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Earning Your Medical Koala-fications

Medical students study other species to learn more about ours

Most medical school curricula focus on the health of humans, but some schools are beginning to offer an elective rotation at local zoos. Working alongside veterinarians, medical students can learn about interdependence between species, as well as experience how human ecosystem changes can affect the health of both humans and animals.

“I would never have predicted that I would spend my final month of medical school performing fetal ultrasounds on a pregnant gorilla, phlebotomizing a 500-pound tapir with hemochromatosis, caring for a meerkat in heart failure, and investigating medical mysteries across the animal kingdom,” wrote Dr. Gilad Evrony, a medical student who performed a rotation at Zoo New England. “Nearly every day at the zoo, the veterinarians and I would make fascinating, unexpected connections between human and veterinary medicine.”

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