global

Are You Sleep Deprived?

As students, we don’t have your typical 9 AM – 5 PM workday. It’s actually more like the reverse: 5 AM – 9 PM. After a full day’s worth of lectures, we are expected to go home and review each lecture for 2-3 hours and also study for upcoming tests. Just because our day seems incredibly busy and we wish we had more free time to decompress does not necessarily mean we are sleep deprived. I’ve learned that classmates love to boast about how much sleep they did not get. I think I hear about “staying up all night” at least once per day. As almost doctors, we are definitely smart enough to know that chronic sleep deprivation leads to an increased risk for a host of diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression. So, how can you tell? Are you dozing off during lecture because you find the material boring, or because you need more sleep? According to the American Sleep Association, you will start to notice the following signs: You can’t stop snacking or eating. You noticed a change in your weight – either gain or loss. You’re irritable and cranky. You can’t remember anything. You can’t control your motor skills. You can’t make decisions. If you’ve determined that you do, in fact, need more sleep the next step is to improve your sleep hygiene habits....

On Traveling as a Medical Student

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” -Gustav Flaubert My biggest regret about traveling as a medical student is really not traveling as much as I wanted, or at the very least, traveling much at all. I went to college in New York City and barely made it downtown, or explored the other boroughs. My best friend in college diagnosed herself with “the travel bug” and she took her environmental lectures in Brazil because we had the opportunity to do so. At the time, I found it difficult to go abroad with a full schedule of the college requirements in addition to the pre-medical classes with labs. In hindsight, it may have seemed more difficult that it was. But, I’m sure I could have found a way to do it. Now, I strongly feel traveling is an important part of my education. Whenever I have an excuse to explore a new place, I do whether it be spring break, a holiday on Monday, or just the weekend. While trips can be costly for students, I would say it is worth every penny. For one, it is refreshing and necessary to leave the same campus, same people, same city for a change of scenery. It is also incredibly humbling to learn how people live. I visited Cape Town, South Africa during my...

Reflecting on Vaccines After World Immunization Week

Vaccines, heralded as one of the greatest medical breakthrough of the modern era save millions of lives each year. Despite the magnificent success of vaccinations against formerly fearsome diseases, fraudulent anti-vaccine claims thrive today. In the spirit of World Immunization Week 2018, I decided to dive into the scientific data that unambiguously demonstrates how effective vaccines are at preventing the most devastating diseases. Vaccines work on the simple principle of preventing the disease, they help our body’s defense system (immune system) to fight infections effectively and at a much faster rate. When we get a vaccine, we are exposed to small amounts of weakened or dead pathogens, which doesn’t make us sick but all it does is spark our immune system. Once the immune system is sparked it remembers the pathogen, and on our next exposure to the pathogen, our body is ready to fight off the pathogen. This protection that we develop against a disease is defined as immunity, which in many cases lasts for a lifetime. The story of vaccines begins with smallpox. In the 20th century, smallpox killed an estimated 300 million people, making it one of the deadliest diseases known to humankind. Before doctors knew how to prevent this highly infectious disease from spreading, Dr. Edward Jenner carried out one of the most pivotal experiments in the history of medicine that led to the discovery of...

Is the Psychiatrist Shortage Linked to Mental Health Needs?

You can’t turn on the television anymore without watching some news of suicides or shootings. It is clear that there is currently a severe mental health crisis in the U.S. This is not just speculation. According to a recent AAMC article, there is a higher demand for mental health treatment than there are trained professionals. In light of recent Match Day for U.S. medical students, I was curious to discover the numbers related to students entering Psychiatry as a specialty in medicine. However, according to Residency Match Results and Data report from 2017, psychiatry positions have grown every year since 2008, and the 1,495 positions offered in 2017 was the highest on record. The 99.7 position fill rate also was the highest ever. The number of positions filled by psychiatry residencies has increased by 34 percent. Is the psychiatrist shortage linked to mental health needs? As a Psychology major in college and a long-time volunteer at Bellevue Hospital in NYC – renowned emergency psychiatric hospital – I have been curious about this field in medicine. Despite not choosing to pursue mental health further, I recognize it as an incredibly important area of medicine that has direct, positive impact on patients. Due to my curiosity, I looked up the results of Match Day to see how many students chose Psychiatry as a profession. There were several highlights this year, chief among...

