Six Rollins Students Shadow Physicians at Florida Hospital During Intersession

February 08, 2010

Pre-MedWhile most students were resting during winter break, six Rollins students participated in an observership at Florida Hospital as part of an Intersession reflection course. 

During the Fall 2009 semester, six Pre-Med students were selected through an application process offered by Rollins’ Health Professions Advising Program.  As part of the week-long experience, students shadowed medical faculty and residents in the Residency Training departments at Florida Hospital.  Through the Graduate Medical Education Program, each student was placed in one of the Residency Training departments of Family Practice (Allopathic and Osteopathic), Emergency Medicine and General Surgery. At the hospital, the interns were given the opportunity to participate in grand rounds, conferences and various didactic activities.

On Jan. 26, the students met for a debriefing session with Health Sciences’ Advising Faculty, Professor of Biology Judy Schmalstig and the Director of Academic Internships Allisa Johnson to reflect on their observership experience.

“We were right there in surgery,” said Jessica Duran (Class of 2010) who observed the General Surgery department. “I saw a lot of laparoscopic surgeries, colecystectomies, breast biopsies, melanoma removal, cyst removal, a lot of hernia repairs…it was fascinating.”

Margaret Leibold (Class of 2011) commented on the friendly and approachable staff. “It is so nice to ask questions and have them answered by people who really know and who have been there,” she said. “It was refreshing to just get honest answers.” The students all agreed that this experience confirmed their passion to pursue a career in medicine.

Based on the success of the Winter Intersession observership experience, Rollins will partner again with Florida Hospital during the summer; students can shadow physicians from August 2 – 6.  Applications for summer will be available by mid-February, so students should check their Rollins e-mail for a notification.  Students may also contact the Office of Academic Internships for more information relating to for-credit internships and Pre-Med observerships at

Florida HospitalPhysician on a Mission

The observership at Florida Hospital for Rollins students was made by possible by Dr. Joseph Portoghese, Chief Academic Officer and Program Director of the General Surgery Residency Program at Florida Hospital.  A graduate of Rollins (Class of 1979) and a member of the President’s Leadership Council, Portoghese is committed to helping students.

Raised and educated in Central Florida, today Portoghese is a noted surgeon, dedicated patient advocate, and a leader in healthcare.  He is consistently selected by his peers and featured as one of Central Florida’s Top Doctors in Orlando Magazine.  Portoghese said he became a doctor to make a difference in people’s lives, and he has touched the lives of countless Central Floridians.  Known well to young medical residents, he speaks to them about “The Service of Medicine vs. the Practice of Medicine.”  And he walks the talk in his community and beyond, having participated in mission trips to Peru with Florida Hospital SHARES International Medical Missions to make a difference in the world.

Here at home, he is making a significant difference for Rollins students.  “Having the opportunity to interact with students is extremely rewarding,” said Dr. Portoghese.  “The observership at Florida Hospital gives Rollins students a first-hand look at what we do every day and exposes them to a side of medicine that they can’t learn about in the classroom.”

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