Road Trip to Connecticut What are Danbury and Norwalk Like

February 14, 2018 by Jennifer Nachbur

Beginning in 2019, 35 third-year medical students from the Larner College of Medicine will complete the Clerkship and Advanced Integration levels of the Vermont Integrated Curriculum at the new Western Connecticut Health Network branch campus. To provide an opportunity to experience the location’s attributes first-hand, medical education leaders arranged a field trip for Student Ambassadors February 1 and 2. 
Four members of the Class of 2021 – Student Ambassadors Kalle Fjeld, Michael Lawrence, Bridget Moore and Timothy Woodin – were able to see, touch, discuss and experience life at Danbury and Norwalk Hospitals and meet with current Clerkship students, preceptors, residents, and leaders.

Their first night, the student visitors were joined by current Clerkship students and WCHN-based education leaders for dinner at a nearby BBQ restaurant.

Fjeld, who’s from Brandon, Vt. and a University of Vermont undergraduate alumna, appreciated the opportunity to speak with faculty and Larner medical students. She learned that the obstetrics/gynecology rotation at Danbury was a favorite and that the proximity to New York City was a real plus.

“The people in charge of the campus seem very excited about this opportunity and are very open to feedback and ideas,” said Moore.

The next day, the students got a taste of what is was like to be a Clerkship student.

“The Danbury Simulation Lab was impressive and very well run,” said Fjeld “The simulation working with translators was challenging and highlighted what it would be like working there with patients who speak a foreign language.”

She also witnessed what she described as “the most impressive thyroid I’ve ever seen in my life” when observing patients at Norwalk Hospital.

Whom do the students think will benefit from the Connecticut campus experience?

“Connecticut seems like it will be a great opportunity for students not only looking for more patient diversity, but also who thrive in a more urban area,” said Moore. Fjeld agreed.

“There’s a wider variety in the patient population than in Vermont and a real socioeconomic mix,” she said, adding that Spanish-speaking students would have a strong opportunity to utilize the language in a healthcare setting.

According to Jonathan Rosen, M.D., associate dean for undergraduate medical education at the WCHN campus and a pulmonologist, he’s used the medical interpreter service more in his past year working at Danbury Hospital than in his entire 30-year career as a physician.

“People have to think carefully about what they want – it’s a lifestyle decision,” said Fjeld, who added that WCHN is working hard to make it a quality experience.