Financial investor trades portfolio for white coat
When Adam Goode entered the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in August 2016, he had already been a financial trader and software developer.
“I was interested in both fields, but there was something missing for me,” the UVA graduate said.
That something was the human element, which he found right away as a medical student. Goode was one of nine students at the school who were awarded named scholarships this year. Goode received the Daniel and Katina Carusillo VTC School of Medicine Scholarship, which is awarded annually to two deserving students at the medical school.
“All of my classmates enjoy being here, but tuition and living expenses are big stressors for a lot of them,” Goode said. “Any help means a lot, not just financially but also the fact that people reach out and understand.”
“The journey from medical school to becoming a doctor is a long one,” Daniel Carusillo, an anesthesiologist in California, said. “If people want to go forward on this journey, we need to help them along the way.”
Goode, who is a second-year student, said having donors who fund scholarships consistently speaks well for the young school’s growing reputation.
“A lot of people are involved with the school, and they recognize that what’s happening here is really special,” he said.
One thing that sets the school apart is its small class size. Just 42 students, out of thousands that apply, are accepted into the rigorous, research-heavy curriculum each year.
“The biggest factor for me wanting to come here was the lure of the small class size,” Goode said. “With the world changing so rapidly, I think the fact that we are a small school makes us more nimble and better able to adapt to new opportunities.”
Goode said he had friends at larger medical schools who tell him the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is unique in many ways.
One way is its curriculum that puts small groups of students together, along with a faculty facilitator, to study a different medical case each week. At the end of the week, the actual patient and their physician visit the class to share their experiences and answer questions from the students.
“I’m a big proponent of the peer-to-peer teaching that we do in our small groups,” Goode said. “I think it creates a more dynamic learning environment, and I can retain information better.”
Another unique component of the school’s curriculum is a mandatory four-year research project in which students produce a paper that is of publishable quality in an academic journal. To date, 53 students have had their research appear in 61 national publications.
Goode is involved in two research projects under the mentorship of T.K. Miller, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. In one project, he is focusing on what drives hospital readmissions for orthopaedic patients and the health economics around readmission rates. For the other project, Goode is doing mathematical modeling in the lab of Harald Sontheimer, director of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute Center for Glial Biology in Health, Disease, and Cancer. Sontheimer is also the director of the School of Neuroscience in the College of Science.
Goode’s enthusiasm about research is driven by his passion to explore the unknown.
“Medical students are curious people,” he said. “A lot of times, there’s no right answer. That’s kind of frustrating for some people, but I think it can be exciting, too. It’s like entering an unknown world that needs to be explored.”
Goode, who is an avid trail runner and cross country skier, is also active in the ultrasound club that he started at the medical school. The group quickly formed a team and went to a national ultrasound competition last year. They didn’t win, but they did pretty well considering most of the competitors were fourth-year medical students.
In fact, that’s another unique feature of the school. Students get ultrasound training in their first year, while most students at other schools aren’t introduced to it until third-year electives.
“I think it’s really helpful to have ultrasound experience when you go into your clerkships in year three,” he said. “People appreciate when you can provide that skill.”
Overall, Goode is glad he chose to move into a more people-oriented profession. His interests are in surgery and cardiology, and he is very glad to be learning the profession in Roanoke.
“One thing I really enjoy in Roanoke is this air of excitement,” he said. “The city is growing fast. There are a lot of businesses coming to the area. It’s a really amazing time to be here.”