This Global Health Challenge is for Medical Students and Residents Serving Abroad

AMA Kicks-off 2018 Global Health Challenge for Medical Students and Residents to Help Underserved Patients Abroad Physicians-in-training and other health profession students are encouraged to submit essays before the May 14 contest deadline Chicago – The American Medical Association (AMA) and the AMA Insurance Agency today announced the launch of the 2018 AMA Global Health Challenge—an essay and video contest giving a team of physicians-in-training and students of other health care professions an opportunity to travel abroad to provide health care for underserved patients. The winning team will work alongside Timmy Global Health to care for populations in Ecuador, Guatemala or the Dominican Republic. “The AMA Global Health Challenge will allow aspiring physicians and health care professionals the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally while providing much needed care to some of the world’s most vulnerable populations,” said AMA President David O. Barbe, M.D. “The global health experiences that these future health care professionals will gain through their service trip abroad will help them foster a lifelong passion for service to the neediest populations, both at home and abroad, and develop a deeper understanding of the social determinants of health—leading to better health outcomes for all patients.” The AMA Global Health Challenge invites teams of at least two and up to five pre-medical and medical students, residents and students in allied health fields to submit an essay of 500 words or...

My Thoughts on Late-Term Abortions

I was recently talking to a friend of mine named Joe who works in health care and is an intelligent, well-educated person.  The subject of abortion came up and Joe told me he was pro-choice, but… Joe: “I just don’t think women should be allowed to have abortions at 37 or 38 weeks pregnant.  That’s just wrong.” I think I gasped audibly and said, “Oh no!”  I didn’t understand how a smart guy in healthcare could believe women were having abortions two weeks before delivery.  Or putting it another way, that there are doctors out there who are effectively willing to murder full term fetuses. Donald Trump said it during a debate though.  And while people did point out that this ridiculous, I always felt like a big enough deal wasn’t made out of this.  Our presidential candidate believed women are allowed to have abortions at full term.  How can we brush that off? I calmly tried to explain to Joe why this logic made no sense, and he quickly said, “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”  And… that was the end of the discussion. Now I am someone who sympathizes with people who are genuinely pro-life.  I have female friends who believe life starts at conception, and can talk intelligently on the subject. I am willing to listen to anyone who does not just want to ban abortion...

What to Know About World Autism Day

Monday, April 2nd, 2018 is the 11th annual World Autism Day. Around the world, buildings and landmarks with shine will blue lights to raise awareness and increase recognition of those who live with autism. This will be followed by a month-long program of autism-friendly events that aim to foster acceptance and understanding. Light it Up Blue The Light it Up Blue initiative was started in 2010 by Autism Speaks. Last year, buildings, landmarks and businesses turned their lights blue to raise awareness. Over 170 countries participated on all 7 continents. While many view this day as an important way to raise awareness for autism, the initiative has engendered some controversy, with criticisms being aimed at the language of pathology used by Autism Speaks, as well as their financial standing as a charity. Many people, especially families of autistic children, would prefer to spread a message of acceptance for all who may be neurologically atypical, not just click-and-share social media “awareness.” Empowering Women and Girls with Autism Over at the United Nations, the General Assembly has adopted a resolution to observe World Autism Awareness Day with the message of “empowering women and girls with autism,” to focus on the way ways that gender dynamics and gender discrimination intersect with disability. Their resolution noted that women with disabilities have a lower rate of employment than both women without disabilities and men with disabilities. The...

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