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MD or DO: What is the Difference?

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Are you an allopath or an osteopath?

[Happy New Year! Did you know you can join The Short Coat Student Lounge on Facebook, and help us with the show? We livestream there every time we record, and if you’re there you can help us make sure we get all the angles.]

A while back we got a somewhat provocative listener question: do osteopathic medicine students have a disadvantage in entering competitive specialties?

Our answer back then was not really. And we weren’t wrong, but recently Dr. Ian Storch of the DO or Do Not Podcast offered to sit with us and expand on our ideas. Of course, M3s Jenna Mullins, Allison Klimesh, and MD/PhD student Miranda Schene were only too happy to get some new information on the topic. And he brought with him two of his podcasting DO students, Amir Khiabani and Courtney Merlo. Among the clarifying points they offered:

  • Why do people choose an osteopathic education over an allopathic education?
  • What is the real deal with board exams–do DOs really have to take both the USMLE and COMLEX boards?
  • Do osteopaths really experience bias when trying to match in subspecialties?
  • What is osteopathic manipulative medicine, anyway?

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Recess Rehash: Microaggressions: preparing to experience, witness, and commit them

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Photo by F H Mira

[Were on a break from recording,  it we’ll be back on January 14 with a new episode.  Enjoy this rerun for now!]


Good intentions are everywhere.  Good behavior…well, that’s more complicated.  Such is the case with microaggressions, the term coined by Harvard University psychiatrist Chester Pierce in 1970 to describe minor yet hurtful comments.  Pierce’s original definition encompassed statements aimed at African Americans, but of course one can accidentally or purposefully put down any minority individual–women, LGBTQ+ individuals, non-white ethnicities, and more.

Unfortunately, nearly 50 years after Dr. Pierce proposed the term, microaggressions are still a thing.  Dave admits to his sins, and M1s Sahaanna Arumagam and Nathen Spitz, along with SCP intern Joel Horne discuss how to prepare for the inevitability of witnessing, experiencing, and  committing microaggressions.

Plus, can this week’s co-hosts diagnose their weird patients’ quirks?


Buy Our Merch and Give At The Same Time

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

Speaking of good intentions gone awry, hospitals are relying on AI algorithms to direct extra treatment at those who need it, except the AI thinks wealthy white people are needier than African American patients.  And researchers announce an effective treatment for 90% of cystic fibrosis patients.

We Want to Hear From You

What are your microaggression stories? Tell us at 347-SHORTCT anytime or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Recess Rehash: Microaggressions: preparing to experience, witness, and commit them

Recess Rehash: This Student’s Shame is Changing Our Curriculum

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Photo by Joe Gatling

[Happy New Year!  We are taking a break from recording, and our next new show is out on January 14.  In the meantime, enjoy this rerun.  This episode was sponsored by Pattern. We hope you’ll check out their disability insurance offerings for docs at http://patternlife.com/partner/shortcoat.]

Doctors and medical students often have an identity based on perfection and infallibility.  Often it that identity comes from their own expectations of themselves, and sometimes it comes from external sources.  Whatever the source, it’s both motivating and problematic to feel shame when mistakes are made,  or when knowledge is imperfect.

Fourth-year student and future OB/Gyn doc Luci Howard visited with MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk and M1s Caitlin Matteson, Morgan Kennedy, and Emerald Dohleman to talk about her project to create a curriculum about shame and medical student identity.  Her shame–as a first-gen college graduate, as a perfectionist, and as someone who’s made mistakes–was holding her hostage in some ways, but now her curriculum works to illuminate and combat the negative effects of shame in medical education, and it will soon be integrated into the College of Medicine’s curriculum. Her work means that future medical learners will learn how to react productively and rationally when they inevitably achieve less-than-perfection.


Buy Our Merch and Give At The Same Time

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!

We Want to Hear From You

Would you be willing to share experiences that have felt shameful in order to help others? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Recess Rehash: This Student’s Shame is Changing Our Curriculum

Vaccine Fever

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Happy Holidays!

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As we recorded this show, vaccine doses were beginning to spread across the world–well, across the rich countries of the world, anyway. The poorer countries were left with the WHO’s risky donation-funded program to distribute doses, causing concern that the program might just collapse because some countries we could mention decided not to contribute. We’re looking at you, United States of America and China.

We discuss ‘the right to be forgotten,’ a right which many in the USA and elsewhere might not meaningfully have. And Dave pretends to be a medical educator with a pop quiz on historical medical practices.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Recess Rehash: Liver Bits, Cold Glocks, and Cancer of the Cancer

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[Last week’s show encountered some technical difficulties. So enjoy this rerun instead. We promise it’s cool.]

“He who laughs has not yet heard the bad news.”

Photo by firepile

Co-hosts Nathen Spitz, Brandon Bacalzo, Mariam Mansour, and Greta Becker rehash their recent microbiology exam which they say kicked their butts, and how they deal with that nasty feeling. Dave discusses what Naegleria Fowleri means to him. Nathen and Mariam reminisce on their experiences with patient instructors and standardized patients.

And the gang practices giving bad news to their patients, using made-up diseases with names created by neural networks and assisted by their attending “Dr. Etler.”

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

AMA: Racism is a Public health Threat. SCP Co-hosts: Gosh, really?

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[This episode is sponsored by Panacea Financial, a Division of Sonabank, Member FDIC. Please support our sponsor by visiting https://panaceafinancial.com/]

In mid-November, the American Medical Association declared racism to be a public health threat. With that declaration, they adopted policies to acknowledge and recognize racism as detrimental to the health and well-being of all of America’s citizens, and to encourage the study of its effects and the creation of medical education curricula.

