Mentoring and Counseling


Counseling Services Offered at Howard University and the Office of Medical Education

The College of Medicine has expanded the mental health and personal counseling services available to medical students.  Personal counseling is defined as concerns that are not primarily of a psychiatric or psychological nature, excluding academic and financial concerns.  The College of Medicine offers the following mental health and personal counseling service options:

  • University Counseling Services -- Mental health and personal counseling services are offered through the University Counseling Center, located at the corner of Sixth and Bryant Streets, Room G7.   These services are designed to deliver a full range of psychological services, individual and group counseling/treatment and psychotherapy, psycho-diagnostic assessment, crisis intervention and consultation, as well as alcohol/drug prevention/education for the entire university community in a confidential manner.                               
  • Pastoral Care -- As previously announced, an ordained minister is available to medical students to discuss a myriad of personal issues, including but not limited to relationships, family, life balance, spiritual, and socialization.  Pastoral care and support is non-denominational and is open to students from all faith traditions, as well as those who claim no faith tradition.  All counseling will be strictly confidential.
  • Access to External Psychiatrists and Clinical Psychologists -- Beginning April 2011, medical students will have the option of seeking services from psychiatrists and psychologists on a list of external, community-based providers identified by the Dean’s Office.  The list of providers can be obtained by contacting the Office of Medical Education (OME).

The OME will ensure that the needs of the medical students are met through one of the aforementioned options.  This process will be overseen by the staff in OME.   If you have questions or concerns regarding these mental health and personal counseling options, feel free to contact Dr. Pamela Carter-Nolan ( or Ms. Lea ( or by calling 806-6282.

Office of Medical Education (OME)

OME offers an academic counseling service that includes assistance with learning skills, assignment to tutors, and/or referral to other University services.  Students who would like to discuss their academic performance may visit Dr. Pamela Carter-Nolan or Ms. Kelda Lea in Room 110 of the Seeley G. Mudd Building or may telephone them at 806 6282.

  1. Learning Skills Program.  During freshman orientation week and periodically throughout the academic year, students participate in seminars to strengthen study and learning skills, including time management and organization techniques.  Workshops are also presented to assist students in understanding and memorizing information, using information to answer questions and solve problems, taking lecture notes, using group study effectively, taking multiple choice examinations, and managing time and stress in the medical school curriculum.
  2. Academic Counseling Program. Immediately after examinations, OME identifies and contacts freshman and sophomore students in academic difficulty.  Students may receive academic counseling, assistance with learning skills, tutorial support, or referral to other University services.
  3. Tutorial Program.  Medical student tutors may be assigned to students to assist them in handling course content.  Tutors are selected on the basis of scholastic standing, personality, and interest.
  4. Summer Directed Study Program.  Freshman and sophomore students may remove one or two course deficiencies by attending the four  to six week tutorial programs conducted by medical student tutors under faculty supervision, and passing re examinations administered by the faculty at the end of the program.
  5. Exam Preparation Program.  Aid in preparation for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 is provided through faculty review sessions coordinated by OME and through medical student tutor review sessions.  Exam preparation sessions sponsored by OME are available upon request for course examinations and for the USMLE Step 2.
  6. Academic Support for Students with Disabilities.  In accordance with federal legislation regarding individuals with disabilities, the OME provides academic support services upon request. 


    • Academic Counseling

Students having academic difficulty may utilize the services of the Office of Medical Education, the faculty advisors, the University Counseling Service, as well as department chairmen and faculty and the Office of the Dean.  For academic policies, please refer to the booklet University and College of Medicine Policies Affecting Students and the College of Medicine Schedules booklet.  These booklets are given to each student at registration.

    • The Howard University Counseling Service

The University Counseling Service provides individual and group counseling free of charge to all university students.  Students may walk in or make appointments.  The hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday.  Services offered include educational and career counseling, personal counseling, and academic skills work.  Personal counseling and therapy are provided by professional staff members, who have advanced degrees in psychology or education, and by graduate students under close supervision.  The Counseling Service is located in the C. B. Powell Building, Sixth and Bryant Streets.  The number is 806 6870/73.  Confidentiality is strictly maintained.                

    • Access to External Psychiatrists and Clinical Psychologists

Medical students will have the option of seeking services from psychiatrists and psychologists on a list of external, community-based providers identified by the Dean’s Office.  The list of providers can be obtained by contacting the Office of Medical Education (OME).

    • Pastoral Counseling

Students with concerns of a personal nature may seek guidance and counseling from one of the denominational chaplains who serve the University.  For further information or an appointment, contact the Office of the Dean of the Chapel at 806 7280/81.  Services are held at the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel on main campus most Sundays at 11:00 a.m.

Rev. Fay Acker from the University Chapel provides dedicated pastoral counseling for medical students.  Rev. Fay Acker is the Director of Spiritual Guidance and Pastoral Care at Rankin Chapel.  In that capacity, she serves the members of the Howard University community, including undergraduate and graduate students, students in the professional schools, as well as faculty and staff.  She is an ordained minister and a certified chaplain.  She has previously served as the Associate Dean of Rankin Chapel, as the Program Manager of the Spiritual and Ethical Dimensions of Leadership Initiative of Howard University, and as a hospice chaplain with the Visiting Nurse Association.  She has also served on the Spiritual Care Advisory Board of the Washington Hospital Center. 
 Her office hours for medical school students will be on Mondays from 1 to 5:30 pm (by appointment) and Wednesdays from 12:30 to 5:30 pm (by appointment
Students will be able to discuss a myriad of personal issues, including but not limited to relationships, family, life balance, spiritual, and socialization.  Rev. Acker’s pastoral care and support will be non-denominational and will be open to students from all faith traditions, as well as those who claim no faith tradition.  All counseling will be strictly confidential.  
Students should call 202-806-9537 to make an appointment with Rev. Acker.  This telephone number is a confidential line that Rev. Acker alone can access.  She will retrieve the message and return your call.  You may also e-mail her at  Dr. Acker will see students at the Carnegie Building on main campus.



