Dr. Mamdouh Aker: Palestinian doctor and human rights activist (Bonus Episode)

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Mamdouh Aker

Dr. Mamdouh Aker is a very big deal in Palestine, the kind of man everyone knows and respects, and it’s easy to see why.  He’s urology surgeon and the deputy chair of the Board of Trustees of Berzeit University in Palestine’s West Bank.  Among the founders of the Mandela Institute for Political Prisoners and the Independent Commission for Human Rights, Dr. Aker was also  a member of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Peace Conference and in the Palestinian-Israeli bilateral talks between 1991 and 1993. He’s also a member of several councils and committees focused on the health, education, and wellbeing of the Palestinian people.  During his visit to the Carver College of Medicine he spoke to our students and faculty about the state of Palestinian healthcare. He was generous with his time, as he also sat down with med students Shakoora Sabree, Ossama Habu-Halawa, Jordan Harbaugh-Williams, and Joelle Friezen to discuss the topic. Our discussion was near the anniversary of his 45-day ordeal in the custody of Israeli security forces in the early 1990s because of his outspoken views that his Palestinian patients were prevented from receiving adequate healthcare.


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To this day, What are reactions to Dr. Aker’s stories? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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Lack of Empathy: A Med School Dealbreaker?

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Everyone knows: doctors have to have empathy…right?

empathy photo
Photo by Pierre Phaneuf

Listener Mo wrote to us at theshortcoats@gmail.com to ask us if a lack of interest in dealing with the foibles of patients–with their anti-vaccine beliefs, their non-compliance with treatment, and reliance on the latest internet fads–means he should reconsider his med school dreams.  Lucky for Mo, Kaci McCleary, Irisa Mahaparn, and newbs Melissa Chan and Dabin Choi were on hand to propose some paths forward for non-empathetic med school applicants, as well as outlining some of the less obvious areas empathy comes in handy they might want to think about.  There isn’t a lot of wiggle room in this area…but there’s a little, and maybe Mo can squeeze into those cracks and come out with an MD on the other side.

This Week in Medical News

Is the ubiquity of IV saline an example of institutional inertia?  And in response to this article, the gang explores the institutional and systemic barriers that AMCAS and some schools’ admissions committees have erected against disadvantaged students.

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Are you a disadvantaged applicant worried about your grades, money, and connections? Tell us your story at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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Normalizing Human Behavior, Transvaginal Speakers, and Deflating Outsized Egos

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ego photo
Photo by Bexx Brown-Spinelli

John Pienta, Cole Cheney, Amy Young, and newbie Rob Humble join Dave to discuss the recent winter break, the Rose Bowl, and Stanford’s half-time band performance.  We discuss doctors who are non-compliant with their own recommendations for patients.  Is that something they should be condemned for, or is it human nature?  And when patients are non-compliant or engage in risky behavior, should docs acknowledge that as normal human behavior and avoid shaming them for it? Continue reading Normalizing Human Behavior, Transvaginal Speakers, and Deflating Outsized Egos

Hot Sauce Halloween

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Hot sauces rule

TL;DR

  • We discuss the many uses (real or potential) of capsaicin as we taste hot sauces from some random multipack co-host AJ had lying around.
  • The co-hosts fight each other with words in a game of Megabattle.
  • Warning: cartoonish violence is described. If you don’t like the thought of being stabbed by flaming antlers, you might want to skip this one.

This episode is sponsored by Enso Rings, makers of soft, safe, attractive silicone rings. Listeners get 10% off rings at EnsoRings.com using promo code SHORT!

M2s AJ Chowdhury, Smrithi Mani, Alex Belzer and Alex Choi take a break from serious discussion this week because Dave’s busy running a conference to even do his usually-minimal level of prep for the show. Fortunately, AJ had a box of various hot sauces lying around, so we ate them while we discussed facts about capsaicin, the chemical contained by chili peppers responsible for that lovely burning sensation we crave.

And, in an attempt to justify to himself that he’s an actual educator, he forces the crew to practice their debate skills by playing Megabattle–who wins in ridiculous battles of cartoon-like violence? They’ll have to convince each other of the winner!

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

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Is Medicine the Squid Game?

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Are there parallels between medicine and Squid Game?

TL;DR

  • The experience of job hunting for a residency position is unlike any other.
  • It’s way easier to donate bone marrow than many think.
  • Dave stuffs the episode with Squid Game references in the hopes that various algorithms love us.

This episode is sponsored by Enso Rings, makers of soft, safe, attractive silicone rings. Listeners get 10% off rings at EnsoRings.com using promo code SHORT!

MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk, M1 Noah Wick, and M4s Madeline Cusimano and Abby Fyfe have their souls crushed this week by Dave’s suggestion that the Netflix smash hit Squid Game has some parallels with medicine and medical education. See, Dave read a listicle by Rebecca Richardson in McSweeny’s comparing the features of the game to academic job-hunting, and it seemed a little…familiar.

But first, the crew takes a look at recent developments in Madeline’s and Abby’s own job hunt, and we learn about bone marrow donation as that’s also something Madeline’s preparing for.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

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Married Applicants: What Do Schools Think?

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Applying to med school together might be easier than couples think

TL;DR

  • Married couples applying to a school together are really a bonus for schools, all other factors being equal.
  • We discuss Niki Minaj’s cousin’s friend’s testicles. Because that’s a thing we do now.
  • Wiki How has interesting illustrations–can we guess the article?

