First Generation Student Spotlight May 17, 2022
Jay Feldstein, DO '81
The Office of Diversity and Community Relations celebrates the unique accomplishments
of first generation students. This series features PCOM faculty, staff and students
who were the first to attend college, graduate school or medical school within their
families. We believe spotlighting our first generation community members will encourage
our students to use their talents to shine during professional school and as future
Jay S. Feldstein, DO '81
About Dr. Feldstein
Jay S. Feldstein, DO '81, serves as the eighth president and chief executive officer of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM). Dr. Feldstein earned his bachelor's degree from Penn State University and his doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from PCOM. He completed his residency in emergency medicine at the Medical Center
of Delaware and his internship at John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Stratford,
New Jersey. He is board certified in emergency medicine and occupational medicine
and is a fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine.
How do you define first gen?
No physicians in immediate family including parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings.
Tell us about your journey to healthcare.
I am one of those kids who always wanted to be a doctor. I was a medical explorer
in high school, volunteered at my local hospital, pre med in college and volunteered
at the hospital in State College. My grades suffered a little in my last year as I
completed my BA in three years because I started in summer session. I took a year
off and worked full time as an orderly and autopsy assistant at Mountainview Hospital
in State College and then continued working part time while I took graduate courses
in biochemistry and physiology (to enhance my science GPA) as well as studied for
the MCATS. I was a late acceptance to PCOM in August of 1977.
Tell us about your experiences in medical/graduate school.
I loved every aspect of medical school especially the third and fourth years. I suffered
from impostor syndrome early in my first year, with intermittent bouts throughout
the first two years.
What was it like as a first-gen college and medical/health profession student graduate?
I lived at home and my parents did not understand my time management decisions when
I chose not to go to certain classes in medical school.
Many first-gen students feel a notion of enormous pressure to succeed. How did you
Once you realize the pressure is really internal it becomes easier to deal with. I
was rejected my first time around applying to PCOM so that helped put things in perspective.
What are some of the external pressures that impacted your journey?
Many of my college peers had been accepted to medical school in their first application
cycle, so that made me feel like a failure at times.
Do you have any advice for medical/graduate students, particularly first-gen students?
My advice is to understand how you learn; whether you are visual, auditory, tactile,
experiential or a combination and maximize those styles. Couple that with time management
and always stay curious and never stop learning because medicine is always changing.
Seek out advice from upperclassmen and form a solid peer group for support and friendship.
I think the impostor syndrome affects all of us at some point in time to varying degrees.
What have been your most important, proudest and/or favorite experiences in your career?
Coming back to serve as president of my alma mater at PCOM is the highlight of my
professional career. My professional life has come full circle and helping form the
physicians and health care professionals of the future is why I get up in the morning.
I also really enjoyed teaching medical students and residents as an attending ER physician.
Are there any fun facts we should know about you?
I did stand up comedy, love movies, earned a varsity letter at Penn State for fencing
and collect Marilyn Monroe memorabilia.
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