From Dean Valerie Ratts

The editors have graciously given me room to say, “Welcome to Washington University School of Medicine and the Dis-O Guide.” This is a document truly written by our students for you. One of the purposes of the Dis-O Guide is to show the many facets of our school — its people, its spaces and its strengths. As you read this guide, you may be an accepted applicant trying to sitting in a crowded airport and facing a big decision, or a matriculated student moving into the Core and waiting to start the Washington University Medical Plunge (WUMP). Since 1987, the Dis-O Guide has been produced to show you what Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM), our medical students and St. Louis have to offer. Hopefully, while reading, you will smile and recognize a part of yourself in the descriptions.

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 “insider advice” to a great medical school and education.

What advice can I give you? 1) Get to know your classmates. Like you, they are amazing. Many will become lifelong friends and colleagues. 2) Do not lose your enthusiasm. 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 practice this profession. As Hippocrates said, “Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there also is the love of humanity.” 3) Rely upon the skills and characteristics that have brought you to this point. Attitude makes a huge difference. 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.

There are so many people at WUSM who wish to mentor, support and grow young physicians. 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