Combined Dermatology and Clinical Research
Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Fellowship
A two-year premedical clinical training program
Current and Past Participants
Cornell University 2020
Cornell University 2020
Columbia University 2020
University of Massachusetts Medical School 2025
Hongyi (Haniu) Ren**
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine 2025
University of Massachusetts Medical School 2024
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 2024
Drexel University College of Medicine 2022
Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine 2023
Tufts University School of Medicine 2023
MCPHS Physician Assistant Program 2020
* Dermatology Summer Internship: This is available only to those already accepted to medical school. A minimum of nearly three months’ full time engagement is required. This is an excellent entrée into dermatology for those who are seriously considering the specialty.
** Dermatology Clinical Internship: This is an abbreviated version of the full fellowship experience only available under certain circumstances.
Richard Gusberg MD
Premedical Fellowship Admissions Consultant
Richard Gusberg MD is an Emeritus Professor of Surgery at the Yale School of Medicine and Executive Director of Mentor X, a consulting business that provides career counseling and longitudinal mentoring for high school and college students interested in applying to medical school. While on the faculty at the Yale School of Medicine, he was on the medical school Admissions Committee and led both teaching and mentoring programs for the Department of Surgery. Dr. Gusberg is a resource for the premedical fellowship, providing an insider’s look into the medical school admissions process.
Dr. Gusberg and his wife, an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Yale, live on a farm in Connecticut with two dogs, two donkeys, three goats, and six chickens. They have five children and three grandchildren. When not doing farm work, keeping track of the comings and goings of his kids and grandkids, or working with MentorX clients and the students in the Yale Simulation Academy, Dr. Gusberg enjoys painting watercolors, biking, fishing, kayaking, and trying (with mixed results) to teach himself blues piano.
Dr. Gusberg also welcomes inquiries from other pre-medical students who seek assistance with their applications in this incredibly competitive environment.
R. Chen - University of Massachusetts Medical School 2025
The Combined Dermatology and Clinical Research Fellowship was the most difficult job that I held during my premedical career. On my first day, I found myself awkwardly taking a patient’s medical history within ten minutes of showing up on site. Throughout the next few months, I felt a sense of hesitancy and uncertainty as I took on unfamiliar responsibilities in clinic. I found it particularly difficult to transition from a structured educational undergraduate environment to a fast-paced, hands-on clinical environment.
This program is very different from other premedical gap year positions. Unlike a 9:00 to 5:00 scribe position, this program allows its fellows to attain a comprehensive understanding of how our healthcare system works. From day one, I learned about the responsibilities of a physician working in a private practice. I took my patients’ history of present illness and participated in the assessment and plan portion of the visit. I also assisted in relevant medical and cosmetic procedures. Moreover, I was involved with administrative tasks, medical billing, clinic maintenance, and translational clinical research. As I mastered my clinical responsibilities, I started to pursue community service projects, devise systems based improvements, and eventually train the incoming junior class. Naturally, my multitude of responsibilities required a lot of time management and organization, and I often found myself working more than sixty hours a week.
Although challenging, I found my time in this fellowship to be extremely rewarding. Being responsible for over twenty patients a day taught me how to navigate sometimes difficult social situations and improve my interpersonal skills. During my medical school orientation, I volunteered to hold a conversation with a standardized patient, and my peers were impressed at how smooth our conversation went. Additionally, during a training session for intramuscular injections, I confidently injected saline via the Z track method into my partner’s arm given my familiarity with performing subcutaneous and intramuscular injections as a clinical research coordinator. The hands-on learning environment at the fellowship ultimately allowed me to develop a plethora of clinical skills which will help me later in my medical career. As an incoming medical student, I can confidently say that I have a better understanding of basic procedural skills, common medical interventions and their indications, and how the insurance system in the United States works.
I would attribute my success in this program to the mentorship of Dr. Kuohung as well as the support that I received from my seniors and peers. While it is true that I was held to extremely high standards during my time in the fellowship, I understood that everyone genuinely wanted to see me succeed. I will be forever grateful for my experience at this fellowship, and I know for a fact that I would not be where I am today in my medical school career without this program. This premedical fellowship is the perfect opportunity for students to gain the necessary experience to understand the daily responsibilities of a physician and excel in medical school.
K. Nash - Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 2024
My transition, from the mentality of an undergraduate to that of an incoming medical student at Johns Hopkins, was arduous and miserable. My commitment to the clinic and its patients took a heavy toll. Every day for my first four months as a premedical fellow, I considered quitting. The overwhelming torrent of knowledge paired with demanding clinic hours led me to reevaluate my professional aspirations and trajectory. Indeed, I arrived at the clinic each morning at 7:45 AM and did not leave until we documented and advised our last patient on their disease. Somedays, the clinic closed at 5:00 PM. Other days, the clinic did not end until well past 7:00 PM. And, even after having left the clinic, my mind lingered there within. “Did I complete all my progress notes accurately?” “Did I move the TB blood to the Quest drop-box?” My second guessing was crippling at times, worsened still by my failure despite my enthusiastic endeavors. This transition, as difficult as it was, was important and formative. My acknowledgement of my inadequacies and failures is what I needed to inspire me to work harder. If it were not for this difficult transitional phase, I would not have had the humility and motivation to persist through the program, nor would I be poised to begin medical school this fall.
