Captain Weiss

Stethoscopes for Students

By Miller School of Medicine

Stethoscopes for Students

By Miller School of Medicine
Captain Eric Michael Weiss, B.S. '12, M.D. '16, United States Air Force, reflects on his time at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and why he decided to take part in the tradition.

Please tell us about yourself?

I am a captain in the United States Air Force serving at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle. I practice as a General Medical Officer (GMO) in the Family Health Clinic at Eglin Hospital. Basically, I am a de facto family physician, despite only having completed a transitional internship year at San Antonio Military Medical Center. I am an attending physician already due to the military’s need for doctors, despite a lack of formal residency training. I plan on pursuing a pathology residency during this upcoming application cycle. I see active duty military members, their family members, retirees, and their family members.

Please tell us why you decided to give back to the Miller School through Stethoscopes for Students, particularly as a young alumnus. 

I decided to give back based on the following set of circumstances: I had the same stethoscope for 6 years (since I started medical school). At that time, I had to buy my own, and I remember thinking how incredibly expensive it was. I had no income, so that had to come out of my student loans. I loved that stethoscope, and it worked extremely well for me throughout medical school, my intern year, and the start of my GMO tour. However, it broke about a month ago, so I needed to buy a new one. Around the same time, I got an alumni email with goings on at UM Miller School of Medicine. One of the sections was about the Stethoscopes for Students initiative, and I thought to myself how lucky I am now that I can easily buy a top of the line stethoscope when I need it. But for first year medical students, it can be a huge burden like it was for me several years ago. Since I am getting paid well through the military, I decided that I have the financial ability to help the next incoming class as I would have liked to have been helped when I first started at UM Miller School of Medicine. That is why I made my donation.

What do you think the presentation of a stethoscope would have meant to you as a first-year student? 

As I have said, purchasing my own stethoscope in my first year of medical school was an extremely stressful endeavor. Am I buying the right one? How long will it last me? How much money should I spend on it? I would have preferred being provided a stethoscope by the school. Additionally, being a military officer, standardization is very important to me. Shouldn’t all medical students at the same school be given all the same tools to work with? I believe that this stethoscope program is a great thing the school has done.

If you could send a message to the student who receives your stethoscope, what would it be?

"Congratulations on all your accomplishments so far. You should be extremely proud of yourself for getting to this point. I am very happy for you. The most important lesson I remember from my first year at UM Miller School of Medicine was not in the anatomy lab or from reading a book. It was when one of the deans opened our doctoring course by giving us the origin of the term, “doctor.” It is derived from a Latin word that means “to teach.” If you hold on to one concept for the rest of your career, let it be that you are now part of a profession whose origins lie in teaching. While I am several hundred miles away, I hope this gift of a stethoscope can be a teaching moment for you from me that will last a lifetime. May it open up your ears to all the sounds the human body can make!"

Good luck, and remember, GO 'CANES!

Eric Michael Weiss, Captain, United States Air Force, Medical Corps
General Medical Officer, MD
96th Medical Operations Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base
UM Miller School of Medicine Class of 2016


If you would like to help welcome our next generation of physicians, the Medical Alumni Association (MAA) of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is again offering its “Stethoscopes for Students” initiative. Learn more