Among the topics we Short Coats often ruminate on is the lack of basic science literacy in the public and press…and among politicians. How did we get to this place when science is so mistrusted? So Kelsy Adler, Levi Endelman, Lisa Wehr, Marc Toral, and Laura Quast were excited to talk with someone who is doing something about it. Shaughnessy Naughton is the founder of 314 Action, an organization that seeks to address dearth of science knowledge among politicians directly by encouraging and financing the election of people with STEM backgrounds to public office at all levels. Shaughnessy Naughton is a chemist by trade and the founder of 314 Action, which “champions electing more leaders to the U.S. Senate, House, State Executive and Legislative offices who come from STEM backgrounds.” The organization seeks to change politicians’ active resistance to the acquisition of data on things like gun violence and climate change, and push back on ignorance of the evidence that already exists on topics like vaccinations and evolution. Among the challenges they face is the perception that science is above politics; the task of creating and financing a network of donors and supporters; and understanding and effectively countering the career politician’s bias toward certainty instead of nuance. They’re also addressing the need for training people of science to move beyond simple advocacy so that they can engage with the political process and change the system’s anti-science biases from within. Listeners, share your thoughts with us each week. Call us at 347-SHORTCT any time, and see our Facebook page for occasional Live shows in which you can participate.
Happy Thanksgiving! The crew–John Pienta, Marc Toral, Dylan Todd and new guy Jay Blomme–were lucky enough to hear from a couple listeners about our recent post-presidential election episode. For instance, Kayla called 347-SHORTCT to say thanks; we presume she had more to say, but she got cut off. We continue our discussions on logic and logical errors, considering the efforts that Facebook and Google are making to reduce the effects of ‘fake news.’ John has some suggestions on how to have a productive conversation with people whose opinions you don’t share. Dylan is the master of strange analogies that ultimately are right on target. We discuss one idea in DIY medicine we might be able to get behind, a device that allows women to take some control of their breast reconstruction journey. And we mark the passing of ‘The Radioactive Boy Scout,’ David Hahn, who attempted to build a working nuclear reactor in his back yard as a teenager. And some podcasters who couldn’t join us this week send in their thoughts on what they’d do with an extra day no one else could mess with. Listeners, share your thoughts with us each week. Call us at 347-SHORTCT any time, and see our Facebook page for a question to consider every Monday.
Stress is a part of medical school. Worrying about tests, studying until you drop, late nights, early mornings, and drinking from the firehose all seem to promote the idea that med students should do nothing else but study. Dave, Aditi Patel, Marc Toral, Levi Endelman, and Kylie Miller agree, which is one reason Aditi and Dave put on a monthly Art Club. Students get together over lunch and have fun with paints, ceramics, drawing, whatever! No pressure, just an hour away from medicine.
And speaking of being away from medicine, a listener calls into 347-SHORTCT with a question about how best to keep in touch with family and friends who might not understand the demands of medical school. And we discuss Aditi’s family (who just happen to be the subject of a documentary available on Netflix) and the methods they’re using to select her future husband. And we play Superfight!
In his former life, co-host Mark Moubarek was a children’s entertainer. So in a stroke of genius, Dave decides to have him make balloon animals for Aline Sandouk, Marc Toral, and Rob Humble. On an audio podcast. But it’s okay because it’s summer! Or, read another way, Dave had nothing prepared for the show, and so we’re free styling. Not a plan in the world. We talk about eating bugs, the television programs we were allowed to watch as children, Dave’s impending trip to the Podcast Movement conference, and how he’d love to some day do a presentation on what podcasting can do for medicine. Also, Aline’s had a physical transformation after she took Step 1, and we observe the phenomenon of scientists with out of control eyebrows.
Poor lister Erin. She writes to let us know she can’t find the first 44 episodes of the show, now that she’s listened to all eighty(!) of those available on iTunes. We explain how she can fill the sad hole in her life this tragedy has left. Dave’s shower thoughts lead Aline Sandouk, Amy Young, Marc Toral and Kaci McCleary to discuss the utility of giving not a single feldercarb what people think of you. On the flip side, an article in the New York Times offers a peek at what can happen if you go from not caring (or even knowing) what people think to caring all too much, when transcranial magnetic stimulation suddenly enables an autistic man to understand what others are thinking of him.
Continue reading Sudden Empathy, Too Much Empathy, and A Lack of Empathy
Listener Oscar called in to find out what should he do about his case of nerves now that he’s been accepted to medical school, and Lisa Wehr, Aline Sandouk, Marc Toral, and Dylan Todd have plenty of calming words for him. They also discuss the statistics of 2016’s Match, why some people don’t match (do whatever it takes, ethically, to get good exam scores, people), and what people who don’t end up matching can do with their MD. Some schools have even begun offering built-in backup plans for those folks.
Recording on the eve of match day, Marc Toral, Amy Young, Matt Becker and new co-host Taz Khalid discuss a petition by Harvard medical students to abolish the USMLE’s Step 2 clinical skills exam as it’s too expensive, ineffective, and a waste of effort. Among our team, however, opinions vary. And why no discussion on abolishing Step 1 (the test of basic science knowledge and concepts) on similar grounds?
Continue reading Abolishing Step 2, Self-Electrocution to Treat Boredom, and More Answers to Internet Questions
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s well known TED talk discusses the utility of ‘power poses,’ and medical students are always looking for ways to feel more powerful. So Dave challenges Ellie Ginn, Tony Rosenberg, Marc Toral, and Mark Moubarek to give them a try. Zika remains a force for making people crazy, and Brazil has banned the use of a larvicide incorrectly linked with Monsanto as a result of a report from a group of Argentinian physicians who advocate for the ban of insecticides. Tony suggests a better option: mosquito-mesh body suits. In fact, he’s full of ideas, including replacing the traditional family-medicine feces chart, used to help patients discuss their poop with their doctors, with plastinated specimens; and he’s considering launching a company that offers fecal transplants from specimens provided by celebrities and sports figures.
After Martin Shkreli’s arrest, John Pienta, Marc Toral, Greg Woods, and Amy Young, discuss why Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli is so hated, given that capitalist enterprises have profit as their overarching goal–hasn’t he just done his job? Meanwhile, two ongoing clinical trials have been experimenting on human subjects without consent. Those subjects: residents and their patients. The experiment: what happens if hospitals return to the longer hours that prevailed for residents before they were restricted in 2011? We explore the limitations of consent, residents’ satisfaction with their working conditions, how many residents may not feel that restricting their hours is best for their patients, and what working and being a patient at an academic medical center means.
Second-years Kaci McCleary, Marc Toral, Corbin Weaver, and Aline Sandouk are about to finish their didactic studies in the curriculum and embark on their clinical clerkships! At long last, they get to work with patients. Among the questions they face: is it better to put yourself out there during clerkships? Or keep your head down? And are they nervous? Maybe a little, but there was plenty of health news this week to distract themselves with, including a Harvard study that provides evidence that one’s stress and one’s health may be unrelated.