Centenary, Willis-Knighton announce new summer medical scholars program

SHREVEPORT – Centenary College and Shreveport-Bossier City’s Willis-Knighton Health System are launching a new summer program pairing Centenary pre-med students with Willis-Knighton doctors for five weeks of job-shadowing and mentoring opportunities. The Summer Medical Scholars program will be formally inaugurated at a signing ceremony in Hamilton Hall on the Centenary campus on Tuesday, May 10, at 10:30 a.m.

Ten Centenary students, all science majors who have expressed an interest in medical school, will shadow Willis-Knighton doctors from May 30 through July 1. Entrance into the program was competitive. Students will have the opportunity to observe and learn from doctors specializing in family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, surgery/robotic surgery, and transplant medicine, among other specialties.

“This program will give our students experiences that will enhance their medical school applications,” said Dr. Scott Chirhart, professor of biology and pre-med advisor at Centenary. “The shadowing/clinical component is something that we are not able to provide in the classroom, but it is critical to future success.”

The Summer Medical Scholars program is supported by a grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents through the STEM Collective for Innovative Louisiana Stakeholders (SCILS), a group of partners across North Louisiana focused on meeting the critical need for science, technology, engineering, and math learning and job skills in our region.

Dr. Joseph Bocchini, director of Willis-Knighton Children’s Health Services and chief academic officer for Willis-Knighton’s Graduate Medical Education, agreed, noting Willis-Knighton has a long tradition of offering educational opportunities to students who are interested in medicine as a career.

“We are pleased to partner with Centenary College in this novel Medical Scholars Program,” said Bocchini. “This program is unique, in that it provides students with the experience they require to develop the clinical skills they need to become successful physicians. This type of experience is critical to the development of the physician candidate.”

Bocchini noted the program will give students a realistic understanding of how medicine is practiced and how physicians, nurses, technicians, laboratorians and support personnel work together to care for the medical and surgical needs of children and adults.

Centenary sophomore Aiden Peterkin is participating in the inaugural Medical Scholars program.

“When I heard that Centenary was planning the Medical Scholars Program for this summer, I was very eager to apply,” said Peterkin. “I have dreams of becoming a hematologist to help serve fellow members of the bleeding disorder community. I look forward to seeing many different specialties of the medical field and learning how all the parts of the system interact together. This program will help me learn more and gain experience in my future career path.”


About Willis-Knighton

Willis-Knighton Health System is a not-for-profit community healthcare organization headquartered in Shreveport, Louisiana. It includes four acute care hospitals, a rehabilitation institute, a senior living residential community, as well as medical clinics, outpatient services and wellness centers throughout the Shreveport/Bossier City metropolitan area. With more than 7,200 employees, it is the region’s largest nongovernmental employer. Through its unique tithe the bottom line philanthropy, the health system donates a minimum of 10% of its profits annually to support community and humanitarian projects.


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