Prospective Doctor (from MedSchoolCoach)
Prospective Doctor (from MedSchoolCoach)
Erkeda DeRouen MD
Physicians with admission committee experience share tips, strategies, and experiences to help premed students succeed at becoming a doctor. Guest speakers provide insight into applying to medical school, selecting a medical specialty, and applying for residency. The Prospective Doctor podcast is for anyone considering, or on the path to, practicing medicine!
Switching Specialties in Medicine and Advice for Residency Applications with Dr. Jade Anderson
Dr. Jade Anderson discusses transitioning from orthopedic surgery to radiology, and shares advice for residency applications and interviews. Dr. Anderson is a radiology resident at Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut.   [01:14] Why Switch from Orthopedic Surgery to Radiology? [05:03] Applying for a Position in Radiology [07:14] Switching Specialties in Medicine [09:44] Transition from Orthopedic Surgery to Radiology [12:25] How to Be a Standout Applicant [15:17] Applying for a Residency During COVID-19 [21:13] Tips for Nailing Your Residency Interview [22:52] Dr. Anderson’s Advice to Pre-Meds and Medical Students   Erkeda DeRouen chats with Dr. Jade Anderson, a radiology resident at Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut. Prior to her current position, she was an orthopedic surgeon for 2 years. Realizing that her true calling was in radiology, she made the difficult decision to switch specializations. Switching Residencies from Orthopedic Surgery to Radiology From a young age, Dr. Anderson knew she wanted to become an orthopedic surgeon. As an orthopedics resident, she found that reading and interpreting imaging was what she enjoyed the most. She even taught several radiology classes in her spare time. Looking back, her interest in radiology has always been there. A self-evaluation made her realize that maybe radiology would be a better fit for her. Dr. Anderson reached out to other doctors who switched from orthopedics to radiology. Their journeys resonated so much with what she was feeling. Her friends encouraged her to make the switch and so she did. It was a tough decision but it proved to be the correct one as Dr. Anderson is currently thriving in her new field. Most medical students are unaware that that they can switch residencies but it is indeed possible. Dr. Anderson admits that her laser focus on becoming an orthopedic surgeon has blinded her from considering other options. Take a moment to pause every once in a while to evaluate your happiness in your chosen field.   Transition from Orthopedic Surgery to Radiology Switching specialties will come with new challenges. For Dr. Anderson, she had to build her knowledge and skills in radiology while re-learning past lessons in medicine. She’s an expert in the musculoskeletal system but there are other areas she needed to brush up on.   Thankfully, she was able to adjust to her new specialization fairly quickly. Radiologists are the physician’s physician. Doctors rely on them to interpret imaging results, to identify possible complications, and to evaluate the success of surgeries. A radiologist makes vital decisions that could affect a patient’s outcome. Applying for a Residency During COVID-19 The coronavirus pandemic has forced hospitals and schools to cancel in person interviews. Assessments will be conducted virtually. This also means that applicants won’t get the chance to visit the hospital and see its facilities and systems in action. On the other hand, students are applying to more places because they don’t have to attend interviews in person. Programs are well aware of this and are adjusting to accommodate time differences. Interviewers may ask standardized questions as a comparative scale to screen applicants. Since face to face interviews are not possible, admission committees will have to rely more on documents. Board scores matter but they also consider grades, rotations, and the dean’s letter. All these requirements paint a picture of how you work with others and how you treat patients. Tips for Nailing Your Residency Interview Familiarize yourself with common questions and have your answers ready. No need to memorize a script, but instead answer authentically using your outline as a guide. Go with the flow of the conversation, adding or removing talking points as needed. Practicing in front of a mirror helps to build confidence. Check your gadget, video conference software, and internet connection beforehand to guarantee that your interview will run smoothly on the day of. The interviewer will use this meeting to assess whether you will fit in with the department. An outgoing personality is not necessary but use this opportunity to show that you are approachable, responsible, and cooperative. Dr. Anderson’s Advice to Pre-Meds and Medical Students As you become a resident, you will be tasked with more responsibilities. Double checking is very important to avoid mistakes. Check up on your colleagues, juniors, and staff to see if tasks have been completed. Inspect your own work to ensure everything is in order. Take everything you hear with a grain of salt. Get into the habit of verifying information¾this will save you a lot of trouble in the future.
