Medical students explore field of plastic surgery with hands-on course

Plastic surgery is a growing field of medicine, yet a 2022 study found the number of underrepresented in medicine students entering plastic surgery residency programs has not substantially changed in the last 20 years. Tulane University School of Medicine recently hosted the program PREPPED, or Plastic Surgery Research, Education, and Preparation Promoting Equity and Diversity. More than 70 faculty and students attended the two-day event held before the American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons (ACAPS) 10th Annual Winter Meeting.

"PREPPED was designed to help these students be better applicants to plastic surgery programs, which is right now the most competitive residency of all to match into, and to prepare them better to be plastic surgery residents and sub-interns, and to help them gain mentors in plastic surgery," said Dr. Abigail Chaffin, Chief, Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the Department of Surgery at Tulane.

The PREPPED Course was started in 2022 by Dr. Amanda Gosman, Chair of Plastic Surgery at University of California San Diego, and Dr. Meera Ragunathan, a plastic surgery resident, to help third-year medical students who are underrepresented in medicine who are interested in a career in plastic surgery.

The students who attended the PREPPED course learned many things, from the basics of different aspects of plastic surgery, skills that will help them excel at plastic surgery sub-internships, one on one CV review, and personal statement review with plastic surgery faculty and residents.

"PREPPED was an invaluable course that allowed students wanting to pursue a career in plastic surgery the opportunity to network amongst program directors, residents, and other medical students from around the country,” said Abby Duplechain, third-year medical student at Tulane University School of Medicine. “More than that, it set the tone for ways that we can be successful during our upcoming sub-internships. Through case-based learning, lecture presentations, and discussion panels, we learned more about the many "hot topics" we will likely see during these sub-internships."

"The most important takeaway from this course for me was the new connections I got to build. Meeting current and aspiring plastic surgeons of all different backgrounds and talking to them about their journeys has made me even more excited about the changing landscape of plastic surgery," said Taruni Kumar, third-year medical student at Tulane University School of Medicine.