Should you consider romance when selecting a med school?


Med school can test a relationship.

broken heart photo
Photo by Free For Commercial Use (FFC)

Lauren wrote in to ask us to what extent her love life should play a role in her selection of a medical school, and how we thought med school challenges relationships. Gabe Conely, Joyce Wahba, Claire Casteneda, and new host Brendan George discussed their perspective on how med school can affect romantic relationships, and what role it should play in the selection of a school to attend.

And, after reading an article about how blind people use echolocation–and that they were better at it even than previously thought–Dave thought up an experiment to test his co-hosts.  A stupid experiment, but he’s a podcast host not a doctor.

This Week in Medical News

The opioid epidemic isn’t going anywhere…and it’s getting worse despite the hand wringing done around the country about how to arrest it.  And 23andMe has the green light from the FDA to test customers for BRCA mutations.

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Do you know anyone who echolocates? That’s something we all want to hear more about!  Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email

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Lack of Empathy: A Med School Dealbreaker?


Everyone knows: doctors have to have empathy…right?

empathy photo
Photo by Pierre Phaneuf

Listener Mo wrote to us at 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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Another Student Fights Mental Illness Stigma


More and more students are speaking up about their mental illness struggles

desperate photoOne of the things we Short Coats agree on is that the stigma medical students and physicians face when dealing with mental illness must end.  We are people, too, and thus are subject to the full range of human maladies.  So when listener Kate reached out to to tell us of her University of Michigan classmate Rahael Gupta’s JAMA article addressing her own struggles, Matt Wilson, Marisa Evers, and Gabe Conley could only respond with sympathy and admiration.

Turns out, however, that the Google autocomplete hive-mind isn’t terribly sympathetic to MDs, med students, pre-meds, or nurses.  That’s what we learned playing a game of Google Feud.

This Week in Medical News

Do you want to throw away your #nofilter lifestyle…completely?  Then jump on the trend and ask your plastic surgeon to make you look like your favorite Snapchat filter.  More news on the fight against influenza comes as a Japanese company has crafted a drug that eliminates the virus in just 24 hours.

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Recess Rehash: Bropocalypse 2017


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.

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Med Student Parents, Part 2 | Plan for Debt but Don’t Worry


This time, a mom’s point of view.

doctor computer photo
Photo by j.reed

On our last show, we fielded a question from Courtney who wants to go to med school but is worried about being a mom and a med student.  We got one dad’s perspective then, and now it’s time for mom.  Dr. Maya Lopez (CCOM MD ’04) was another non-trad entering school with a supportive husband and a few bundles of joy.  She told Eric Schnieders, Tucker Dangremond, and Sanjeeva Weerasinghe how she dove headlong into med school, how she and her husband (along with a village) made parenting and med school work for them.

To top it off, we got another question from Clovis (not his real  name) who was worried that he’d either have to join the military or sell all of his internal organs to afford medical school…unless we could come up with some other options for him.  CCOM debt counselor Chris Roling had some good news (not to mention advice) for him.

This Week in Medical News

The medical education world is humming with the news that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has reversed a long-standing prohibition against students contributing to patients’ medical records.  Boring?  Maybe, but it’s going to change how clerkships are done and the ease with which students make the transition to residency in the very near future.

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Do you have worries we can soothe (or stoke)? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email  We’re ready to give free (and perhaps even good) advice!

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How Med Student Parents Make It Happen


Can you be a parent while you’re in medical school?

tired mom photo
Photo by tvdflickr

Listener Courtney, a 26-year-old mother of three wants to know if her med school dream is even possible.  Obviously this is a two-part question since there are both moms and dads to consider, so we’ll have a mom on a future show to help.  But first, Gabe Conley, Marissa Evers, Joyce “Spicy” Wahba, and Kaci McCleary invited 2004 CCOM grad Dr. Tom McNalley on the show to represent the dads.  Tom was 39 with three kids of his own and a wife who was working towards her PhD when he entered med school.  We’ll find out how they did it.

After that, Dave and the gang do a little introspection in the way that medical students often are asked to do: by taking personality tests and comparing their results.

This Week in Medical News

Did you know that you can rent a human head?  We didn’t know either.  Did you know you can rent a HIV- or hep C-infected human head?  You can, if you were unwise enough to rent from these people.  And a man who needed a kidney found one at the happiest place on earth, sort of.

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Have doubts about your coming med school journey? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email  We can help.