What to do Now to Have the Career You’ve Always Wanted

Every Year
What you should be doing

  • Working as hard as you can to get the knowledge base you need and the best grades you can
  • Utilizing Careers in Medicine (CiM) website to crystallize your career /cim/


Winter Break Suggestion
Review Summer Opportunities Booklet and select several to apply for

  • Updating your resume/CV
  • Attending Career Night
  • Attending the Residency Fair
  • Meeting regularly with your advisor(s) and Mentor(s)
  • Get acquainted with the Student Affairs Council Members


Summer Break Suggestions
Preview next year booklist and see your peer advisor for loaners; buy what you want to own
Request a letter of recommendation (LoR) from your summer supervisor
Use break time for a clinical or research exposure experience (or a combination in an area of interest

Year 1
What you should be doing

  • White Coat Ceremony – getting contact info from your cloaker for possible mentoring
  • Meeting with your Freshman Faculty Advisor (FFA) within two weeks of assignment and at least monthly thereafter, and your Student Advisor within four weeks and at least once per semester
  • Selecting a Medicine & Society preceptor in an area of interest
  • Refining your time Management, organizational, and study skills
  • Join specialty interest groups in your areas of interest and attend meetings
  • Make an appointment to check in with your Student Affairs Program Coordinator to develop a four year strategy plan

Year 2
What you should be doing

  • Meeting early with your Freshman Faculty Advisor to see if you need more than an abbreviated USMLE review
  • Narrowing your area of interest using CiM and specialty interest groups
  • Reviewing and doing questions in prep for Step 1
  • Interviewing faculty in your proffered specialties to see what life is like


Winter Break Suggestion
Write down your prep plan for step1

  • Participating in service learning if you are doing well in school, especially in an area of interest.

Year 3
What you should be doing

  • Deciding which specialty and faculty you’ll request during the senior advisor match process
  • Do the CiM Indecision Scale if still undecided
  • Requesting a special schedule for Sr. yr. if you need one (consult SA or AA)
  • Reading on all service patients and doing questions nightly in prep for Step 2
  • Talking to OME about individualized Step 2 prep if you had trouble with Step 1 or need to boost your Step score
  • Finalizing your CV/resume and drafting your personal statement and unique characteristics for the MSPE
  • Meet with your Student Affairs Council (SAC) Advisor
  • Executing your Step 2 prep plan
  • Investing away electives (especially those with funding opportunities) and planning a challenging 4th year
  • Schedule your MSPE Exit Interview
  • Investigating residency programs websites and surfing FREIDA for info.
  • Registering for ERAS using your ERAS token
  • Attending all SA sponsored workshops

Year 4
What you should be doing

  • Preparing your ERAS application for spending by September 1 (even if not completed)
  • Registering for NRMP
  • Scheduling your mock interview
  • Registering for and taking Step 2 CK and CS (adhering to deadlines)
  • Meeting with your MSPE writer to review your Unique Characteristics
  • Creating a spreadsheet of important characteristics of residency programs in prep for interviewing
  • Discussing your interviews and Rank Order List (RoL) with your assigned SAC member
  • Meeting the NRMP RoL certification deadline
  • Enjoying Match Day, Honors and Oath and Commencement!


Howard University
College of Medicine
Office of Student Affairs
520 W Street, NW Suite 528
Washington, DC 20059

Walter P. Bland, MD
Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions
202.806.6394 –

Leiza O’Neil
Program Coordinator for MSPE, ERAS, Residency Application and Student Workshops
202.806.6690 –

Student Organizations Active in the College of Medicine

Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA)
American Medical Association – Medical Student Section (AMA-MSS)
American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
Anesthesiology and Critical Care Interest Society
Dermatology Society
Emergency Medicine Student Association (EMSA)
Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG)
Geriatric Society
HU Internal Medicine Society
HU Student Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology (HUSSOG)
HU Student Surgical Society (HUSSS)
HU Urology Interest Group
HUCM Christian Medical and Dental Society
HUCM Student Council
International Medicine Interest Group (IMIG)
Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA)
Inspirational Chorale
Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA)
Nutritional Medicine Interest Group
Ophthalmology Interest Group
Orthopedic Surgery Interest Society
Pathology Interest Society
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Interest Society
Pediatrics Interest Association (PIA)
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)
Psychiatry Interest Group
Radiology Interest Society
Student Interest Group in Neurology (SIGN)
Student National Medical Association (SNMA)
Student Research Interest Group
Student Run Free Clinic
Women in Medicine (WIM)
  Other Activities
   Cancer Center Prostate Screening – May
   Career Night II – April (speed dating your specialty)
   Match Preparedness and Personal statement Workshop – April
   GSA Credit and Entrepreneurship Workshop – April (School of Business)
   CMDA Coat Drive for the Homeless – November
   YMCA Youth Science Enrichment Program - December
   Halloween Harvest Festival 2010 – October
   Cancer Center Breast Cancer Walk – October