Nov 26
25 min
Forensic Pathologist Dr. Shanedelle Norford
Dr. Shanedelle Norford discusses her experience in forensic pathology, the effect of COVID-19 on the field, and advice to students in pathology rotations. [01:33] Why Pathology? [03:02] How to Get Exposure to Pathology [05:29] Tips to Succeed on a Pathology Rotation [06:56] How COVID-19 Has Affected Forensic Pathology [09:09] COVID-19 in Florida [10:12] The Importance of Wearing Masks [13:03] Pathophysiology of COVID19 [14:49] Dr. Norford’s Most Unusual Forensic Pathology Case [18:19] Advice to Pathology Students [19:44] Why Pursue an MBA [22:18] Dr. Norford’s Advice to Pre-Meds and Medical Students Why Pathology? Dr. Norford chose to specialize in pathology to have a deeper understanding of diseases. Early on, she realized that clinical medicine is primarily concerned with diagnoses and how to treat them. However, she was much more interested in the why and how behind the development of illnesses. It was in pathology that she found most of the answers to her burning questions. How to Get Exposure to Pathology Very few medical students choose to specialize in pathology¾this may be due in part to the lack of exposure to the field. Students must purposefully seek out opportunities to know more about this specialization. Fortunately, most medical schools have electives in general and forensic pathology. Feel free to approach doctors or administrative staff to ask about available programs or rotations in pathology at your own school. Tips to Succeed on a Pathology Rotation Show genuine interest by asking questions, arriving on time, and doing more of what’s asked of you. Doctors can tell the difference between enthusiastic and uninterested students. Pathology classes help in building a good foundation in medicine. Likewise, view the pathology rotation as a learning experience to maximize what you can get out of it. As a future doctor, this knowledge may be useful to you someday. How COVID-19 Has Affected Forensic Pathology As an associate medical examiner, Dr. Norford has seen an increase in her case load by 50% compared to last year. The sustained influx of cases brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has put a huge strain on the resources and personnel of the medical examiner’s office. Their team has lost staff members from resignations and from the coronavirus itself. Not much is known about the pathophysiology of COVID-19. What we do know is that the virus can affect several organs and body systems all at once. Its effects may linger months after it has been contracted. This novel coronavirus has taken countless of lives, as seen in the number of cases that Dr. Norford handles every day. She urges everyone to continue practicing safety measures like wearing masks¾a simple precaution that saves lives. Why Pursue an MBA Dr. Norford dreams of becoming a chief medical examiner someday. Her pursuit of an MBA degree will help her transition into that role in the future. Currently, she recognizes that she lacks sufficient knowledge and experience in business, administration, and leadership. Pursuing an MBA makes sense because she eventually wants to shift to a more administrative role. It is also worth knowing the business side of medicine because it gives insight as to how it affects her as a physician as well as her patients. Dr. Norford’s Advice to Pre-Meds and Medical Students Instead of following the trends, go after what you want. Don’t let your decision be swayed by the opinion of others. It takes years and years of medical school to become a doctor. Don’t waste all those periods of training to enter a career path you don’t like. Time is your most limited asset, so invest it in a career you are passionate about. The road to becoming a doctor is paved with challenges, but just stay on course because your hard work will pay off in the end.
Nov 19
24 min
Cardiac Anesthesiology and Overcoming with Dr. Max Madhere
Dr. Max Madhere discusses cardiac anesthesiology, Pulse of Perseverance, and the many hurdles he overcame in his journey to medicine.   [00:36] What Inspired Max to Become a Doctor [03:00] Max’s Medical School Experience [04:41] How to Prepare for Tests [08:42] Accessibility of Resources Through Technology [10:35] Why Anesthesiology? [13:34] Fellowship in Cardiac Anesthesiology [15:10] Advice for Anesthesia Rotations [19:03] Pulse of Perseverance [22:04] Importance of Mentorship and Giving Back [26:23] Structural Systemic Racism [28:11] The Community’s Role in the Youth’s Future [29:38] Flawed Education System [37:14] Dr. Madhere’s Advice to Pre-Meds and Medical Students   Erkeda DeRouen interviews Dr. Max Madhere, a practicing cardiac anesthesiologist in Louisiana. He is also one of the founders of Pulse of Perseverance, an organization dedicated to helping kids from disadvantaged backgrounds succeed. In this episode, Dr. Madhere shares his journey to becoming a physician despite the many hurdles he faced. Dr. Madhere’s Journey to Becoming a Doctor Initially having no interest in medicine, Dr. Madhere volunteered at his local hospital because he needed money to graduate high school. During his time as a volunteer, he saw black doctors in positions of leadership. This inspired him to become a doctor himself. The first two times he took the MCAT, he was not satisfied with his scores. Setbacks did not stop him from trying a third time, which finally produced results that got him accepted into Xavier University of Louisiana.   