Tag Archives: Ignobel

Med-Techbros, Shortage Woes, and Ig Nobel Probes

  • As another physician shortage looms, M2s Jeff and Olivia and M1 Fallon look at the reasons–the market forces, political issues, and the missing incentives. There is some good news–a shortage of physicians means that residents get a ton of solicitations for post-training jobs.
  • Elon Musk’s Neuralink might be bad for monkeys, but the FDA has cleared the way for human trials to begin. What place do techbros–who have a rep for “moving fast and breaking things”– have in medicine where lives are at stake?
  • And Dave gives a pop quiz on this year’s Ig Nobel Prize winners.

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The Obscure Document Residency Programs Use to Decide If You’re Worthy


The Medical Student Performance Evaluation (or dean’s letter) will be sent to all your potential employers. Let’s talk about what’s in it!


  • You may have heard of the dean’s letter. It’s sent to all residency programs, one of the things they’ll use to choose who to invite for an interview. But do you know what’s in it…and that it’s creation begins on your first day of med school?
  • YouTube announces blanket ban on vaccine misinformation, and axes the biggest misinformation peddlers.
  • Can The Short Coats pass the 2021 IgNobel Prize Winners Quiz?

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To Dave, it sometimes feels like the process of medical education is as complex and opaque as the actual medical knowledge it works to impart to students. In this elaborate system, absolute transparency is difficult to achieve, but there’s one thing Dave thinks students should keep in the backs of their heads from day one: the medical student performance evaluation (MSPE, or ‘dean’s letter’). That’s because this document will be sent to all their future employers, including their residency programs. And those programs will use it (and other data applicants and colleges supply) to decide whether to invite you for an interview. Yet Dave has the impression that many don’t even know what’s in this important document–which includes comments from residents and attendings on their personal qualities and performance–until just before they begin to apply for residency! That’s a problem for some students who, upon reading it for the first time, find that there’s a pattern of behavior that they should have addressed long ago. Dave discusses what all students need to know about this important document.

Also, the 2021 IgNobel Prizes for improbable research have been awarded; YouTube bans all vaccine misinformation and the peddlers of bogus vax claims; and California begins using a controversial–but effective!–technique to help people who use drugs kick the habit: paying them to stay sober.

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Continue reading The Obscure Document Residency Programs Use to Decide If You’re Worthy