Why Health Advocacy Matters to Medical Students

The American Medical Association (AMA) endorses: Physicians must “advocate for the social, economic, educational, and political changes that ameliorate suffering and contribute to human well-being.”1 Canada has adopted a similar commitment. The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and CanMEDS, a physician competency framework further elaborates the ways in which physicians are accountable to society when it comes to health advocacy: “described as responding to individual patient’s health needs by advocating within and beyond the clinical environment, and also to the needs of communities or populations for system-level change in a socially accountable manner.”2 Physicians are particularly well qualified to function as effective advocates for patient’s health. Not only do they understand the medical aspects of issues better than anyone else; they are also better able to observe and draw out the links between social factors and health. Physicians hold a high degree of trust with the public, as doctors are experts in their respective fields.  Therefore, “given their social standing, physicians enjoy an unusual degree of access to policy makers, to local and national leaders, and to citizens; thus, they possess a great deal of leverage in influencing public processes and priorities.”3 This is especially important in the world of pediatrics as often times our patients are those that are the most vulnerable in society and cannot advocate for themselves. This is precisely one of...

Medical Students Facing Challenges With Classroom Robotics

Robotics have been making big changes to many industries including construction, manufacturing, and healthcare. In fact, healthcare was one of the first industries to see robotics at work. Arm-like automatons first made their big debut in the 1960s and 1970s. Robots like the Shakey (1966) and the Stanford Arm (1969) assisted surgeons when performing complicated surgeries. Since then, robots in the medical field have become faster, better, stronger, and more affordable. Today, one-third of American hospitals have at least one surgical robot. It’s no secret robotics have had a positive impact on the medical field. They help to identify health risks in patients and reduce the need for invasive procedures. But just as engineers and manufacturers need to adapt to advancing AI, medical professionals need to face the hurdles that come with robotics in the healthcare industry. Shifting Tides: The Challenge Of Classroom Robotics In The Medical Field Medical students, or surgical trainees, need training on proper medical procedures. They also need training on how to conduct these procedures using, or in tandem with, robotic systems. Unfortunately, these robotic systems don’t always go hand in hand with conventionally approved approaches. One of the norms of surgical training is that students cooperate with a senior surgeon. Students watch and assist during traditional open surgeries. This way they receive hands-on training in real time. Yet, today’s medical students aren’t receiving the...

Climate Change and the Spread of Infectious Diseases

Global temperature rise, warming oceans, shrinking ice, decreased snow cover, ocean acidification and rise in sea levels. Do these terms sound familiar? These terms are indeed stark reminders of how human beings continue to damage the planet. Climate change is one of the most severe threats to human health and well-being. While the scientific community has made tremendous progress in eradicating many diseases, not a lot of research has been put towards the perplexing topic of climate change and the spread of infectious diseases. Long before the role of infectious agents was discovered, humans knew that climatic conditions affect epidemic diseases. Roman aristocrats spent their summers in hill resorts to avoid Malaria. South Asians preferred curried foods in summers to avoid diarrhea. Climate change refers to long-term shifts in weather conditions and patterns of extreme weather events. Appropriate climate and weather conditions are necessary for the survival, reproduction, distribution and transmission of disease pathogens. Thus, long-term climate change and weather shifts tend to favor the spread of several infectious diseases and extreme weather conditions might create opportunities for newer outbreaks or outbreaks at non-traditional places. It has been known for a while now that warming temperatures can help certain diseases. Malaria, which kills an estimated 650,000 people a year, thrives in the hot and humid areas where the Anopheles mosquito can live. The link between malaria and extreme climatic events has...