Preparation for Tests Tests do not measure intelligence, but rather preparation. Those who are privileged with access to good education and a supportive environment certainly have an advantage. However, success is not solely defined by these factors. It may take a person with fewer resources longer, but with enough preparation, he/she can succeed as well. Assess the areas you need to improve on and work hard at them. Take advantage of today’s technology to access information and ask for help. Learning opportunities are endless, try different sources until you find what works for you.  Why Anesthesia? Dr. Madhere was originally interested in pursuing neuroscience and surgery. But as he gained more experience during rotations, he realized that these specializations did not suit him. During one of his surgery rotations, his curiosity was piqued by the anesthesiologist in the operating room. Dr. David took Dr. Madhere under his wing and taught him more about the field. The constant application of anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology in anesthesiology fascinated him. Dr. Madhere found it impressive that anesthesiologists have such a wide skillset, as shown in their ability to administer anesthesia in countless ways. Fellowship in Cardiac Anesthesiology While the surgeon operates, it’s Dr. Madhere’s job to keep the patient alive through the management of several drugs and drips. All aspects of medicine are applied in the operating room. Being in this field keeps him on his toes because of the complex issues that may arise in severe cases. Improving the outcome of extremely sick patients is fulfilling for Dr. Madhere as a cardiac anesthesiologist. Giving Back to the Community  The current schooling system is flawed, favoring the haves over the have-nots of society. This reality is further reflected in the low percentage of practicing black doctors. To help address this situation, Dr. Madhere and two of his friends formed the Pulse of Perseverance as way to give back to the community. Their goal is to empower and inspire young black youth by providing them with resources for success. Scholarships are available for deserving students who are driven to succeed. They have also developed a mentoring platform app to give underprivileged kids a chance to connect with professionals. Odds for success increase drastically when disadvantaged youth have mentors who will nurture them.  Dr. Madhere’s Advice to Pre-Meds and Medical Students Students should continuously look for ways to acquire information efficiently. Expose yourself to the medical field you want to be in by gaining shadowing experiences and learning terminologies. It’s not enough to show up on time during rotations; be early. Let your personality and enthusiasm set you apart. Resident and attending doctors take notice when you go the extra mile to help. When things get tough, just keep going. Dr. Madhere urges students to continue chasing their dream of becoming doctors for themselves, their future patients, and the community. Remember that you play a significant role in making the world a better place. The Pulse of Perseverance recognizes the challenges and costs that come with pursuing a good education. They’ve already helped a number of kids through high school and college. Learn more about their scholarship program and what they offer through their website. To get updates on their initiatives, follow the Pulse of Perseverance on Instagram.
Nov 12
41 min
The Role of the DO with AACOM President & CEO Dr. Robert Cain
Dr. Cain, president & CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), discusses osteopathic medicine, including MD vs DO. [01:37] Osteopathy’s Visibility in Current Events [05:53] Differences Between Osteopathy and Allopathy [09:02] Cooperation Between DO and MD Doctors [09:50] The AACOM’s Role in Osteopathic Education [11:35] Statistic of DO Doctors [12:14] Why Ragav Chose Osteopathic Medicine [13:52] Application of DO’s Biomechanics Training [17:12] DO and MD Program Merger and How it Will Affect Medical Students [19:59] Advice to DO Students Applying for Residency [21:29] AACOM’s Position about the COMLEX [24:25] Study Tips for the UMLE and COMLEX [25:37] Future of Osteopathic Medicine [27:28] How to Get Exposure to Osteopathic Medicine   On one hand, both presidential candidates have a DO as their primary physician – President Trump with Dr. Sean Conley DO, and Vice President Biden with Dr. Kevin O’Connor DO. Yet on the other hand, a prominent physician clothing company, FIGS, is accused of publishing disparaging advertisements towards DOs and female physicians – which caused quite an uproar on social media. Add to this that medical television shows, like Grey’s Anatomy, always refer to doctors with an “MD” and not a “DO.” So why does there seem to be this tug of war between the two? What is the difference between a DO and an MD? Is one practice better? We get to the bottom of this with the president of American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), the organization that supports the 37 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States. Dr. Sahil Mehta chats with Dr. Robert Cain, a pulmonology specialist. He was also the former dean of clinical education at Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Currently, he serves as the president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM). Also joining in today’s episode is Ragav Sharma, a 4th year osteopathic student and MedSchoolCoach. He hosts The Preventive Medicine Podcast.   