Category Archives: Short Coat Podcast

All episodes of the Short Coat Podcast.

More Surgery for Better Global Health: Dr. Mark Shrime


Is surgery too expensive for global health?

expensive photo
Is surgery ‘too expensive’ for global health?

Mark Shrime is an otolaryngologist (and American Ninja Warrior competitor) who may just be on the leading edge of change in the way global health sees surgery.  In this conversation with Tony Mai, Amanda Manorot, Brian Wall, and Hadeal Ayoub, Dr. Shrime argues that the way surgery is used in international development to date–surgeons fly in for two weeks, do their thing, and fly back out–doesn’t do much to allow their host countries to develop their own surgery skills.  For his part, he’s managed to arrange his work at Harvard to allow him two months abroad helping to strengthen health systems in countries like Congo, Haiti, Cameroon, and Madagascar.

The problem is, policy-makers see surgery as ‘too expensive,’ disregarding it as a tool for global health intervention.  Ebola and Zika therefore get all the attention.  But analysis of the cost-effectiveness of surgery as a tool in global health efforts belies this view, and shows the burden of surgical diseases may be as high as a third of the global total.  Fortunately, Dr. Shrime has good advice for future surgeons who face a system that embraces Relative Value Units as a measure of physician performance, and yet want to pursue work outside their hospitals to effect global healthcare change.

We Want to Hear From You

What are your thoughts on the effort to elevate surgery as a global health intervention? Any thoughts on who we should interview next? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email to share your ideas.

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Thanksgiving surprise: they didn’t vomit


Happy Thanksgiving to Short Coats Everywhere!

Dave loves all Short Coats–he’s like a benevolent god, except without any godly powers or omniscience (as well as a slightly lower sense of self-importance) but with plenty of love. However, he does like to put people in iffy situations, which is why he and his wife Christine fired up the Short Coat Test Kitchen to create Golden Thanksgiving Perfection Salad for the co-hosts.  Perfection not included, but Gabe Conley, Claire Casteneda, and noobs Erik Kneller and Nick Evans don’t hate it.  While they ‘enjoy’ that, listener Rachel messaged us on Facebook to suggest we discuss the latest news in chronic traumatic encephalopathy research, in which former NFL player Fred McNeill is the first to have had a PET scan before his death, which means there is now evidence that PET scans can be used as a diagnostic tool for CTE.  Speaking of research, Dave pops a quiz from tweets on #weirdresearch.

This Week in Medical News

A 7-year-old boy has had 80% of his skin replaced with close to 1 square meter of skin genetically engineered from his own cells…and he’s doing great!  And another genetic engineering first will soon bear fruit (or fail) for a man who is the first to have had his DNA engineered from within as a treatment for Hunter syndrome.

We Want to Hear From You

How was your break?  Did you miss school?  Do you have things for us to talk about? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email

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The Business of Medicine


Should medical students learn more about the business of medicine?

Medical school definitely hasn’t made a priority of teaching about how medicine works as a business.  MDs who get involved in that side of healthcare typically learn on the job. But recent caller Ryan is interested in that topic, and wanted to hear from us about what CCOM students are learning about it.

A couple years ago, M4 Joe Nellis and some other students founded the Healthcare Management and Delivery Science Distinction Track.  One reason was that their families had questions they couldn’t answer about the topic.  They also knew that decisions about healthcare delivery and outcomes evaluation were being made without MDs having a clear idea (or even input on) how and why.  Joe and M2s Philip Huang and Amanda Manarot got together with Dave to talk about what they’ve learning on issues like teamwork, e-health, data and decision-making. And while the healthcare leaders of tomorrow still have to learn much of the biz after they leave medical school, having a fuller grasp of the forces that affect how medicine is practiced is key, especially as the private practice of medicine gives way to employment in hospitals and other organizations.

This Week in Medical News

Dave took issue with this article which posits that doctors’ salaries are a problem for healthcare costs, despite the fact that according to the author’s own figures, that amount makes up about 1/32 of the cost of healthcare per US household.

We Want to Hear From You

Do you want to learn about this stuff?  Or are you content to worry only about taking care of patients? Tell us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email

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“I’ve Got Some Bad News”


Delivering bad news is an art.

uh oh photo
Photo by Powerhouse Museum Collection

When  many people think about becoming a physician, they focus on the positive side of the practice of medicine. Things like diagnosing and successfully treating patients, forming therapeutic relationships, and even income and prestige get most attention.  But there is one thing that receives less attention: sometimes, doctors deliver very bad news to their patients.  Learning how to do that gracefully in a way that supports patients rather than devastating them is an important skill.  And in a team-based environment, it can be tricky. So, M3 Mark Moubarek shows M1s Joyce Wahba, Gabe Conley, and new co-host Claire Casteneda the ropes.  Of course, Dave devises an educational exercise to “help.”

This Week in Medical News

In other bad news, it’s not getting any easier to get into medical school…in fact, it’s getting harder.  In the last decade, applications have doubled for top 10 schools focusing on primary care, and others (like Iowa) have increased 1.5 times.  Time to be interesting, applicants!

We Want to Hear From You

Are you doing something more interesting than checking off the boxes on your medical school application? We definitely want to know about it.  Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email  If you’re doing something really interesting, maybe we’ll interview you on the show!

