How Do You Like Loma Linda?

Jeff, Fourth Year Medical StudentHow do you like Loma Linda?

Over the course of this interview season, this is a question that I have been asked numerous times. The person asking me really doesn’t care whether or not I like the city of Loma Linda. The implied question is whether or not I like Loma Linda University School of Medicine. The question is one that has been asked by fellow interviewees. It’s not unusual. While waiting in a room full of interviewees, conversation usually starts out with asking each other what school one is from. This question is usually followed by a “how do you like it there?” question. Invariably, the answer is positive — or at least neutral.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard an applicant say they didn’t like the school they came from. And for some reason, I somehow doubt that anyone would admit to disliking their soon-to-be alma mater — at least not while on the interview trail.

So how do I like Loma Linda? I like it very much. I think medical schools are more similar than different. We learn the same material. We take the same national exams. Sure, each institution offers their twist on how the material is presented, but the material is the same.

One thing that is different here is Loma Linda’s emphasis on Whole-Person Care. The curriculum is designed to not only emphasize the physical pathophysiology, but to also highlight aspects of spiritual care as well. I feel like I have been encouraged to go beyond the diagnosis — to treat the patient and not just the disease.

I have accepted that I attend a medical school whose name does not carry the weight of an ivy league establishment. I have become accustomed to puzzled looks when I say that I go to Loma Linda University. Many people outside the area have never heard of this place. Saying I attend a medical school in Southern California usually gets guesses of UCLA or USC. But once in a while I do come across people who have heard about Loma Linda.

On a recent interview, a program director in another state noted my educational pedigree. Glendale Adventist Academy for high school. Walla Walla College (now Walla Walla University) for my bachelor’s degree. Loma Linda University for medical school. “You must be a Seventh-day Adventist,” he said to me. He continued, “we like students from Loma Linda. Do you realize that your ethics curriculum is more extensive than most other schools?”

On another interview a resident asked me what school I came from. When he heard I was from Loma Linda he said that it was plus for me since the program liked Loma Linda students — they’re usually a really nice group of people.

It was nice to go outside of the this insulated, geographical area where everyone knows of Loma Linda University and hear other opinions of my home institution from people who have no incentive to say anything nice about it. Or maybe it was just a little bit of validation that I appreciated hearing.

So how do I like Loma Linda? Evidently, I like it very much.

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About Jeff

I was born and raised in the Los Angeles area. I attended Walla Walla College (now Walla Walla University) in Washington State where I received a bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering and a minor in Mathematics. After a short 4 years away, I am now back in Southern California. I am often asked what kind of doctor I would like to be. I used to say that I would like to be a good one. Mostly this was because I was not really sure what specialty I wanted to go into. But now I've decided on internal medicine. So there's progress, at least. When I am not busy doing something related with school, I enjoy photography, reading, working on my computer, basketball, ping pong, and martial arts. I also write here, on my personal blog at JeffreyMD.com, and as a contributing medical student at Medscape's The Differential.

2 thoughts on “How Do You Like Loma Linda?

  1. Great to hear you have ‘accepted’ you’re not at an Ivy League school….but there’s no need to defend your choice of school or compare your schools standings with strangers. The whole obsession with what school you went to is utterly confusing for Australians and we find it vaguely distasteful. Here, while there’s some minor prestige differences between the 12 or so schools teaching medicine, the system is designed so your school is irrelevant once you graduate. And while you’re in, you’re all taught the same stuff, and have to sit the same national barrier exam at the end of the course. You’re allocated to your internship hospital (first job) based on preferences alone (not school or marks), and once in a hospital, no-one really asks or cares where you went. Given we only learn the bare basics of medicine at medical school, attaching prestige (and jobs) to the school you went to seems utterly unegalitarian, and very strange for a country (US) that prides itself on equality of opportunity. Anyway, Loma Linda sounds like a brilliant university, with its SDA roots…treating the ‘whole person’ and preventative medicine are ideas whose time is come.

  2. I’m not 7th day but llumc (Ladies Love U Much) is an amazing school. They turn out good people. You need to be the gunner in the room with the ivy league attitude. Get there first, leave last, learn all you can and then take your show on the road and contribute to the pool of science knowledge w good research. Med students these days are not as hard core knowledgable as they should be and you have a chance to rock it. Get out there and show em how its done and then go save some lives. Be a good dr in the world. Love and respect, asian girl.

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