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Here’s My Experience When Dealing With The IMG Transfer to US MD Med School

If you visit any med school forum and type “IMG transfer to US medical school,” you’ll find a multitude of threads stretching back over a decade. You’ll find hundreds of opinions regarding the difficulty of the transfer process, necessary credentials, number of spots available every year, and if it’s even possible in the first place. You’ll also find that some contributing their two cents “have a friend” who transferred or “know a guy who knows a guy” who went through the process, most of whom are just straight trolling. Reading these forums can quickly make the entire prospect of transferring feel like chasing a mythical creature – or at least it did to me. I started my medical education at a large, well-known Caribbean school, and did so with full awareness of the existing stigma toward such institutions. During orientation, the school was very forthright with students regarding that stigma and the uphill battle we would be fighting when it came to The Match and beyond. We were informed that the most competitive residencies (neurosurgery, dermatology, orthopedic surgery, etc.) were out of the question, and were shown a list of specialties alumni had successfully matched into – our viable options. We were also shown NRMP match data for the average Step 1 scores among successfully matched individuals in each of those fields, and were instructed to score at least 10 points higher than...

The Path to Longevity: How to Unearth Your Ikigai and Live Like an Okinawan

Just last week, I came across a TED Talk that delved into the evidence behind longevity and the keys to living a long, happy, and healthy life. I know this seems difficult to pinpoint; however, TED talk speaker and National Geographic author and explorer, Dan Buettner knows a thing or two about how to eat and live like “the people who’ve lived the longest.” He specifically researches “Blue Zones” or communities with the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world. I decided to watch Dan’s talk for several reasons; firstly, the average life expectancy in the United States is among the lowest worldwide despite spending twice the amount on healthcare as compared to other countries. This astounding statistic not only warrants healthcare reform, but also lifestyle changes to mimic those in the so-called Blue Zones. Secondly, I’ve recently encountered many people in the working world– doctors included– who are unsatisfied with their lifestyle and profession. That being said, it is essential for premedical and medical students to extensively explore their options to discover what career or medical specialty really speaks to them. After all, doctors should be the epitome of health–mental, physical, and emotional health. Finally, when I was working in Alzheimer’s clinical research, I came across a few studies exploring delaying retirement and maintaining physical and cognitive activity to reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s Disease or other types of dementia....

Should I Go On A Medical Mission Trip?

Hearing the word medical mission trip on your resume or CV sounds interesting and impressive. You get to make a short trip to some third-world country and offer some of the much-needed healthcare services which the people there really need. These trips (according to the advocates) are much more valuable than serving a volunteer program in the US at some clinic. Many also think of these medical mission trips as very enticing and perhaps, life changing. However, there are two sides to everything. There are some who are not in favor of these medical mission trips as they think they serve no meaningful purpose. This dual point of view makes it difficult for the medical students to make up their mind whether or not they should be going on a medical mission trip to a third-world country or not. There are a number of questions that need to be addressed before you plan to go on a medical mission trip. The most important question being, will it actually have any long-term benefit for the people of that small country? Are you also facing the same situation and are unsure whether or not you should be traveling to an under-developed or a developing country on a medical mission trip? Here are some pros and cons that will help you make the decision. Pros of Going on a Medical Mission Trip It...

Genetic Testing in Israel Necessitates Ethical and Cultural Considerations

In the summer of 2016, four classmates and I participated in Georgetown University’s Genetic Health Internship located in Tel Aviv, Israel. Along with taking Genetics and Epidemiology courses and participating in different areas of preclinical research (I investigated AML), we also got a firsthand look into the ethical and cultural approaches to genetic testing within Jewish and Muslim communities. On week four, we journeyed to Be’er Sheva where we had the opportunity to see and learn about the Al-Sayyid Bedouins, one of Israel’s most marginalized minority groups. Prof. Aviad Raz— a medical sociologist at Ben-Gurion University who has conducted extensive research about this community— gave us a tour of the village and introduced us to the many challenges the country faces in genomic medicine as well as their numerous medical breakthroughs.   For nearly 200 years, congenital hearing loss has been appearing at elevated rates within the Al-Sayyid community. A 2011 estimate found that out of approximately 4,500 individuals, about 130 are deaf. The recessive “deaf gene,” or mutation in the DFNB1 locus, has spread very rapidly among the Al-Sayyid as a consequence of the founder effect as well as the custom of arranged consanguineous marriages— particularly first cousin marriages— which is a common practice among the Bedouins due to their social isolation. In fact, hereditary deafness is so prevalent that every family has one or two deaf children, and even those individuals...

Here’s What You Need To Know If You Want To Be A Nurse

There comes a time when you have to think critically about your career options if you haven’t already. While the field of medicine offers a wide selection of career choices for one to choose from, it may be difficult to settle for a particular path. In the area of nursing, there are numerous fields available. Now, we live in a time where job security isn’t a guarantee. However, for those pursuing nursing, especially as the baby boomers age, there’s an increased need for qualified nurses. It gives you something to think about when you feel like giving up on the capstone nursing. Job Prospects There has always been a consistent demand for nurses, and it is expected to continue so, in the future. As a nurse, you will get the chance to work directly with people. Also, you can help in creating programs that will assist people in living long and healthy lives. Nursing in itself is a field that plays a vital role in providing support to the sick and promoting and encouraging people to live well In the US, registered nurses earn well-above the median income, on full-time employment. Thus, even as the future of jobs in other fields may seem bleak, the need for skilled nurses isn’t affected by this. After your nursing degree, you will have the option of choosing whether to pursue a certified...

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...