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Invent the Future of Medicine, ft. Matthew Howard, MD

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See a problem, solve a problem

Matthew Howard, MD. Professor, Department of Neurosurgery Chair and DEO, John C. VanGilder Chair in Neurosurgery

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.


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We Want to Hear From You

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 theshortcoats@gmail.com and tell us about it.

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Why Med Students Join Medical Societies

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Medical Societies and Associations: Are they Useful for Students?

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Listener Zachary wrote to theshortcoats@gmail.com to ask whether it’s useful for students to join medical associations and societies such as the AMA, ACOG, or AAP.  Co-hosts Aline Sandouk, Laura Quast, Hillary O’Brien, and newbie Sophie Williams-Perez offer some things they find useful about their memberships, including staying informed about political positions and the latest research in their fields, as well as for understanding what it means to be a physician.

Listener Oscar about had a heart attack when he read how much money the Carver College of Medicine thinks a first-semester student should budget for additional expenses (aside from tuition and living expenses).  So we asked Financial Aid Counselor Chris Roling to help, and it turns out that this area of the med student budget is real squishy.

Plus, Dave has some mouth spreaders to use up, so he makes his co-hosts deliver made-up diagnoses to fictitious patients with them.  Because that’s educational.


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

A BMJ article got us talking about whether or not doctors should be crying at work.  And we revisit everyone’s favorite anti-anti-vaccination 18-year-old Ethan Lindenberger–who has famously annoyed his mother by getting his vaccinations just as soon as he legally could–after he testified before the US Senate.

We Want to Hear From You

Are you a member of a medical society or organization?  What do you get out of membership?  Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

Continue reading Why Med Students Join Medical Societies

Second Looks and Fantasy Gap Years

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As CCOM’s second-look day (which we call Get Acquainted Day) approaches,  Aline Sandouk, LJ Agostinelli, Miranda Schene, and Danial Syed discuss the benefits–to both the student and the school–of taking a second look at the schools they’ve been admitted to.  And listener Caven wants us to talk about our fantasy gap years.  Can our co-hosts articulate the benefits of gap year jobs that Dave made up for them?  Spoiler–they sure can.


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

UC Berkeley biologists have found a way to genetically engineer brewers yeast so that they pump out dank medicines.  Texas Republican state representative Bill Zedler has some pointless thoughts about why vaccines aren’t needed in the US.  And we discuss what Click and Clack, The Tappet Brothers have to offer med students.

We Want to Hear From You

If you could do anything you want–and you can–what would you do during your gap year? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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Is Your Previous Career A Strike Against You?

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Admissions committees care most about what you got out of your experiences, less about what exactly they were.

worried photoHere’s a question we get often, in one form or another: will [some aspect of my life to date] hurt my chances for getting into medical school?  Kyle Kinder, Irisa Mahaparn, Aline Sandouk, and Hanna Van Ert are here to reassure listener Rachel that, despite her background in medical malpractice law, she’s going to be fine…if she can articulate what she took away from that part of her life.

Listener Fifi Trixiebell, who you may recall set off the keto wars of 2018 which ultimately led Dave to declare a moratorium on diet related topics, wrote in to apologize (no need, Fifi), and also point out that Iowa is the most America of the states.  Can the co-hosts discern which other states have achieved total-Murica status based on their rankings for bald eagles, fast food, and astronauts?


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

The Chinese researcher who claimed that he’d genetically engineered two girl infants may have accidentally (or as Dave speculates, purposefully) made them into super-intelligent, super-stroke-recovering humans.  And researchers my have discovered an entirely new form of neural communication.

We Want to Hear From You

Do you need advice? We give it out, whether it’s related to med school or not? Call in your pleas for help to 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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What Research Means for Residency Applications

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Does research mean a whole lot when applying to residency?

research photoListener Nathan called in to the SCP Hotline at 347-SHORTCT to ask how research works for medical students.  Is it necessary? Is it recommended?  How do you find research to do?  Irisa Mahaparn, Miranda Schene, Emma Barr, and newcomer Nadiah Wabba are on hand to discuss the roles of research in med school, how  it can help a residency applications, for which residency applications research is a recommended component, and how it all works.

Also, can the crew figure out what has been censored from medical stock photos?  To play along, here’s the gallery:


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

Cancer Dogs is a Canadian organization looking to make cancer-smelling dogs a valid screening tool; we discuss whether physicians and med schools discourage med students from pursuing primary care; and as a generation of vaccine deniers’ children comes of age, are they going to defy their antivaxxer parents?

We Want to Hear From You

Is research important to you?  Do you plan to do research in med school or residency? Let us know at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.

