Tag Archives: AJ Chowdhury

Recess Rehash: When Life Is Getting In the Way of Med School: the Value of the Tactical Retreat.

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Save Your Resources to Fight Another Day

TL;DR

  • Medical school is all-consuming, but sometimes you need to take time to deal with the slings and arrows of life.
  • Don’t be afraid that you’ll jeopardize your career by taking a leave during medical school. Better to do it before your situation causes harm to your test scores or grades.
  • A Brown University study finds that schools are failing in their diversity goals for admitting URMs.

We’re on a holiday break, but we’ll be back next week. Until then, enjoy this rerun.

Poking around on Reddit’s r/medschool, Dave found a rather desperate message from an M3 who’s life is collapsing around him–death, marriage troubles, family illnesses, and all at the same time. so much so that Dave fears their progress might suffer. Is it time for what a military commander might call a “tactical retreat?” Note: Dave isn’t really sure of the technical definition of a tactical retreat, but let’s just say it’s about stepping back and conserving your resources until the situation becomes more favorable to your goals. It’s a metaphor, go with it.

And co-hosts Aline Sandouk (MD/PhD), Nicole Hines (M1), AJ Chowdhury (M1), and Miranda Schene (MD/PhD) discuss the disappointing news that medical schools have made negative progress in attaining diversity goals for students underrepresented in medicine, despite years of effort.

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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!

Continue reading Recess Rehash: When Life Is Getting In the Way of Med School: the Value of the Tactical Retreat.

Recess Rehash: Life Hacks for Med Students

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Due to the Thanksgiving Holiday, we weren’t in the studio to record a new show last week. Instead, enjoy this rerun!

Med school life hacks are all about maximizing efficiency, minimizing friction.

TL;DR

  • Eliminate unnecessary friction to the completion of a task
  • Paying others to do other life tasks can be helpful
  • Saying no is as important as maximizing efficiency.

Today we explore the things that med students do to maximize their efficiency. These are the small steps they take to eliminate friction to completing chores, focusing attention where it’s needed instead of where your brain wants it to be, and eliminating those tasks that just aren’t that important to them. M4 Mackenzie Walhof, MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk, M2 Nicole Hines, and M2 AJ Chowdhury explore with Dave their own personal life hacks.

Also, Dave ran famous doctors’ photos multiple times through an app that makes caricatures until they were no longer recognizable, then made videos of the progression. How fast can the crew identify them when the video is reversed? Play along at home on our Instagram.

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!

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Dr. Bruce Campbell, and a Fullness of Uncertain Significance

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A cancer surgeon’s stories offer lessons of humility and grace

TL;DR

  • Medicine is filled with both the momentous and the prosaic.  Yet every interaction is a chance to process and understand the impact one person can both have and be subject to.
  • Dr. Campbell suggests students start journaling their experiences early.  Not only might this lead to a lovely book of essays near the end of a career, but it’s also a great tool to track the fleeting experiences that will much sooner make a great personal statement!
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In this episode, M2s Nicole Hines, AJ Chowdhury, Sarah Costello and M1 Zach Shepard visit with the author of a new book, A Fullness of Uncertain Significance: Stories of Surgery, Clarity, & Grace.  Dr. Bruce Campbell is also a head and neck cancer surgeon at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  The book is a series of short vignettes from Dr. Campbell’s life in medicine from as far back as his first experiences as a nursing assistant in 1973.  A blend of the momentous and prosaic, they offer the medical learner a glimpse of what a veteran doctor has seen, and the conclusions he’s drawn from his privileged window into the lives of the people he’s met over nearly 50 years.

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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!

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Hot Sauce Halloween

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Hot sauces rule

TL;DR

  • We discuss the many uses (real or potential) of capsaicin as we taste hot sauces from some random multipack co-host AJ had lying around.
  • The co-hosts fight each other with words in a game of Megabattle.
  • Warning: cartoonish violence is described. If you don’t like the thought of being stabbed by flaming antlers, you might want to skip this one.

