Category Archives: Short Coat Podcast

All episodes of the Short Coat Podcast.

Why Come to the US for Residency When Turkey has Pet Parks?

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istanbul photoTurkish listener Ali would like to come to the US for residency and to practice medicine someday, so he wrote to us to ask us what we knew about how that works.  Co-host Nadia Wahba happened to visit Turkey a while back and blew our minds by letting us in on a little secret: that in the city she visited, there are public parks full of well-cared-for pets you can visit and play with.

Also, Dave subjects the gang–which also includes MD/PhD student Miranda Schene, M2 Jenna Mullins, and M3 Brendan George–to a game of Great Minds Think Alike: Med School Edition.


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You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

This Week in Medical News

A Florida resident calls the cops after they receive what the suspect is a box of Novel Coronavirus (now named Covid-19 by science) from China.  And how an AI alerted some agencies and businesses early to the pandemic, before it blew up and just a day after a now-deceased Chinese ophthalmologist tried to warn his med school classmates.

We Want to Hear From You

How are you? Tell us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com!  We love you.

Continue reading Why Come to the US for Residency When Turkey has Pet Parks?

Singer, Songwriter, Scientist: Rosanne Cash

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What does Rosanne Cash have to do with science or medicine?

Sure, the American pop, folk, country, and roots rock legend isn’t technically a scientist.  But it was surprising for us to learn that Rosanne Cash has the soul of one within her, with its arms spread comfortably around her musician and poet souls.  When the University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium reached out to the College of Medicine to let us know she’d be putting on a concert and might be interested in coming to speak on a panel, we had to dig a little deeper to find out about the connection.

Rosanne was diagnosed in 2007 with Chiari malformation with syringomyelia, a disorder of the skull which puts pressure on the brain and causes the cerebellum to protrude into the spinal canal.  It’s an incredibly painful, debilitating problem that is usually diagnosed in children, not in a woman in her 50s.  Her doctors gave her all sorts of diagnoses (some with a dose of condescension), until she diagnosed herself.  Even then, it took finding the right doctor to believe her to get her on the long journey to recovery.  The lessons of her identity and career-threatening condition are profound.

Then, too, there is Rosanne’s curiosity about music and the brain.  With MD/PhD student Miranda Schene, M1 Alexa Schmitz and neuroscientist Justin Sipla, PhD she was fully on board for an often trippy exploration of how and why we are creatures of rhythm, the “sorcery” our brains use to fabricate meaning from vibrations in the world around us, and what an openness to shared experiences can do for medical students and doctors and their patients.

There are other connections to medicine.  The link between a performer being on stage for an audience and physicians performing a role for their patients are considerable, and the lessons Rosanne has learned about creating a shared experience between performer and audience are applicable to the relationship between doctors and their patients.  But there is also her desire to “keep a beginner’s mind” that every doctor should appreciate–cultivating one’s curiosity and understanding that “insecurity is part of the game” are essential lessons that could keep you from missing something important in patient care.


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You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

We Want to Hear From You

Never forget that we are always excited to answer our listeners’ questions or take their suggestions. Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Singer, Songwriter, Scientist: Rosanne Cash

$600,000 in med school debt?!

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shout photoListener Salutes McGee (not her real name) is planning on med school after her tour of duty.  What hard-won skills, she wonders, will transfer to medicine?  And Krystal writes in with her med school debt worries.  Will she need to plan to pay off $600,000 all in?  No need to fear, Krystal and Salutes, because M4s Liza Mann, Derek Bradley, Jessie White, and M2 Abby Fife are here to soothe your fears and answer your questions.

Dave quizzes his co-hosts on medicinal booze.  And And Dave heard from University of Maryland medical student and Elisabeth Fassas that she’d written a book published by Simon and Schuster’s Kaplan arm just before she started medical school last fall.  So as a bonus, he asked her for some tips on how you can set yourself up for a successful pre-medical experience from the very beginning.  Pick up her book, Making Pre-Med Count, at your favorite bookseller.


Buy Our Merch and Give At The Same Time

You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

This Week in Medical News

For the first time, lab-grown heart muscle tissue has been transplanted into a human patient.  And never mind coughing into your elbow or sneezing into a handkerchief; if you want to stop the spread of germs, just lower your damn voice.

