The fourth annual Association for Academic Psychiatry medical student essay contest was a tremendous success in 2008. As in each previous year, the On Becoming a Doctor contest was based upon the theme “The Art of Communication in Psychiatry: Connecting with the Patient.” Students are asked to submit an essay of no more than 2,000 words that exemplifies an experience in which there was an important connection to a patient. Emphasis is placed on uniqueness, literary quality, and appropriateness to the theme. It is hoped that this thought-provoking exercise will stimulate greater interest in academia among medical students with an early commitment to psychiatry.
Sixteen students from across North America submitted their work to be judged. A select panel from within the Association reviewed each composition in blinded fashion and provided feedback on various aspects of the work. This critique was translated into a numerical score, leading to determination of the winning essay and two runners-up.
The 2008 AAP On Becoming a Doctor Essay Contest winner is Sara Weekly, a student at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Tex. Sara presented her essay, “Facing Wolves,” at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Academic Psychiatry in Santa Fe, N.Mex., on September 26, 2008. Her essay is included in this issue of Academic Psychiatry in its entirety.