Notwithstanding my first four months, my time at the fellowship has been a true privilege. I am truly thankful for my time here with Dr. Kuohung. As an employer, she pushed me to begin thinking as a physician. Through performing countless patient interviews, engaging with up to 26 progress notes daily, liaising with laboratories, pharmacies, clinics, insurance providers, IRBs, CROs, reviewing benign pathology with patients under MD supervision, and assisting during surgical procedures, I acquired the necessary experience to think critically about what it means to be a physician in the community. As a mentor, Dr. Kuohung has created several occasions for me to shadow, speak with, and learn from several physicians across myriad specialties. Dr. Kuohung’s commitment to her fellows, both direct and indirect by way of this program, prepared me to be a competitive and informed medical school applicant.
Overall, the premedical fellowship offers the unique opportunity for the professional development of aspiring physicians through a condensed, thorough, fast-paced, and intensive curriculum. From venipuncture to collecting a patient’s history, there are several occasions for one-on-one patient interaction. Dissimilar to many pre-medical gap year programs, this fellowship focuses on developing the skills of its fellows for the cultivation of thoughtful and informed future physicians. Dr. Kuohung accomplishes this by encouraging her fellows to take on new and sometimes challenging tasks under her supervision. Fellows, as a result, quickly begin to comprehend then engage with the scientific, medical, and ethical facets of clinical encounters and decision making.
The program is difficult. You may wish to quit. But hang in there. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I am so glad that I had the resilience to see this program through.
B. D’Amore - Drexel University College of Medicine 2022
Starting from the first visit, she explains how to take a detailed medical history that helps us to figure out what might be causing the patient to experience the symptoms they have. It is actually really important to know which questions to ask and why so that we can learn all of the details of the patient’s condition. We then assisted with the rest of the visit and learned how to take detailed medical notes, assist in procedures and physical exams, and draw blood. She even taught us how to write for medications and laboratory tests. Of course, we don’t have the license to be able to send them, but we queued them up for her to review and to send. This really helped me learn about hundreds of medications and many common laboratory tests, all of which I have been tested on in medical school so far. Once the visit is completed, we finish that patient’s note and then make sure the billing codes are correct so that Dr. Kuohung can submit the note to the insurance companies. Medical billing is an essential skill for physicians that is not taught in medical school. No matter what specialty, all physicians need to be expert medical billers. Dr. Kuohung was great at explaining these concepts and I’ve actually gotten many compliments from physicians on my diligent note taking abilities and billing knowledge. I didn’t know any of this before working with Dr. Kuohung, so I attribute all of these acknowledgements to her training.
Furthermore, we saw hundreds of different medical conditions that are commonly tested in medical school curriculums and board exams. Dr. Kuohung challenged us to read more about these diseases and know their pathophysiology, clinical signs, and treatment strategies. In fact, she actually quizzed us in between seeing patients as any other attending physician would on medical school rotations. This helped me to learn the conditions so well that I actually taught them to my classmates.
I can honestly say I don’t know where I would be in my medical career if it wasn’t for Dr. Kuohung’s fellowship training program. All of the skills I mentioned are far superior than my classmates because I was lucky enough to learn them directly under Dr. Kuohung. Beyond all that fellows learn about medicine, the office also has a great work environment. There will be long work days, but the rest of the staff are wonderful and the pay is very good too. Dr. Kuohung is very easy to get along with and outside of seeing patients and being a fantastic mentor, she is a great friend who I can always lean on for advice in any aspect of my life.
O. Taweh - University of Massachusetts Medical School 2024
A physician trained in both law and in medicine, Dr. Kuohung helps activate her interns critical thinking skills from the medical, legal, and social justice perspectives. Having been granted a gradually increasing level of autonomy over the course of my time at the clinic, I was not only exposed to the thought processes used in medicine but, was also granted the opportunity to engage in them myself. Under the guidance of Dr. Kuohung, I learned how to do things I had not imagined I would have done until the end of my medical school career, if not until my residency.
All compliments aside however, this program pushed me far more than any other job, class, or internship had previously. As a result however, I will perform at a significantly higher caliber during medical school because I was held to high expectations. In my time here, I learned what true “tough love” from a mentor and boss looked like – one that held your hand at times, and at other times let you figure out how to swim on your own. I can confidently say that it is NOT for simply any pre-med; to survive and succeed, one must be motivated, dedicated, and extremely open to rebuilding their understanding of what a clinical internship would look like. All in all, this program will help you prepare to stand out amongst your peers both in the medical school application process, but also in the medical school classroom.
N. Mastacouris - Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine 2023
In regards to the clinical research component of the program, I was fortunate to have Dr. Kuohung as a mentor because she allowed me to take on additional responsibilities in clinical trials of interest. Working in this environment not only taught me the basics of explaining informed consents and study protocols, but also helped me learn how to effectively navigate challenging real life scenarios such as communicating with patients who experienced adverse reactions to study therapies. In addition, the program helped me learn how to effectively collaborate with my colleagues to complete tasks in an efficient manner, which is an essential skill that is constantly emphasized in medical school.
Overall, I would consider my experiences to be very positive. Interacting with Dr. Kuohung’s patients and their families allowed me to grow as a professional and served as my primary motivation to pursue medical school. I would recommend Dr. Kuohung’s program to any pre-medical student who is passionate, eager to learn, and work hard. Although the journey to medical school can be challenging, Dr. Kuohung and her team are incredibly resourceful and will help you every step of the way.
M. Nguyen - Tufts University School of Medicine 2023
The program allowed me the freedom to have more responsibilities than most other roles all while providing the necessary guidance when encountering different types of situations. By interacting with a diverse patient population, I was able to hone in on not only clinical procedural skills, but also learned how to navigate sometimes awkward situations, a necessary attribute I will need in the future working in the medical field.
I enjoyed working with Dr. Kuohung and the staff because of how supportive they were and how much teamwork was emphasized. I will carry these vital skills with me forward in the medical field as a future clinician.