In just the past six months months we, the medical community, have been challenged by questions regarding the torture report, #ICantBreathe and #WhiteCoatsForBlackLives hashtags, Ebola research and treatment, the ALS ice bucket challenge, deaths of Brittany Maynard and Joan Rivers, and the Hobby Lobby case.  What these events have in common are not their scientific or molecular underpinnings, but rather their push for us to reflect on the current state ...

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shutterstock_223662796 I was checking my email when it happened. My boyfriend had texted me saying that he was late arriving to the airport. So I stood outside with my suitcase behind me and clicked to an email from my mother. I didn’t notice until too late that someone had approached me, and I screamed when I saw a black man reach out to ...

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shutterstock_143110750 “So this is Christmas, and what have you done?” John Lennon sang from my nightstand, waking me out of a deep slumber. Bleary-eyed, I pondered his question: What have I been doing all year? A decade ago, my conversations with my younger brother, went something like this: “Do anything but medicine for God’s sake, save your soul, man!” He’s now an emergency room doc. ...

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Harvard Medical School Recently, over 70 medical schools across the United States organized a mass “die-in” to silently protest back-to-back decisions to not indict law enforcement officers involved in the unfortunate deaths of two unarmed Black men within the context of an overall concern about systemic racism and the victimization of Black men by law enforcement. You may have seen the phrase ...

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shutterstock_127361732 I recently wrote about the pressure that comes with the scrutiny of residency applications and the interview process. Adding to this, many applicants apply alongside their significant other, making use of the “couples match” option. Let’s think about that: No longer do you have to stress for yourself, but now you worry for your partner too. And while your primary ...

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shutterstock_132834815 The competition to get into medical school is fierce.  The Association of American Medical Colleges just announced that this year, nearly 50,000 students applied for just over 20,000 positions at the nation’s 141 MD-granting schools -- a record.  But medical schools do not have a monopoly on selectivity.  The average student applies to approximately 15 schools, and many are accepted by more ...

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Background  Under the 1997 Death with Dignity Act, Oregon was the first of the now-handful of states to allow physicians to write a prescription that, when filled and administered, would cause intentional death. Let me be clear: Death with dignity is not offered to Oregonians en masse or even on a whim. To legally qualify, a patient must be 18 years or older, a resident of Oregon, capable of making and communicating ...

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Before starting third year, we had a week-long course that taught basic skills not learned in our first two years of medical school: suturing, knot tying, injections, note writing, etc.. One critical skill they left out was how to use a fax machine and how to deal with medical record offices. To outsiders, it probably seems pointless to learn how to operate an archaic communication tool like a fax machine in ...

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shutterstock_75287944 As a graduating senior resident I’m scared to practice outpatient medicine. In a community of patients and physicians crying out for primary care doctors, what are we doing at a training level to foster and promote confidence and independence at doing this? Many bright eyed freshly graduated medical school students enter residency understanding the need and embodying the hope of pursing outpatient ...

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“There was one time when I wasn’t here for seven months in a row,” ”Pam” told me. I sat with Pam in her third floor hospital room -- the floor on which she always stays when admitted to the inpatient medicine service -- as nurses, doctors, and janitors poked their heads in the door to say friendly hellos and “Nice to see you again, Pam!” A dining facility staff member entered ...

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