How Med Students Learn about Cultural Competency

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Cultural competency is a tough thing to teach, but so important.  Today’s physician (and med students!) encounter patients from wide range of backgrounds, any of which could come into play in a patient-provider interaction.  In this episode, Brent asks how med students learn about the nuances that come with treating people of different backgrounds, from ethnicity to gender to religion to disability.  Aline Sandouk and Brady Campbell consider the question and offer their experiences.

And Brady, who’s co-hosting on the eve of leaving CCOM for a year-long Masters in Public Health program at Hopkins, talks about why he’s pursuing a whole ‘nother degree and why he’s decided Hopkins is the right place for that given that we have a lovely Public Health school right next door.


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This Week in Medical News

A New Jersey pastor and a British clairvoyant are under investigation for promoting the use of ‘miracle mineral solution’ as a cure for malaria in Uganda.  The WHO has removed ‘gender identity disorder’ from the International Classification of Disease.  And with Viagra’s patent set to expire, what’s on the horizon for ED treatment?  Don’t worry, we make plenty of jokes about that, as if you had any doubt.

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Recess Rehash: What Med Schools Miss Out On Because of “Technical Standards”

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Diversity includes disability

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[We took a break last week, so here’s a rerun in case you missed it!]

Dr. Marley Doyle is a reproductive psychiatrist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  She’s also “legally blind”, with 20/400 vision.  She struggled through medical school just like all med students, but with that additional complication.  She made it, however, and her discussion with Aditi Patel and Irisa Mahaparn gives some clues as to why.  First, her disability was invisible which made it easy for people to assume that she wasn’t disabled.  And second, she was naive to the fact that she could ask for help.  In other words, she stumbled through it all and came out the other side without having been a “burden” for her school. Years later, she acknowledges that she could have asked for more help.

We also discuss the technical standards that most schools have in place to define what a student physician should be able to do physically, intellectually, and emotionally to succeed in school.  These standards, however, often seem to be written with a stereotypical disabled person in mind, one who cannot possible succeed because of their disability, and thus should not be in medical school.  We discuss the concept of “assumed competence” which, as  recent CCOM guest lecturer Dr. Oluwaferanmi Okanlami pointed out, allows people with disabilities to show they are able to fulfill their duties as opposed to assuming they cannot.  And we discuss the AAMC’s recent first-of-its-kind report “Accessibility, Inclusion, and Action in Medical Education Lived Experiences of Learners and Physicians With Disabilities,” which brought to light the inconsistent policies and procedures for, lack of support of, and lack of awareness many schools have of their legal obligations under the law towards students with disabilities.  And we talk about why med schools that don’t encourage disabled people to apply are missing out on a piece of the diversity puzzle.

Plus, Dr. Doyle helps answer a listener who is lucky enough to have several med school acceptances, and wants to know how to decide among them!  Lucky you, ‘Anxious Premed!’  Don’t worry, we can help.


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Are you living with a disability and discouraged about your med school plans?  Are you in medical school, disabled, and have some advice to offer? Tell us about it by calling 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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Failure is an Option…When You Learn From It.

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So many great questions to answer

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We’re clearing out the backlog of listener questions–thank you listeners for so many fun ideas to talk about!  Cailin had her med school dreams ‘crushed’ in college when the science prereqs turned out to be too intense.  She’s now considering an MPH, but she hasn’t entirely given up on becoming an MD.  Aline Sandouk, Irisa Mahaparn, Levi Endelman, and Dr. John Pienta are on board to say it’s not really a problem, Cailin…as long as you can be realistic about the timeline.

And Melvin Piebags (not his real name) sent in a series of questions: how do we cope with failure?  Is anatomy lab a grim place to be?  How do we cope with difficult patients and colleagues?  We’re answering them all on this episode.

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Do you like our answers? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.   Continue reading Failure is an Option…When You Learn From It.

The Laws that are Shrinking the Telomeres of OB/Gyn Residents

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Admissions counselor Megan Kosovski joins Aline Sandouk, Emma Barr, Nick Lind, and Hannah Van Ert for this show, because we had a listener question from a Canadian listener not-named “Molson.” What’s it like, Molson wanted to know, for a Canadian to apply to medical school in the US, which he’s considering doing since Canadian schools are so few and the odds are so low.  Molson, pull the tab on that brewski and we’ll get you sorted.

As Executive Producer Jason Lewis is leaving us for greener pastures, Dave is preparing to take part in interviewing his replacement.  Which means that he’s gotta rev up his BS detector so he can help select the right person.  With that in mind, can his co-hosts detect the BS or truth found within the often ridiculous claims found Snopes.com?


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This Week in Medical News

A tragic incident of a trans man losing his baby after a series of errors and confusion related to his gender is detailed in a case study.  Yet another reason for the US graduate medical education system to change how it treats residents might be found in their shrinking telomeres.  And the risks to OB/Gyn training that recent abortion bills in Alabama and elsewhere are posing (WARNING: politics and conspiracy theories ahead!).

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How do you feel about the recent anti-abortion bills? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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In 2019, Medicine Is Political.

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[Once again, our charitable mission is supported in this episode by CommonBond.  Thank you, CommonBond!!!]

Former listener Cash commented on Facebook that he doesn’t listen any more because of our political comments.  So on today’s show, Aline Sandouk, Rob Humble, Irisa Mahaparn, and Admissions Counselor Kate McKenzie help Dave process Cash’s feedback.  Should medical students, physicians, and scientists express themselves on political issues or should they remain publicly neutral? Moreover, with medicine and science having become among the hottest topics in politics, is there an actual obligation to take a stand?


