Health Professions

Jim Russo, PhD                                                        Office Science 336
Health Professions Advisor                                  Voice: (509) 527-5228

Associate Prof and Director, Program in                        
Biochemistry, Biophysics, & Molecular Biology (BBMB)
Whitman College
Walla Walla, WA 99362 USA


 Monday  3:00 - 5:00 pm;  Wednesday 11:00 am - noon



Careers in the health professions demand more than just achievement in the life sciences. Maturity, compassion, leadership, ethical practice, integrity, communication skills, and knowledge of health care policy are essential for the health-care professional. Since the health professions seek individuals with a broad liberal arts and science education in conjunction with a rigorous major area of study in the natural sciences, arts, humanities, or social sciences, Whitman College does not offer “pre-med,” “pre-vet,” or any “pre-health” major. Although many students choose one of our life science majors — biology or biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular biology (BBMB) — more than one-third of our successful matriculants in medical or other health profession schools enter with majors beyond the life sciences, including Anthropology, Art, Chemistry, Classics, English, Foreign Languages (Spanish, French, Japanese), Geology, History, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Religion, and Theatre.

Whitman’s liberal arts curriculum has prepared many of our graduates for successful careers as physicians, nurses, physician assistants, dentists, veterinarians, physical therapists, pharmacists, and public health specialists. Clinicians must have the ability to communicate by speaking and writing effectively, to gather and analyze data, to continually update knowledge and skills, to work with a team of professionals, and to apply new information to the solution of scientific, clinical, and public health problems — all skills that can be acquired from a liberal arts education.  Whitman students have acquired an excellent reputation among the professional schools they have attended. We like to attribute this to our strong undergraduate curriculum that provides students with both the breadth and depth necessary to excel. In addition to foundation courses in biochemistry, genetics, microbiology, nutrition, or physiology, Whitman offers seminar courses in areas such as medical anthropology, psychology of aging, biomedical ethics, biostatistics, and global infectious diseases.

Where do I start?

If you are interested in a career in the health professions, start by attending the health professions orientation meeting during the opening week of your first semester at Whitman.  You’ll have a chance to sign up with our Health Professions email list in order to be kept informed about issues surrounding the health professions, events on campus,  and information about internships and applications.   Next, make an appointment with Jim Russo, the Health Professions Advisor on campus, to discuss your career plans, courses and majors, internships and health care experiences, and application timelines.   Finally, check in with the Health Professions advisor each semester to assess your progress.

For Alumni

If you have already graduated from Whitman and need to take prerequisite courses since you are changing career paths OR are looking to improve your academic record in the sciences, there are many post-baccalaureate programs available to assist students who already have earned a B.A. or B.S. degree.

See the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Programs site at


Health-related student groups on campus

Pre-health Society  
2014-15 co-presidents
Sarah Debs
Heather Lovelace

2014-15 president
Anu Lingappa



Announcements and Upcoming Events on campus: Click here

What are the Health Professions? Click here

How do I become a strong applicant?  Click here

Detailed information about recommended courses, health care experiences, application processes, and FAQs for select  professions are given below:





Physician Assistant

Public Health

Veterinary Medicine