Differences Between Osteopathic and Allopathic Medicine There is no practical difference between osteopathic doctors (DOs) and allopathic doctors (MDs) they are both licensed to practice medicine in the United States. MD and DO students take up the same subjects, with the exception of biomechanics, which is emphasized more in DO education. In addition, osteopathic medicine emphasizes training students to become physician-servants, and orientation that influences the practice of medicine. Medical students should consider what type of physician they’d like to be before deciding on an MD or DO degree. Dr. Cain likes to think of MD and DO doctors as complementary to one another. With the US’s complex healthcare system, cooperation between MD and DO doctors is crucial to improving the lives of more patients. When it comes down to it, both types of doctors are working towards the same goal of progressing healthcare. Why Osteopathy? Osteopathy was introduced to Ragav, a fourth year med student, by his father, who knew that his son had an interest in muscoloskeletal medicine. Ragav proceeded to apply to both DO and MD medical schools. Eventually, he chose to go to Midwestern University Chicago to pursue Osteopathic Medicine. He believes the holistic philosophy and the manual medicine training from a DO education will supplement his skillset as a future practitioner of musculoskeletal medicine.   Application of DO’s Biomechanic Training To this day, Dr. Cain still applies his DO training in the field of pulmonology. Not many people may know this, but the respiratory system is biomechanical. He cites exacerbated chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as an example. Patients with this condition have an increased work of breathing. As a DO physician, Dr. Cain prescribes medicine to relieve symptoms but he also checks for changes in the chest wall, since removing any obstructions will decrease the likelihood of respiratory failure. Ragav also mentions an instance where he was able to apply of his osteopathy knowledge. He encountered a stroke patient who could not breathe well during his in-patient rehab rotation. He suspected that the patient’s lung muscles have not fully recovered from the stroke, which made breathing more difficult. As a result of his suggestion, treatment changes were made to include more respiratory therapy and to shift bed positioning. Ragav’s osteopathic training led him to make a suggestion which ultimately made a difference in the patient’s outcome.   Advice to DO Students Applying for Residency Ragav’s advice to fellow students is to focus on things you can control such as board scores, clinical rotation performance, and capacity for learning. As long as you put in your best efforts you are setting yourself up to succeed. Keep working hard towards the chosen field you have in mind. It’s also helpful to be aware of specializations that have a preference for DO over MD students and vice versa.    Study Tips for the USMLE and COMLEX The content in both licensure exams are similar, but the questions are posed differently. To save on time, you may study for the USMLE and the COMLEX with the same resources. The main difference between the two is that the COMLEX also covers osteopathic medicine. DO students should use osteopathy’s holistic philosophy as a lens when answering questions on the test. For additional preparation, look for reviewer questions that mimic the COMLEX’s questions. Future of Osteopathic Medicine With the merger of the MD and DO education programs, AACOM hopes to ease the matching system for students and their chosen residencies, and simplify the licensure exams for DO students. It is also the AACOM’s goal to eliminate the need for DO students take the USMLE because a specialization requires them to do so. Another challenge that DO students face are the restrictive regulations for shadowing experiences. The AACOM recognizes this, and is already looking for alternative ways to increase exposure to osteopathy. Recent developments and events have increased the visibility of osteopathic medicine more than ever. This is an opportunity to solidify osteopathy in US healthcare system. Dr. Cain hopes to see increased interest and acceptance of osteopathic medicine through ongoing education and awareness efforts of the AACOM. Learn more about the osteopathic profession on the Prospective Doctor website. Also, visit AACOM’s website for a list of schools offering a DO program. 