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This Week in Medical News

A recent study of volunteers who had their genes sequenced, proteins mapped, biome surveyed, and blood analyzed intensively found that the dream of “personalized” medicine may just be within reach…but at what cost?  Coca Cola is accused of including undisclosed kill clauses in its nutrition research agreements in case don’t like the results.  And another study confirms that which women of color have three times the risk of dying during pregnancy and after compared to white women!

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Marcia’s Measley Message Makes Mistaken Moms Mad

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Our charitable mission is supported in this episode by CommonBond.  Be sure to pay them a visit to learn more about their new medical school loan, and tell ’em we sent you!

Emma Barr, Miranda Schene, Allison Klimesh, and new co-host Jenna Mullins are all first-years at the Carver College of Medicine.  As our co-hosts this time, they’re happy to help answer listener questions!  For instance, Tim wrote to us asking about the disadvantaged applicant designation on the med school application, saying he’s hesitant to apply it to himself though on paper he might fit that description.  And Mike wrote in to clarify some things about three-year MD degree programs, but he’s also wondering if he might be a good fit for an accelerated path.

This week in medical news, actor Maureen McCormick claps back at anti-vaxxers who are using an episode of the 1960s sitcom The Brady Bunch, which she starred in as Marcia Brady, to support their argument that measles is not that big of a deal.

Which got Dave thinking about the medical dramas of his youth (and beyond), specifically their theme songs.  Can his co-hosts Name Those Med Tunes?


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Here’s Vomit In Your Eyes

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Our charitable mission is supported in this episode by CommonBond.  Be sure to pay them a visit to learn more about their new medical school loan, and tell ’em we sent you!

Admissions counselor Megan Kosovski joins the fun to help LJ Agostinelli, Aline Sandouk, and new co-host Armin Avdic answer some listener questions.  Claire, for instance, wants to know if she needs to quit her job as a radiation tech to fulfill pre-med requirements like shadowing and volunteering.  And Elizabeth wants to know what colleges typically do when personal difficulties arise between one’s peers and mentors.

Plus, Dave satisfies his pretensions to be a medical educator by giving the crew a pop quiz.  Can they discern which strange research project is the actual strange research project and not one Dave made up?


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This Week in Medical News

The AAMC offers insight into a ‘new’ trend in medical education: the three-year fast-track MD degree program. It’s been tried before in times of shortages…is the time right to roll it out again to address physician shortages and high student debt?

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The Short Coats offer free advice! Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com!  We’ll try to help!

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Brown Girl, White Coat, ft. Saie Joshi

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Saie Joshi is a first-year med student at Baylor, but that’s not all she is.  She’s got a beautiful singing voice and a busy schedule advising med school hopefuls from her tight-knit Indian-American community.  And, of course, as she’s an up-and-coming podcaster we were excited to have her on as a guest co-host.  Aline Sandouk, Issac Schwantes, and Rob Humble spoke with Saie about her show Brown Girl White Coat, and about  ZDoggMD’s recent reflection on moral injury among physicians and healthcare providers.

Fittingly, we had a question from listener Jesse about his path forward after a bad first semester lead to a low graduating GPA.  Luckily Saie was on hand to help.


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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

Scientists at Yale have found a way to partially re-start the brains of pigs hours after they were slaughtered, causing ethicists to clutch their inhalers.  The Feds rounded up more than 60 people including doctors and pharmacists in Appalachia charging them with opioid offences and fraud.  And a cure for bubble boy syndrome using HIV has changed the lives of 10 infants barring unknown future side effects.

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Do you have a project you want to tell us about? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  We’ll help you spread the word.

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A Tinkle In Our Pants and A Song In Our Hearts

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pants photoThis week, with help from LJ Agostinelli, Irisa Mahaparn, and new co-host Fili Bogdanic, Dave offers listener Karstan some advice for med students (and others) who want to start a podcast.  It’s a worthwhile activity, without question, for discovering and understanding the field you’re growing into, provided you can find the time!

Listener Coleman writes in to find out what kind of plan we’d suggest having for visiting medical schools.  Dave has ideas…but to his surprise his co-hosts weren’t even sure pre-interview visits were necessary!  Vive la difference!

And we once again plumb the depths of Yahoo! Answers for some real-life medical questions, the excuse Dave always gives for doing this to his co-hosts.


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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

To Dave’s relief, scientists have found that declines in working memory can be temporarily reversed using transcranial alternating-current stimulation, but to his eternal dismay, his co-hosts always…uh, the always…wait, what was I writing about?

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What would you do to increase your working memory? Let us know that, or anything else by calling 347-SHORTCT anytime, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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Bonus: Tropical Medicine is Saving the World, ft. Karen Goraleski

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The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

tropical medicine photoThe ASTMH is a sprawling organization, and for good reason.  As CEO Karen Goraleski says, it’s a big tent.  And with all the disciplines needed to fight emerging infectious diseases like Leishmaniasis and other neglected tropical diseases, from veterinary medicine to ecology to entomology to logistics–it’s no wonder.

With University of Iowa College of Public Health epidemiology student Kurayi Mahachi, this bonus episode explores the job of eliminating the world’s most difficult to treat diseases–infectious or otherwise–and why Americans must not shrug it off as someone else’s problem but join the fight.

Also, pre-medicine and med students take note:  TropMed is the ASTMH’s yearly conference, and it sounds very friendly, and at $15 it’s a ridiculous bargain for those looking to explore this fascinating, world-saving effort as a career.  This November, consider joining them in Maryland, just 10 miles from Washington, DC.


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We offer free advice! Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  We’ll answer your questions or find someone who can!

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Broadcasts from the amazing and intense world of medical school.