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A Teleshadowing Program Designed with Pandemic in Mind

Submitted by Andrew Spector, M.D.

During the pandemic, shadowing opportunities for pre-medical students shut down. “We wanted to continue providing these students with an opportunity to learn about neurology,” says Andrew Spector, M.D. “We were able to operate straight through the pandemic because we were designed with the pandemic in mind.”

The words Duke Underrepresented in Neurology Teleshadowing Program are written in white capital letters against a deep Duke blue banner. The banner overlays a stylized image of a neuron.

Dr. Spector serves as director and faculty participant for the Duke Underrepresented in Neurology Teleshadowing Program. He’s also an Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Inclusion, Diversity, and Empowerment at the Duke University Department of Neurology. He says that too many students enter medical school without any exposure to neurology or neuroscience. “This puts us at a disadvantage for recruitment to residency,” he explains.

The teleshadowing program serves students who are planning to attend medical school and identify as being from any underrepresented group. This includes underrepresented racial or ethnic groups but is intended to be much broader. “We want students to understand what neurologists do and start thinking about it as a potential career even before they enter medical school,” says Spector. His program targets populations that might not otherwise have exposure to neurology, recognizing that early exposure is a predictor for future career choice.

Following completion of a teleshadowing session, Dr. Spector received an email from a student telling him that she hadn’t previously considered a career in neurology but is now excited to learn more because she found it so interesting. “This,” says Spector, “is exactly why we created the program.”

To learn more about the Duke Underrepresented in Neurology Teleshadowing Program, click here or contact Maria Perrone maria.perrone@duke.edu.

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