UCSB Student Affairs is hosting a new lecture series called “Doctor in the House,” which will bring in doctors to speak about their careers and answer student questions in a string of talks beginning next Monday.

The lectures will continue at two-week intervals every other Monday and are hosted by Academic Initiatives, a section of the Division of Student Affairs that promotes collaborative programs between student support services and academic services through leadership, research, community involvement and academic opportunities. The first session of the series will present Dr. David Thoman, Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery and the Associate Director of Surgical Education at the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

According to Academic Initiatives Program Coordinator Chryss Yost, the lectures provide a unique chance for UCSB students to speak with an eclectic crew of doctors experienced in their field and eager to share their knowledge.

“We don’t have a medical school, but we do have a lot of pre-med and pre-dental students on campus,” Yost said. “This is an opportunity for the doctors and medical practitioners to talk about their work and then to also take questions from students who might not have the opportunity to talk to doctors otherwise.”

Furthermore, Yost said, this series provides students with a chance for networking with professionals in the field.

“Potentially, students might find mentors out of this or make a connection and have it grow into an internship or long-lasting relationship,” Yost said, while noting that such relationships can eventually give students real, hands-on experience.

“There is only so much you can learn theoretically,” Yost said. “People can tell you to look up in an encyclopedia what a specialty is focused on, but it can be hard to tell what that would look like on a day-to-day basis. Who you are interacting with, what kind of patients you can expect, what are the challenges in that field, how is it rewarding? This is something you’re just not going to find in a textbook.”

Second-year chemistry major Yarvoh Williams said she looks forward to attending the talks to learn about different kinds of medical specialties. She said that oftentimes, in other lecture series, students will receive information that is common knowledge. However, with this series, she hopes to gain close interaction with the speakers and information not easily found online.

“I would take away mainly knowledge from the speaker and get a better view of what I might want to do and how to go about it,” Williams said. “It means so much more to hear from someone who has gone through the stuff you are planning to do in the future and be able to ask them questions.”

Like Williams, first-year biology major Sumit Kumar said he hopes the series will give him concrete ideas for what kind of medical field he might choose to pursue in the future, as opposed to a “nebulous idea of just medicine and med school in general.”

“There’d be people from different facets of medicine, so it would bring me to actually understand what I’m getting into,” Kumar said.

According to Kumar, outside of programs like “Doctor in the House,” the task of reaching out to different medical professionals becomes more challenging.

“It’s good just getting an in-depth look from people who actually want to deal with college students. Going about this yourself is all the more difficult,” Kumar said. “You’re not really sure doctors are open, and here we get an opportunity where these presentations are basically tailor-made for us.”


A version of this article appeared on page 3 of January 6th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.