Nov 5
34 min
Sports Medicine & Building Financial Habits with Dr. Jason Williams
Dr. Jason Williams shares his experiences in emergency and sports medicine, & financial advice for med students and physicians.   [01:40] Why Emergency Medicine? [02:39] Experience as an Emergency Doctor [04:52] Landscape & Business Aspect of Emergency Medicine [09:14] The Role of Finances in Choosing a Specialization [12:12] Tips for Building Good Financial Habits [16:19] Advice to Aspiring Medical Students [17:45] Suggested Reading for Personal Finance   Why Emergency Medicine? Growing up, Dr. Williams was surrounded by family members who worked in the hospital’s ER department. This familiarity helped develop a favorable bias towards emergency medicine. His personality was also a better fit for the hectic lifestyle of an emergency doctor. Being confined to a clinic all day long didn’t suit him. But more than that, he enjoyed helping people in their darkest times.   Experience as an Emergency Doctor For his first job after residency, Dr. Williams worked for a large healthcare system in Texas. This meant working at 3-4 different hospitals, with a regular number of shifts per month. After a while, he moved to a tertiary hospital with academic programs. Teaching residents and students was enjoyable. He was also exposed to many interesting emergency cases. A good portion of his career was spent in a similar setting. An opportunity arose for him to be a director of the event medicine department in a health care system. The role put him in charge of taking care of people during sporting events. More recently, he is back to working at a tertiary hospital and a few freestanding emergency medicine departments.   Landscape & Business Aspect of Emergency Medicine Emergency doctors can choose to work in rural hospitals, big hospitals, or free standing emergency departments Each workplace has its own advantages and disadvantages. Modest, democratic ER departments usually consist of locals who work with a hospital or community. In these rural hospitals, you have to be comfortable handling all kinds of patients. There won’t as many supporting clinicians to help. Most of the time, you will be on your own. If you work for larger entities such as health care systems or big hospitals, you will be taking in a lot of patients. There are many clinicians you can work and consult with. Severe cases are more common. Majority of emergency doctors work with large health contractors.   The Role of Finances in Choosing a Specialization Aspiring doctors should first determine what field they are most drawn to and how they want to interact with patients. Choosing a medical specialization based solely on compensation can lead to burnout. The key to a long and sustainable career in medicine is doing what you love. Once you’ve figured out your interests, it’s time to consider your financial situation.   Build Good Financial Habits If you can't pay for medical school, loans are understandable. However, don’t borrow more than what you need. Always keep in mind that the money you loaned is not yours, so don’t spend it needlessly. Good financial habits early on will help you down the road. If you learn to budget money early on, you don't have to worry about it later.   Advice to Aspiring Med Students Medicine is a lifelong learning experience. It’s important to do well in school and to maintain good relationships with mentors. Don’t neglect developing good financial habits early on. This will make you a better physician because you won’t be preoccupied with small things. As a student, it can’t hurt to earn a little bit of side income. Learn new skills outside of medicine which can help set you up for your future.   Suggested Reading for Personal Finance Dr. Williams recommends “The White Coat Investor” by Dr. Jim Dahle. The author is a practicing emergency medicine physician who started his blog and podcast in 2011. There are many other free resources online. Students should take advantage of this and learn as much as they can. 
Oct 29
19 min
Healthcare, Politics, and Advocacy with Dr. Erin Jones
Dr. Erin Jones discusses family medicine clinical rotations and effective patient activism. She serves on the faculty at the University of Southern California and as a virtual healthcare professional at 98point6. [01:45] Why Family Medicine? [02:54] Tips to Succeed on a Clinical Rotation [05:03] Setting Expectations with Attendings [07:05] How Physicians Can Advocate for Patients [11:24] How Physicians Can Engage in Activism [19:07] Healthcare & Politics [24:24] Advice for Pre-Meds and Medical Students Dr. Erkeda DeRouen chats with Dr. Erin Jones, a family medicine physician who has lots of experience with teaching and caring for students. She is also fellowship-trained in adolescent and young adult care. Currently, she serves on the faculty at the University of Southern California and as a virtual healthcare professional at 98point6. Why Family Medicine? Dr. Jones is passionate about family medicine because it allows her to engage with the entirety of a patient or person. Her patients share their struggles, such as food insecurity, lack of support for an addiction, and their inability to pay medical bills. She is also interested in the dynamics of family, and how the struggles of parents can be passed on to their children. Tips to Succeed on a Clinical Rotation First, Dr. Jones encourages students to be excited, eager, well-slept, and eager to work hard for the day. Besides this, they should be willing to go beyond their expertise as physicians — for example, supporting someone through an IUD insertion, or helping a patient with a injury to get to their vehicle. This is all part of an ethical medical system. It is also crucial for students to determine the expectations of their attending. Students should ask for expectations at the very beginning of the rotation, and also frequently request feedback from their attending. How Physicians Can Advocate for Their Patients Dr. Jones has a three-step process for physicians to advocate for their patients: Listen to their struggles. It is impossible to adequately help without first listening. To count means to observe patterns in patients. For example, if there are disproportionately more younger patients compared to older patients, why? Asking this “why” is the third step. Once you can determine the “why” you can begin to advocate for patients. Physicians and Activism Due to COVID-19, there has emerged a slowdown, and an opening for discussing many social issues such as police brutality and climate change. Dr. Jones encourages physicians to use their voices, and to not separate issues like health care from racism and police brutality. Instead, they should acknowledge both systemic and individual oppression. It is difficult for a patient to trust a physician who will not, of their own volition, support basic human rights, and oppose brutality and injustice. Healthcare is political. Issues like the Affordable Care Act and the absence of universal healthcare in the US, as well as more local healthcare issues are determined by the policies of politicians, even though these should be nonpartisan issues. Therefore, remember to vote, and use every opportunity to encourage others to vote as well! Check out Dr. Jones’s LinkedIn.