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Reaffirming points of pride, and life in rural Iowa


We’re Iowa proud

grain elevator view photo
Photo by cwwycoff1

Dave has been noticing a certain mid-semester droopiness among some students at the College of Medicine.  Perhaps, he conjectured, we all need a bit of a pick-me-up.   So, Levi Endelman, Issac Schwantes, and new co-host Derek Bradley share things about themselves of which they are proud.  Issac isn’t much impressed by Dave’s point of pride.  And the boys reminisce about their rural Iowa upbringings, from careening over the ubiquitous gravel roads to romancing atop grain elevators.

This Week in Medical News

Vox has begun collecting data from ER visitors on the resulting bills, so the American Hospital Association issues a warning to its members.  And the US opioid epidemic is finally a national emergency, officially.  Will the president’s latest proclamation have any effect?  Will the American taxpayer get its $57,000 worth?

We Want to Hear From You

What do you do when you’re academically down in the dumps?  Do you take your cell phone to the bathroom?  Admit it! Show the world you aren’t afraid of its judgement by calling us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email

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Med School Medicine vs. Real World Medicine


In migrant health clinics, the ideal world of medicine goes out the window.

In Iowa and many other states, migrant workers are a big part of the economy.  Many of these people don’t have time for and can’t afford regular medical care.  But leaving them without care isn’t an option, either.  Fortunately, there are organizations which engage with this population. The Carver College of Medicine, for instance, has a very strong emphasis on learning through serving the medically underserved.  By setting up migrant health clinics where those workers live–in their often temporary and extremely basic housing communities–students can learn about the practice of medicine outside a doctor’s office or hospital while bringing badly needed healthcare to those who’d otherwise forgo it.    Second-year med student Jesse White suggested a show on working with these populations.  Joined by fellow second-year Erin Steele and retired Physician Assistant Peg Bouska, we discuss the non-ideal world of practicing medicine without the right spaces, equipment, systems, and tools…and what students learn about medicine by doing so.

We Want to Hear From You

Is learning through service important to you?  What experiences have you had with service learning, and what did you learn? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email  We’d love to hear from you.

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Alumni Visit


A visit with those who made it through med school

slow cooker photo
Med students’ secret weapon. Photo by Pseph

Alumni Nate Curl, MD (emergency medicine, ’07) and Cathryn Turner (pediatric psychiatry, ’10) returned to the Carver College of Medicine last week to attend The Examined Life Conference Jason and Dave put on every year.  It was a great opportunity to connect Levi Endelman and Matt Wilson with them for a discussion of their paths to med school, the kinds of experiences they’ve had since graduating, and some of the things they’d like to have done differently.  They also helped answer a listener question from Mary, who is concerned about what she’s heard: that self-care–eating healthy, exercise, etc.–in medical school and beyond is well-nigh impossible for such chronically busy people.

We Want to Hear From You

What concerns do you have about entering medical school? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email  We’ll try to help.

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Planning Now for MD Happiness


Can You Plan Now for Happiness Later?

happiness photo
Photo by ecastro

Once you’re on the path to doctorhood, it can be hard to step off.  You’ll probably be happy…but what if you find out you’d rather just skate?   Sure, you’re making money, you’re an important part of the medical profession, you’ve got this under control…but there’s something missing: happiness, satisfaction.  How can medical students prevent happiness from not happening?  How can anyone?  Eric Snieders, Brady Campbell, Erica Henderson, and Marissa Evers take the example of San Diego’s local hero Slomo (former neurologist John Kitchin) as well as the apparently happy lives of hunter gatherers and residents of Norway, (but perhaps NOT the residents of the US of A) and try to think about what will keep them happy as they wend their way through the medical industrial complex.

This Week in Medical News

Thinking about tattooing your eyeball?  No?  Hmm, weird.  Well, a Canadian model would like you to think again…especially if you’re planning on having your boyfriend do it.  You’ve been warned.

We Want to Hear From You

Are you eyeing a tattoo?  Got one you want to show us? We want to see it!  Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email  Do all three!

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Pets in Medical School


Is having a pet while you’re in medical school a good idea?

Dave’s gotten a few requests over the years from folks who want to know: is it a good idea to have pets while you’re in medical school?  And Dave also has co-hosts who wanted to talk about their pets on The Short Coat Podcast.  Now, Dave isn’t a pet kinda guy, but luckily he went out of town and Kylie Miller was able to take over the mic.  Which means that finally, after all this time, some med student pet owners–Kaci McCleary, Vic Hatcher, Tim Maxwell, and Lisa Wehr–were able to get together with Kylie to talk about the challenges and rewards of having a fur baby while working through medical school.

We Want to Hear From You

Are you worried about having a pet while studying medicine?  Or are you completely unconcerned? Tell us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email

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The Donors Who Get No Plaques Or Portraits


Deeded Bodies: Medical Students’ First Patients

donor photoDonors are very important to universities and medical schools, typically contributing money to further the educational mission.  Often, donors get a plaque on the wall, and some even get whole buildings named after them.

But we’re also grateful for the donors who get no plaques and whose names aren’t widely known:  those who, after they pass away, donate their bodies to medical schools so that students can use them to learn. On the afternoon of the CCOM Deeded Body Ceremony, Patrick Brau, Mackenzie Walhof, Brady Campbell, and Reed Johnson reflect on the nature of this gift, what it has meant to them, and some of the unexpected things they learned.

This Week in Medical News

Scientists were surprised this week to find out that jellyfish sleep, perhaps just like we do…which is weird because you’d think that sort of thing would get them killed.  And in the spirit of the season (interview season, that is), we discuss evidence for why you probably shouldn’t have your med school or residency interview at 30,000 feet.

We Want to Hear From You

Would you donate your body to a medical school? Why? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email  Do all three!

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