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Dr. Winfree Advises Aspiring Neurosurgeons in Columbia’s Student AANS Chapter

How do medical students decide which specialty is right for them? How do they choose whether to go into family practice or cardiology or neurosurgery?

Students at Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons who are interested in neurosurgery have guidance from a student chapter of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS).

This student interest group was started in 2015, when four students, who were thinking about specializing in neurosurgery, decided to take that interest a step further and form a Columbia AANS chapter.

Student AANS chapters give budding neurosurgeons a forum in which they can learn about the profession from current neurosurgeons.

More than 35 medical students attended Columbia’s first chapter meeting, and Dr. Donald Quest, J. Lawrence Pool Professor of Neurological Surgery, served as the new group’s advisor. Today the chapter is going strong, and they have a new advisor to help them investigate the profession of neurosurgery. Dr. Christopher Winfree, Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery, is taking over advisory duties from Dr. Quest.

The students meet with Dr. Winfree once a month and talk about anything related to neurosurgery—from brain tumors and research projects to the residency application process. It’s a setting where students can get advice and network with residents and attending physicians.

“We talk about everything,” said Dr. Winfree. “This is a forum where they can ask questions and we can teach and go over things. It helps them decide if neurosurgery is the right career for them.”

In addition to benefiting the students, the neurosurgery interest group allows faculty members and attending physicians opportunities to mentor the next generation of neurosurgeons.

Columbia’s Department of Neurosurgery has a long history of fostering interest in neurosurgery among medical students. In fact, more neurosurgeons come from Columbia’s College of Physicians & Surgeons than from any other medical school. Dr. Winfree is excited to be working with this group.

Read more about Dr. Winfree at his bio page here.

patient journey

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