Council Minutes for January 2012:

Persons in Attendence:

Meredith Whitney, Tom Richardson, Gloria Tavera, Anna Henry, Kirkland Wilson, Abner Murray, Bryan Benson, DaShawn Hickman, Heather Connelly, Paul Lin, Marisa Winkler, Andrea Cohen, Teresa Evans, Emily Hamburg, Charlie Wang, Brent Cameron, Rob Hyde, Joe Vithayathil, Cliff Harding



January 10, 2012



1.     Summer Retreat

2.     Winter Retreat

3.     Monthly Meeting

4.     Revisit

5.     Jamie Grifo visit

6.     Student guides for interviewees

7.     Communications Committee

8.     Representative to GSS

9.     Social Committee

10.  Women’s Group


Summer Retreat:

The Summer Retreat committee requests ideas for Case faculty speakers for the summer retreat.  Some workshop ideas were proposed.  Joe suggested an imaging talk, and Bryan offered the name Chris Flask, who Charlie works and thinks would give a good talk.  Cliff suggests Alex Huang and David McDonald for imaging/microscopy talks.  Rob would like an EM talk, potentially Arthur Heuer, and Teresa also suggested Judy Drazba for an EM talk.  Other faculty talk ideas were suggested including Paul Tesar.


Summer Retreat 2013:

Meredith reported that Vijay contacted the OSU MSTP president, and that OSU is apparently interested in doing the joint retreat.  More details will come.


Winter Retreat:

Meredith reported for Vijay that plans are coming together, and that we may need one more student speaker.  Meredith also reminded that every PhD phase student will need to submit an abstract to Kathy by February 1 and present a poster or give a short talk.  Those selected for talks have already been notified.  Cliff also highlighted features of this year’s winter retreat including the keynote speaker Peter Arvan and a small talk in recognizing former MSTP director Leslie Webster.  Anna asked whether MD-phase students will need to get excused from class.  Cliff said no, that MD-phase students should attend classes and join the retreat in the afternoon.


Monthly meeting:

The February meeting will be held in conjunction with the Lepow keynote speaker, Arthur Gutierrez-Hartmann.  Cliff stated that he is the Colorado MSTP director and is very prominent in MSTP education, training, and inter-program collaboration including the national MD-PhD meeting.  Meredith inquired as to the schedule of the monthly meeting.  She will follow through by asking Vijay and Nick Ziats, Lepow Day organizer, regarding Dr. Gutierrez-Hartmann’s schedule and time available for the MSTP, noting that the dinner monthly meeting with him is currently scheduled for February 15.


Revisit weekend:

Meredith asked for Kathy regarding where to have the dinner this year.  DaShawn recalled that last year was at College Club, and Meredith and Emily stated that MSTP does not want to return to Glidden House because of expense and prior experience.  Gloria asked if there were any issues with the College Club.  Meredith replied no, just that Kathy was soliciting additional options, and Meredith proposed a restaurant outing such as Washington Place or Club Isabella for being reasonably priced; Emily also liked the idea of Washington Place.  Kathy’s other suggestion is to have it catered at a hotel.  DaShawn would prefer to have it at the house of an alumnus, comparable to the School of Medicine revisit dinners.  Marisa agreed and has given feedback to this effect following her revisit.  Cliff stated that his recollection of past years is that the style of the School of Medicine dinner is not to have many current faculty or students together with visiting students.  Meredith said that the MSTP headcount for dinner usually is about 12 revisiting students, 12 faculty, and 12 students, or more, leading to a dinner crowd of 40 or more people.  Heather suggested we find a restaurant with a banquet room for this large of a group.  Paul wondered if the dinner would definitely include faculty, because if not MSTP could do smaller dinners at several different houses.  Teresa recalls doing this before, without faculty.  Cliff replied that there are three dinner events over the course of revisit: arrival night (small groups), Friday night (coordinated with MD revisit), and Saturday night (this one includes applicants, current student, and faculty as a large event).


Meredith then raised a related issue that an MSTP alumnus, Jamie Grifo, is coming to give a talk during revisit weekend and would like to meet with the MSTP during this visit.  He is a prominent researcher and clinician working on IVF and has been featured in the national media, including on Oprah.  Meredith suggested we do a dinner seminar with him.  The issue with revisit is that some students would have to miss the event to pick applicants up, or MSTP would have to get a driver for the applicants so all current students can attend the event with Jamie Grifo.  Cliff suggested we start Dr. Grifo’s seminar at 7 p.m. Thursday, so that most students and applicants can arrive from the airport and make it more or less on time.  Meredith wanted to stress that Dr. Grifo definitely wants to meet with current MSTP students as part of his campus visit, and so we should try to find a time that works for everyone.  DaShawn suggested a Saturday breakfast, since the MD revisit has a previously scheduled brunch for the MSTP applicants to attend.  Cliff thought Saturday might be a good option, if it works with Dr. Grifo’s travel schedule, though he thought a Friday lunch would likely not be a viable option considering Dr. Grifo’s schedule for his talk and the rest of his visit as well as MSTP obligations for revisit including a Friday lunch.  Anna suggested we give revisitng applicants the choice when scheduling their travel: either arrive by 5 p.m. and be picked up by a student to return to campus for the dinner talk, or arrive later and forgo the student pickup and have a driver take them to the hotel.  Cliff suggested that MSTP plan a social event for after Dr. Grifo’s dinner talk, to have something for all the applicants to do together regardless of if they attend the dinner talk.  The plan will be to get Dr. Grifo’s schedule and plan a Thursday dinner or Saturday breakfast, depending on what works for him.


