Think of an inventor. What comes to mind? The quirky lone genius, coming up with a blockbuster device that will save the world? The Avengers‘ Tony Stark in a cave throwing together a functional exosuit from scrap metal? Back to the Future’s Doc Emmet Brown crying “1.21 jigawatts?!” and then immediately coming up with the perfect solution?
Or is it a person like neurosurgeon Matthew Howard, toiling away year after year alongside a team of trusted experts, all working together to take an idea–slowly–from problem to concept to prototypes to product to FDA approval to market to patient? Dr. Howard was recently named the University of Iowa’s first ever National Academy of Inventors fellow, with 34 patents in his portfolio, so we wanted to take a look at yet another amazing aspect of medicine: the people who define and then create solutions that make the surgical world go ’round. Some of his inventions succeed–including a way to guide catheters to their destinations using magnetic fields–while others –like the “shunt scissors” he discusses–are waiting to set the surgical world on fire. But to Dr. Howard it’s just a good time.
Also, Dave gives the crew–Aline Sandouk, Miranda Schene, Hannah Van Ert, and Maddie Mix–a pop quiz to see if they can guess the invention from some weird patents. Some of the quiz’s incorrect answers could be money makers, so feel free to patent them and make a fortune.
Have you ever had an idea for something and thought, I should patent that? Like that time Dave thought up an ejection seat for motorcycles? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about it.
What Routines Do Medical Students Find Helpful When Drinking from the Firehose?
Listener Meghan is about to start med school in the fall, and is thinking about what sort of regular habits medical students like Aline Sandouk, Tony Rosenberg, and new co-host Jayden Bowen use to keep them on track. Not only do we look at some routines they use (and debate whether they’re even helpful), but we also have a suggested routine for the new student.
What Every New Medical Student Needs to Know about The ‘Dean’s Letter.’
And Dave, who’s begun writing dean’s letters (or ‘Medical Student Performance Evaluations’) for students who will be looking for jobs this year, has some sobering news for his co-hosts: they are, themselves, already writing them. Dave thinks most first-year medical students have never heard of this important document, nor do they know what will be in it…and how it could help or hinder their efforts to land that plum residency.
This Week in Medical News
Dermatologists are less accurate in diagnosing melanomas than the stupidest artificial intelligence…but don’t cancel your derm dreams yet. Meanwhile, patients get the ‘right to try‘ from the Trump administration…but is bypassing the slow FDA approval process almost completely a good idea, or will the bad actors in medicine end up lining their pockets on the hopes of their desperately ill patients?
We Want to Hear From You
What are your med school routines? Did your school read you in on the MSPE when you started? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email email@example.com. Do all three!
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.
[We’re re-releasing this episode because when it was first posted the file was screwed up. Enjoy!]
Much like America, doctors are afraid of mental illness.
Physicians are no better than the rest of us at dealing with mental illness, even as they work valiantly to get their patients to recognize and get treatment for their conditions. As society becomes more open about ‘mood disorders,’ it is still common for MDs to reject treatment for depression, substance abuse disorders, anxiety, and more…and physicians and medical students are literally killing themselves–America loses 300 to 400 doctors every year to suicide. Our co-hosts this week, Zeynep Demir, Innie Kim, Jason Lewis, and Kaci McCleary all have experienced their own disorders, and have formed a CCOM chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Still in it’s infancy, they’ll be working to destigmatize mental illness among physicians, residents, and medical students in the hope that those who suffer can be saved and become what they always wanted to be: effective, compassionate, and healthy physicians.
We want to hear from you.
Do you suffer from a mental illness, and worry about your future as a physician? We’d love to hear your story, anonymously if that’s what you’d prefer. Call us at 347-SHORTCT any time, and email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you do when you’re pulled in too many directions?
The world of work, and medical school, is often about adjusting for a number of “top” priorities. Dave’s been having one of those weeks where his work is pulling him in several directions at once, and thought to ask his co-hosts Erin Pasaski, Patrick Brau, Elizabeth Shirazi, and Kaci McCleary what techniques they use when they, inevitably, find themselves struggling to manage all of the important tasks med school throws at them.
Also, since the CCOM Writing and Humanities Program exists to bring art into the lives of busy med students, Dave went out and bought playdough so his co-hosts could flex their sculpting skills on common patient complaints. Visit our Facebook page for the gallery!
Tony Rosenberg, Alex Volkmar, and Doug Russo indulge their Star Wars geekery with Dave, entertaining the various Internet theories of Luke’s and Jar Jar’s importance, while Ellie Ginn sits in the corner wondering what they’re talking about.
One week of the semester gone, and M1s Aline Sandouk, Ethan Craig, and Nathan Miller report in on their experiences. Who’s their favorite lecturer? They won’t say, but they seem to be alive, well, and moving right along. Also, the FDA thinks we should regulate the use of feces as a drug. How an extreme athlete who isn’t a scientist did what she always does–pushes through the pain–to discover her genetic flaw when no-one else could. A company founded by a medical student with a bioengineering background comes up with a smart, simple, easy way to treat a scourge of childbirth in developing countries–postpartum hemorrhage. And a quick plug for The Discover Fit & Health channel which continues its fine tradition of infotainment programming with “Untold Stories of the ER,” featuring a story of a woman who fed her daughter tapeworms to get her ready for that all-important beauty pageant.