A hospital is not the homiest of establishments. The bright neon lights, strange smells and piercing high-pitched beeps that radiate from the rooms of dormant patients fill the halls in a symphony of annoying sensory stimulation. But to someone recovering from a relationship that just ended, hospitals are heavenly. When the lonely silence of your one bedroom apartment is overwhelmingly loud, beeping IV lines and incoherent mumbles are surprisingly therapeutic. As ...

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Poverty is a significant public health concern affecting 10-15% of individuals living in Canada and the United States. Recommendations to eliminate poverty have focused on areas of income, housing, food security, and early childhood development. Calls for government action and provision of resources to healthcare professionals have been issued. Notably, educating medical trainees to address poverty has been absent from the discussion. Low socioeconomic status (SES) is a risk ...

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More than a century of American medical history was turned on its ear recently by the announcement that the groups that accredit medical residencies will unify their standards. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you failed to understand the significance (or notice at all). But this should be viewed as good news across the land. As someone who trains doctors from both traditions, I certainly welcome a more level playing field. First, ...

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Since becoming a full-time medical school faculty member again, I've volunteered to interview about two applicants each month from September through March. When I first started doing this, I was surprised that the admissions office did not provide me with a copy of the applicant's resume and essay until the time of the interview, carried in a manila folder by the applicant. But I quickly realized that it wasn't necessary to ...

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On Twitter a while ago, a medical student asked me how surgical program directors select new residents. Then a discussion arose among some academic surgeons on the same topic. Someone suggested that medical school grades were the best way to tell whether an applicant would be a successful resident. The fact is that we aren't really sure what the best way to choose residents is. First, here's what we really do. A 2011 
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Whither the white coat and why As a philosophical coda to the 2013 cacophony over Obamacare, health care reform and the notion that doctors and their skills will be needed less in some indeterminate future, this last month saw a media frenzy about the fate of the doctor’s white coat. It started with an article by Gonzalo Bearman and his colleagues in Infection Control and Epidemiology that asked the ...

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There was a very large lesion in his left frontal lobe, and no one knew what it was. He had been admitted earlier that day, after a neighbor found him in the hallway, confused and covered in urine.  Now he sat in his bed quietly, while we stared at his brain and the bright spot that didn’t quite resemble something. It can’t be tissue death from a stroke, insisted one resident. It ...

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The past few months I have joined thousands of individuals hoping to match into a residency program in 2014. I have had interviews all over the country and spent way too much time living out of a suitcase. For many students, residency interview season is exciting. For others, it’s stressful and exhausting. But for me, more than anything else, the interview trail was inspiring. I am currently applying to internal medicine-primary care ...

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I’ll never forget the anxiety of the first day of medical school. I was excited. I was enthusiastic. I was overwhelmed. But all of these emotions were humbly interrupted by my profound, palpable sense of otherness. I was surrounded by one hundred and sixty-seven brilliant peers, many from high-ranking undergraduate schools and each of whom had countless accomplishments in their already rich pasts. They clearly, unquestionably deserved to be here. ...

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"A new roadmap for improving residents’ professional skills was released Tuesday by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)" begins the press release. As I dove into this announcement a bit further, I discovered the origins of this initiative outlined in this executive summary published by the ACGME on the "CLER Program:"

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) recognizes the public’s need for a physician workforce capable of meeting the challenges of ...

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