Hofstra begins medical school classes with LIJ

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The first class of the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine began their orientation Monday and were set to start studies next week.

More than 4,000 students applied to the school with 100 offered acceptance and 40 enrolling at the school in Hempstead, L.I.

“I think this partnership is a win-win” for Hofstra and the North Shore-LIJ Health System, said Dr. Lawrence Smith, dean of the medical school. “Coming together to build a medical school raises the bar for both. This is such a game-changer for both the public perception of the institutio­ns.”

Smith said he was “absolutely overwhelmed” at the number of applicants for the new medical school.

The idea of the medical school started when Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz called North Shore-LIJ President and CEO Michael Dowling 3 1/2 years ago about a partnership and momentum to plan the institution started to build within a week, Smith said.

The orientation, which includes meetings with the school’s faculty and a tour of the facility’s 48,000-square-foot campus, lasts a week, with classes starting Aug. 1.

The school’s white coat ceremony, which marks the beginning of the students’ transformation into medical professionals, will be held Oct. 14.

Among the 40 students who are part of the school’s first class is 23-year-old Howard Beach native Christina Scelfo.

“I am very excited for the hands-on experience that we’ll be getting with Hofstra,” she said. “From the get-go, we’ll learn as a team. The curriculum seems extraordinary. The small class size was a big plus.”

Scelfo applied to four medical schools and said she chose Hofstra because of its EMT program, where medical students are trained as licensed EMTs in their first year, and she liked the idea of being in the medical school’s first class.

“It’s kind of surreal,” she said. “To be part of something so new and innovative is really exciting for me right now. Everyone here is so excited to have us and start teaching us.”

Of the 40 students, two are from Queens and 15 are from New York.

The class is split evenly between men and women, who range in age from 22 to 36, and they come from 14 states.

Smith said the medical school has caused a “tremendous shift” in the number of freshman Hofstra undergraduates who want to be science majors.

The medical school has already received 1,200 applications for next year’s class of students. Those applications will start being reviewed in September.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 12:01 pm, October 12, 2011
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