Interviewee pick-ups:

Several people volunteered to help applicants find their interview locations during the most recent visit, but Kathy is looking for more volunteers.  DaShawn felt that more M1s and M2s would have signed up except for unexpected Thursday classes that week. Meredith explained that people who are interested can schedule contact Kathy with their schedules and building information, and she will assign an applicant.

Representative to GSS:

Andrea announced a resume and CV writing workshop with a focus on writing for biomedical research, February 8 from 4-5 p.m.


Social Committee:

Gloria reported that the last social event of the year is coming up, and that MSTP will use any leftover money from the interviewing season to do something in March or April.


Women’s Group:

There will be a lunch meeting on January 25, email Jane if you would like to attend.


Other business: MSTP student mentoring

Cliff raised the issue of improving mentoring in the M1/M2 phase.  The MSTP formerly had a mentorship program for advanced students to be paired with entering students, importantly to provide professional advice.  The MSTP steering committee is already thinking of ways to be a resource in this regard.  Meredith mentioned that the School of Medicine has buddy program.  Heather would prefer a group system rather than one-on-one as is done in the School of Medicine.  Andrea suggested including departmental representation, since some of the issues are related to courses and departments.  Teresa reminded that MSTP Council members are a good resource.  DaShawn would like to see the mentorship program encompass the students’ needs for a comfortable environment for discussing academic or personal issues with their buddy.  MSTP students are already working on a mentorship program between minority students and faculty.  DaShawn proposed “speed dating” where students could rate several older students with whom they would like to be paired, and then meet quickly in a large group format to find a buddy who clicks.  Paul suggested to build upon the departmental lunch tables organized at the summer retreat, to enhance academically oriented relationships throughout the year.  Bryan suggested that students serve as main points of contact to either answer questions, or relay them to someone who can.  Andrea wanted to have list of designated volunteers, so that it is clear who is interested in being this point person.  Anna did not want to question students who had not volunteered, and so felt this would be a good system.  Cliff spoke in favor of having designated resource students, but stressed the need for one-on-one mentoring, so that the steering committee could be assured of a comprehensive mentoring plan and every student knows they have someone looking out for them.  He is not sure yet how to do the pairings, but would like to see every M1 and M2 paired with someone in PhD phase who will really look out for them and check in two to three times per year.  Bryan offered that personally, the most stressful period was moving to Cleveland and setting up shop, and so would have appreciated a mentor prior to joining the program.  Meredith felt a combination of multiple ideas would work, including having a volunteer point person for departmental issues and formal mentoring assignments incorporated with summer retreat.  Cliff also suggested we revive the student departmental representatives at winter retreat to introduce students to other students or faculty.  Heather reiterated her support for a trio of M1, M2, and PhD phase students in a group mentoring relationship.  Andrea mentioned that we would have to abandon speed dating in order to assign mentors to entering M1s before they join the program.  Meredith suggested that initial pairings prior to joining could be by field of interest.  Teresa offered that the preliminary mentorship could be combined with volunteers who contact admitted applicants.  Joe favored organizing a more formal buddy system upon matriculation or commitment to the MSTP, stating that it would not be good to start mentorship relationships with applicants who have not committed.  DaShawn then supported doing a more personal relationship building exercise such as speed dating after the M1s join the program, to maximize the mentor relationship.  Meredith summarized the plan that (1) the applicant call-back volunteers should make a connection with admitted students, including explicitly asking the applicant if they have questions about the transition to Cleveland, and (2) to do some sort of speed dating during the lunch at the end of summer retreat and formalizing mentors for the duration of the M1 year.  Teresa suggested further that students give multiple callbacks so that the incoming applicants have multiple opportunities to address any preliminary concerns.  Cliff stressed again the need for a comprehensive mentorship program, so that the MSTP will know each incoming student and M1 is being mentored.  Bryan and DaShawn suggested that MSTP start the mentorship program now for current M1s, and pilot the speed dating activity at winter retreat to assign the M1s to buddies.  Bryan suggested that the M1s read over the submitted abstracts from PhD-phase students to narrow the list of potential buddies.  Additionally, there will be some system to solicit volunteers among the PhD-phase students to serve as buddies, and a system during the winter retreat afternoon poster session to show students who are available to serve as buddies (such as a nametag marking).


Action items:


Cliff will check with Bill Merrick regarding Dr. Grifo’s schedule, to see if we have options for either a Thursday dinner or Saturday breakfast.


Meredith will have Kathy send out an email to recruit PhD-phase students to serve as mentors for current M1 students.  She will also contact Vijay to set aside time during the afternoon poster session to formalize these pairings.


Next MSTP Council meeting: Tuesday February 14, 5:45 p.m.


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