Great! But this week’s co-hosts, Nathen Spitz, Aline Sandouk, Sahaana Arumugam, and Ananya Munjal, have mixed feelings and hope that the AMA won’t be among the many institutions that have made similar declarations without taking real action.

But first, listener Malcolm wrote in to theshortcoats@gmail.com to ask how he might take advantage of his fortunate position as the holder of multiple acceptances to medical school in negotiating for financial aid. The co-hosts have definitely got some advice, based mostly upon our fantasies of being in the same position.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Recess Rehash: When Doctors Do Harm ft. Danielle Ofri, MD

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Hippocrates set a high bar.

A portrait of Dr. Danielle Ofri, Author of When We Do Harm: A Doctor Confronts Medical Error

[Hope your Thanksgiving was excellent, safe, and happy! We didn’t record anything this week, so here’s a rerun for you.]

Dr. Danielle Ofri–NYU professor of medicine, Bellevue Hospital internist, and author of great renown–joined us this time to talk about her new book, When We Do Harm: A Doctor Confronts Medical Error.  Examining medical errors is a something all good physicians do–sometimes on a stage in front of their colleagues but often surreptitiously. However, “mistakes were made” simply isn’t acceptable to most patients and lawyers. Meanwhile, the shame felt by practitioners who make mistakes is not only unhelpful but hinders their development and can contribute to burnout and depression.   Because of the consequences of shame are so dire, Dr. Ofri argues in her book that confronting mistakes in a humane, understanding, and open fashion is vital. 

Not many years ago, a headline grabbed her attention:  medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States.  How can that be? she wondered.  If people were dying at that rate, wouldn’t physicians have noticed this earlier?  Of course, it turns out that the story of medical error is much more complicated than that headline would lead one to believe, and set Dr. Ofri on the path to this latest book.  Join MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk, M4 Marisa Evers, M2 Jessica De Haan, and M4 Anne Nora for this discussion on the sources of error, the causes, and the ways to understand and learn from the inevitable.

We also discuss her and her colleagues’ experiences fighting COVID-19 in New York City and learning about the disease in real time.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

Quality over Quantity: Clinical Experiences and Volunteering in COVID Times

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[This episode is sponsored by Panacea Financial, a Division of Sonabank, Member FDIC. Please support our sponsor by visiting https://panaceafinancial.com/]

The Short Coats have begun livestreaming their recordings in our Facebook group (most Fridays at noon central–join us and be a part of the show). Listeners Garrett and Isaac wrote in with questions about the clinical hours schools want from their applicants. How important is the number of hours, asked Garrett, and what changes in that number are schools making in COVID times? Lucky for you, gentlemen, MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk, M3 Emma Barr, and M1s Alex Belzer and AJ Chowdhury are on the show to suss it out for you. Plus, we provide some suggestions for alternatives if the usual activities just aren’t available to you. And livestream viewer Cierra asks how we think this year’s experiences will change medical education. Did we learn new things about how to deliver medical education? Are students less prepared than they would otherwise have been?

A couple shows ago, Dave indulged himself in a rant about Americans’ seeming inability to follow best practices for spreading COVID, basically saying those folks are wimps. But a recent editorial in MedPageToday.com makes him reconsider his delivery.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

What About Choosing the Cheapest Medical School?

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Given how much med school costs, isn’t it best to go for your cheapest option?

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[This episode is sponsored by Panacea Financial, a Division of Sonabank, Member FDIC. Please support our sponsor by visiting https://panaceafinancial.com/]

A listener we’re calling Victor Von Stateschool called us at 347-SHORT-CT to continue the recent spate of listener questions about choosing a medical school. Sure, prestige is something to consider…and yes, perhaps moving away from home to broaden your horizons is a good idea…but what about just picking your cheapest option even when you have the stats to go elsewhere? MD/PhD students Sahaana Arumugam and Miranda Schene, and M2s Ananya Munjal and Nathen Spitz try to put it all together. Pro tip: you can actually pit schools’ offers against each other to lower your tuition!

We also talk about the CCOM Art Show that Ananya and Sahaana are helping to put together, and which any med student from anywhere can submit work to.

And we try the Whisper Challenge again, because we’re not in the studio together to get germs on each other. Thanks, COVID…

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!

To Leave or Not To Leave

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Should Jenna broaden her horizons by moving away for medical school?

[This episode is sponsored by Panacea Financial, a Division of Sonabank, Member FDIC. Please support our sponsor by visiting https://panaceafinancial.com/]

Listener Jenna got into Carver College of Medicine! But she’s worried–should she go to a new place to study medicine instead, or should she stay in comfy, cozy Iowa City where she’s been the last few years? Sit tight, Jenna, because M1 Lola Lozano (Texas), M1 Albert Pedroza (Nebraska), MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk (lots of places) and M1 Nicole Hines (Iowa) are here to look at the options with you!

Bun Bun writes in to complain about what they saw as our unfair treatment of Ivy League schools…although, if they’d listened verrrrry carefully, they’d see that’s not something we actually did.

Dave loses his cool about the pandemic complainers. Yes, it’s frustrating to have to stay home and avoid family over the holidays. But this is war.

And yet…he immediately proves the point by forgetting you can’t play the Whisper Challenge without a mask on. So the crew braces themselves against the disappointment–damn you, COVID!–and soldier on. Brave podcasters, all.

We Want to Hear From You

How’d we do on this week’s show? Did we miss anything in our conversation? Did we anger you? Did we make you smile? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime  or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  It’s always a pleasure to hear from you!