This episode is sponsored by Enso Rings, makers of soft, safe, attractive silicone rings. Listeners get 10% off rings at EnsoRings.com using promo code SHORT!

M2s AJ Chowdhury, Smrithi Mani, Alex Belzer and Alex Choi take a break from serious discussion this week because Dave’s busy running a conference to even do his usually-minimal level of prep for the show. Fortunately, AJ had a box of various hot sauces lying around, so we ate them while we discussed facts about capsaicin, the chemical contained by chili peppers responsible for that lovely burning sensation we crave.

And, in an attempt to justify to himself that he’s an actual educator, he forces the crew to practice their debate skills by playing Megabattle–who wins in ridiculous battles of cartoon-like violence? They’ll have to convince each other of the winner!

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!

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Music Soothes and Builds Teams

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Medical students who play instruments together and with others see benefits for teamwork and learning

Today’s episode is sponsored by Panacea Financial, a division of Primis, Member FDIC. Check out their PRN Personal Loans to help cover board exams or application costs, with decisions in as little as 24 hours and great interest rates!

TL;DR

  • Medical students can use their music background to enhance their education
  • Playing together and improvising is great practice for working in teams
  • The mental health benefits of playing or singing are huge–it’s impossible to play or sing without forgetting your cares.

M2s AJ Chowdhury (bass guitar), Trey Krupp (guitar), Anthony Piscopo (vocals) and M4 Dhruv Kothari (singer-songwriters), discuss their lives as musicians, and the uses that music has for understanding their lives as medical students and team members. Keeping music in their lives despite what feels like the all-consuming nature of medical education.

Listen to Trey Krupp on Spotify!

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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!

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Unsatisfied Just Learning Medicine, These Students Became Journalists, Too

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The case for the physician-journalist

The Takeaways:

  • One important responsibility that doctors can and should take on is to educate their communities on health issues.
  • Learning how to do this in medical school can be as easy as collaborating with your university news paper.
  • Plus, our advice for a young mother and wife whose med student husband will be away during third year: plan, iterate and empathize.

In 2018, CCOM M4 Pavane Gorrepati launched The Doctor Is In, a recurring column in The Daily Iowan, the University of Iowa’s newspaper. The goals were to give all healthcare students an opportunity to publish science and opinion pieces, to bridge the divide between our undergrad and grad campuses by focusing on health-related issues that are relevant to the undergraduate population, and to give students experience on how they might convey complex topics to the general public through the popular press.

Pavane and her successor M2 Vijay Kamalumpundi join us for a discussion on this very successful endeavor and what they’ve learned. Among the things COVID has taught us is the importance of understanding complex topics!

But first, offer some advice to a nervous med student’s wife who will be spending a significant time apart from her spouse during his third year. MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk, and M2s Nicole Hines, Sarah Costello, and AJ Chowdhury offer some ideas on how they might cope with the separation and make sure their very young children don’t miss their dad too much.

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!

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Ask Your doctor if COVID is Right For You.

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As COVID numbers tick up, we choose to drown our sorrows in French/Korean fusion baked goods.

TL;DR

  • Dave picks his co-hosts’ brains on how they interpret the latest numbers on COVID
  • We eat baked goods that AJ brought us and try to guess what’s in them, and fail because they’re deliciously unlike anything we’ve had before.
  • We play Out of the Loop.

NOTE: this episode was recorded a few weeks back–some of the COVID numbers referred to are out of date, but the discussion is still valid.

Dave’s growing concerned about the recent uptick in COVID numbers, but like most non-epidemiologists, he isn’t quite sure what exactly they mean. So he brings it to the closest people he has to doctors to talk about it with on a Friday afternoon, his medical student co-hosts. MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk, M2 AJ Chowdhury, M2 Nicole Hines, and M2 Sarah Costello help him process.

