University of Pittsburgh

Student Profiles

Matthew Kesinger, Class of 2015


BACKGROUND: University of Dallas, Non-traditional student

The experience I have had at Pitt is nothing short of remarkable. You may have heard it on the interview trail: the difference between a good medical school and great one. The difference is not education or clinical experience because the majority of schools offer similar experiences; the difference is that a great medical school supports its students in making their ideas become realties. It encourages them, through ideology and resources, to become physician leaders. But in the last 18 months since coming here, I have accomplished more than I could imagine.

It started out by seeing a way to improve health for the homeless and uninsured populations in the community. I saw that most free clinics did not have STD testing ability. They had to refer their patients to the County Health Department STD-clinic which is in a non-central location and difficult to get to by public transportation. Teaming up with another Pitt Med student, we approached the County Health Department about creating an initiative. I am sure it helped that many of the Health Department officials are also doctors here at Pitt Med. And this month we are putting testing kits in the first free clinic and will expand to seven more this summer. The other medical student has made this work into his Scholarly Project.


Working with clinics and other human service organizations in Pittsburgh helped me understand some of the barriers to good care and accessing services. So a group of 8 students from the medical school and the School of Public Health created a non-profit organization that works to link service organizations and increase collaboration between them with new technology. In January the non-profit was awarded its first funding.


The medical students and the mentors I work with are some of the most amazing people I have ever known. From this same group of students that created the non-profit came the idea for a new course that pairs medical students with a chronically ill patient for a four-year longitudinal experience. The medical students will also be paired with students from nursing and social work to make a “medical team” for their patient.


We proposed the idea to the Pitt administration and it was accepted. The course will be piloted in August for a fraction of the 2017 class and then will go into full effect in 2018.


Finally, I was able to spend my summer in South America working on the implementation of a new trauma protocol at a small hospital. The data from this work has shown a huge jump in positive outcomes and I will be presenting the result at the International Surgical Week in Helsinki this August.


As I look back, I am amazed at what has been possible since becoming a medical student. And all of this has been supported by the dedicated and experienced faculty here at the University.


Our Mission

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Mission Statement

The mission of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is to improve the health and well-being of individuals and populations through cutting-edge biomedical research, innovative educational programs in medicine and biomedical science, and leadership in academic medicine.