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They have questions, we have…more questions.

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Dave, John Pienta, Mark Moubarek, Matt Maves, and Levi Endelman are aware that the world is full of questions.  Nowhere is that more true than on the saddest place on the Internet, Yahoo! Answers. There folks ask the kinds of things that a primary care physician might have to answer.  Is removing a layer of skin with a razor a good way to get rid of acne scars?  What could be the cause of blisters on one’s lips after kissing one’s dog?  How much milk should one use in one’s bath?  There are no stupid questions.

But first, since Matt has returned from a year in Des Moines doing clerkships there, we discuss what that’s been like and the benefits of doing some clerkships outside a more academic setting.  We also discuss the psychiatric disorder pica and the kinds of things people swallow on purpose (or by accident).  Also we talk about drug maker Mylan’s difficulties with, well, everyone after we collectively realized they’re gouging patients who need epinephrine auto-injectors to keep themselves alive.  Meanwhile, a company is offering a supplement that its CEO, a pioneering MIT aging researcher, and it’s Nobel-prize festooned board of scientific advisors say might just be a way to extend the human health span.

Continue reading They have questions, we have…more questions.

The Doctor Is In: Ryan Gray Lifts Up the Next Generation of Medical Students

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gray2Ryan Gray, MD,  was a physician in the Air Force. He’d planned all along to be an orthopaedic surgeon…but the military had other plans for him: aerospace medicine.  Later, when a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis forced him to give up flying, his career plans changed once again, and he decided to set aside the practice of medicine to focus his growing business as the proprietor of MedicalSchoolHQ.net where he advises pre-medical students on their efforts to get into medical school. He’s also a podcaster in that vein, as the host of The Premed Years podcast, the OldPreMeds Podcast, and The MCAT Podcast. As Dave, Nicole Morrow, Amy Hansen, Alex Volkmar, and Tony Rosenberg found, not only is Dr. Gray a thoughtful adviser, but he’s a lot of fun to talk to.  His thoughts on being a non-traditional medical student (he was one himself), the efforts of some schools to create competency- and systems-based curricula instead of exam-based curricula, and the types of students admissions committees are most interested in are definitely worth knowing.  And check out Dr. Gray’s new book, The Premed Playbook: Guide to the Medical School Interview. Continue reading The Doctor Is In: Ryan Gray Lifts Up the Next Generation of Medical Students

The Ultimate Taboo: Medicine and Suicide

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Just hours before a new crop of medical students are to be welcomed into the world of medicine, Kaci McCleary, John Pienta, Aline Sandouk, Mark Moubarek, and Lisa Wehr confront one of the most uncomfortable topics in medical education: resident and student suicide.  Among doctors, suicide rates are much higher than among the general population.  The long hours, high pressure (from both one’s internal monologue and from outside sources) to succeed, fear of public humiliation regarding one’s shortcomings, isolation, inadequate supervision, the stigma against mental illness, the career penalties faced by those who admit to unwellness, and more, all contribute to the problem.  Institutions also have a difficult time addressing incidents of physician suicide effectively, as they try to walk a tightrope strung between respect for the privacy of the deceased, the needs of colleague survivors to talk about it, the desire to avoid adverse publicity.  Meanwhile, the work does not stop. The only breaks are a moment of silence, a visit with a grief counselor, or an “open forum” to discuss one’s feelings.

Fortunately, the culture may be changing to allow for more discussion, prevention, transparency. Institutions like the University of Iowa and Harvard University are adding counseling capacity, student groups to support struggling peers, and a greater openness to acknowledging without shaming the fact of mental illness among physicians.

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The opinions expressed in this feed and podcast are not those of the University of Iowa or the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine; nor do they reflect the views of anyone other than the people who expressed them.  If you have feedback on anything you hear on the show, positive or not, let us know.

Recess Rehash: Snapchat, Psychiatry, Femininity, and Savory Toothpastes

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With Dave on vacation, we’re taking a break this week.  Enjoy this rerun!

Corbin Weaver, Cole Cheney, Taz Khalid and Tony Rosenberg educate Dave on Snapchat.  Technology: scary!  We confront the limits and future of antibiotics as we hear about the new E. coli bug that’s immune from all of them.  We discuss how YOU can set up your own medical office, and get all your equipment from good ol’ Amazon. Corbin is on her psychiatry rotation, and it’s turning out to be a reflective time for her, especially as it relates to how we treat people with psychiatric disorders.

