The Physician Shadow Program, sponsored by the HBS Health Care Initiative (HCI), is a unique opportunity for students to witness a day in a doctor’s life first-hand. With the close proximity of Boston’s world-class hospitals, the HCI has forged relationships with many physicians who volunteer for the program. Participating students report having the opportunity to observe doctors’ intakes with patients, ER rounds and surgical procedures, as well as various medical interventions.

Erika Ohashi MBA 2018, shared why she wanted to participate in the program. “I studied biology for my undergraduate degree and also worked as a researcher at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston,” stated Erika. “However, I’ve always been interested in the provider side of health, and even thought about attending medical school. When I saw this program offered, I jumped at the opportunity!”

Erika recalls starting her physician shadow shift early in the morning with Dr. Jochen Muehlschlegel who is an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine. “I was briefed on the day and then accompanied Dr. Muehlschlegel to meet with a patient who was scheduled to have open heart surgery,” said Erika. “In the operating room, Dr. Muehlschlegel and his colleagues took great care to explain each step to me. I was able to see how involved and present anesthesiology was from start to finish of the procedure. I was very impressed with the preparation, stamina, and coordination it took from all the practitioners involved to complete the successful seven-hour surgery.” 

Dr. Muehlschlegel also enjoyed having Erika observe the procedure.  “It is always a joy to welcome these students to the OR,” he shared. “They bring a unique perspective on the business side of health care and are always very enthusiastic.”

Erika conveyed that this experience left a lasting impression on her. “While I have worked in health care for many years, the Physician Shadow Program allowed me to see a side of care delivery that I otherwise would not have been able to experience,” said Erika.  “Moving forward in my studies and career, I will consider a physician’s perspective as I strive to help solve the many challenges in health care. I highly recommend signing up for this opportunity!”