To help that bitter pill go down, AJ brought some sweet tasty pastries all the way from Shilla Bakery in the Washington DC area. They aren’t a sponsor, we just really enjoyed their Korean/European fusion baked goods! Folks with misophonia, Nicole says sorry for her chewing noises.

And we play a game of Out of the Loop.

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!

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Awesome, More application Hoops!

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Get ready for new application requirements (and to pay more money?)

TL;DR

  • CASPer seeks to help schools understand applicants’ non-academic and people skills. It’s never been validated, but more and more schools are using it.
  • Some residency programs have begun using ‘supplemental questions’ as so-called objective measures like STEP 1 and STEP 2 CS fall away.
  • Are these new hurdles useful? Or do they add to the burden of becoming a doctor for no reason?

Dave had never heard of CASPer before (Iowa doesn’t currently use it), so he was surprised to hear that a bunch of schools–and more all the time–are using it to outsource their judgements of applicants’ so-called ‘soft’ skills like ethics and collaboration. However, there are reasons to doubt CASPer’s utility, including that it’s not clear it’s actually measuring these things. And while it costs students a small amount per school (‘small’ being a relative term, especially if the student is cash-strapped), what does it cost the schools who use it and how much of that gets passed on in tuition?

And in their never-ending quest to find the ‘best’ applicants, residency programs are finding new ways to evaluate them, such as requiring answers to ‘supplemental’ questions that sound an awful lot like a secondary application. And the part that includes signaling the applicant’s program preference seems a wee bit suspicious to Dave, MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk, M2 Nicole Hines, M2 AJ Chowdhury, and M4 Mackenzie Walhof.

And is Britney Spears being subject to reproductive coercion by her conservators?

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!

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WHAT Are They REALLY LOOKING FOR IN YOUR PERSONAL STATEMENT? Top Tips from our Expert

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Hint: it’s NOT a dramatic, ‘lightbulb’ moment.

TL;DR

  • Your med school application won’t be the last time you write a personal statement. They’re everywhere in medicine, so keep track of experiences you can write about when you need to.
  • Be careful about thinking too much about strategy, sacrificing the ‘personal’ part. It’s pretty easy to spot someone who isn’t writing with feeling.
  • Very few people can honestly write about a lightbulb moment when they suddenly knew what they wanted, so don’t bother.

Dave works in the Writing and Humanities Program with Director Cate Dicharry, MFA. Among her jobs is to assist medical students in writing their personal statements for residency applications, and she’s been deep in the weeds on that topic since partway through last semester. So Dave asked her to be on the show to give her top tips to both pre-meds and med students in crafting a statement that will grab their school’s or program’s attention. Joining us in the co-hosts’ seats are M4 Emma Barr, MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk, M2 Sarah Costello, and M2 AJ Chowdhury.

We also discuss how medical school curricula are evolving to incorporate more of the humanities into medical education. And Dave continues his weird interest in taking sweet foods and making them savory, this time offering up three ice cream flavors he and his wife made.

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!

Continue reading WHAT Are They REALLY LOOKING FOR IN YOUR PERSONAL STATEMENT? Top Tips from our Expert

Life Hacks for Med Students

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Med school life hacks are all about maximizing efficiency, minimizing friction.

TL;DR

  • Eliminate unnecessary friction to the completion of a task
  • Paying others to do other life tasks can be helpful
  • Saying no is as important as maximizing efficiency.

Today we explore the things that med students do to maximize their efficiency. These are the small steps they take to eliminate friction to completing chores, focusing attention where it’s needed instead of where your brain wants it to be, and eliminating those tasks that just aren’t that important to them. M4 Mackenzie Walhof, MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk, M2 Nicole Hines, and M2 AJ Chowdhury explore with Dave their own personal life hacks.

Also, Dave ran famous doctors’ photos multiple times through an app that makes caricatures until they were no longer recognizable, then made videos of the progression. How fast can the crew identify them when the video is reversed? Play along at home on our Instagram.

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!

Continue reading Life Hacks for Med Students