Violet Society Program for MD Students

For Current MD Students at NYU School of Medicine Violet Society Program for MD Students
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For Current MD Students at NYU School of Medicine Violet Society Program for MD Students

As a medical student at NYU School of Medicine, you’re part of a community of talented researchers and physicians with a proud tradition of pioneering innovations in medical therapies that improve the human condition. During your time in medical school, you’re supported by our network of faculty mentors and peers through the Violet Society Program.

Each of our four Violet Societies is named for past NYU School of Medicine physician luminaries: Walter Reed; Lewis Thomas; May Chinn; and Albert Sabin and Jonas Salk.

Their contributions to medicine have halted epidemics (Dr. Reed’s discovery that mosquitos transmit yellow fever; Dr. Salk’s and Dr. Sabin’s introduction of the first polio vaccines); forged social progress (as one of the first black female physicians to earn hospital admitting privileges, Dr. Chinn paved the way for more diverse future generations of doctors); and advanced public understanding of the medical sciences (Dr. Thomas’ best-selling books explained the mysteries of biology to ordinary people).

Our mentors and peers in the program support your wellbeing and personal growth, share career opportunities and provide guidance, and create a supportive community to enhance your professional development, no matter what academic year you’re in or which pathway you follow.

Violet Society Program Structure

The Violet Society Program is composed of four societies, each overseen by three expert faculty advisors along with two peer mentors per faculty member, who provide consistent student advising from your first experience at orientation through graduation. Students from all class years are grouped together within each society by faculty advisor to participate in community-building events and small group workshops that encourage collaboration, communication, student wellbeing, and professional development.

During orientation week, you are randomly assigned to one of these four societies and to one of the faculty advisors within the society. You are then assigned to a smaller group, called a "family," which is overseen by a fourth-year peer mentor within your society. You remain part of this group throughout medical school.

Faculty Advisor and Peer Mentor Groups

Faculty Advisors

Our Violet Society Program is led by experienced faculty advisors who serve as student advocates. They are selected and appointed to a Violet Society by a committee of faculty, students, and the dean for student affairs. They do not hold administrative positions or assess student performance.

In the initial weeks of school, you engage in small group meetings with your faculty advisor group to learn about the Violet Societies and meet your classmates.

You meet one-on-one with your faculty advisor multiple times throughout the year during scheduled meetings to discuss your medical school progress or any issues or difficulties you might have. Advisors also host small group meetings with students from each class year to discuss important milestones in your medical career.

Your faculty advisor provides guidance for completing your student academic portfolio, a self-assessment process that all students take part in during medical training. In your portfolio, you provide feedback on your performance on different aspects of the MD curriculum, including foundational knowledge, clinical skills, professional development, and research and scholarship. Portfolio entries are recorded in Brightspace (Kerberos ID and password required for login), our online learning platform.

Your faculty advisor also collaborates with departmental advisors who are assigned during your third year of medical school to guide you through the residency application process. Together they guide you through the process of selecting a specialty, creating and submitting your residency application, as well as providing tips for performing well during residency interviews. Their goal is to ensure that you are on the right track to meet the specifications each specialty requires.

Walter Reed Violet Society Faculty Advisors

Gillian L. Henry, MD

Jeffrey A. Manko, MD

Margaret Nachtigall, MD

Lewis Thomas Violet Society Faculty Advisors

Aaron L. Hultgren, MD

Sandra S. Tomita, MD

Michael C. Wajda, MD

May Chinn Violet Society Faculty Advisors

Lynn M. Buckvar-Keltz, MD

Lisa Malter, MD

Bipin Subedi, MD

Jonas Salk/Albert Sabin Violet Society Faculty Advisors

Jennifer Adams, MD

Jung (Ted) Kim, MD

Cecilia L. Mercado, MD

Peer Mentors

You're assigned to one of the two fourth-year medical students who serve as peer mentors within each of the three faculty advisor groups in your society. All students assigned to a peer mentor make up a unit called a “family.” You meet with your family to learn about opportunities at NYU School of Medicine and the local community, ask questions, discuss challenges, and express concerns about medical school with other students.

Peer mentors host office hours most weekdays during the school year. Access the peer mentor schedule on Brightspace, our online student portal (a Kerberos ID and password are required).

Those interested in becoming a peer mentor apply in the spring semester during the third year of medical school. A selection committee comprising current Violet Society Program peer mentors, student advisory committee members, administrative staff, and faculty advisors reviews all applications. Students who are chosen to become peer mentors receive mentorship training and learn about responsibilities associated with the position.

Student Advisory Committee

A student advisory committee, made up of students from every class year, meets quarterly with Violet Society Program administrators to provide feedback on the program and to facilitate program events and communications. The committee also serves as a liaison between the Violet Society Program and the NYU School of Medicine Student Council, student diversity initiatives, and students in our MD/PhD Program.

You can apply to become an advisory committee member. Applications are typically open during the summer. First year students are welcome to apply in the fall of their first semester. If chosen, you receive mentorship training. Student advisory leaders also coordinate Violet Society events with the wider university community.

Contact Us

For more information, contact Lynn Buckvar-Keltz, MD, director of the Violet Society Program, at lynn.buckvar-keltz@nyumc.org or Ryann Quigley, coordinator of the Violet Society Program, at ryann.quigley@nyumc.org or 212-263-3006.