From Dean Valerie Ratts

Valerie S. Ratts, MD
Valerie S. Ratts, MD

Welcome to Washington University School of Medicine and the Dis-O Guide. You may be reading this as an accepted applicant sitting in a crowded airport and facing a big decision, or as a matriculated student moving into your new space and waiting to start the Washington University Medical Plunge (WUMP). Since 1987, the Dis-O Guide has been produced to welcome students to our medical school. Being nervous about beginning medical school is normal. Therefore, to ease fears, to make you smile and to help prepare for this exciting time in your career, the Dis-O Guide is written to show you what Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM), your fellow students and St. Louis have to offer. The editors this year have worked particularly hard to give you the insider’s perspective and show you the diverse opportunities that our school, our students and our city can provide.
The Washington University School of Medicine mission statement calls for the training of the next leaders in biomedicine. Attracting the very best students — as we have done and are dedicated to continue doing — is a key step in meeting this goal. The next step is to make sure we provide the knowledge, experiences, resources and mentorship to support our students in the journey to an amazing medical career. For those still making a decision, this guide will show the possibilities available here. For those who have made their decision, I like the suggestion that the Dis-O Guide will provide the “SparkNotes for the transition” to a great medical school and education.

What advice can I give you?

1) Like you, your classmates are amazing. Get to know them well. Invariably, they will become lifelong friends and colleagues. Their diverse perspectives will enhance your own educational growth. 2) You are starting down a pathway that will require diligence, sacrifice and hard work, but will also bring tremendous reward. Doctors play truly special roles in the lives of people. It is an honor and privilege to help patients process medical information in a way they can understand, trust and follow. Remember that Sir William Osler said, “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” 3) Rely upon the skills and characteristics that have brought you to this point. You were chosen because you have unique, elite attributes that will allow you to contribute to meeting the challenges of health care and biomedical research in the future.

Finally, there are so many people at WUSM who want to see you succeed in every way. We wish to support, teach and mentor. We are so very proud of you and we are here to help you grow into the physician you are meant to be! We hope the Dis-O Guide will be one source of information to assist you on your path to an unbelievably satisfying medical career.
Valerie S. Ratts, MD

Associate Dean for Admissions and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology