I had never seen my young cousin sit so still. “What did you do?” my aunt wondered, amazed that her hyperactive 12-year-old had been transfixed for nearly an hour. “Were you two playing video games?” “Actually we were just talking about some of the things I learned in medical school. He’s really interested,” I told her. Indeed, he hadn’t even touched one of the delicious samosas we were eating. Every time he ...

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Translational research is a catchphrase in biomedical circles these days. But if you’re confused about what the term really means, you’re not alone. It was 35 years ago when I first heard the term “translation” in a scientific context. It was about enabling basic research undertaken by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to find its way into treatments for patients. Though that sounds pretty straightforward, I still have to explain ...

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Recently, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine called into question the effectiveness of surgical checklists for preventing harm. Atul Gawande, one of the original researchers demonstrating the effectiveness of such checklists and author of a book on the subject, quickly wrote a rebuttal on the Incidental Economist. He writes, “I wish the Ontario study were better,” and I join him in that assessment, but want to take it a step further. Gawande first criticizes ...

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Picture this. You walk into your doctor’s office for an urgent visit for new distressing symptoms.  He (or she) takes your blood pressure, temperature, heart rate.  All within normal limits.  He asks you several questions pertaining to your symptoms, does a thorough exam and perhaps orders a quick in-office lab or two.  You ask him what he thinks is going on. The quandary If it’s a slam dunk diagnosis, the branch point in ...

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What do you do when your ideal residency program does not exist?  This is a truth that all perspective applicants must come to terms with, but I was still hoping that I would be the exception.  I had created my list of everything my top family medicine program must have, including strong research mentorship, dedicated faculty, and a welcoming resident environment, and I had an idea going into the interview season what ...

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Should medical school be shortened to three years? I say, "no." Here's why. There is way too much to learn in 3 years. Unless medical education is radically changed, it will be impossible for students to memorize all the unnecessary stuff they still have to memorize, complete all their clerkships, and move onto the next phase -- residency training. I do not see how medical students can choose a career path before they have ...

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NephMadness 2014: Lets reinvigorate nephrologyThe field of nephrology is in a workforce crisis. We as a subspecialty have witnessed a steady decline in the number of applicants perusing nephrology fellowship over the last several years. In fact, fewer than 100 US medical school applicants participated in the 2014 nephrology fellowship match. This is a sobering statistic as 403 nephrology slots were available in this year’s ...

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As a medical student, I am being taught not to judge patients. If a patient tells me that he has smoked cigarettes for forty years of his life despite the protests of his wife, I am supposed to nod my head understandingly without showing my inherent disapproval. If a patient tells me that she has given her husband genital herpes because she is cheating on him, I am not supposed ...

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As a medical student looking to explore entrepreneurship, I quickly came across Shiv Gaglani’s October 2013 article in Entrepreneur, entitled “Why Medical Schools are Pumping Out Entrepreneurs,” in which he the highlights similarities and differences he sees between medical students and entrepreneurs. I was struck by his proposed differences -- he does not share his take on their origins, so I have come to delineate my own view. Medical students ...

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Match Day: It’s among the most memorable moments of medical school, a time when students, friends, family and faculty gather to open those coveted white envelopes. It’s the symbolic first step out of medical school and into residency, and a tradition that is beloved by many. Yet the matching process is viewed by those outside of the medical profession (and to some within it) as a very odd way to ...

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