer player, rock climber, and in karate, I've had experience
>
>in personal injury (double shoulder surgery, sprained right knee with
>
>subluxations, chipped left kneecap, lateral ankle reconstruction coming up
>
>next week, a few broken fingers, a broken toe, cracked ribs...not all at
>
>the same time, of course) thus was looking into going into biomechanics
>
>design engineering. However, I'm still afraid of sitting in front of a
>
>computer 24/7, so the thought occurred to me to go into physical therapy.
>
>
>I guess my question really becomes this. I'm seriously considering PT
>
>school...but given what I want to do, is it possible that medical school
>
>(if I could get in) would serve me better for research opportunities? Are
>
>there any PTs out there that do engage in research of rehabilitation (both
>
>via physical therapy and the use of orthoses, whose design I'm particularly
>
>interested in given my experience with knees and ankles) in addition to
>
>working with patients? Does anybody out there know if either the
>
>University of Maryland system or Johns Hopkins University system have any
>
>programs that might allow me to work with patients and do research and
>
>apply my biomechanical engineering skills (I ask about those particularly
>
>since for family reasons I would prefer to be in this area for a few more
>
>years anyway)?
>
>
>Thanks in advance for any suggestions or advice anybody could offer, and I
>
>apologize again if I've asked my questions in the wrong forum. As I
>
>mentioned earlier, I have about a year to figure this stuff out, but I'm
>
>trying to start to determine what my next step is.
>
>
>Thanks,
>
>kristin pilotte
>
>University of Maryland Space Systems Lab
>
>
>
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