Tag Archives: Aline Sandouk

Hot Takes: Dr. Marty Makary dissects the US COVID Response, and he isn’t happy

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We were too slow, too cautious, and too “old-guard” in our responses to COVID

TL;DR

  • Guest Marty Makary condemns the old way that healthcare responds to current events.
  • Sticking to the clinical trials process and a reluctance to use the knowledge already available from Chinese doctors slowed US responses and killed people.
  • “We had terrible medical leadership throughout the pandemic, and I think it’s good for our leaders to show some degree of humility to say, look, we consistently got it wrong.”

This episode is sponsored by Panacea Financial, a company just for medical students and doctors. Check them out!

New York Times bestselling author and Johns Hopkins surgeon Marty Makary returns to the show to just blast US healthcare and medicine’s response to COVID. The flip-flopping on mask effectiveness, the distribution of vaccines, ignoring the role of natural immunity of people who were infected and survived, insisting on a two-dose vaccine rollout instead of first getting everyone vaccinated once. All of these decisions were slow, ill-considered, and in some cases theatrical rather than scientific. Even Fauci got it wrong! *gasp*

Join MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk, and M1s AJ Chowdhury and Rick Gardner as we dissect the chaos. The paperback edition of Dr. Makary’s book, The Price We Pay, includes an update that discusses COVID’s implications for the business of healthcare.

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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 Hot Takes: Dr. Marty Makary dissects the US COVID Response, and he isn’t happy

Recess Rehash: DROWNING IN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

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Doing stuff outside of your coursework is fantastic…until it isn’t.

explosion photo
Actual photograph of Gwyneth Paltrow’s “This Smells Like My Vagina” candle in use.

[Dave was suddenly called home for a family emergency, so no recording this week. Enjoy this rerun, though!]

Listener Tasneem Ahmed–a fourth-year medic at London’s King’s College–joins MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk, M4 Holly Conger, and M1s AJ Chowdhury and Alex Belzer on the show. She wrote to us at theshortcoats@gmail.com because she wanted to talk with us about those times when extracurricular activities are too much of a good thing. These activities are important to both schools and students as a way to convey and learn vital lessons about service and career opportunities. But there is a temptation to overdo it in an attempt to distinguish oneself as a competitive applicant. Take that far enough, and it’s a recipe for exhaustion and burnout.

We also take time to compare the two systems of medical education, dance on the grave of Step 2 CS, and cover the most important story of January 2021: Gwyneth Paltrow’s exploding vagina candle.

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!

Hitting the Wall, Then Scaling the Heights

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The M1 Wall is Real. You’ll Probably Have to Climb It.

TL;DR

  • Taking the med ed bull by the horns in a purposeful way will get your through one of the toughest moments.
  • Given any definition of “success,” a medical student who succeeds in medical school engages “like they paid for it.”
  • The definition of “success” doesn’t necessarily include honors grades or high scores. If you choose what it means, you will succeed!

Today’s show is sponsored by Panacea Financial, the digital bank created for doctors, by doctors.

You can choose your metric for success!

After hearing of a student’s struggles with the M1 wall–that point students get to when they’re exhausted, questioning their choices, and worrying how they’re going to get through this–got Dave thinking about the various ways medical school challenges the psyche. Whether it’s suddenly bumping up against ones’ limits, realizing some disturbing aspects of the hidden curriculum, or grappling with doubt, medical school is a real beast.

It’s not uncommon to feel alone when you hit the wall. Everyone around you looks cool…but are they really? When you decide to open up about your struggles, what if no one reciprocates? And in a world where not everyone is above the very-high mean, what does it mean to be below average? MD/PhD students Aline Sandouk and Miranda Schene, M3 Nick Lind, and M1 Eric Boeshart have all run into the wall, and are on today’s show to tell the tale.

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 an AI thinks we said

Continue reading Hitting the Wall, Then Scaling the Heights

DROWNING IN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

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Doing stuff outside of your coursework is fantastic…until it isn’t.

explosion photo
Actual photograph of Gwyneth Paltrow’s “This Smells Like My Vagina” candle in use.

Listener Tasneem Ahmed–a fourth-year medic at London’s King’s College–joins MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk, M4 Holly Conger, and M1s AJ Chowdhury and Alex Belzer on the show. She wrote to us at theshortcoats@gmail.com because she wanted to talk with us about those times when extracurricular activities are too much of a good thing. These activities are important to both schools and students as a way to convey and learn vital lessons about service and career opportunities. But there is a temptation to overdo it in an attempt to distinguish oneself as a competitive applicant. Take that far enough, and it’s a recipe for exhaustion and burnout.

We also take time to compare the two systems of medical education, dance on the grave of Step 2 CS, and cover the most important story of January 2021: Gwyneth Paltrow’s exploding vagina candle.

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!

Is Medicine A Calling, or a Job?

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Which take on medicine is best for patients and provider mental health?

Dave and the gang–including M1s AJ Chowdhury and Alex Belzer; M4 Holly Conger; and MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk–take a look at the prevalent idea that medicine is a “calling,” somewhat like religion is for many. That’s an imperfect analogy, but there are parallels. People talk, for instance, about the sacrifices, the altruism, the service, and the requirement that doctors be at all times upstanding and display exceptional integrity. This view has some obvious benefits for the profession, including that its practitioners are laser focused on being the best physicians and people they can be.

But that view of physician-hood carries with it a lot of weight. When medicine is viewed as a calling, being a physician may become one’s primary identity. And when perfection remains frustratingly out of reach, the risk is that you’ll come to view yourself as a bad person and not as a doctor who is still learning. At least, that’s what Dave worries, but is it true?

Plus, Holly brings us up to date on life as an M4, especially her search for a residency 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!

What You Should Tell Your FAmily About Med School

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How they can help, support, and understand what you’re doing here.

caveman photo
“I’m afraid medical science has yet to find a cure for ‘Brown Owies,’ madam.”

[We livestream our recording sessions most Fridays on our listeners Facebook group, The Short Coat Student Lounge. Join us to add your questions and comments to the show!]

Families are a blessing (usually). A source of support, love, and acceptance, they can prop you up in those moments when you need it. Sure, sometimes they goof–well meaning comments, misplaced efforts to help, and untimely visits do happen–but they just want what’s best.

On this episode MD/PhD student Aline Sandouk and M1s AJ Chowdhury, Alex Belzer and Nicole Hines talk about the things they’d have wanted their families to know about before med school began.

Speaking of misguided attempts to be helpful, Dave leads the team in an exercise to develop their communication skills, to see if the crew get their medical points across to their patients even when forced to speak as cavemen.

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: This Student’s Shame is Changing Our Curriculum

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shame photo
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.


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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!

celebrate photo

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!

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

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negotiation photo

[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!