Oct 22
30 min
The Humanities in Medicine? With Dave Etler of the Short Coat Podcast
Dave Etler discusses the role of the humanities & social sciences in a medical education, & the role that physicians can play in politics. Dave Etler is the Founder, Producer, and Host of The Short Coat Podcast. [01:03] How Dave Began Podcasting [04:54] Lessons That Dave Has Learned From Podcasting [06:46] The Role of the Humanities in a Medical Education [12:40] Paternalistic Medicine Versus Partner-Based Medicine [16:21] Systems of Power in Medicine [20:39] The Importance of Maintaining Interests Outside Medicine [24:06] Physician Involvement in Public Discourse and Politics Erkeda DeRouen chats with Dave Etler, the Founder, Producer and Host of The Short Coat podcast which looks at different aspects of a medical student’s experience. They discuss the role of the humanities and the social sciences in a medical school education, and the role that physicians can play in politics. The Short Coat Podcast Dave worked as a clerk at the Carver College of Medicine for many years. After gaining some experience, he proposed doing a podcast about medical students to his supervisor. Since then, he has enjoyed talking to medical students who he calls “creative”, “funny” and with “a stirring desire to do good.” He has also been pleasantly overwhelmed by the various types of jobs that someone in a medical profession can have — for example, becoming a medical journalist, teacher, serving your community, or simply becoming a specialist with lots of money. The Role of the Humanities in a Medical Education Dave describes some of the writing and literature classes at the humanities department of Carver College. These classes help medical students to write professional CVs, and personal statements, but also help medical students to develop good personal writing skills. Overall, he says that the humanities detail the stories that we tell ourselves, and help medical students to understand the dynamics and cultural context behind the people that physicians treat. One major reason that medical students should study the humanities is that indigenous, black and other people of color need a reason to trust doctors. For example, studies show that women of color have worse childbirth outcomes. Doctors need to understand why this is so, and take steps to mitigate it. Relatedly, doctors often take a paternalistic approach to treating their patients, speaking the language of “compliance” versus “noncompliance.” Instead, doctors need to understand why a patient does not comply with a given suggestion. For example, perhaps a patient is too poor to access fresh fruits and vegetables. An education in the humanities exposes doctors to this mindset. Historically, physicians avoid involvement in public discourse and politics. However, with politicians making healthcare decisions, Dave hopes that physicians will step up and use their humanities skills to engage in public discourse and social justice, and to argue for the wellbeing of patients and healthcare providers. Systems of Power in Medicine Even within medicine, there are systems of power. Dave talks about something called the “chair hierarchy.” When in a room with physicians and medical students, you often find the attendings sitting at the table, while the residents and medical students would not. These hierarchies can impact the kind of training or feedback that you get or give. With a humanities education, you learn how to better navigate these hierarchies — respecting the hierarchies that make sense (for example, the legal obligation of attendings versus nurses) and work against those that do not. Check out Dave Etler’s LinkedIn and Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Also check out The Short Coat podcast.
