Policy is not sexy. I mean, it’s not saving lives, or curing disease, or making groundbreaking discoveries. But it isn’t a stretch to say that policy is as important as any of these, because politicians are making decisions about health and healthcare that affect millions of patients and their physicians. The laws they come up with determine what you can do for your patients, how you practice medicine, how you get paid, what kinds of care are legal or illegal, and much, much more. Seems like something doctors should pay attention to, perhaps even get directly involved with.
M4 and future surgeon Sarah Eikenberry got a glimpse of the process as the first student to take the Carver College of Medicine’s new advocacy clerkship. Think you know how a bill gets passed? You might be surprised to know that Schoolhouse Rock didn’t tell us the whole story. Her self-assigned project for the clerkship was to get a bill passed in the Iowa state legislature to include the Stop The Bleed campaign in public education in Iowa. That turns out to be a pretty big project! Was she successful? What did she learn? Where do things go often off the rails?
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?
[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?
And no, that’s not the three stages of your med school application.
’tis the season to be applying to medical school. Which is why we got so many listener questions to address on this episode (thank you!) Listener Magnus wanted suggestions for how to prepare for MMI and regular admissions interviews, so we invited our resident experts, Amy A’Hearn (from CCOM med student admissions) and Tom O’Shea (from CCOM physician assistant admissions, for his experience with MMI interviews) to help out. They, along with Aline Sandouk, Jayden Bowen, Marc Moubarek and new co-host Shakoora Sabree, also answered questions from listeners Cameron and Sarah about whether opening up about personal/political views and sexual orientation is okay on applications and in interviews. And listener Jake wanted to know how med students learn to cope with death.
In reference to Sarah’s question on being open about sexual orientation in your application, we weren’t able to find out how many med students identified as LGBTQ+ in the US, but we did note that many prospective students are reluctant to disclose their identification for fear of discrimination.
Should medical students learn more about the business of medicine?
Medical school definitely hasn’t made a priority of teaching about how medicine works as a business. MDs who get involved in that side of healthcare typically learn on the job. But recent caller Ryan is interested in that topic, and wanted to hear from us about what CCOM students are learning about it.
A couple years ago, M4 Joe Nellis and some other students founded the Healthcare Management and Delivery Science Distinction Track. One reason was that their families had questions they couldn’t answer about the topic. They also knew that decisions about healthcare delivery and outcomes evaluation were being made without MDs having a clear idea (or even input on) how and why. Joe and M2s Philip Huang and Amanda Manarot got together with Dave to talk about what they’ve learning on issues like teamwork, e-health, data and decision-making. And while the healthcare leaders of tomorrow still have to learn much of the biz after they leave medical school, having a fuller grasp of the forces that affect how medicine is practiced is key, especially as the private practice of medicine gives way to employment in hospitals and other organizations.
This Week in Medical News
Dave took issue with this article which posits that doctors’ salaries are a problem for healthcare costs, despite the fact that according to the author’s own figures, that amount makes up about 1/32 of the cost of healthcare per US household.
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Among the topics we Short Coats often ruminate on is the lack of basic science literacy in the public and press…and among politicians. How did we get to this place when science is so mistrusted? So Kelsy Adler, Levi Endelman, Lisa Wehr, Marc Toral, and Laura Quast were excited to talk with someone who is doing something about it. Shaughnessy Naughton is the founder of 314 Action, an organization that seeks to address dearth of science knowledge among politicians directly by encouraging and financing the election of people with STEM backgrounds to public office at all levels. Shaughnessy Naughton is a chemist by trade and the founder of 314 Action, which “champions electing more leaders to the U.S. Senate, House, State Executive and Legislative offices who come from STEM backgrounds.” The organization seeks to change politicians’ active resistance to the acquisition of data on things like gun violence and climate change, and push back on ignorance of the evidence that already exists on topics like vaccinations and evolution. Among the challenges they face is the perception that science is above politics; the task of creating and financing a network of donors and supporters; and understanding and effectively countering the career politician’s bias toward certainty instead of nuance. They’re also addressing the need for training people of science to move beyond simple advocacy so that they can engage with the political process and change the system’s anti-science biases from within. Listeners, share your thoughts with us each week. Call us at 347-SHORTCT any time, and see our Facebook page for occasional Live shows in which you can participate.