On Geisel’s Suspension of M.D./Ph.D. Applications

In a disappointing turn of events, the Geisel School of Medicine has suspended applications to its M.D./Ph.D. program, purportedly because of budget issues. And in response, Dr. Lee Witters recently sent an email informing undergraduate pre-health students of the cancellation and asked them to sign a petition protesting the decision.

It’s unfortunate that the Geisel administration could be so short-sighted in its decision. While suspending applications will not hurt current M.D./Ph.D. students, suspending applications for even one year will undoubtedly hurt the reputation and intellectual vigor of Geisel. Indeed, with the fate of the M.D./Ph.D. program uncertain, the quality and number of applicants will surely decline.

Geisel wants to become one of the top 20 medical schools in the country by 2020, while all the top medical schools in the country have M.D./Ph.D. programs. M.D./Ph.D. programs enhance the intellectual diversity of medical schools, helping populate them with those who aspire to do research instead of those who simply want to practice medicine. And let’s not forget that M.D./Ph.D. programs provide opportunities for undergraduates to partake in research.

This recent decision at Geisel seems to point to a broader trend at Dartmouth. President Hanlon wants to start a lucrative MiM program at Tuck, which will undoubtedly degrade the experience for MBA students. Geisel seems to be doing something similar for financial reasons. These short-term maneuvers to compensate for College’s overall mismanagement of money will have long-lasting, damaging academic impacts.

What must be done is clear: cut the bloated, overcompensated staff and administration.

–Samuel L. Prescott