Tag Archives: Gabe Conley

Poor: a deadly diagnosis in America, ft. Sarah Smarsh

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A look at the people valued more as functioning machines than as people

Sarah Smarsh

This past week, the Carver College of Medicine hosted its 12th annual Examined Life Conference.  Our featured presenter, journalist and memoirist Sarah Smarsh, grew up in a family of farmers and teen mothers in Kansas.  Her family, laborers trapped in a cycle of poverty, made the kinds of choices that poor people must make in rural America–whether to eat or seek medical attention, for instance.  Decades of inattention–and scorn–from politicians and the media have widened this class divide, and have sent the inexorable message that their voices don’t matter.  Ms. Smarsh’s recent book, Heartland: A Memoir of working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, tells the tales of her family’s struggles with poverty, addiction, workplace injuries, and family violence that many economic and political elites don’t have the background or will to truly understand.

Though Ms. Smarsh has managed to escape the cycle, she has retained her citizenship in–and love for–that largely unexplored country, and offers a deep look at what it’s like to be poor in the wealthiest and most powerful society on the planet. Our executive producer Jason T. Lewis, Rob Humble, Gabe Conley, Teneme Konne, and Christopher Portero Paff talk with Ms. Smarsh about what the working poor are facing, how our willful lack of understanding shapes our perceptions of their struggles, and why it’s crucial that medicine encourages and welcomes them as providers.

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Your voice does matter.  So call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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Owning a Visible Disability during Med School Interviews

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Photo by davitydave

On today’s show, we’ll answer a question from listener Victoria about having a feeding tube during med school interviews–should she worry that it will make her look weak and infirm, and thus not a good applicant for med school?  Aline Sandouk, Mark Moubarek, Jayden Bowen, Marissa Evers and Gabe Conley tell her why she should OWN it by not being the first to mention it!  Go Victoria!

Meanwhile, Mark tells us what he did to overcome his sadness in the past year after his wife moved to pursue her own medical education in California while he finishes up at CCOM, and what he’s learned by adopting his new unconventional lifestyle.  Go Mark!

This Week in Medical News

A CNN story about an alleged “medical kidnapping” of an 18-year-old brain aneurysm patient shocked many, but it turns out the story wasn’t as simple as the article made it appear.  And reaction to New York University’s plan to make tuition absolutely free to all medical students forever took the med ed world by storm…but some aren’t buying that it will have the ostensible consequences of lowering the barrier for underrepresented minorities and encouraging more to go into primary care.

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Did NYU’s announcement move it higher on your list of schools to apply to? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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Applying to Med School? Don’t Worry About the Money (so much).

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Money should never be the most important factor

image: MARS BIOIMAGING LTD.

While Dave and the crew try a recipe from the Med School Success Cookbook, they consider listener Imari’s question: how much did co-hosts Aline Sandouk, Eric Schnieders, Gabe Conley, and Irisa Mahaparn think about money when choosing a medical school?  While it’s important to know what your financial standing will be when you graduate, including your loans and how they’re affected by scholarships and living situation, we think there are more important things to think about.  And Maggie has noticed many med schools have co-ed fraternities and wants our thoughts on their benefits for students.  Happy to help explore this interesting and fun possibility for lowering costs, sharing responsibilities, and joining a new med school fam, Maggie!

This Week in Medical News

Now that the Large Hadron Collider has finished tearing a hole in the universe, researchers are using the technology in its subatomic particle detectors to create 3D color x-rays.  And CRISPR-Cas9 has proved to be an excellent tool for editing genomes…and also tearing them up and spitting them back out with all kinds of errors and random deletions.  Perhaps the honeymoon is over!

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Do you belong to a med school fraternity? What’s it like? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Applying to Med School? Don’t Worry About the Money (so much).

Tests, Tact, and Turpentine

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Everyone gets anxious about tests.  And med school features a lot of tests.

chemicals photoThe news that students at Oregon Health and Science University will now be subject to ‘compassion tests‘  in order to graduate got Dave thinking about test anxiety.  As schools pile on the examinations, how do students deal with the stress?  Dabin Choi, Gabe Conley, Claire Casteneda, and Erik Kneller discuss meditation, sleep, prayer, and eating habits that keep them from letting the fear derail them.

Also in the news, a GQ interview with comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish espouses an unusual cure-all the government doesn’t want us to know about: a teaspoon of turpentine.  Can this week’s co-hosts do her one better by convincing Dave that the effects of various other household and industrial chemicals are government-suppressed remedies?

This Week in Medical News

Why can’t Dave stop himself from succumbing to the lure of science’s newest form of clickbait: the ‘we-found-a-new-organ’ article? One man’s sexually transmitted disease clearly made the BBC’s headline editor clap his hands together with a gleeful tactlessness.

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Do you suffer from severe test anxiety?  What do you do for it? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com!

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Putting the Anxiety Cart Before the Horse

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Anxiety about your competitive specialty ambitions in your first year isn’t worth it.

anxiety photoListener Luis wrote in expressing his anxiety that his med school–which he’ll begin attending this fall–doesn’t have the prestige or programs to support his desire for a competitive specialty like ophthalmology.   If that’s the case, he wondered, what can he do to increase his chances of obtaining his dream career?  Fortunately for Luis, Irisa Mahaparn, Gabe Conley, Brendan George, Jason Lewis, and new co-host Andres Dajles were on hand to give Luis the advice and encouragement he needs…and a tiny dose of tough love, too.

Also, Dave indulges in his interest in tech startup culture by having his co-hosts pitch to him random product ideas for random people.

This Week in Medical News

Did an astronaut’s genetic code change after being in space?  Of course not.  Should med students upgrade their stupid brains with “cognitive prosthetic” implants?  Anything to pass that test!  Should Dave have his brain turned to glass when his stupid body is ready to kick it so he can be uploaded to the cloud someday?  Er…ask again later?

We Want to Hear From You

Would you get a chip in your head if it made you a better student?  Or is there a line you just won’t cross? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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Another Student Fights Mental Illness Stigma

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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 theshortcoats@gmail.com 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.

We Want to Hear From You

Do you need advice?  Do you want us to talk about something near and dear to your heart? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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How Med Student Parents Make It Happen

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

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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.

We Want to Hear From You

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

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Tales from the Clinic: from Theory to Practice

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There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

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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.

We Want to Hear From You

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

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Refusing to Treat: A Collision of Medicine and Conscience

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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.

We Want to Hear From You

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 theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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Admissions Bias Against Alternative Medicine?

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For medical school admissions, package study of alternative medicine carefully

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Photo by showbizsuperstar

Chrissa wrote in to say that she believes that complementary and alternative medicine systems should be more important to mainstream, Western medicine.  In fact, she’s studying Ayurvedic medicine, and she wants to know if she should talk about it in her future medical school admissions applications and interviews.  Gabe Conley, Patrick Brau, Elizabeth Shirazi, and Derek Bradley (along with several other co-hosts I put the question to) offer their advice to Chrissa, which is, sure, but be careful how you do it.  And we find out just how much our crew knows about Ayurvedic medicine with a little pop quiz.

This Week in Medical News

Researchers publish results that show bacteria may have been busy developing resistance to Ampicillin even before it was made available for prescription in 1962.  Modern Americans are preparing for bloody combat by learning battlefield medicine.  And we consider evidence that surgical patients may be more aware of pain than Dave is real comfortable with.

We Want to Hear From You

Did Dave offend you with his jokes about CAM? Are you studying CAM or have an interest in using it in your practice some day? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Admissions Bias Against Alternative Medicine?