The One Thing You Must Do After Taking The MCAT

RELAX. I took a two-week vacation right after my MCAT. Taking time to not think, or speak, about the MCAT is important for self-renewal. Once the exam was over, I went through the questions I was unsure of in my head and made a declaration to never think about them again. This is important both for your sanity and for the binding-non-disclosure policy you sign when you take the MCAT. What happens during that day is between you and the MCAT lords and never to be discussed or spoken about again. So, after your MCAT take a moment to go through everything you questioned (if you remember those questions like I do) and then flush them away for good. While relaxing, catch up with friends, family members, emails, Netflix shows, exercise, or anything else you’ve put on pause for the past few months during preparation. The night before my exam, my boyfriend surprised me with a family dinner to calm my nerves. Seeing my family and having their support reminded me of the confidence people have put in me and my abilities to succeed. So, after you complete what you consider the biggest exam of your life (right now at least) call and thank those that have battled this journey with you. Relax – but not for too long. If you are applying this cycle, the AMCAS application opened...

How to Write the Best Thesis and Thesis Protocol

How to Write the Best Thesis and Thesis Protocol Writing a thesis is hard work and anyone that has been through it will tell you that. By the time you get to this part of your studies, you have already been through a long road. This does not mean that it is going to be a walk in the park. Besides working on your actual thesis, you have to adhere to a lot of rules. This in itself can be frustrating to manage. There are some rules that need to be followed, but the process should have a level of excitement for you. After all this time, you have the opportunity to share your views with others. It does not matter if you are doing Ireland Thesis Writing or a UK Thesis. Everyone wants to write the best thesis ever written and it is possible for you to be in that group. You simply have to stick to the guidelines and give it your best shot. Here are some guidelines you can use to write the best thesis. Proposal You are going to be required to submit a thesis proposal before you write your actual paper. This is going to be reviewed and is the first challenge. Make sure you indicate what you are working on and how this information will be of value. State why this issue is...

What To Expect In Medical School Applications, From A Doctor

There is already an abundance of information online regarding medical school applications, how to submit letters of recommendation, etc. During today’s Q + A session, Dr. Andrew Nimmich of Tutor the People, addresses the more difficult questions commonly asked by pre-meds. The types of questions that are responsible for the most misinformation regarding the medical school applications process. Andrew Nimmich, is an incoming PGY-1 in vascular surgery, a recent graduate of Boston University School of Medicine, and co-founder and pre-med advisor at Tutor the People, where he has worked with many pre-meds to help them apply to medical school and increase their scores on the MCAT. What are medical schools looking for? Medical schools are interested in applicants with excellent academic abilities, strong interpersonal skills, clear dedication to medicine and medical science, and demonstrated compassion. That’s great, but how do we show this on the application and what activities are best? Below I will breakdown how to demonstrate each attribute on your application with examples. Academic abilities – Everyone knows that strong grades and MCAT scores demonstrate academic excellence. But what about freshman year where you received a 2.9 GPA? The good news is that the admissions committees are made up of humans, some of whom had 2.9 GPAs their freshman year. They understand that not everyone is perfect, however, what they like to see is an uptrend in grades....

What You Should Know About Clerkships

The things I wish I had known about clerkships before third year began are the same as the things I wish I had known about life, but which I’m grateful to have learned the long way. And those things mostly amount to this: Life is about people. I wish there were a less patronizing, less Hallmark way to utter the simplest truth I know, but I’m not sure there is. Many of us have been fortunate enough to live lives untouched by abandonment, disappointment and loss, experiences that all have a way of sharpening our appreciation for the supporting cast of characters that comprise our existence. And so, these lessons often have to be learned vicariously. Throughout third year, we have the opportunity to peer into our patients’ lives through the cracks created by disease. An unexpected diagnosis takes the experience of being alive, turns it upside down and shakes it forcefully, leaving victims riddled with a mixture of uncertainty and hope. The glimpses we catch of this tumultuous experience can be as large or small as we allow them to be, and I challenge you to shed as much light into these spaces as possible. Mr. L was an 85-year-old man who was in good health until a pulmonary embolism threw him off kilter just before Christmas. The relatively minor insult to his lung function unmasked an underlying...

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