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Is Academic Medicine Right For You?

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Photo by simpleinsomnia

Academic medicine–in which a physician works at a university and may have research and/or teaching duties in addition to patient care–is but one of the fulfilling options available to medical students.  What’s that lifestyle like?  That’s the question an anonymous listener (who we’ll call Dr. Piledhigh Erandeeper) wanted our help answering. Fortunately we have Miranda Schene and Sahaana Arumugam (both in our Medical Scientist Training Program, so they know a thing or two about academic medicine) on hand to tell us–including co-hosts M1 Brandon Bacalzo and M2 Mason LaMarche–what they know about this career option.

Plus Dave puts his co-hosts through a game of Doctor Forehead, featuring some of the more interesting oddball medical stories he ran across prepping for this week’s show (see the next section for those links).


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This Week in Medical News

The President’s new budget could be another nail in the coffin for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.  Mayo applicants get acceptance letters that the institution later had to rescind, causing one of the disgruntled victims to create a crowdfunding campaign.  And if you’re in the market for “global elite” DNA, then…well, you’ve already missed your chance.  And from our game:

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Is there a MD career niche you want to know more about? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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Step 1 is Pass/Fail. Now what???

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Photo by ˙Cаvin 〄

Does making Step 1 pass/fail change everything?

The news that the USMLE changed the all-important Step 1 exam–which many residency programs have been using improperly to stratify applicants and which can affect one’s specialty choice–to pass/fail starting in 2022-ish caused quite a bit of shock and consternation last week.  Sure, some celebrated the change as a victory, but there’s just one liiiiiittle problem: the more competitive residency programs feel they need some standardized measure to base their choices on.

Several listeners wrote in with questions on the change, and the underlying concerns those questions addressed was the uncertainty left in the wake of this change–to wit, “what am I to aim for if there is no three-digit score I can point to as a mark of excellence?”  Though the powers-that-be are essentially responding, “we’re working on it, we’ll get back to you on that,” there are some possibilities to consider.   And we shall, with the help of M4 Matt Wilson, MD/PhD students Aline Sandouk and Hannah Van Ert, and M1 Nathen Spitz.

Special thanks to listener Terrified Chihuahua and everyone who reached out with questions on this sudden shift in the medical education landscape!


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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!

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What are your thoughts on how a pass/fail Step 1 score will change medical education and the residency application process? Did we miss anything? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com!

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How residency programs misuse STEP 1 scores

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Residency Programs are Using Step 1 Scores Wrong.

From Andrea Ash’s research on Step 1 scores.

When listener Celebi Jigglypuff (yes, that’s a pseudonym) reached out to ask whether we felt taking Step 1 after a year of clinical rotations (as some schools require) was a good idea or not, we were prepared to sink our teeth into that and have a normal show, too.  But then, University of Iowa College of Education PhD student Andrea Ash happened to reach out to us because she’s been looking at Step 1 as a class project and was surprised about what she was finding.  Everything from residency programs using scores for an unintended purpose to a cut score far below the averages that students were obtaining to officials snarking about students who should be studying rather than having lives outside of med school.  And thus, Dave’s plans for the show were subverted for the greater good–a discussion on much of what’s wrong with this important exam that can affect a medical student’s dream specialty choice.

Is all hope lost if you score less than average for a given specialty? Certainly not!  These are averages.  But it’s a source of anxiety that to many seems unnecessary–maybe it’s long past time, they say, to make Step 1 pass/fail.  Of course, then residency programs would grasp for some other metric to use as a way to weed out their long lists of candidates, but we’d be happy to deal with that in a future show.

 


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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!

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Did you catch what started us talking about this week’s topic?  Celebi Jigglypuff’s question!  See why we love listener questions? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime or email theshortcoats@gmail.com and tell us what you want us to discuss on next week’s show!

Continue reading How residency programs misuse STEP 1 scores

Recess Rehash: How to ADHD in Med School

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Jessica McCabe and Kelsey Adler pose in the SCP studio

[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] 

We on The Short Coat Podcast like to encourage people to follow their med school dreams in spite of whatever apparent obstacles stand in the way.  So when we found out that Jessica McCabe, host of the popular YouTube channel How to ADHD, was coming to the University of Iowa, we were excited to get her on the show.  And with co-hosts Irene Morcuende and Kelsey Adler–both successful medical students and ADHD brains–on hand along with CCOM learning specialist Chia-Wen Moon to prove that this obstacle can be just another bump in the road.  You may be surprised to hear how those with ADHD brains–and the groups they work in–can actually benefit from their atypical thought processes.

But what kinds of effects does ADHD have in med school?  What techniques have worked for Kelsey, Jessica, and Irene?  How do relationships suffer and flourish when one of you has ADHD?  What does a learning specialist do?  And how can medical schools support its students who need help?  All questions we discuss for you, Short Coats!


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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!

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Do you have ADHD?  What about a learning disability?  What are you struggling with, and who or what has helped you? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.   Continue reading Recess Rehash: How to ADHD in Med School

Happy Holidays!

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Photo by Lisa Zins

This episode comes out the day after Christmas, and is recorded the week before, so we’re exploring what some describe as “the most wonderful time of the year,” and what others describe as Thursday.  Given that recording date, in a bit of time travel Hillary O’Brien, Laura Quast, Jenna Johnson, and LJ Agostinelli share what they want to will have gotten (because time travel is confusing for grammarians) for Christmas.  LJ shares her recent experience defending her thesis, Kylie Miller stops by with her cat Mowgli, the gang tries Turkish treats, and Dave forces them to take a pop quiz on Christmas according to unreliable internet sources.