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Tales from the Clinic: from Theory to Practice


There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

choose photo
Photo by amountaineer

Kylie Miller and Issac Schwantes take a break from their fairly new clinical duties to let Gabe Conley and Erik Kneller know how it’s going working with actual patients.  What unexpected things have they learned?  Were their professors really correct when the said that arcane bit of information would actually be useful in the real world?  Were their fears (whatever they were) realized?  Would they rather grandma puke every time they broke wind, or have a shingles outbreak whenever they get a passing grade or better in medical school?  Dave assures them: these are the questions listeners want answers to.

This Week in Medical News

The nation’s largest health insurer, Aetna, wants patients to diagnose themselves and risk huge ER bills if they get it wrong.  We recap the work of our own Sarah Ziegenhorn and her non-profit Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition, which is on the forefront of needle exchange efforts in Iowa.  The DEA is relaxing rules that prevented many healthcare workers from prescribing treatment to opioid addiction sufferers.  And we look at the tiny, cute robots that may one day crawl, tumble, and wiggle around your insides like an over-active inchworm.

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What are your fears for starting the next phase of your education?  Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email

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Refusing to Treat: A Collision of Medicine and Conscience


Do doctors need protection from having to provide treatments they don’t believe in?

genetic photoDuring Human Rights Week at the Carver College of Medicine, we heard some hard truths from national news commentator, human rights activist, and podcaster Angela Rye. In her speech to the College of Medicine, she clued white people in on what black Americans face every day in 2017.  She also pointed out that Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech was just the beginning of his activism.  Meanwhile,  Mackenzie Walhof, Joyce Wahb, Claire Casteneda, and Gabe Conley discuss the department of Health and Human Services announcement that it would be forming a department to protect doctors from having their religious rights infringed. Do doctors need protection so they can refuse to treat as a matter of conscience?  Or do they self-select what they do and don’t do by where they practice and what they specialize in?

And with the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in the history books, Dave delivers a pop quiz to see if his co-hosts can identify real or fake health-adjacent gadgets.

This Week in Medical News

The march of genetic medicine continues, as the NIH has given the green light to using CRISPR to modify cancer patients’ T-cells ex vivo, hoping to turn them into killers of myeloma, sarcoma, and melanoma.  And Walmart is going to do its part in the fight against opioid addiction by including in prescriptions a substance that destroys leftover opioids when patients are done with them, for free.

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Are you ready to patent Dave’s inventions?  Do you think docs need to be protected by the government from their patients’ needs? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email

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Checking the Boxes: Should You Give Up Your Job To Do Research?


Sometimes the requirements aren’t required.

sad scientist photo
“I love my work.” Photo by Smithsonian Institution

Annie wrote in to to ask Kaci McCleary, Erik Kneller, Gabriel Conley, and Marissa Evers if she should give up her 10-year job as a radiology tech so she’d have time to do research before applying to medical school.  As is often the case with these kinds of questions, the answer is no!  But maybe yes.  In some cases.

Later in the show, we say to hell with this brave new world of collaboration-not-competition, and battle to the death!   Will neurotoxin triumph over infinite sausage?

This Week in Medical News

We discuss the recent Medscape Physician Lifestyle and Happiness Report and find out who will be happier: neurologist Kaci, or urologist Gabe.  Also, we find out what they will drive, and how many friends they won’t have.  A Pennsylvania Democrat introduces The Stable Genius Act (tempting…). And we find out how the weather and the holidays impacts the blood supply and what the Red Cross wants you to do about it (hint: it involves giving blood now).

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It’s coming up on application season!  What questions do you have? Is our advice to Annie useful or rueful? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email   Continue reading Checking the Boxes: Should You Give Up Your Job To Do Research?

Making Clerkships Work


Are clerkships a grind, or a boon?  It’s up to you.

change photo
Photo by m.a.r.c.

The second-year students are moving from the pre-clinical curriculum to the clerkships this week.  This transition is exciting–after all, seeing patients is what they’ve come to medical school to do, and now it’s finally happening.

Pat Brau, Kylie MIller, Brady Campbell, and Levi Endelman discuss some of the things they’ve learned in their Transition to Clerkships week, and Dave has some advice for them on how to get the most out of clerkships and how to get good evaluations for their ‘dean’s letter’ that will make them shine for future residency directors.

This Week in Medical News

Of course, one thing that is helpful if you’re seeing a patient is being able to tell if they’re truly sick.  That becomes second nature at some point, but even lay people can do it.  That skill will come in handy for those in California who subscribe to the idea that raw water is a good idea.

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Transitions are exciting and tough…what makes changes easy or harder for you? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email

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Broadcasts from the amazing and intense world of medical school.