Oct 15
27 min
The Intersection of Climate Change and Medicine with Dr. Erika Moseson
Dr. Erika Moseson, founder of Air Health Our Health, discusses the impact of medicine on the economy, social justice issues, and public health. [01:17] Why Dr. Moseson Chose Pulmonary & Critical Care [03:33] Tips for Students Who Are Interested in Pulmonary & Critical Care [06:39] How Forest Fires and COVID-19 Have Impacted Dr. Moseson [10:28] Pulmonary Health & the Economy [12:50] Advocacy as a Medical Student [19:40] Dr. Moseson’s Words of Wisdom for Medical Students & Pre-Meds Erkeda DeRouen chats with Dr. Erika Moseson, a pulmonary and critical care doctor based in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Moseson is the Founder of Air Health Our Health, a company which is invested in promoting healthy air and fighting climate change. Why Pulmonary & Critical Care? Dr. Moseson liked aspects of both procedural and non-procedural medicine — which is why she found it difficult to choose a specialty. She completed her residency in internal medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) where she did a rotation in pulmonary & critical care. She enjoyed this specialty as it connected to the real world in terms of public health but also to more intense medicine in the ICU. Tips for Students Who Are Interested in Pulmonary & Critical Care Dr. Moseson encourages students who are interested in pulmonary and critical care to research and apply for residency programs that offer this specialty, and that have faculty in this specialty. They should do research into the aspects of this field that interest them, and how this matches with a given residency program. Pulmonary Health & the Economy Physicians should work to “make what is invisible visible.” Issues like forest fires are widely visible, and people can see that it is bad for our lungs. However, issues like terrible air quality in certain areas often go unnoticed. Air pollution — particulate matter — has been shown to cause respiratory issues like heart attacks, asthma, strokes, COPD, and more. Therefore, physicians should help to educate the public. Air quality issues often affect the poorest people the most. For example, a house offers a layer of protection from bad air quality. Therefore, the homeless might be affected two to three times more than a housed person in the same area if there is poor air quality. Furthermore, it is no coincidence that poor air quality itself often occurs in areas inhabited by minority groups. Even if the public is not concerned about the health of affected populations, we can use the economic costs of healthcare to convince them. It is more economically beneficial to have healthy people who earn money, rather than those who have to stay home sick and incur exorbitant costs for things like inhalers. Advocacy as a Medical Student Dr. Moseson sympathizes with students who struggle to participate in advocacy for projects about which they are passionate because they are afraid to offend or to step out of line. Nevertheless, Dr. Moseson encourages medical students to learn the science around the topic that is their passion. The students can be an educated voice of reason in their organizations, and provide a valuable scientific perspective on suggested ideas. She also encourages students to participate in research projects, which is not just important for their medical education, but can inform and enhance their advocacy as well. Check out Dr. Moseson’s Twitter, and Facebook. Also, check out the Air Health Our Health website.
Oct 8
21 min
Applying to Med School During COVID-19 with Dr. Renee Volny Darko
Dr. Renee Volny Darko shares tips for med school applications during COVID-19, financial advice for med students, and the importance of having a growth mindset. [01:48] Why OB-GYN [05:23] Tips for Applying to Medical School during COVID-19 [10:42] Virtual Interview Tips [12:35] Medical School Application Date Changes Due to COVID-19 [14:20] Financial Tips for New Medical Students [18:44] The Importance of a Growth Mindset Erkeda DeRouen chats with Dr. Renee Volny Darko, an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN). Dr. Volny Darko graduated from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine, did her residency at Robert Wood Johnson in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and then did a health policy leadership fellowship at the Morehouse School of Medicine under Dr. David Satcher. She is a practicing physician, has spent some time in academia, and has had several entrepreneurial pursuits. She has a passion for helping pre-meds from underrepresented backgrounds to get into medical school. Why OBGYN? OB-GYN was initially at the bottom of Dr. Volny Darko ’s list of specialty choices. However, after her OB-GYN clinical rotation — which was her last clinical rotation at medical school — she realized that she loved it. She reminds medical students to keep an open mind as you do your clinical rotations, knowing that you might be surprised by the rotations that you enjoy. It is okay to be uncertain about which specialty to choose. Applying to Medical School During COVID-19 Dr. Volny Darko shares three key tips for applying to medical school during COVID-19: Be flexible. You need to know that the process, deadlines, and requirements of your medical school application might shift. Pre-med students tend to be Type A, but neither medicine nor life is highly predictable, so you must be willing to adjust. Flexibility does not mean being lax. Despite the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, you must still submit your best possible medical school application. You need to continue to study for your MCATs, and to remember that the application criteria will not be so relaxed. Participate in their regular activities. For example, if you were going to attend a conference, perhaps attend a virtual conference. Take the initiative to better yourself and to engage with the medical community. Because of the pandemic, some medical school interviews might be switched to virtual interviews. Dr. Volny Darko encourages students to learn how to appear on screen, and how to appear professional. For example, remember to show your shoulders and pretend as if this were an in-person interview — avoid having your cat in the background, for example. Application dates for various medical schools may also be shifted around, depending on the number of COVID-19 cases in different states, or in the nation as a whole. Students should keep themselves informed of the updates. Financial Tips for New Medical Students Medical students should practice living below your means, as this habit will carry into your residency and attending years. To live below your means is to spend much less than the amount that you earn. It is not about accumulating lots of money, but rather, it is about freeing your future self to pursue anything that you want to pursue. For example, Dr. Volny Darko and her husband — host of the podcast Docs Outside the Box — paid off their students loans very quickly, by working both permanent and locum positions, leaving them with the freedom to travel and/or to stay home with their children without worrying about money. The Importance of a Growth Mindset Having a growth mindset means believing that your intelligence is not fixed, and can be increased. Dr. Volny Darko cites a study by psychologist Carol Dweck, which showed that pre-med hopefuls with a fixed mindset did not improve their grade in a chemistry class, whilst students with a growth mindset did. Stop saying that someone else is just “smart” because this gives you a pass to not work as hard. Be comfortable saying, “I do not know that YET” instead of “I do not know that.” Check out Dr. Renee Volny Darko’s LinkedIn and Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Sign up for a Free Coaching session with Chase DiMarco, sponsored by Prospective Doctor! You can also join the Med Mnemonist Mastermind FB Group today and learn more about study methods, memory techniques, and MORE! Do check out Read This Before Medical School.
