Category Archives: rerun

Recess Rehash: Poor: a deadly diagnosis in America, ft. Sarah Smarsh

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A look at the people valued more as functioning machines than as people

Sarah Smarsh

[We had an interview show lined up for this week’s show, but sucky winter weather intervened to ruin our guest’s travel plans.  C’est la vie!  We’ll be back next week with a new show, so stay frosty.]

This past week, the Carver College of Medicine hosted its 12th annual Examined Life Conference.  Our featured presenter, journalist and memoirist Sarah Smarsh, grew up in a family of farmers and teen mothers in Kansas.  Her family, laborers trapped in a cycle of poverty, made the kinds of choices that poor people must make in rural America–whether to eat or seek medical attention, for instance.  Decades of inattention–and scorn–from politicians and the media have widened this class divide, and have sent the inexorable message that their voices don’t matter.  Ms. Smarsh’s recent book, Heartland: A Memoir of working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, tells the tales of her family’s struggles with poverty, addiction, workplace injuries, and family violence that many economic and political elites don’t have the background or will to truly understand.

Though Ms. Smarsh has managed to escape the cycle, she has retained her citizenship in–and love for–that largely unexplored country, and offers a deep look at what it’s like to be poor in the wealthiest and most powerful society on the planet. Our executive producer Jason T. Lewis, Rob Humble, Gabe Conley, Teneme Konne, and Christopher Portero Paff talk with Ms. Smarsh about what the working poor are facing, how our willful lack of understanding shapes our perceptions of their struggles, and why it’s crucial that medicine encourages and welcomes them as providers.

We Want to Hear From You

Your voice does matter.  So call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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Recess Rehash: Bonus Episode! Why You Might Want an MD/PhD

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All about Medical Scientist Training Programs

[Happy Thanksgiving, US listeners!  We’re taking a break for turkey and trimmings, but we’ll be back on the mics real soon.  For now, reheat this delicious leftover episode.]

The MD isn’t the only degree offered by many medical schools.  For those who get excited about data, research, and advancing medical knowledge, you can add a Doctor of Philosophy degree.  Of course, there are those who get their PhD separately from their Medicinae Doctor.  Others get their PhDs from combined degree programs, including Medical Scientist Training Programs (MSTP).

Aline Sandouk and Jayden Bowen took on the topic with a number of first-year MSTP students–why is an MD/PhD something you should consider?  Join them and Ossama Abu-Halawa, Hassan Ahamed, Akansha Jain, Madi Mix, Nate Mullin, Miranda Schene, Hannah Van Ert, and Qi Wang as they reveal reasons you might want to consider this sort of combined degree and the types of programs to choose from.

We Want to Hear From You

What questions do you have about MSTP or MD/PhD programs? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

Continue reading Recess Rehash: Bonus Episode! Why You Might Want an MD/PhD

Recess Rehash: Bropocalypse 2017

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The national #MeToo conversation continues

creepy man photo[Dave had the flu on recording day, so we’re posting this awesome episode from the recent past.  Enjoy!]

Dave found himself hosting with another group of women, so what better time to talk about #MeToo and the powerful people being taken down by their sexual harassment and abuse of their less-powerful victims?  Erin Pazaski, Hillary O’Brien, Laura Quast, and Liza Mann weigh in on why this seems to have staying power in the news cycle, and why it seems to destroy some powerful men and not others.  Plus, since this is a group of friends who, through med school, have come to know each other well, Dave challenges each to answer questions as their friends would.

This Week in Medical News

Speaking of creepy, The University of Miami has a problem on its hands with a medical student who’s been posting other students’ social media pics of their car selfies and beach photos on websites where other folks are excited by such things.  A New Hampshire doc loses her license after refusing to use an EHR because she’d rather practice ‘medical art’ (and not properly tracking her prescribing practices).  And more medical schools want to hear from premeds what they think about the national debate on the ACA and the individual insurance mandate.

We Want to Hear From You

Your thoughts and comments are important to us!  Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Recess Rehash: Bropocalypse 2017

Recess Rehash: Medical School Secondary Applications: What Do They Want?