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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

American patients turn to internet black markets to trade, barter, and sell their medicines and medical supplies because that’s how great our system of healthcare is.  And get ready for home epigenetic testing.

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We give free advice!  Call us with your question at 347-SHORTCT,  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  We’re here to help!

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Freezing Development to Help Care for the Disabled (ft. Dr. Ryan Gray)

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The amazing Dr. Ryan Gray, host of quite a few of the pre-med focused podcasts over at mededmedia.com (of which we, of course, are a member), joins Maddie Mix, Hillary O’Brien, Nick Lind, and Kyle Kinder as guest co-host!   Which is good, because we start with a rather difficult topic: should the parents of a profoundly disabled child–who will never be able to care for herself in even the most basic of ways–be allowed to ‘freeze’ her development so that she remains physically six years old if it will enable them care for her at home?

Plus, with the news from our own University of Iowa that surgeons often prepare for surgery by watching YouTube, Dave subjects Dr. Gray and his co-hosts to a YouTube-based health topics pop quiz.


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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

The decline of rural emergency rooms has gone so far as to create a new kind of telemedicine.  Crazymothers (no, that’s not a slur, that’s what they call themselves) want us to stop calling them anti-vaxxers.  And month-long birth control may become achievable if you can swallow a six-pointed star about 2 inches in diameter.

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So, what’s up with you? Tell (or ask) us anything at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Freezing Development to Help Care for the Disabled (ft. Dr. Ryan Gray)

Turkey, Telomerase, and Time-Turning Trauma Treatment

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Happy Thanksgiving, bishes!

turkey photo
Uh, uh, nope, I’m out. Photo by chumlee10

FYI, there’s new merch for charity (stickers!) at at theshortcoat.com/store! Also, It’s Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America, and as we ‘muricans collapse on our sofas replete with turkey with all the trimmings, let us give thanks that M1s Nathen Spitz and Morgan Kennedy, and MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk are here to discuss auto brewery syndrome (or how to be a guilt-free Thanksgiving Day day-drinker if you want your life ruined for years by a real zebra of an illness).

And the gang tries to string together arbitrary medical words into illnesses and breakthrough treatments.


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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

Trauma surgeons at the University of Maryland let the world know that they’re the first in the US to put patients in suspended animation.  And Dave doesn’t understand at all why media outlets are giving a seemingly minor development in aging research–we share some of the features of an important cell replication enzyme with plants, woot!–“breakthrough” status.

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Did anyone in your family embarrass or annoy you on Thanksgiving? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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Spooky Med Student Stories!

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Happy Halloween!

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Photo by curtis40D

Today’s show features multiple screams, so don’t freak out.  Because it’s Halloweeeeeeeen!  Co-hosts Hillary O’Brien, Jenna Johnson, Elizabeth Shirazi, and newbie Erica Noyes (all M1s) tell their scary med student stories for your entertainment.  And Short Coat MD Wannabe has a serious question about her future, as her post-bacc program is proving harder than expected.


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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

Mortician YouTuber Caitlin Doughty, of Ask a Mortician, is doing good work to change how America fears death and draw the curtain back from its mysteries.  Some undergrad has the amazing job of making little cars for rats to drive around in.  And a haunted wheelchair is terrifying security guards in Chandigarh, India.

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What’s the scariest thing to ever happen to you? Call us at 347-SHORTCT to tell us in your own words!

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Terms and Conditions Apply

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Mothers Want To Know

rooster photoCo-host and MD/PhD student Miranda Schene is a woman who has obviously been raised well.  So when her mother, Ginny, wrote to theshortcoats@gmail.com asking about the surprises med school had in store for this week’s gang, Dave–who also loves his mother–couldn’t very well say no!  M1 Nathen Spitz and M2 Jenna Mullins, along with new co-host M1 Bryn Myers join in to give Mama Ginny the deets.

Plus Dave asks if his co-hosts can find and supply doctors’ testimonials for some As-Seen-On-TV products.


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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

The plight of a Colorado prisoner sheds more light on the abysmal healthcare incarcerated mothers-to-be get.  And some interesting case studies show why it might not be a good idea to keep roosters in your backyard if you have varicose veins; and what a diet of chips, fries, and sausages can do to your eyes.

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What are your favorite case studies? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Dave can’t get enough!

Continue reading Terms and Conditions Apply

Medicine Has a DARK Past

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Some of the most important contributions to knowledge have come at a terrible price

good and evil photoThe BBC featured a story on their site about an anatomy atlas that was created by a Nazi doctor, and the images within are those of hundreds of dissected political prisoners.  The very conditions in Hitler’s concentration camps may have been among the reasons why these illustrations are so detailed.  It is a terrible piece of work.  This book, now out of print for decades, is still on the shelves of surgeons and consulted (if rather furtively) when they run out of other options.  But new co-hosts Morgan Kennedy, Nathen Spitz, Margurite Jakubiak, along with M2 Madeline Cusimano,  have to ask–can its vast utility outweigh it’s evil origins?  Short Coats, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Plus the gang visits Yahoo! Answers to practice their patient-communication skills, sort of.


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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

Pharmaceutical giants Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma were both in the news recently as opioid manufacturers who will be paying millions for their roles in the opioid epidemic.  And a study suggests intermittent fasting (a practice in some religions but also a method of dieting) may be effective at limiting inflammation for rheumatoid arthritis patients.

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Send us your thoughts on today’s topics!!! Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.comContinue reading Medicine Has a DARK Past