First Gen Medical Student | PCOM President Jay Feldstein, DO '81
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First Generation Student Spotlight 
Jay Feldstein, DO '81

May 17, 2022

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 healthcare providers.

Jay S. Feldstein, DO '81

PCOM President and CEO Jay Feldstein, DO '81, was the first in his family to attend med schoolAbout 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 combat it?

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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