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How to Think About Medical School Secondary Applications

Photo of a cosplayer's big bird costume
Good lord, she wore him out. Photo by Doug Kline

A listener wants to know more about how best to approach medical school secondary applications.  Given the the turnaround time often recommended (a week), how important are they? Do they need to be as well crafted as your personal statement?  What do schools get out of them?  And are they just a way for schools to extract more money from applicants?  We asked our medical school’s admissions staff for answers to these questions so you can get on with crafting your best possible application.  And JC writes in to say nice things, including that he wants to start his own show when he matriculates this fall.  Go, JC, GO!

This week in science and medicine news

One major destination for patients’ medical dollars is the emergency room visit.  One recent study asks what do docs know about the costs of caring for some common complaints they see in the ER?  Turns out, not much…but when doctors are in charge of knowing the costs of care, is the patient really helped?

Meanwhile, a startup in (where else) California wants to charge $8000 to give old people young blood, because we need more dystopian sci-fi concepts.

And a discussion on the problems people can experience surrounding orgasms reveals something about Kylie that would have made Jim Henson blush.

We want to hear from you

We LOVE hearing from you, and we really try to  answer your questions.  If you have something to say or a question to ask, call us at 347-SHORTCT any time, and email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Recess Rehash: Medical School Secondary Applications: What Do They Want?

Recess Rehash: You can buy that on Amazon?

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[Dave’s on vacation, so enjoy this re-run while he eats seafood and catches some rays on the beach]

All work and no play…is not what we do.

bodybag photo
If you’re buying this on the internet, you have a job planning for disasters, or there is something wrong with you. There are no in-betweens. Photo by CocteauBoy

Sometimes you’re having so much fun that the time flies by and you forget that you have other important things to do.  That’s what happened on this week’s show, in which Dave brings Aditi Patel, Aline Sandouk, Kylie Miller and Irene Morcuende along for a trip through the medical supplies section of Amazon.  Can they guess what the medical device is based on the reviews alone?

This week in science and medicine news

We did get to talk about one bit of medical news, pointed out to us on twitter by AJtha808Scientist: the fact that Iowa made national news by forcing the closure of 1/4 of its Planned Parenthood clinics.  Thanks for the tip!

We want to hear from you

We also heard from Hannah of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  She wrote in to let us know why, according to the study we discussed in our last show about longevity in US counties, her beautiful corner of the country is so damn healthy.  Spoiler: it doesn’t involve sitting on the couch and eating chips like Dave was hoping.  Listeners, share your suggestions with us each week.  Call us at 347-SHORTCT any time, and email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Recess Rehash: You can buy that on Amazon?

Recess Rehash: Gap Years, Disguised Blessings, and Forbidden Words

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Photo by Lonewolf_

Listener T’keyah sends Cole Cheney, Aline Sandouk, and John Pienta a question on gap years, which boils down to what kinds of gaps are okay according to admissions committees?  Cole reveals his post-med school podcasting plans, and he and John discuss how not getting your residency match can be a GOOD thing…after one is done crying.  And at T’Keyah’s suggestion, we try to offer sex education to each other without using words or concepts banned by state boards of education. Listeners, share your suggestions with us each week.  Call us at 347-SHORTCT any time, and email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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Recess Rehash: Henrietta Lacks vs. HeLa, and the People Behind the Specimens

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[With the news that HBO and Oprah Winfrey will release an adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks in April 2017, enjoy this discussion with Lacks’ great grandaughter and grandson, originally recorded in 2013]

The efficacy of any biomedical researcher is based on his or her foundation of scientific knowledge.  Few would have any problem grasping that idea.  What’s less well understood, by both researchers and laypeople alike, are the stories of the biological materials they work with.  Often these materials are cell cultures, tissue samples, human DNA.

From left to right: Dave Etler, Eboni Jones, Victoria Baptiste, David Lacks, Alison Pletch, and Greg Pelc.

Unlike the chemicals, reagents, test tubes, and machinery used in research, these materials often come from people.  That’s easily forgotten when they can be ordered from catalogs and websites in the way of other commodities. But those people, who may no longer live among us, have stories.  In the case of Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman who passed away in the early 1950s of cervical cancer, the cells taken from her without her or her families’ knowledge touched off a revolution in biomedical science.