Oct 1
22 min
Leadership & Coaching in Medicine with Dr. Pamela Ludmer
Dr. Pamela Ludmer shares tips for developing leadership skills as a med student, med-peds vs. family medicine, & the benefits of coaching in medicine.   [02:06] Family Medicine Versus Med-Peds [03:46] Why Adolescent Medicine [06:38] How to Integrate Classroom and Clinical Knowledge [10:56] How a Medical Student Can Develop Leadership Skills [17:24] Dr. Ludmer’s Journey as a Coach [21:34] Pearls of Wisdom for Medical Students   Dr. Pamela Ludmer is a medicine-pediatrics physician who completed a fellowship in adolescent medicine. She currently serves as the Associate Dean of Curriculum Integration at New York Medical College. Family Medicine Vs. Medicine-Pediatrics Medical students often struggle to choose between family medicine and medicine-pediatrics. Both fields allow you to practice medicine on both children and adults. Dr. Ludmer’s decision to pursue med-peds stemmed from watching a med-peds physician who she greatly admired for his academic and social strengths. In addition, Dr. Ludmer immensely enjoyed her family medicine clinical rotation, but it was largely outpatient. As a resident, she wanted more inpatient experience, which was offered by med-peds. She also wanted to focus on medicine and pediatrics, over things like surgery, OBGYN, and pediatrics, which would also be covered by family medicine. Why Adolescent Medicine Dr. Ludmer enjoyed working with inner city teenagers, especially younger women, who would come in without their parents. She enjoyed watching them grow up, and navigate medical experiences independently for the first time. Furthermore, practicing adolescent medicine allowed her some variety in her everyday work, dealing with issues such gynecology and behavioral health. Lastly, with her med-peds qualifications, Dr. Ludmer did not have to let go of her adolescent patients once they reached adulthood. Integrating Classroom & Clinical Knowledge Dr. Ludmer encourages medical students to prioritize learning their basic sciences. Often, medical students feel that the basic sciences are irrelevant to clinical experiences and treating a patient. However, Dr. Ludmer asserts that what differentiates a doctor from other clinical careers, is this vast and deep knowledge of the workings of the human body. For example, with regards to COVID-19, no doctor has had the clinical experience of treating such a disease before this year. However, the basic sciences can still be applied to the treatment of COVID-19. A doctor can use their basic sciences knowledge to hypothesize appropriate treatments, and to intentionally test these treatments. Developing Leadership Skills as a Medical Student This episode discusses three key tips for developing leadership skills as a medical student: Put your foot out there. Dr. Ludmer describes running for the student senate for the first time and winning. You do not have to wait for something as major as a student senate to practice your leadership skills. Even a four-person lab group is a good place to practice leadership. Find a mentor. The mentor does not have to be a person with very high seniority, and can be someone just a little ahead of you — a fourth year medical student perhaps. Develop self-awareness. leadership is not about asserting your own opinion, but rather about listening to members of the group, mitigating conflict, and helping to reach consensus. You need to be aware of your skills & ability to play such a role, and be aware of areas where you can improve. Coaching Versus Mentorship Dr. Ludmer distinguishes coaching a medical student or physician from mentoring them. While you emulate aspects of your mentor’s journey, coaching is about having someone who can help you to figure out your own medical career, and how to make decisions that are right for your particular situation. Three Pearls of Wisdom for Medical Students The episode ends with three pearls of wisdom that Dr. Ludmer has for medical students: Do what you love. Do not forget life outside medicine. Do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help.
Sep 24
24 min
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