We Want to Hear From You

Are you (or do you know of) a medical student anywhere who’s done something cool like Elisabeth Fassas? Write to us at theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Maybe we can help spread the word!

Continue reading $600,000 in med school debt?!

Do These Things to Manage Your New M1 Life

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Study, but also make friends, join in, do things that give you joy, and keep being you!

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Photo by Internet Archive Book Images

Listener Joseph starts medical school soon, and wants to know how to manage his new life as an M1.  Luckily Kylie Miller, Kalyn Campbell, Marissa Evers, and Erica Henderson (all veteran med students) can help, Joseph–bottom line, studying is paramount, but there are keys to success you need to remember.

Plus, we visit Yahoo Answers for some real-life health questions, including a couple that got Dave thinking about his own embarrassing problems.


Buy Our Merch and Give At The Same Time

You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

This Week in Medical News

Radiologists have begun to re-think something they’ve been doing to protect patients since the 1950s. The NIH and many others aren’t doing what they’re required to do with their research data, leaving important data unreported.  And for the first time, drug company executives have been sentenced to jail time for their roles in opioid addiction.

We Want to Hear From You

Got a burning question for us about med school, being a doctor, or literally anything else? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

Continue reading Do These Things to Manage Your New M1 Life

First author in an 8 week summer research project?

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Research takes time, so what’s a realistic outcome for the summer research student?

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Hurry up, science!

Pipette LeGogettuer (not her real name) wrote in to ask for our input on her summer research plans.  Not only is she struggling to come up with a project idea but she has very specific hopes for her outcome–first authorship.  Is that realistic? How can she find a project and someone who will sponsor her in their lab?  Don’t worry, Pipette!  Miranda Schene, Danial Syed, Art Thanupakorn, and Mahek Shahid–most of whom have done summer research themselves–have got your answers!

And Dave puts the crew through another of his ‘educational’ activities, a role playing scenario set in an operating room 100 years in the FYOOOTURE!


Buy Our Merch and Give At The Same Time

You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

This Week in Medical News

In Romania this past December a patient undergoing surgery for her pancreatic cancer caught fire during her operation.  And a study in JAMA Internal Medicine has found that old habits die hard, at least when it comes to giving pelvic exams and pap smears to young women and girls.

We Want to Hear From You

What do you think of our advice to Pipette? Do you have a question we can help answer? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading First author in an 8 week summer research project?

Bonus Episode: The Lost Pre-Christmas Show

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Photo by DeveionPhotography

[Here’s an episode that we thought was gone forever.  Dave claimed that to release it required extensive bitbashing by forensic data reconstruction specialists, but we suspect he just forgot it in his other pants.]

On a previous episode, M2 Mason LaMarche discussed a college friend who had a habit of sketching his bowel movements.  On this episode, his friend defends his artistic endeavor, while another LaMarche friend writes in with a question about mind over matter.

And the gang–Mason, and M2s Emma Barr, Nick Lind, and Sahaana Arumugam–tastes some treats from another land.  What does that have to do with med school?  I don’t know, cultural competency?


Buy Our Merch and Give At The Same Time

You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

This Week in Medical News

JAMA’s case study on frontotemporal dementia has implications for us in the Carver College of Medicine’s Writing and Humanities Program.  And Harvard geneticist George Church is creating a dating app to match people based on genetic compatibility…in other words, eugenics?

We Want to Hear From You

What question do you have about med school, the application process, or your love life? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  We love questions!

Continue reading Bonus Episode: The Lost Pre-Christmas Show

Recess Rehash: Choose a Specialty, Choose a Lifestyle: Factors We Consider

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writer photo[Happy Holidays!  Dave is on vacation, but here’s a re-run to tide you over.  We’ll be back with new episodes starting 1/16] 

Short Coat Scribbleson Wordsonpaper (not his real name) wrote a paper for one of his classes, and was told it’d be worth putting it out there for publication.  But where, and how?  So we asked Writing and Humanities Program Director (and SCP exec producer) Cate Dicharry to give some guidance.  Scribbleson’s second question, about the lifestyle factors that medical students weigh when making a specialty choice, was a great one for co-hosts Mackenzie Walhof, Miranda Schene, and Abby Fyfe to dig into.