This episode is sponsored by Enso Rings, makers of soft, safe, attractive silicone rings. Listeners get 10% off rings at EnsoRings.com using promo code SHORT!

Taylor and his wife are going to apply to Ivy League med school Brown University together. But they’re worried that it’s a lot to expect that schools will accept both of them as a package deal. But we think it might not be as difficult for schools to do as Taylor might assume. MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk, M2 Elvire Nguepnang, M1 Noah Wick, and M4 Mackenzie Walhof–along with our admissions director–have some encouraging thoughts for those looking to start their journey as a couple.

Also, we talk about Niki Minaj’s cousin’s friend’s testicles, the CDC’s approval of booster shots for Pfizer (and it’s director’s unilateral decision to include frontline workers as eligible), and Dave quizzes the crew to see if they can figure out what the Wiki How article is based on some accompanying illustrations.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

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How to Find a Non-Trad Friendly School

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What to look at when shopping for schools to apply to when you aren’t like other students

TL;DR

  • We discuss with a listener how to find a school that is friendly to non-traditional students.
  • Bringing wooly mammoths back to life?
  • Is talking about people who engage in questionable COVID treatments just adding to the problem?

This episode is sponsored by Enso Rings, makers of soft, safe, attractive silicone rings. Listeners get 10% off rings at EnsoRings.com using promo code SHORT!

reject photo

Dave invited listener Brenna on the show to ask her question–as a decidedly non-traditional applicant to medical schools, how can she go about finding schools that will be open to her application? And what can she expect from those schools socially–will she be so different from her classmates that she isn’t able to find her people? MD/PhD students Aline Sandouk, Miranda Schene, Riley Behan, and M2 Sarah Costello have the answers!

We also discuss some special news items this week, like the startup that wants to CRISPr up some woolly mammoth/elephant hybrids to roam the tundra, the hospital that wants to use med students to fill in for their nursing shortage, and the people now (allegedly?) sipping betadine to prevent COVID.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Continue reading How to Find a Non-Trad Friendly School

Rushing to Med School means Missed Opportunities

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Taking your time may actually be better for your career than rushing through it

TL;DR

  • Rushing to med school may be a good idea, but there is a danger of missing experiences that make you a better student and a better doctor. But if you’re going to do it…go hard.
  • Nutrition is well covered in the med school curriculum, but there’s a lot we don’t understand.
  • Falling off a tall stack of milk crates on purpose has questionable health benefits.

This episode is sponsored by Enso Rings, makers of soft, safe, attractive silicone rings. Listeners get 10% off rings at EnsoRings.com using promo code SHORT!

Listener (and graduating high-school senior) Stephanie called 347-SHORTCT to ask about her plans to finish undergrad in 2 years and start med school at 19. While her actual question was how she could get everything done, our question was what would she miss out on that might inform and educate her about her medicine dreams? MD/PhD students Miranda Schene and Riley Behan, M2 Eric Boeshart, and M1 Zach Shepard discuss the cons.

Another listener, Varsha, wants to know how much nutrition is covered in med school; and Dave points out a study that claims a hot dog reduces your life expectancy by 36 minutes. One more thing that reduces life expectancy: the milk crate challenge.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Continue reading Rushing to Med School means Missed Opportunities

Overthinking: Keeping AdComms Up To Date

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Is there etiquette on staying in touch with admissions?

TL;DR

  • A listener asks about the etiquette of keeping the adcom up to date on their activities.
  • We discuss Dave’s experience in the TSA line with an anti-masker.
  • Dave tries to come up with new business ideas that YOU can use (if you’re brave).

This episode is sponsored by Enso Rings, makers of soft, safe, attractive silicone rings. Listeners get 10% off rings at EnsoRings.com using promo code SHORT!

Listener Krazenwaz (not her real name) called 347-SHORTCT to ask if there is any etiquette surrounding staying in touch with admissions when they’ve asked you to. MD/PhD student Miranda Schene, M2s Nicole Hines and Rick Gardner, and M4 Emma Barr help Dave answer the question of how not to bother your adcom with your meaningless life (hint: don’t overthink it.)

Also, Dave discovers “farm brewed beer” after encountering an anti-masker in the TSA line, which leads him to think about other products that his imagination won’t let him make a million dollars on.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

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Ask Your doctor if COVID is Right For You.

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As COVID numbers tick up, we choose to drown our sorrows in French/Korean fusion baked goods.

TL;DR

  • Dave picks his co-hosts’ brains on how they interpret the latest numbers on COVID
  • We eat baked goods that AJ brought us and try to guess what’s in them, and fail because they’re deliciously unlike anything we’ve had before.
  • We play Out of the Loop.

NOTE: this episode was recorded a few weeks back–some of the COVID numbers referred to are out of date, but the discussion is still valid.

Dave’s growing concerned about the recent uptick in COVID numbers, but like most non-epidemiologists, he isn’t quite sure what exactly they mean. So he brings it to the closest people he has to doctors to talk about it with on a Friday afternoon, his medical student co-hosts. MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk, M2 AJ Chowdhury, M2 Nicole Hines, and M2 Sarah Costello help him process.

To help that bitter pill go down, AJ brought some sweet tasty pastries all the way from Shilla Bakery in the Washington DC area. They aren’t a sponsor, we just really enjoyed their Korean/European fusion baked goods! Folks with misophonia, Nicole says sorry for her chewing noises.

And we play a game of Out of the Loop.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Continue reading Ask Your doctor if COVID is Right For You.