Dr. Cliff Goes to Washington!
'me, and eight med students'
Charter Class- NIH Clinical Research Training Program

    Yeah, so, I took a year off dental school. This is the first year of a program (CRTP) at the National Institutes of Health, designed for third/fourth-year medical and dental students.  Nine of us (eight med students, and me) came here to get some experience conducting research on real live human patients.  Patients come to NIH because there is nothing that can be done for them; this is where many new therapies are designed and tested.
    It's kind of a figure of speech, 'taking a year off'.  It's what medical and dental students say when they're dropping out of school.  They figure, a little unwinding and they'll jump right back in next year.  They never come back.  I joke about this all the time with my parents, so when I told them I was taking a year off, they just about died.  They kept askng me if I was OK, and stuff, until finally I realized-
they thought I was crashing out of dental school!  Once I convinced them otherwise, they were OK with my plans.
    I'm learning a lot during my year, and providing dental care to extremely compromised patients.  For example, I seated a crown in a patient who needed a blood transfusion every time she came to my clinic.  It is proving to be a rich experience, so I have no regrets about graduating a year late.
The picture above is the 'eight med students and me'.  They're an OK bunch of people.  They don't seem to annoy me nearly as much as the general populace, so they can't be so bad.  I'll have fond memories of my year in Washington (actually Bethesda MD), but I'm getting anxious to go back to UCLA in September.  I'll join the class of 1999.  Come June 1999, I'll be called 'doctor' somewhere besides my own website!

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