Continue reading Recess Rehash: Snapchat, Psychiatry, Femininity, and Savory Toothpastes

A Leg Up for Non-Traditional Med Students: Learning the Ropes

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Dave is excited to meet some new people who are getting ready to don the short coat this coming week. Kylie Miller, Brady Campbell, Kyle Anderson are all new students at the Carver College of Medicine. Each of them would be called a non-traditional medical students, either because they come to med school with a college degree outside the usual pre-medical subjects, or because they took a break between college and medical school. This summer they all participated in the Introduction to Medical Education at Iowa program, and along with their teaching assistant Vivian Zhu, were adventurous enough to take the microphones for a spin. What other things these guys did to prepare for starting their medical studies? What barriers did they encounter along the way? Have they experienced any doubt? Have they considered the emotional challenges med school offers in addition to the hard work?
Continue reading A Leg Up for Non-Traditional Med Students: Learning the Ropes

The World is Burning

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Dave’s feeling a bit concerned for the future of the world these days. As a consumer of science fiction movies and books, he’s long noticed a theme therein: that of the old people holding on to the reigns of power, both economic and political, while the young people struggle for a foothold.  As society continues to skew older–with medicine becoming better and better at keeping the elderly healthy longer–will the youngsters lose whatever agency they have?  John Pienta, Nick Sparr, Tony Rosenberg and Taz Khalid humor Dave by talking about it.  Also, since Tony’s here, there is  somehow more talk of poop.

Continue reading The World is Burning

What penniless med students should know about money with Joe Saul-Sehy

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Guest quote rightDo you, dear students, have tons of money? No? Weird. Luckily, Joe Saul-Sehy of the Stacking Benjamins podcast joins us on the show this week.  Joe was a financial advisor for many years, he was known as the Money Man on WXYZ-TV in Detroit, and he’s a financial contributor in a bunch of places around the print and web news media. He and his wife Cheryl, a pediatrician, have gone through all the stages that pre-meds and med students go through. So we asked him to join us to talk about the strategies they employed to claw their way back from med school debt, educating yourself about how money works, having fun with  managing your money, and why it’s particularly important for doctors to understand money.  Joe’s got plenty of information, resources and ‘fintech’ apps to recommend for succeeding in this area that many people (never mind med students) have not adequately explored.

Continue reading What penniless med students should know about money with Joe Saul-Sehy

Recess Rehash: Sister Helen Prejean: Why Medical Students Should Care About The Death Penalty

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Sister Helen Prejean Photo by Irish Jesuits

[Here’s a previously posted episode, since Dave was out of town last week.  Enjoy!]

Sister Helen Prejean is a well-known anti-death penalty advocate who has ministered to prisoners on death row. She began her prison ministry in 1981 by becoming pen pals with Patrick Sonnier, a convicted murder who was sentenced to death by electrocution in Lousiana’s Angola State Prison.

Since then, she has witnessed 5 executions and founded the victim’s advocacy group “Survive” in New Orleans. She continues to counsel inmates on death row as well as the families of murder victims. Sister Prejean speaks out against the death penalty through lecturing, organizing and writing, and she is the author of two books on the subject. Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States was an international best seller, and it was developed into the 1996 motion picture for which Susan Sarandon won an Oscar for best actress.

Continue reading Recess Rehash: Sister Helen Prejean: Why Medical Students Should Care About The Death Penalty

A Career in Health Policy: Dr. Lauren Hughes

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Lauren Hughes, MD, MPH, MSc, FAAFP
Lauren Hughes, MD, MPH, MSc,, FAAFP

Dr. Lauren Hughes is a graduate of the Carver College of Medicine who, in addition to her work as a family physician, has made a career in public policy. During medical school, she also got her Masters in Public Health at George Washington University in Washington, DC. After graduating from med school in 2009, she delayed her residency to serve as national president of the American Medical Student Association, and then completed her residency at the University of Washington.  Today Dr. Hughes is Deputy Secretary of Health Innovation at the Pennsylvania Department of Public Health.  Mark Moubarek, Corbin Weaver, Rob Humble and newcomer Morgan Bobb spoke with her about her career in public health and policy. Continue reading A Career in Health Policy: Dr. Lauren Hughes

There Will Be No Problems: Confidence and Reassurance

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On a recent show, Dave opined that shaving one’s armpit hair might cut down on deodorant failure, and a listener called into vindicate him, much to Mark Moubarek’s shame.  Another listener, PharmD and author Tony (he’s written a book you might want to try if you’re looking for “a relaxed approach” to memorizing pharmacology), wants to know how a medical student gets to the point where they can be confident enough to say to a patient, “There will be no problems.” Mark, Amy Young, John Pienta, and newcomer Julie Gudenkauf weigh in on the acquisition of confidence and the art of reassurance.

Continue reading There Will Be No Problems: Confidence and Reassurance