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Future Docs Program

The Medical Explorations Program and the Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine are both sponsored by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society to offer high school seniors or graduates the opportunity to observe physicians and get an up-close look at the practice of medicine. 

Plans for the 2021 Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine are still being discussed due to potential pandemic issues.  Typically the program offer sfour days of lectures and shadowing opportunities to 25 area rising high school seniors and recent high school graduates. These four days are usually held at different hospitals in Hamilton County on June.   Applications, dates and deadlines have not yet been finalized. 

Click here to view the Chattanooga and Hamilton County Medical Society webpage about the Youth Leadership Forum information and plans for 2021 (possibly an electronic application).

Medical Explorations Program

The Medical Explorations Program is also sponsored by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society and the Medical Foundation of Chattanooga.  The program is usually for students 18 and older who have an interest in extending their real-world experience in medicine to spend an additional 2 weeks working with faculty and resident physicians of the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga and Erlanger Health System. Any student that has already participated in the Youth Leadership Forum in the past is also eligible to apply to the Medical Explorations program. 

The Medical Society and Mukta Panda, MD, Assistant Dean for Medical Education, oversee Medical Explorations.

Plans for the 2021 Medical Explorations Program are still being discussed due to potential pandemic issues.  Check back on this page and on the Medical Society's website for further information.

Typically, students have the opportunity to rotate through various clinical services at Erlanger, including Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Orthopaedic Surgery, Radiology, Surgery, and other subspecialties.   

Applicants must submit the application, three essays, 2 letters of recommendation, proof of GPA (typically 3.5 or higher). Only complete applications will be considered.

"The purpose of the program is to generate interest and inspire students to go into healthcare. The students will participate in tasks that are closer to what medical students do when they come to the hospital. It will give them a very unique behind-the-scenes look at a career in medicine." 

The two-week program gives students up to 40 hours in a medical setting observing specialties in which they are interested and some specialties they may have not already known.

"We encourage students to develop skills in communication and networking. We will work closely with the UTCOM Chattanooga, and students will meet a variety of individuals such as medical students and residents, instructors and the Dean of UT College of Medicine Chattanooga. The students will also visit several hospital departments assigned to them each week, attend lectures on various topics and participate in discussions." All participants are expected to maintain a professional manner, undergo mandatory training and follow hospital regulations.

The Medical Explorations program is modeled on a successful program offered each summer at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. Students must submit official documentation of a GPA of 3.5 or higher and grade level of a high school senior or recent high school graduate, an essay explaining why they were interested in participating, a letter of reference from a teacher in order to be considered for the selection process.

Medical Explorations Background Information

Dr. Kent Hutson, former Chief of Radiology at Erlanger Health System and Past Chair of Radiology at University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga, founded Medical Explorations -- a program developed to introduce high school seniors and college students to the world of healthcare in a medical setting.

"The purpose of the program is to generate interest and inspire students to go into healthcare," said Dr. Hutson. "The students will participate in tasks that are closer to what medical students do when they come to the hospital. It will give them a very unique behind-the-scenes look at a career in medicine."  The summer program, initially funded by the Erlanger Auxiliary, was established to give students hours in a medical setting shadowing specialties they are interested in seeing and some specialties they may have not already known. "We encourage students to develop skills in communication and networking," added Dr. Hutson.

The Medical Explorations Program is now under the direction of Mukta Panda, MD, FACP, Assistant Dean for Medical Student Education at the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga. Continuing Dr. Hutson's legacy, the program has been modeled on a successful program offered each summer at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. 

"We will work closely with the UTCOM Chattanooga, and they will meet a variety of individuals such as medical students and residents, instructors and the dean of UTCOM Chattanooga. The students will also visit several hospital departments assigned to them each week, attend lectures on various topics and participate in discussions."  Again, applications and dates have not been finalized for 2021.

For our program in Chattanooga, students must:

  • be 18 years old or older by the start of the Medical Exploration Program
  • submit official documentation of a GPA of 3.5 or higher and grade level of a high school senior, recent high school graduate, or college student
  • two letters of recommendation from a teacher or guidance counselor

Part of the online application includes two essay questions about extracurricular activities and awards, as well as what you hope to learn from the experience. 

Once plans are finalized, a link will be provided to an online application. 

All participants are expected to maintain a professional manner and must undergo mandatory Erlanger HIPAA compliance and privacy training, as well as follow hospital regulations. 

Last Published: Apr 16, 2021