Henrietta and Day Lacks (From
“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,”
R. Skloot, 2009)

They’ve contributed to the vaccine for polio, were the first cells to be cloned, and have been used in a number of cancer, virus, and pharmacological studies all over the world. Rebecca Skloot’s 2009 book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks noted that Mrs. Lacks’ cells have been used in more than 60,000 studies, and 300 more are being added each month.  They are of huge importance to science because they were the first so-called immortal cell line–unlike most cells, they divide and reproduce essentially without limit.  But though no-one in Henrietta Lacks’ family knew of their existence at first, the cells ultimately became of huge importance to her descendants.  In this episode, Alison Pletch, Eboni Jones, Greg Pelc, and I were honored to be able to welcome two members of the Lacks family to the show.  David Lacks is Mrs. Lacks’ grandson, and Victoria Baptiste is her great granddaughter, and they spoke with us about their ancestor, informed consent, and their work with the National Institutes of Health on HeLa cell research guidelines.

The opinions expressed in this feed and podcast are not those of the University of Iowa or the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

Recess Rehash: The Ultimate Taboo: Medicine and Suicide

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Photo by JoePenna

[With Thanksgiving late week, we didn’t record a new episode.  Enjoy this rerun, instead!]

Just hours before a new crop of medical students are to be welcomed into the world of medicine, Kaci McCleary, John Pienta, Aline Sandouk, Mark Moubarek, and Lisa Wehr confront one of the most uncomfortable topics in medical education: resident and student suicide.  Among doctors, suicide rates are much higher than among the general population.  The long hours, high pressure (from both one’s internal monologue and from outside sources) to succeed, fear of public humiliation regarding one’s shortcomings, isolation, inadequate supervision, the stigma against mental illness, the career penalties faced by those who admit to unwellness, and more, all contribute to the problem.  Institutions also have a difficult time addressing incidents of physician suicide effectively, as they try to walk a tightrope strung between respect for the privacy of the deceased, the needs of colleague survivors to talk about it, the desire to avoid adverse publicity.  Meanwhile, the work does not stop. The only breaks are a moment of silence, a visit with a grief counselor, or an “open forum” to discuss one’s feelings.

Fortunately, the culture may be changing to allow for more discussion, prevention, transparency. Institutions like the University of Iowa and Harvard University are adding counseling capacity, student groups to support struggling peers, and a greater openness to acknowledging without shaming the fact of mental illness among physicians.

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The opinions expressed in this feed and podcast are not those of the University of Iowa or the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine; nor do they reflect the views of anyone other than the people who expressed them.  If you have feedback on anything you hear on the show, positive or not, let us know.

Recess Rehash: Snapchat, Psychiatry, Femininity, and Savory Toothpastes

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Photo by Ty Nigh

With Dave on vacation, we’re taking a break this week.  Enjoy this rerun!

Corbin Weaver, Cole Cheney, Taz Khalid and Tony Rosenberg educate Dave on Snapchat.  Technology: scary!  We confront the limits and future of antibiotics as we hear about the new E. coli bug that’s immune from all of them.  We discuss how YOU can set up your own medical office, and get all your equipment from good ol’ Amazon. Corbin is on her psychiatry rotation, and it’s turning out to be a reflective time for her, especially as it relates to how we treat people with psychiatric disorders.

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Recess Rehash: Sister Helen Prejean: Why Medical Students Should Care About The Death Penalty

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Sister Helen Prejean photo
Sister Helen Prejean Photo by Irish Jesuits

[Here’s a previously posted episode, since Dave was out of town last week.  Enjoy!]

Sister Helen Prejean is a well-known anti-death penalty advocate who has ministered to prisoners on death row. She began her prison ministry in 1981 by becoming pen pals with Patrick Sonnier, a convicted murder who was sentenced to death by electrocution in Lousiana’s Angola State Prison.

Since then, she has witnessed 5 executions and founded the victim’s advocacy group “Survive” in New Orleans. She continues to counsel inmates on death row as well as the families of murder victims. Sister Prejean speaks out against the death penalty through lecturing, organizing and writing, and she is the author of two books on the subject. Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States was an international best seller, and it was developed into the 1996 motion picture for which Susan Sarandon won an Oscar for best actress.

Continue reading Recess Rehash: Sister Helen Prejean: Why Medical Students Should Care About The Death Penalty