Choosing a career specialty is a very important academic decision facing medical students. Career development is a four-year process of self-assessment, career exploration, career decision-making and implementation. To assist the student in this process, PHSU-SOM has many available resources, including counselors, faculty, career seminars, student interest groups, and online resources. Many of the online resources are available at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) https://www.aamc.org/. The Registrar’s office assigns an AAMC account to every medical student upon entrance to PHSU-SOM.


The PHSU-SOM career counseling services are under the supervision of the Assistant Dean for Career Development, with the involvement of the Institutional Counseling Center.


Students begin to receive information about career counseling during the orientation week before they start their formal medical studies. The Office of Professional Counseling coordinates the delivery of this information.


During the first two academic years, the Office of Professional Counseling provides most of the career counseling services. The Office of Professional Counseling includes three Professional Counselors. The Director of the Office has scheduled sessions within the first and second years of the medical curriculum. All MS-1 and MS-2 receive information about the Careers in Medicine (CiM) program. The program has several phases, including a self-assessment instrument. After the students complete this assessment, CiM suggests specialties that the students should explore. Students are encouraged to repeat the self-assessment at the beginning of their third year to see if there are new suggestions according to their priorities. Students get access to the Careers in Medicine (CiM) page at: https://www.aamc.org/cim/


The CiM meetings offered during the first two years cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to CiM and their phases
  • Writing a Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Writing a Personal Statement (PS) for summer applications
  • Research opportunities for the summer between their first and second years of medical school.
  • The pathway from MS1 to MS2
  • The pathway from MS2 to MS3


Individual meetings are held to follow up on the CV and PS.  Other activities included during these years are Professional Development Workshops. Some topics covered in these workshops are stress and time management strategies. The Office of Professional Counseling offers tutoring services, and coordinates accommodations for students with special needs. During the first two years of medical school, students also become familiar, and become members of the different specialty interest groups. Students also are encouraged to find research opportunities for the summer between their first and second years of medical school.




During the third and fourth years of medical school, the Office of the Assistant Dean for Career Development offers the majority of career counseling services. Some of the activities are the following:


  • Information about residency application process through Professional Development Course


For additional information about the Career Counseling Services, please contact:


  1. Iván Iriarte, MD, MS

Assistant Dean for Career Development



José A. Soto-Franceschini, PhD, LPC

PHSU Professional Counselor




Clara Robles

Administrative Assistant





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