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01/05/94

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At Stanford's Wilbur Hall, there's a doctor in the house

STANFORD -- At around 6 in the morning, Stanford University cardiologist Eddie Atwood leaves his campus home for a full day of hospital rounds, clinical duties and sessions with medical students.

The fact that "home" is a Stanford dormitory with 90 rambunctious freshmen doesn't seem to faze the 44-year old physician in the least.

"I love it - they really inject you with a bit of youth serum," said Atwood, who is in his first year as resident fellow at Junipero House in Wilbur Hall.

"It's a great chance for me to see what students are like when they're one step below medical school - what they're up to and how they think. I learn more from them than they learn from me."

At Stanford, resident fellows (RFs) are university faculty, or occasionally senior staff members, who live rent free in the undergraduate residences while serving as mentors to students.

Although most RFs hold advanced degrees, having a medical doctor in the house has been a rare treat for Junipero residents - particularly those considering medical careers.

"He's really interested in exposing students to the field," said resident assistant Naseem Zojwalla, a senior majoring in biological sciences.

"I think some of the freshmen were intimidated by him at first, but now they really like him a lot. He's very friendly and people really like the efforts he's made to get to know them."

Atwood had thought about serving as a resident fellow ever since his undergraduate days at Harvard University, where house masters oversaw dormitories of up to 450 students.

Fortunately, he said, the small size of Junipero has helped him get to know Stanford students on a much more personal level.

Besides eating dinner in the dorm cafeteria, Atwood attends weekly house government and resident assistant meetings, and does his best to catch student plays and athletic events.

On Friday evenings, students crowd into his small cottage to watch movies on his videocassette recorder.

His 5-year-old son, William, who visits regularly, loves to be part of the action.

"He likes to show students his toys. He loves the attention," Atwood said. "Suddenly, he's inherited 90 brothers and sisters who like to play."

Atwood has tried to involve the freshmen in his medical practice by taking them with him on his rounds at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Palo Alto, and by inviting other health care professionals over for meals in the dorm.

Next quarter, he hopes to take some freshmen along on his monthly visits to the Arbor Free Clinic in East Palo Alto, and he may even arrange for interested students to witness open-heart surgeries.

He's also helping one of his resident assistants go through the medical school application process herself, writing her a recommendation and giving her a practice interview.

"I sometimes sit and talk with students about path- choosing," Atwood said. "It may have to do with academics, or careers, or people choosing to consume a little too much alcohol."

He does not, however, make house calls. "There's no lights out at 11 or bed checks or health checks," he laughs. "The students loosened up when they discovered that I eat all the bad things they eat. I can enjoy a french fry as much as they can."

Stanford's Office of Residential Education is now seeking candidates to fill vacancies in the resident fellow program for the 1994-95 academic year.

Interested faculty and staff should call Kim Ross at Residential Education (725-2800) for more information and to arrange a meeting with Ann Porteus, acting co-director of residential education.

Applications for RF positions are due Friday, Jan. 14, and interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis. Appointments will be made in March.

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