By Ethan Vaughan, Asst. News Editor

George Mason University students considering careers in medicine will have a valuable resource to turn to on Tuesday, April 13.

The Alpha Epsilon Delta Colloquium, to be held in the Johnson Center’s Room F tomorrow, will focus on the issues faced by those going into the medical field.

The event will feature a pediatric physician, a resident physician and two medical students, each of whom is slated to speak for 10 minutes before taking questions from the audience.

“They’re going to be talking about why they wanted to go into medicine,” said Dr. Ronald Bashian, who served as a pediatrician for more than 20 years before taking a leave of absence in 2002. “They’re going to be talking about what it means to be in medicine. They’ll talk about the exciting learning moments that taught them about being physicians, but they’ll also talk about the hard times.”

Bashian said the colloquium’s goal was to give prospective medical students a full picture of what the journey to being a doctor entails.

“Medical school is a difficult time,” he noted. “You have to learn this enormous body of knowledge, and [when] applied to the care of sick people, that is a substantial responsibility.”

The event is being sponsored by Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), the National Pre-Medical Honor Society. Members are pre-medical students who must maintain a GPA of 3.2 or higher.

AED is holding the colloquium for the second year in a row at George Mason, in large measure, it said, because of the high percentage of its members who apply to Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Medicine.

“We wanted to bring VCU residents and medical students to meet our members and provide them with advice that they wouldn’t be able to obtain from faculty advisers or school representatives,” said Benefsha Mohammad, a senior biology major and president of AED.

“What’s more important about this . . . is that the members don’t just hear of the glory of being a doctor. They hear the . . . negative aspects as well.”

Mohammad cited several speakers from 2009’s colloquium, among them a doctor from Inova Fairfax Hospital who spoke candidly about the long hours, pressure and stress that are inherent in the profession.

“Another speaker, a medical student from VCU, spoke of the pain and hurt involved in being rejected by medical schools,” Mohammad recalled. “His reason for sharing this with the students was to demonstrate the kind of determination that this career choice requires.

“This is why [we] hold this [colloquium]. We want our students to understand the harsh yet fascinating realities of medicine.”

Bashian had plenty of praise to offer.

“The American public needs to see a specific example of a disciplined group of students who want to do something important with their lives for society,” he said.

“They need to see that college is not just a place for some of the more unfortunate things you read about.”