Should You Drop Out of Med School for Your Start-Up?

This is for every student with a business idea that could potentially change their life. Halle Tecco, co-founder and CEO of Rock Health, a company that funds entrepreneurs developing technology for medicine, gives important advice to medical school students looking to start a company. She explains the importance of an executive team, the time and dedication required for such an endeavor, and the value of having an MD in business development. Read more about Rock Health.   Featured image from Flickr | Tsahi...

What the Government Shutdown Means to You

It turns out that as medical students, the amount of time we sacrifice to the gods that are basic sciences and clinical rotations is so great that the world of current events can pass us by. But one event that I can’t in good conscience let you ignore is the government shutdown. It’s easy to turn your textbooks into an impenetrable Fort Kickass, but the implications of this quandary reach even into the hallowed halls we construct to insulate ourselves from the outside world. First, a little background. Our country every year must pass a budget that guides our spending. Realistically, it’s like giving an 18-month-old a paint-by-numbers and expecting a masterpiece, but it gives us a place to start. A federal budget is typically proposed by the President and then Congress takes this recommendation, passes a law, and then sends a final version back to the White House for approval. And then unicorns go dancing across the rainbows of Bubblegum Canyon. Since 1997, shockingly, this happy little agreement has failed to materialize. Because of the Antideficiency Act, in the absence of a budget, all government activities must stop (turns out it’s illegal to spend government money without it being allocated, who knew?).  To avoid this, Congress relies on the well-loved stop-gap approach, in this iteration known as a “Continuing Resolution,” that provides structure for the funds and allows...

Many Products Promising Male Organ Enlargement May Not Be Scientifically Proven

In an unimaginable and devastating blow to millions of men hoping to pharmacologically enhance certain reproductive organs, a Daily Medical Examiner SPECIAL INVESTIGATION into on-line advertisements for male enhancement found that the science behind many product claims was somewhat weak.  In a rigorously designed “mass-sample ingestion study” the DME’s Urologic Research Corps (aka Summer Interns #2 and 9) tried over 600 such products and found that the only effect notable from most of these medications was disillusionment.  When contacted, many “scientists” affiliated with product development did not actually have degrees, or labs, or consciences. Public reaction to the study has been violent. “I was shocked to learn that the product I ordered from the advertisement side-bar of a trusted software piracy site had never been clinically tested or approved.  I feel that an inviolable trust has just been violated,” said Howard Rergs, who has been using the non-prescription drug VitaGrande, produced in Hong Kong, for several months with disappointing results.  ”How can I ever learn to trust again?!” Bruce Cliggens didn’t need a study to tell him that his trust was misplaced.  He becomes teary eyed as he speaks of the way he spent most of last semester’s federal student loan money on a product called Extendia which left him feeling bloated and alone. “They said ‘guaranteed results’ and offered an international number that I could call if I...

The DO’s and DON’Ts of Study Groups

One of the most common questions among MS-I students is whether or not they should consider utilizing study groups. Study groups can be an excellent resource during medical school, but be sure to keep the following DO’s and DON’Ts in mind:   DO set a routine schedule for the week well in advance. Study groups work best when everyone knows exactly when they should meet and what topics to prepare for discussion. DON’T be unflexible. Things will inevitably come up that will disturb your meeting schedule. Try your best to reschedule rather than skip meetings all together. On the flip side, if your study partners are taking your schedule into consideration when making plans, it is important to honor your commitments to the group as best as you can.   DO invite classmates to join your study group. No one likes a clique. DON’T go overboard. Group sizes above six tend to make schedule planning more complicated. More importantly, remember that good friends don’t necessarily make good study partners.   DO have defined roles. Knowing who is good at writing on the board, drawing helpful diagrams, taking group notes, explaining complex cases, etc. can be extremely valuable to improving the efficiency of your study group. DON’T take advantage of any single person. For example, even if one person in the group tends to take the best notes during class,...

5 Easy Steps for YOU to Save Thousands of Residencies

On March 14th, representatives Schock (R-IL) and Schwartz (D-PA) introduced bipartisan legislation that aims to create 15,000 much-needed residency training positions and takes a critical look at the residency cap that has existed since the 1997 Balanced Budget Act. I happened to be in Washington D.C. for DO Day on the Hill when Congresswoman Schwartz introduced the bill, and she came to our morning debriefing to address hundreds of osteopathic medical students and physicians for our national lobbying day. She explained how the number of Medicare-funded residency slots producing licensed physicians has been capped since 1997, yet the US population has steadily grown each year (estimated to be an over 40 million increase in individuals from 1997-2013).  Additionally, with the addition of 30 million individuals added to the insurance pool by 2014 due to the Affordable Care Act, an already stretched-thin healthcare system will be faced with an ever-increasing patient load with limited resources and manpower.  Bottom-line: healthcare insurance coverage is meaningless if there aren’t enough providers to provide the actual care. The bill, The Training Tomorrow’s Doctors Today Act (H.R. 1201), currently has 10 co-sponsors and is being referred to the House Energy and Commerce and House Ways and Means committees. After doing a little digging around, I’ve found a fairly simple way to find out more about the bill and how to support it. Support the “Training Tomorrow’s Doctors Today Act” in 5 Steps   1) Read up...

Alanna Shaikh: How I’m preparing to get Alzheimer’s

When faced with a parent suffering from Alzheimer’s, most of us respond with denial (“It won’t happen to me”) or extreme efforts at prevention. But global health expert and TED Fellow Alanna Shaikh sees it differently. She’s taking three concrete steps to prepare for the moment — should it arrive — when she herself gets Alzheimer’s...

That Time Disney Made a Video About Menstruation

I hope I can talk about this bizarre cartoon without coming across as a stereotypical male regarding menstruation, i.e. as confused and frightened by the intricacies of the female body, visibly cringing at the mere mention of words like “period” or “tampon.” Female readers: I assure you, it’s really not the menstruation aspect of this video that freaks me out! (Okay, well maybe when the womb is described by the creepy narrator as a “hollow, pear-shaped organ.” That part kind of freaked me out.) No, it’s more that I’m disturbed by the portrait of femininity painted by this “Walt Disney Production through the Courtesy of Kotex Products,” a sexless 1946 educational video shown in schools throughout the country. The video’s main thrust is to assure girls that they will be able to carry on their lives as usual during their period, provided that said lives consist of dusting the living room, looking in the mirror, and going on dates. Disney’s thoughts on what it means to be a woman (in 1940s America, at least) are more revealingly depicted in this 10-minute video than in endless reels of fairy tale movies. Personally, it’ll be hard for me to think of animated Disney classics like “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” or “Cinderella” again without mentally recalling the phrase “Mother Nature controls many of our routine bodily processes through automatic control...

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