Five Tips For Choosing The Right Medical Field

When a student decides to study medicine, there can be an overwhelming amount of choices to be made. There are many options in the medical field that can be explored. It is also important to choose something that suites you. Keeping an open mind to the other options available is an important start. Once you’ve managed to do that, you can move forward. When we think about the medical field, our minds seem to limit the options to only a ‘Medical Doctor’. Many students cannot get into medical school because there is only a limited amount of students accepted every year. So let’s say, you’ve applied at an institution to become a medical doctor, but unfortunately was unsuccessful. What other options do you have? How do you determine which of these other options will suit you best? Your base Before you apply for any studies, decide on where you would like to build a career. Look at the current industry needs and make sure that you will be able to find employment in your preferred area. You may be busy submitting a recommendation letter for nursing school, only to find out that the area you want to work in does not have job openings. This is why you need to make sure that wherever it is that you are setting your heart on to pursue a career, will be...

How Do You Find A Mentor?

One of the greatest moments of third year is when you figure out (or confirm) what you want to do with your life. (I know this doesn’t happen for everyone, and I’ll address that topic in a future post.) Okay, so you know what you want to be when you grow up. What now? You need to find a mentor. If you’ve read my blog before, you probably know how strongly I feel about mentorship. (My very first post was on this very topic.) But what is the purpose of this particular mentor? A mentor is an experienced and trusted adviser. Right now you need someone within your specialty to help you choose letter-writers, decide which programs to apply to, and prepare for interviews. You need someone to bolster your confidence when you get anxious about this process. You also need someone who will tell you things you don’t want to hear, so that you can match into the best possible program within your chosen specialty and not end up scrambling (or whatever they call it now). So what should you look for in a mentor? I recommend choosing someone who has expressed confidence in you, whose career you admire, and whose personality is somewhat similar to yours. Also look for someone well-versed in resident selection in your specialty or someone who has been through residency fairly recently. It’s...

Pros and Cons of The California Single Payer Bill

The California state Senate passed SB 562 on June 1. The California Single Payer Bill would put an end to private health insurance, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, and replace it with a single-payer health care system. Under a single-payer system, all California residents will be eligible to receive health insurance from a single state-sponsored insurance system called Healthy California. All funding for insurance will come from the state government, which means that there are no out-of-pocket costs for consumers. Single-payer health insurance systems are widely used in European countries, and they have been lauded by Democrats in the United States because they guarantee health insurance for all. In many ways, a single-payer system seems like a dream come true—everyone is covered and consumers don’t have to pay a dime! But, like every health care system, a single-payer system has it’s drawbacks. To better understand what the The California Single Payer Bill will look like, here’s a list of pros and cons: PROS California Single Payer Bill Means Insurance for everyone! This is perhaps the greatest and most palpable benefit of a single-payer insurance system—everyone is eligible to enroll in Healthy California. Under Obamacare, California’s uninsured rate dropped from 17 percent in 2013 to 7 percent today. This is a dramatic improvement, but there are still roughly 3 million people in California that are uninsured. This problem of access will be eradicated completely...

New Applications That Diagnose Patients In Minutes

Diagnosis can be a long, laborious journey, but novel technologies have the potential to drastically shorten that journey. The company RightEye has developed a test that uses eye tracking and infrared sensors to determine autism risk in children between the ages of 12 and 40 months in a matter of minutes. FACE2GENE, a test based on facial analysis and artificial intelligence technologies developed by digital health company FDNA, can recognize rare genetic disorders in seconds by analyzing a photo of a child’s face. Quicker diagnosis means earlier treatment, so these technologies aren’t just dazzling, they can make real differences in the lives of patients. FACE2GENE is a “search & reference tool provided for informational purposes and not intended to replace the clinician’s judgment or experience, nor should it be used to diagnose or treat medical conditions.” The application is not meant to be used by those without proper medical training. You can download the application on Android and iTunes. For RightEye’s: For 30 years, eye-tracking science and research languished in the halls of academia, only occasionally stepping out into the real world. During this time, vast amounts of health and vision research and testing, while fragmented, created a cumulative understanding of: How our eyes work and how they are connected to the brain; how injuries and illness change the ways our eyes work in consistent and predictable ways; and how eye-tracking...

A Look Back At Those Early Days As A Pre-Med…

One of the many perks of being a medical student is possessing the (purported) wisdom to guide those who will come after me. When I was in the ranks of those aspiring pre-med students who looked forward to a potential career in medicine, I often wondered how one acquired the kind of eloquence and understanding of what it takes to be in the medical field. While I definitely do not assume the ultimate authority on the importance of things to be done during one’s undergraduate career, I would like to take a stab at the most salient points in this arena by reflecting on my own experiences, hopefully helping out a handful of prospective aspirants who wish to join our ranks in what I believe to be one of the most rewarding professions in the world. Stay Committed This goes without saying, but it is still a point that is often underemphasized. The only way for medical schools to assess an applicant’s propensity to stick to the medical field over the long run is by measuring their experience in specific positions on a long-term basis. Whether it is climbing the ranks of a student organization on campus, volunteering with the same high school for the last three years, or writing for The (Almost) Doctor’s Channel once every two weeks (a little self-plug there), all of these activities showcase one’s...

Why Immunotherapy Is The Future of Cancer Treatment

The immune system is a complex network that attacks foreign substances like germs and viruses. But cancer has historically been resistant to the body’s natural defenses, mainly because the body doesn’t see it as foreign. T-cells participating in the immune system’s response are unable to recognize the rogue cancer cells because they carry proteins called PD-L1 that act like masks allowing the cancer to blend in with other normal cells. Immunotherapy is a treatment that essentially simulates natural human antibodies to block the PD-L1 protein and expose the tumor for T-cells to attack. The Past The rise of immunotherapy has been experimental in nature. Beginning in the late 1800s, a New York surgeon named William Coley saw impressive responses from children with sarcoma that he treated with bacterial extracts. However, due to the success of antibiotics, immunotherapy research largely fell by the wayside. A few small breakthroughs during the 1900s, including the introduction of the first cancer prevention vaccine in 1981, eventually led to the continued growth we’re seeing today. The Present In the wake of multiple government-backed research initiatives, including the Human Genome Project of the 1990s and early 2000s and the Cancer Moonshot announced in 2016, immunotherapy has once again surged into the spotlight as an emerging cancer treatment. Growing antibiotic resistance, the negative side effects of chemotherapy and radiation and the overall low survival rates of...

Trump’s Education Budget Cuts Mental Health Money For Schools

President Trump’s new education budget proposes to dedicate no money—that’s right, zero—to fund mental health services and other student support services for public schools. Previously, the government provided schools with $1.65 billion in funding for various initiatives, including mental health services. But, in an attempt to reduce the federal government’s role in education, Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have decided it’s best to cut all funding for these important student services. Lack of funding is a serious issue for a number of reasons. According to the NIH, just over 20 percent of children have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder either currently or at some point in their life. Nonetheless, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, only 21% of children with mental health issues actually receive services. There is a disparity between ill children and treatment received, and this gap may grow if funding for school-based mental health services is slashed. The disparity may become an even greater challenge for students who live in areas where community-based mental health services are scarce or too expensive—without school-based services, these children’s options are severely limited. The new education budget’s lack of concern for mental health services may harm children’s health in the long run. A child’s mental disorder may worsen and continue into adulthood if not treated early and appropriately. That’s why school services are vital and even preventive—they...

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