Dr. Paul Toote: Helping and Healing Go Hand-in-Hand at National Premed Consulting
Most people become doctors because they want to help people. Dr. Paul Toote, an Emergency Medicine Physician and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, not only became a doctor to do just that, but he became CEO and President of National Premed Consulting to help others realize their dreams of becoming doctors too.
In 2001 as a resident doctor, he noticed the medical students he was working with were suffering through the process of applying to medical school. As a recent graduate, he knew the struggles and challenges of the application process having experienced difficulties of his own.
“I got frustrated after finishing my first degree—it looked like medicine was so daunting. I didn’t know how to find my way, but eventually through research and diligence I was able to figure out what I needed to do to gain entrance to medical school,” he says.
However, despite being accepted to medical school, his financial circumstances almost stopped his dream short.
“I wasn’t financially able to attend. I recall being called to the admissions office with the other incoming students. We all lined up and there were two lines, one for people who could pay and one for people who couldn’t. I was in the special line—I thought I was special!” he laughs.
He soon realized once he met with the financial advisor that his coveted spot might be up for grabs.
“They showed me that there were three piles: one for those applicants who could pay, one for those who couldn’t, and one for those students who didn’t get accepted but would take my spot if I couldn’t pay. They gave me an ultimatum that if I couldn’t meet the necessary requirements I couldn’t go on. It was fair but I was devastated,” he says.
He was given less than a week to come up with the funds and did everything including borrowing money from friends and family. It worked out but he admits it was a difficult time.
“I thought I was on the brink of fulfilling my dream only to come to another point where I could have easily given up. But I persevered and made it through, and that moment in time when faced with the possibility of everything that I had worked so hard for fading away, I didn’t waver but with dogged determination I stayed the course – that experience is what give me the motivation for what I do today!”
He’d wanted to be a doctor nearly his entire life. As a young boy, Dr. Toote became fascinated with science and medicine when his brother showed him an onion skin cell under a microscope. From that moment on, he knew he wanted to learn more about biology and do something in the field of medicine. But like most students, he believed that good grades and a high MCAT scores were all it took to get into medical school.
“You cannot go into this just because you have good grades. Ninety-five to ninety-eight percent (95%-98%) of all individuals who apply to medical school have stellar grades and good MCAT scores. If that is what you’re banking on then you’re just now like everybody else. The average GPA was 3.8 at some schools. If you get a 3.5 you are considered on the low end. You may not even get an interview,” he says.
“With approximately 42,000 applicants last year to allopathic medical schools, yet only 19,000 seats available, it’s imperative,” he says, “to stand out among the pack.”
He wants prospective medical students to know that if they are going to invest their time, energy and money into their studies to achieve the good grades and high MCAT scores, they need to expend at least that same amount of energy into the application process. “After all, many premed students would stay up all night to study for a Chemistry exam,” he says, “so why not spend that same energy when applying to medical school?”
That’s where National Premed Consulting comes in. Led by Dr. Toote and his team, the premed consulting firm possesses first-hand knowledge and experience in the medical school application process with direct access to medical school personnel.
“I don’t want to just give individuals information that is pulled out of thin air. This is concrete information. We’ve determined three common mistakes premed students make when applying to medical school and a lot of these answers came from speaking directly to medical school personnel,” he says.
These answers, along with a number of free medical school application resources can be found on the National Premed Consulting website at www.nationalpremedconsulting.com. From YouTube videos and blog posts to podcasts, Dr. Toote encourages premed students throughout the entire process of becoming a doctor and the first step, he says, is getting the right information.
“A lot of information is erroneous. Also, from an economical standpoint a lot of the services offered in this field are too expensive for most students. It’s out of reach for people who really need it. A lot of other companies hire individuals who have not come through the vetting of the system like I have. I’ve been through the whole process and have firsthand information,” he says.
National Premed Consulting offers a variety of services to assist the aspiring doctor whether they are high school students seeking direction along the way or premed students who have had unsuccessful applications in the past. Whatever the need, Dr. Toote and his team can be there every step of the way.
“The benefit is when we work with you as early as possible. It’s our formula for success—the more and longer we can work with you the greater the chance you will get in,” he says.
He also adds that the person who needs National Premed Consulting’s help the most is usually the person who looks good on paper and needs to stand out from the other applicants, or the student who failed to get accepted to medical school the first time.
“The majority of people believe in the myth that it’s just grades and MCAT scores. What is important is the individual and that’s a big part of our focus. We help craft the individual when we present them to the medical school,” he says.
The benefit of utilizing National Premed Consulting’s services goes beyond just gaining acceptance to medical school. Dr. Toote continues to practice medicine as an Emergency Medicine Physician in leading hospitals and medical centers across Texas and is intent on helping the healthcare system obtain great doctors to counter the nation’s shortage.
“You have a lot of good individuals who have the potential to become good doctors who are not able to do that because of the numbers; it’s not because they’re not qualified, it’s because there aren’t enough seats. That impacts our healthcare delivery system if we have potentially good doctors that can’t enter the profession,” he says. “And we’re in such dire need of good doctors!”
The strict requirements are a necessary and an extremely important part of the process, he adds, but premed students that have done their due diligence throughout school need to follow the same due diligence when beginning the application process, or risk not getting in and denying the profession of skilled, knowledgeable and compassionate doctors.
“I look at National Premed Consulting as an opportunity to impact healthcare from an individual standpoint, a community standpoint, and a national standpoint. As a doctor, my eureka moment came when I decided to broaden my scope and reach, and make it an official business,” he says.
As an Osteopathic Doctor, a field of medicine focused on a hands-on approach with patients where touch and compassion are a part of the healing process, Dr. Toote incorporates those same techniques in his consulting.
“I don’t want anybody to go through what I did—to know that everything you worked for may slip away and you may have to change your path and abandon your dream. I understand the hurt, shame and discouragement that go along with that and I don’t want anyone to go through it. That is my primary goal to give individuals who have worked hard and need that extra edge, a greater chance to get in.”
Helping medical school applicants is not the only way Dr. Toote is involved in helping others. Just this past November, Dr. Toote launched a new iPhone App called Health Garden – Diabetic Edition by EMPS, for individuals with diabetes. Its purpose is to help track an individual’s blood sugar, medicines, blood pressure and more.
It all comes down to his innate desire to help others. Whether in the emergency room or the conference room, Dr. Toote is fulfilling his life’s dream to help others fulfill theirs.
“I’m an encourager. I have the gift and ability to encourage and bring out the best in others and that’s what lends itself so nicely to what I am doing at National Premed Consulting. I encourage you, motivate you, and teach you how to achieve your goals, and show you how to get it done,” he says.
And while it may be difficult to track National Premed Consulting’s specific numbers for success, given the fact that he has helped people both formally and informally, Dr. Toote sees it every day in the joy of his clients as he helps them in their pursuit of becoming a physician.
“It is challenging but the rewards outweigh the challenges. Whenever I can help someone maneuver the medical school jungle, it outweighs the struggle. It is truly a gift to help up-and-coming physicians.”
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“I learned some nice and knowledgeable things about Medical School. Thanks for those nice words of wisdom.” A. C.