The Student Doctor Network, published by 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization the Health Professional Student Association (HPSA), marks its 25th anniversary on December 1, 2024. Throughout 2024, SDN will celebrate the achievements of the thousands of current and former students who have used SDN resources to help guide them on their path to a healthcare career.

“For 25 years, students have relied on the peer support, expert advice, and tools provided by the Student Doctor Network,” said HPSA Executive Director, Laura Turner. “Our nonprofit structure allows our site to provide resources to students regardless of their ability to pay. This would not be possible without the dedication of our volunteer team, sponsors, and donor members.”

“Over the years, websites have come and gone. Healthcare admissions have adapted to new technologies and challenges,” said longtime moderator GoSpursGo. “SDN is unique in that we have stood the test of time and continue to help students. Many of our moderators, including me, came to SDN as students and now are practicing physicians and other healthcare professionals. We stay because we value the community that SDN has created. We want to continue to give back and to help the students who will make up the healthcare workforce of the future.”

25th Anniversary Celebration

During this silver anniversary celebration, SDN will have special tie-ins, gifts for donor members, and events to highlight what has made this site so special to so many over the last 25 years.

A new initiative to celebrate its 25th anniversary will be announced on September 3, 2024.

25 Years of the Student Doctor Network

On December 1, 1999, the Student Doctor Network (SDN) appeared on the internet: a grass-roots, donor-supported service providing free advising resources, tools, and peer support forums to those who would not otherwise have access to such services.

SDN is the original site that brought together doctors and students from across the healthcare spectrum. The delivery of healthcare does not exist in silos – doctors work together to make patients better. We believe that students become better doctors when they begin their educational journey together. Every doctor is important to their patient’s well-being, and it’s important to recognize the team approach early.

Physician co-founder and volunteer director, Lee Burnett, summarizes our vision,  “We founded the site to provide free, independent, and unbiased information to students. When SDN was created, there was no such thing as social media – no Facebook, no Twitter. Even MySpace was years away. Applying to schools, residencies, or fellowships was essentially a solo effort and you simply hoped for the best. Not all colleges offer pre-health advisors, and even when they did, they were limited in their ability to gather and share information. SDN was created to fill that need.”

An early version of SDN (image courtesy of The Internet Archive)

As the name implies, the Student Doctor Network started life as a network of sites produced by different constituencies. Over the years, these sites and others were integrated under the SDN banner with the support of our dedicated members, volunteers, and staff. Over the years, SDN expanded its vision to include helping students attain doctoral careers in fields outside of medicine, and students have used SDN to become dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, physical therapists, podiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, audiologists, and veterinarians. Additional sites have joined the SDN family, and all offer the same vision to provide free and unbiased information.

Sites that made up the original Student Doctor Network include:

  • Interactive Medical Student Lounge
  • The BIG Guide to Med School

Other sites added over the years to the Student Doctor Network include:

  • MedSchoolReady
  • MD Applicants
  • DDS Applicants
  • Scutwork
  • StudySchedule

The Student Doctor Network is published by the Health Professional Student Association (HPSA), a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization. HPSA was formed as the Coastal Research Group in 1983 by family medicine physicians seeking to increase access to healthcare.

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