Local students are a big part of the medical education program at the Advanced Center for Sleep Disorders on East Brainerd Road.
Dr Anuj Chandra, the medical director of ACSD, states “One of the things we had in mind when the advanced center for sleep disorders first started was that we wanted to be extremely active in community outreach. Our goal is to educate the community about the diagnosis and treatment of all sleep disorders, not just sleep apnea.”
ACSD’s medical education program allows students who are in their transitional years before starting medical, nursing, or other health professional schools to gain valuable clinical experience and exposure.
The students not only learn about sleep disorders, but also how to deal with insurance companies, how to get medications and tests authorized, and how to thrive in a medical clinic environment. In addition to serving as the transitional home to many pre-med students and recent graduates, ACSD serves as a clinical rotation site for Lincoln Memorial University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Harrogate, Tn.
Dr. Chandra said, “Having our really bright UTC, Chattanooga State, and other area college pre-meds work for us for varying lengths of time has been an essential part of our program. When they go on to med school or nursing school, they take this whole body of knowledge with them. This experience provides them with the first-hand opportunity to see how patient-centered, evidence-based medicine is actually practiced” says Dr Chandra.
Wittman Murphy, a Nashville native, spent his gap year before starting medical school working at ACSD as a sleep technician and later as Clinic Coordinator. He said, “The experience (of working at ACSD) helped increase my knowledge in medical terminology, patient interaction and patient care, and I learned more about the business side of running a private practice than I would have learned in any other career opportunity offered to me.” He attended UTC and majored in chemistry with a minor in biology. He is interested in pursuing orthopedic surgery after completing medical school at Lincoln Memorial University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Nathan Ballard, a fellow UTC graduate, also stated, “Working here has given me the opportunity to gain invaluable patient care experience. It has also allowed me to learn a great deal about a medical specialty I had known very little about, sleep medicine.” A Memphis native, he played lacrosse for UTC and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in pre-professional biology. He started working at ACSD as a sleep technician and quickly received praise from patients for his excellent bedside manner, it was stated. He now works as a clinic technician during the daytime. He will be receiving an Air Force Scholarship to attend medical school at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Bradenton, Fla., after which he plans on practicing trauma surgery .
Jasbir Kaur, a Chattanooga native, has spent the last few summers volunteering and shadowing at ACSD, and now works full time as clinic coordinator. She states, “It is an incredible privilege to be able to work at ACSD. Being able to be a part of a team that works together to provide the best care possible for a patient continues to fuel my passion for medicine and has allowed me to gain confidence in my ability as a future physician.” She graduated from Boyd Buchanan School and attended Mercer University in Macon, Ga. She graduated magna cum laude as a member of the Honors Program with majors in biology and Latin and minors in chemistry and art. She is still undecided in which field of medicine she will practice, but will be attending New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine in Jonesboro, Ark.
Wittmann, Nathan and Jasbir have all been accepted into medical schools around the country.
Dr Chandra states, “We are very proud of all three of our pre-med students even though it is quite hard to replace them every year when they get trained and they move on to bigger and better things, but it's something we have been doing and we are happy and honored that we are able to do.”
“We are extremely proud of all of 3 our pre-med students who have been with us in the past year and that all three have been accepted into medical school. They have just been really a huge asset to us. One of the things we had, when the advanced center for sleep disorders first started was we really wanted to be extremely active in community outreach to educate the whole community regarding how important diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders were, not just only sleep apnea. Having our really bright UTC, Chatt State, and other area college pre-meds work for us for varying lengths of time has been an essential part because when they go on to med school or nursing school they take this whole body of knowledge with them and even to date till recently there was not much emphasis of sleep disorder in med school and it also provides them with the first hand opportunity of seeing how medicine is actually practiced, that it is a lot more involved in terms of dealing with insurance companies, getting medicines authorized, getting tests authorized, that is just not as simple as seeing a patient and taking care of them, that there is a lot more that goes into the process especially with EMR. So they get a first hand experience of how it is to work in actual life in a medical practice. I think that it is really valuable exposure so we are very proud even though it is quite hard when they get trained and they move on bigger and better things to replace them every year and also bring the new people up to speed, but its something we have been doing and we are happy that we are able to do” (DR C)
“I don’t believe that I could have spent my gap year in a more productive way than through finding a job at ACSD. The experience helped to increase my knowledge in medical terminology, patient interaction and patient care, and I learned more about the business side of running a private practice than I would have learned in any other career opportunity offered to me. I am going into medical school with a better understanding the medical field and with more confidence than I would have ever imagined before my time at ACSD” (WITT)
“Working at ACSD has been a great way to spend my gap year before going into medical school. Working here has given me the opportunity to gain invaluable patient care experience. It has also allowed me to learn a great deal about a medical specialty I had known very little about, sleep medicine. My time at ACSD has me going into medical school confident and more prepared than ever to tackle medical school” (NATE)