“Apocalyptic” was the word used by my fellow volunteers at the local church, a temporary shelter for displaced families on post-hurricane-landfall day 3. Although the flooded roads harboring similarly displaced alligators, fire ants, and snakes and the black flecks in the sky representing rescue helicopters were grossly removed from the many-eyed beasts of Revelations, I agreed with their assessment. In fact, the thousands of flooding victims stranded on roofs in ...

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Just a year after the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to race-conscious admissions in Fisher v. University of Texas, this issue is being pushed back to the front of the room by none other than the Trump administration’s Justice Department hauling out hoary tropes about “reverse discrimination.” They are preparing cases against Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, charging to the rescue of the multitudes of ...

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I was inspired a couple of weeks ago. Sitting at the WeWork facility in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. I looked at the group of entrepreneurs, creatives and innovative thinkers sitting in front of me. What were we doing you might ask? Collaborating to help one another build our dreams. This is the epitome of the human experience. One of the topics that came up in conversation was the difference between a man ...

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This is a letter to everyone who has ever smiled, shrugged their shoulders, or nodded while either hesitantly or enthusiastically uttering the words, “Yes,” “Sure,” “OK,” “I guess so,” or, “Of course,” when a medical student has asked if he or she can talk to and examine you before your doctor comes in. We know that you are busy and that your time has value. We know that you have ...

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I am not a doctor.  (Yet.)  I am a novice third-year medical student, somewhat able to perform and document a physical exam on a sleeping child, to dial the correct number to call a consult and to make wild guesses about chest X-rays (“I see a consolidation?”). I write about medicine not from a position of experience, but of malleability.  I want to become like the best doctors I see. Towards ...

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This article was originally presented as student remarks at the 2015 Harvard Medical School commencement.  At the end of medical school, I always return to a musing, a zen koan of sorts from Dean Jeffrey Flier. At my white coat ceremony, a close friend and current resident, Dr. Nina Gold was chatting with the dean about the heft of our newly bestowed bright white coats. He asked her, in one beautiful ...

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More and more health care practitioners are turning to social media for their medical education. Fellows are learning ultrasound from Snapchat, nurses are learning how to insert NG tubes from watching YouTube, and learners are learning pathophysiology from blogs and podcasts. To reach this audience with credible and reliable content, it is important for medical educators to be present where the learners are, and that means social media. Users are also ...

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I don’t think I would be the first resident to claim that residency is hard. Anyone who has gone through, or is currently participating in residency, will attest to the challenge of medical training. Efforts have been made on national and institutional levels to address this with work hour restrictions limiting the number of hours a resident can work or the number of calls a trainee can take. These rules ...

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When my husband Brian started first-year of medical school at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, I jettisoned off to Thailand to spend a year teaching English and traveling.  We figured if we were going to date long-distance, why not go all in? Why not ensure that we were a full 12 hours apart, on literal opposite sides of the world. What can I say? We like a ...

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A white coat ceremony address to the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine, August 4, 2017. "It takes a village" is one of my favorite proverbs, an African proverb, that resonates with each of us on this monumental day. There is without a doubt that every one of you worked very hard to get into medical school. However, this difficult journey was supported by dozens of important individuals: teachers, ...

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