Campus Life

Professional Development Advising Team (PDAT) Program

The Professional Development Advising Team (PDAT) program began in 1995 and has assisted medical students with continuity in advising, support and retention from the first year of medical school until graduation.

Becoming a physician involves integrating both the science and art of medicine with health care practice.  Students have many questions about their role and responsibilities as professional students, about the curriculum, about clinical practice, and about the current environment in which medicine is practiced.  The PDAT program offers students, faculty and staff an opportunity to work closely together, learning to integrate the complexities of both basic sciences and clinical practice. The goal of the program is to support professional development of all students as they progress through the medical school curriculum, to identify at risk-students and intervene with necessary support services, and to promote student success and retention.

PDAT consists of NEOMED professional staff, peers and clinical faculty to ensure continuity of advising during the basic science and clinical years of medical school.  Students interact with advisors as a team and on an individual basis beginning the first year of medical school.  Interactions focus on personal development, academic success, and professional identity. PDAT offers students the benefit of advising from several perspectives:

  • The clinical perspective of practicing physicians who serve as Physician Mentors  and Match Advisors
  • The peer perspective of upper level Peer Advisors
  • The colleague perspective of fellow team members

PDAT Benefits for Students

  • Assistance with the curriculum, the hospital experience and the practice setting
  • Perspectives on medical specialties, residency and fellowship programs for medical students
  • Opportunities to engage in shadowing, research and service with a clinical faculty member
  • Resources for any kind of question relevant to the medical profession
  • Intervention and referral for needed support services

PDAT Benefits for Advisors

  • Opportunity to encourage and impact individual students
  • Opportunity to keep current with the overall curriculum
  • Ongoing connection to basic tenets of the medical profession
  • Education about student development and growing professional identity

Peer Advisors

Peer Advisors assist students in adjusting to the many pressures and stresses of medical education within a small group context. Peer Advisors provide a formal forum for first-year students to interact with a second year student who can serve as a resource person to provide an opportunity for guidance and support, assist students in finding appropriate campus resources and models professional behavior. Peer Advisors may also informally assist students in subsequent years with adjustments to clinical experiences and clerkships. Peer Advisors also plan extra-curricular and social functions that bring faculty and students together.

PDAT Colleagues

Teams are thoughtfully constructed so that members bring a variety of perspectives and experiences to their individual group. Team members interact with each other in a variety of team-based learning settings within the curriculum including Reflective Practice Seminars in the Human Values in Medicine (HVM) course and medical interviewing seminars in the Fundamentals of Clinical Practice (FCM) course.  Through this interaction, teams form a network of support and that extends beyond the classroom.

Physician Mentors

Physician Mentors provide leadership and direction to students with primary responsibilities in areas of career education and professional socialization of students.  Students have the opportunity to interact with a variety of Physician Mentors throughout their medical education through Specialty Speed Dating events and through access to the on-line Physician Mentor list, which includes over 500 NEOMED alumni and faculty.

The NEOMED Physician Mentor List is updated regularly with contact information for NEOMED alumni and clinical faculty who an interest in mentoring medical students.  Physician Mentors are recruited through an online form on the NEOMED alumni website and through annual invitations to clinical faculty.  The list includes contact information for over 500 Physician Mentors and designation for the following activities:

  • Availability for shadowing
  • Availability for research
  • Diversity/URM mentors
  • Mentors who practice in underserved areas


These practicing physicians are prepared to assist with the following topics:

  • Summer professional activities (research fellowships, shadowing*, internships/externships)
  • Activities related to career development, self-assessment, and specialty exploration
  • Support for NEOMED’s under-represented students through interaction with diversity mentors
  • Involvement in extra-curricular activities such as community service, student organizations and leadership development
  • Stress management and maintaining school-life balance
  • Transition from basic science to clinical clerkships
  • Expectations and evaluation of clinical skills
  • Goals for life-long learning and professional development


NOTE: NEOMED and its affiliated hospitals are committed to supporting opportunities for medical students to explore specialty options, however, patient safety and confidentially are of the highest priority.   Sometimes physicians are not fully aware of their hospitals shadowing policies, so it’s not enough to simply ask physicians if they will allow shadowing. It’s important that you also check with the medical education or human resources department to get information about each hospital’s policy on medical student shadowing. 

Diversity Mentors

These practicing diversity physicians are prepared to assist with the following topics:

  • Development of professional and supportive relationships with any NEOMED student that will contribute to the diversity of the healthcare field
  • Advising, professional development, and overall support to NEOMED’s under-represented students as they pursue their educational journey to careers in the delivery of healthcare services
  • Shadowing opportunities to expand the development of cultural competency in the delivery of healthcare services (Including services to under-represented populations)
  • Identify diverse networks and diversity-related professional development opportunities
  • Identify opportunities to be involved in extra-curricular activities such as community service in under-represented communities

Match Advisors

Students have the opportunity to work with a Match Advisor in their chosen specialty beginning in the M3 year.  These practicing physicians are trained to assist students with the following topics:

  • Specialty/career choice
  • M4 Elective Planning
  • CV and personal statement preparation
  • Residency program selection
  • Residency interviewing
  • NRMP rank order list preparation


Additionally, these Advisors provide individual student advisement in creation of their M4 elective schedule.  Students are assigned to an advisor and works with them on an individual basis to focused on ensuring:

  • adherence to College of Medicine requirements for M4 clerkships,
  • balance across the M4 schedule with regard to rotation specialty, location, practice setting, and discipline diversity,
  • alignment of the M4 schedule with student career goals,
  • referral to specialty mentors
  • identification of any conflicts of interest between students and specific M4 rotations,
  • optimization of M4 schedules in accordance with specific specialty choices, and
  • promote adherence to M4 residency application/NRMP timelines and best practices for student success.


The list of Match Advisors is located on the CANVAS Career Center project site.


Harmony Stanger, M.B.A.
Assistant Director, Student Affairs
Phone: 330-325-6719