Exploring Outside the Pre-Health “Bubble” — Philadelphia’s College of Physicians

The Mütter Museum's "Soap Lady"
The Mütter Museum’s “Soap Lady”

We know how much time pre-health students spend on the beaten path between libraries, labs and lectures, which is why we’re calling your attention to The College of Physicians of Philadelphia located at 19 South 22nd Street in Center City.  Not only is it the home of the Mütter Museum where you can learn about medical history while gawking at the giant colon (look up: Hirschprung’s disease), one of MANY truly impressive specimens in the collection that will challenge your mind and stomach, but the College is also home to four lively special interest “sections” devoted to Medical History, Medicine & the Arts, Public Health & Preventative Medicine, and Medicine, Ethics & the Law.  Recently, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Donald F. Schwarz MD/MPH spoke on the status of public health in Philadelphia and Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer at the US Department of Health & Human Services, shared his insights on “Using Open Data to Improve Health.”  Most of the lectures are free, open to the public, and listed on the website’s calendar of events.

If attending a lecture is the last way you want to spend your free time, you might enjoy visiting an art exhibit, hearing a reading of play addressing medical ethics, or attending a film screening like the upcoming showing of the Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion (2011) on February 25.  You can also volunteer at The College of Physicians, which co-sponsors several public health initiatives in Philadelphia such as Hip2Know tackling STD’s and the Memories project addressing gun violence.  If you are interested in public health and/or the arts you may be able to give your time in a way that is intellectually engaging and creative.  Or, you may be able to use the College’s resources for another project.

Taking a little time away from campus, exploring how your interests connect with the city and history, or mingling with professionals outside of the classroom, keeps you fresh and motivated.  The College of Physicians is an excellent stop “outside the bubble” when you need to come up for air.

Author: Carol Hagan

Carol Hagan is a pre-health and pre-grad advisor in Career Services. She has a Ph.D. in art history from Penn and did her undergraduate work at Wesleyan University.