Bassett program “represents the highest ideals and best practices of the physician that I one day hope to be”


Cooperstown, NY – Bassett Medical Center announced today that it is welcoming the 10 students comprising the Columbia-Bassett Medical School Program Class of 2025. The students have completed their 18 months of pre-clinical training on Columbia’s New York City campus and will now be based at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown for the clinical component of their education.

Columbia’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) has partnered with Bassett since 1947 to give students a unique clinical education. Columbia and Bassett expanded this experience by establishing the Columbia-Bassett Medical School Program, which welcomed its first class of 10 VP&S students in 2012.

Dr. Tommy Ibrahim, President & CEO of Bassett Healthcare Network, said: “We are excited to welcome the exceptional students of the Columbia-Bassett Program Class of 2025. They will help create the future of healthcare. We are proud that Bassett, a leader in rural health, is where they will gain invaluable clinical experience. I hope you will take a moment to learn about each of them and welcome them to our community.”


The Columbia-Bassett Medical School Program is unique in its design and consistently attracts some of the best medical students from around the country. The first year and a half of the Columbia-Bassett curriculum takes place in New York City in pre-clinical studies. The second phase, two and a half years, is based in Cooperstown, N.Y. Students’ clinical experiences at Bassett’s Cooperstown campus consist of a required one-year experience followed by a year and a half of electives and pursuit of an area of concentration utilizing the full array of opportunities at both campuses.

“The students in the Columbia-Bassett Program benefit immensely from the special experience of learning about health delivery in an integrated, rural hospital network,” said Katrina Armstrong, MD, Dean of the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. “The clinical education they receive in the Columbia-Bassett Program not only enriches their medical school experience, it will benefit these doctors and their patients through the entirety of their careers.”

“Columbia-Bassett students experience health education in the best of two worlds – New York City’s Presbyterian Hospital and Cooperstown’s Bassett Medical Center. The contrasts of settings and patient populations merge in the single mission of learning to help people in their pursuit of health,” said Dr. Henry Weil, Senior Vice President, Chief Clinical & Academic Officer of Bassett Healthcare Network and Chief Operating Officer of Bassett Medical Center.

Meet the Columbia-Bassett Class of 2025


Thomas Benz

Hometown: Cicero, NY

The connections with my classmates, teachers, and mentors have been so deeply meaningful to me. We are learning together and cultivating community. I feel excited and grateful to be entering the clinical world, and I look forward to the learning and communities to come.


Kishan Bhatt

Hometown: Edison, NJ

I hope to learn about advancing health equity through Bassett’s systems leadership curriculum and through the longitudinal clinical experience.


Lindsey Gorsch   

Hometown: Charlottesville, VA

Over the summer, I joined two research projects – one exploring the interface of diabetes and pregnancy, the other examining transplant outcomes in pediatric populations. I am so excited for the next chapter of medical school and to move up to Cooperstown!


Matthew Johnson 

Hometown: Medfield, MA

My brother was, and continues to be, my inspiration to pursue medicine. He has a condition called spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and growing up I got to see the incredible impact his healthcare providers had on his life which motivated me to choose this career path.


Benjamin Lynch  

Hometown: Lyme, NH

I witnessed how research helps direct effective patient care, how technical skill and thorough preparation can help heal many children with debilitating neurosurgical conditions, and how physicians support families through terminal prognoses. I’m looking forward to refining my clinical thinking and spending more time with patients in Cooperstown. See you soon!


Tiana Saak 

Hometown: Grundy Center, IA

Coming from a rural area myself, I am especially interested in learning how to improve the ways healthcare works logistically when care of a patient is spread over a large geographic area. I am excited to join the Bassett program because I know I will be a part of a supportive, passionate community in a small town that will feel like home.


Sidney Saint-Hilaire 

Hometown: Elmont, New York

In college, I engaged in a range of research topics—including the social dynamics of activism, perceptions of social mobility, and community-partnered, hospital-based Violence Intervention Programs.


Carina Sirochinsky

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

My time working in labs and personal experiences led me to realize that I wanted to be on the patient-facing side of implementing novel therapies and treatments. I am very excited to be part of the Columbia-Bassett community!


Dean Strup   

Hometown: Dublin, Ohio

I am incredibly excited to be able to pursue my goal of becoming a physician through the Bassett program. In my initial application, I stated that the program, “represents the highest ideals and best practices of the physician that I one day hope to be.” Upon overcoming my disbelief in being admitted, I realized that I have been presented with the opportunity of a lifetime to make real change in both the practice of healthcare and in the lives of my patients.


Emma Weatherford

Hometown: Flower Mound, Texas

I am interested in studying the structure of the healthcare system and exploring how it can be reimagined to better meet the needs of people for whom it was not designed, such as people with intellectual or physical disabilities. I was drawn to the Columbia-Bassett program by the opportunity to learn more about systems and am excited to continue this education.



About Bassett Healthcare Network

Bassett Healthcare Network is an integrated health system that provides care and services to people living in a 5,600 square mile region in upstate New York. The organization includes five corporately affiliated hospitals, over two dozen community-based health centers, more than 20 school-based health centers, two skilled nursing facilities, and other health partners in related fields. To learn more about services available throughout the Bassett Healthcare Network, visit Follow Bassett on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn. Bassett Healthcare Network is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


About Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons


Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) was founded in 1767. It is the graduate Medical School of Columbia University. VP&S was the first Medical School in the United States to award the Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree to its graduates. Among the other Medical Universities in the United States, Columbia University ranked fourth for medical research by the U.S. News & World Report. For more than 250 years, VP&S has pioneered medical education, research, and patient care for patients from around the world.










If you’re not on our mailing list or receiving Member Mentions, please click here to sign up.