By Jenica Chandran, Staff Writer
For many students, the fall semester is just beginning. For the medical students of Hofstra and North Shore LIJ's School of Medicine, classes have been in session for well over a month. The School of Medicine welcomed its inaugural class of 40 students (20 women and 20 men) through its doors on Aug. 1. Though it has only been a little over a month, the 48,000 square-foot school, located on Hofstra's North Campus in the former Jets training facility, has already gained the attention of students, faculty and the surrounding community alike.
There has been a lot of positive feedback regarding the School of Medicine joining Hofstra's eight other schools. Dr. Labiento, who is part of the Department of Health Professions and Kinesiology at Hofstra said, "As an alumnus of Hofstra University, I am very proud of the direction Hofstra University is taking in the fields of medicine. There is a great need for caring medical practitioners, and I believe that The School of Medicine's focus addresses the caring, practitioner aspect, as well as the rigorous curriculum." Students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the medical world, now that the School of Medicine is up and running. Dr. Labiento, who is also the faculty advisor for the honors pre-med clubs Eta Sigma Gamma, Gamma Pi and Phi Delta Epsilon, discussed the advantages of having a new medical school and its involvement with Hofstra undergraduate students. "Students have an opportunity to visit our medical school and to discuss in more depth the vision of becoming a doctor, versus the total commitment to academic standing that is the reality of being accepted into medical school."
The hype surrounding the medical school, as well as the expected competitiveness of the medical student admissions pool, has not only impacted aspiring pre-medical students, but faculty as well. Dr. Vandana Bindra, who is part of the Chemistry Department faculty pool at Hofstra, has noticed a steady increase in enrollment in the Chemistry Department, since medical schools generally require a minimum two years of enrollment in chemistry. "I can attest that the opening of the medical school has steadily been affecting enrollment in general and organic chemistry over the last couple of years already," she said. "This year the jump was even steeper. For example, last year at the start of the fall semester, the enrollment number for the general chemistry course was at 316, and this year at the same time the number is at 403."
Even science-oriented students at Hofstra who are not specifically interested in medical school are still excited about the new addition. Sophomore Ahmed Sarhan said, "the new medical school definitely acts as a fresh, shining gem in the Hofstra crown. It will boost Hofstra's already sensational reputation and set it in a higher league, where it will truly be a force to be reckoned with."