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Dr. Mamdouh Aker: Palestinian doctor and human rights activist (Bonus Episode)

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Mamdouh Aker

Dr. Mamdouh Aker is a very big deal in Palestine, the kind of man everyone knows and respects, and it’s easy to see why.  He’s urology surgeon and the deputy chair of the Board of Trustees of Berzeit University in Palestine’s West Bank.  Among the founders of the Mandela Institute for Political Prisoners and the Independent Commission for Human Rights, Dr. Aker was also  a member of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Peace Conference and in the Palestinian-Israeli bilateral talks between 1991 and 1993. He’s also a member of several councils and committees focused on the health, education, and wellbeing of the Palestinian people.  During his visit to the Carver College of Medicine he spoke to our students and faculty about the state of Palestinian healthcare. He was generous with his time, as he also sat down with med students Shakoora Sabree, Ossama Habu-Halawa, Jordan Harbaugh-Williams, and Joelle Friezen to discuss the topic. Our discussion was near the anniversary of his 45-day ordeal in the custody of Israeli security forces in the early 1990s because of his outspoken views that his Palestinian patients were prevented from receiving adequate healthcare.


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

The Endocrine Society has new guidelines for how young transgender kids can begin hormone therapy.  And, to the surprise of no nurses at all, nurses in some places have more dangerous jobs than prison guards and police officers.  Be kind to the nurses, doctors.

We Want to Hear From You

To this day, What are reactions to Dr. Aker’s stories? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

Continue reading Dr. Mamdouh Aker: Palestinian doctor and human rights activist (Bonus Episode)

Doubts, Needles, and Measles

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Photo by Dr. Partha Sarathi Sahana

[Buy our podcast merch and help eliminate the stigma of mental illness–your purchase goes to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and you get  a cool tee shirt.  Pick yours up today!]

Listener Jen sent an email to theshortcoats@gmail.com asking M4 Irisa Mahaparn, and M1s Nick Lind and Madeline Slater about the doubts they’ve experienced in their journey through medical education.  Oh, Jen.  The doubts they have experienced!  We discuss them, along with the sources of doubt and how they are learning to overcome them to achieve their goals.  Also, we try to give listener Ryan some ideas about his genetics course assignment.

We also visit the worst place on the internet to get medical advice, Yahoo! Answers, and discover a potential new treatment for desert-based constipation.  All it needs is a good clinical trial and a few not-squeamish human subjects!

This Week in Medical News

As the measles outbreaks in the northwestern US and elsewhere continue, Clark County in Washington has experienced a jump in vaccination rates of 500%, almost as if people are starting to trust science.  Inventors at MIT and Harvard are both working on swallowable injectors, which sounds worse than it is.  And is Wikipedia good enough for med schools to use it in some way?  It depends, of course.

We Want to Hear From You

What are your rejection stories? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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MD/PhD admissions and Shadowing Strategies

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Listener Renee writes in to ask Aditi Patel, Maddie Mix, Nick Lind, and guest Dr. John Pienta whether she can legitimately hope for admission to an MD/PhD program without a strong science background.  Luckily, Maddie rolls MSTP style, so she helps us answer.  Another listener, Sarah, wrote to us hoping for some suggestions on how to prepare and strategize for her physician shadowing experiences.  And Ellen writes to give us some feedback on a recent episode.

Plus, Dave’s Pop Quiz on undeniably dangerous drinking games–inspired by a case study involving Dutch men, booze, MDMA, and a drinking game of fish swallowing which no one should ever play–is suspiciously easy for his co-hosts.

This Week in Medical News

Want to skip med school and go straight to treating patients in your very own pre-fab hospital room?  Well you mustn’t do that…but with this product on Amazon, you could.

We Want to Hear From You

What are your rejection stories? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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Doctor down under, or Medicine in ‘Merica?

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This week, we’re winging it on SCP–life was a bit more complicated for Dave than usual–but we have some great questions to address from some non-US listeners.  Nice to have confirmation that we have more than a couple of those!  Luke from Australia wants to come to America, either to study medicine or after his Australian medical education is complete.  Which should he choose, and what will he think of our Australian accents after he listens?  And Justin, listening in the Philippines, wants to know what story our co-hosts tell themselves when they think about why they’re studying medicine.  Justin Hababag, Aditi Patel, and Kylie Miller are on hand to discuss.

We Want to Hear From You

What story do you tell yourself about your interest in medicine? Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

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Med School Hidden Costs, and Extracurricular Activities

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Med School is Expensive…More Than You Know

But what’s this? Podcast merch?  Dave has a special announcement, what we’re going to use the money for (it’s not for the show), and how you can get a special offer and help do some good at the same time.

Everybody knows about med school tuition.  And then there’s the cost of student loans.  But there’s so much more, and listener Richard wrote in to theshortcoats@gmail.com ask: what are the hidden costs of attending medical school?  Luckily Dave has a crew of people on hand who’ve figured that out: Aline Sandouk, Nick Lind, Maddie Mix, and LJ Agostinelli.  Get prepared with their list of things you need to spend money on, and a couple things you shouldn’t spend on.  Another listener, Sarah, would like some idea of what kinds of extracurricular activities med students can get into, and how to find them. We got you, Sarah!

And after pondering what the point is of the case study in medical literature (aside from amusing Dave to no end), the crew takes a pop quiz on weird cases found on the internet.

This Week in Medical News

The Gates Foundation may be throwing it’s considerable weight and funding behind reducing maternal deaths in the US.

We Want to Hear From You

What hidden costs of medical school did we miss?  Call us at 347-SHORTCT anytime, visit our Facebook group, or email theshortcoats@gmail.com.  Do all three!

Continue reading Med School Hidden Costs, and Extracurricular Activities