Partnership With Erlanger Providing Job Shadowing Experience For 76 UTC Students

  • Wednesday, February 28, 2024
During the 2024 spring semester, a collaboration between the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga pre-health advising program, Erlanger and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine – Chattanooga is providing a new opportunity for students to gain much-needed and hard-to-find job shadowing experience.

From early February through late April, 76 UTC students spanning 11 majors are getting the opportunity to job shadow in the Erlanger Baroness Hospital Emergency Department, obtaining valuable experience watching emergency room doctors and other medical personnel in action.

“We are excited about the much-needed opportunities being given to UTC students by the doctors, nurses and staffs of Erlanger and the UT Health Science Center College of Medicine – Chattanooga,” said UTC Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Jerold L.
Hale. “The collaboration is allowing our students to get hard-to-find job shadowing experience and learn first-hand from those on the frontline of emergency room care.”

“This partnership with the Erlanger Baroness Emergency Department will help our students get the necessary shadowing experience needed for competitive applications for medical school and other health-related graduate programs,” UTC College of Arts and Sciences Dean Pam Riggs-Gelasco said. “It also allows students to determine if a medical pathway is something they genuinely want to pursue. The breadth of cases they will see in the ER will make this shadowing experience particularly enriching.”

Dr. Sudave Mendiratta is the department chair of the UT Health Science Center College of Medicine – Chattanooga emergency medicine residency and an emergency medicine physician at Erlanger.

“It is a privilege to be a mentor to these students,” Mendiratta said. “By having the drive and initiative to shadow us, these students show us that they are building skills to be great health care providers.”

The job shadowing collaboration is being coordinated by Erlanger Clinical Resource Coordinator Kathy Emerson; Dr. Karen Rogers, an emergency medicine physician at Erlanger; and Theresa Blackman, UTC assistant director of pre-health student services and an advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Job shadowing offers an opportunity for individuals to check the reality of a career in health care against the perceptions created by television and movies,” Emerson said.

Blackman first came to UTC in 2017. Since adding pre-health advising to her repertoire in 2019, her leadership has resulted in a 25% increase in professional health care program acceptance.

Blackman said UTC’s pre-health career tracks include medical, dental, physician assistant, physical therapy and occupational therapy. Students participating in the job shadowing are coming from all corners of campus.

“We have freshmen through seniors as part of a very diverse group of participants,” Blackman said, “including some mechanical engineering and computer science students that want to go to medical school. Among the other majors are students in exercise science, biology, biochemistry, criminal justice, anthropology, integrated studies and geology, which is leading to some really great campus collaborations.

“We’re so thankful for this partnership with Erlanger and UT Health Science Center College of Medicine – Chattanooga and for everything they are doing for our students to expose them to the medical field.”
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