And Dave puts on his ten-gallon perfesser hat, offering up a pop quiz on the 2019 Ig Nobel prize winners.


Buy Our Merch and Give At The Same Time

You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

This Week in Medical News

what happens when you want to study pregnancy and other women’s health issues?  Yeah, your research proposal gets rejected because you didn’t include men among your subjects.  And an Oregon doctor finds out that he has 17 kids he didn’t know about from his time in medical school.

We Want to Hear From You

What factors are you weighing to make your specialty choice? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Recess Rehash: Choose a Specialty, Choose a Lifestyle: Factors We Consider

Your patients’ stories will sustain you in your darkest hours (bonus ft. Dr. John Mrachek)

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Photo by lifecreations

On this bonus episode of The Short Coat, we hear from Dr. John Mrachek, an anesthesiologist of 17 years who reached out to us at Iowa because he’d long felt a wedge being driven between doctors and their patients. He said that wedge, made of mouse clicks, political meddling, insurance middlemen, patient satisfaction surveys, and annoying electronic health records–was disconnecting physicians from their purpose. And that missing sense of purpose, he fears, is leading them to burn out. It’s contributing to a frightening problem: physician suicide. Modern medicine, he says, is in peril.

Among the solutions, Dr. Mrachek feels, is to encourage physicians and students to take inventory of their most memorable patient stories. He argues that this will return to them that lost connection to their work. This talk, given to our first- and second-year medical students and the first he’d given on the topic, is the the beginning of his mission to spread that idea.


Buy Our Merch and Give At The Same Time

You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

We Want to Hear From You

Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three.

Continue reading Your patients’ stories will sustain you in your darkest hours (bonus ft. Dr. John Mrachek)

Study Tips, Annoying Hics, and Fat Cloud Rips

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poop photoA question from listener Blake–do we use Anki or Brainscape for studying–led to a discussion of the various tools and techniques Aline Sandouk (MD/PhD student), Nick Lind, Madeline Cusimano, and Mason LaMarche (all M2s) use to shove medical knowledge into their brains.

And the co-hosts get some practice with their patient communication skills using questions posed by Yahoo! Answers users.


Buy Our Merch and Give At The Same Time

You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

This Week in Medical News

MIT wants pics of your poop to train their artificial intelligence with, which is not at all a problem.  Hiccups could be a way of teaching babies how to monitor their breathing, an activity that is partially under voluntary control.  And the vaping sickness epidemic continues.

We Want to Hear From You

What are your favorite study apps and tools? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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Microaggressions: preparing to experience, witness, and commit them

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Photo by F H Mira

Good intentions are everywhere.  Good behavior…well, that’s more complicated.  Such is the case with microaggressions, the term coined by Harvard University psychiatrist Chester Pierce in 1970 to describe minor yet hurtful comments.  Pierce’s original definition encompassed statements aimed at African Americans, but of course one can accidentally or purposefully put down any minority individual–women, LGBTQ+ individuals, non-white ethnicities, and more.

Unfortunately, nearly 50 years after Dr. Pierce proposed the term, microaggressions are still a thing.  Dave admits to his sins, and M1s Sahaanna Arumagam and Nathen Spitz, along with SCP intern Joel Horne discuss how to prepare for the inevitability of witnessing, experiencing, and  committing microaggressions.

Plus, can this week’s co-hosts diagnose their weird patients’ quirks?


Buy Our Merch and Give At The Same Time

You care about others, or you wouldn’t be into this medicine thing. Our #merchforgood program lets you to give to our charity of the semester and get something for yourself at the same time!

This Week in Medical News

Speaking of good intentions gone awry, hospitals are relying on AI algorithms to direct extra treatment at those who need it, except the AI thinks wealthy white people are needier than African American patients.  And researchers announce an effective treatment for 90% of cystic fibrosis patients.

We Want to Hear From You

What are your microaggression stories? Tell us at 347-SHORTCT anytime or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Microaggressions: preparing to experience, witness, and commit them