The present time has one advantage over every other - it is our own. - Charles Caleb Colton The cherubic young man smiles from the black-and-white class photo. His open, relaxed appearance captures my attention. He sits on a wooden bench at the far right end of the front row, his sharp white shirt and patterned tie cinched tightly beneath his three-piece wool suit with the stylishly wide lapels. He looks directly at the camera ...

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Although I never disclosed this in my medical school interviews for fear of being just another cliche ("Hollywood sparks interest in medicine story"), I decided to become a doctor in 1997 at the age of 11 when I first saw the movie, Outbreak. For years and years, this was my favorite movie. The scene where they showed the electron micrograph image of the Ebola virus had me captivated. I was staring at ...

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After listening to a lecture, third-year students at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine were surveyed about distractions by electronic devices and given a 12-question quiz. Although 65% of the students admitted to having been distracted by emails, Facebook, and/or texting during the lecture, distracted students had an average score of 9.85 correct compared to 10.444 students who said they weren't distracted. The difference was not significant, p = 0.652. In ...

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To medical students and residents: It really does get better I recently attended my 10-year medical school reunion class party, and I have to admit, I had a great time. From the beginning, my class was special. We had 104 amazing people who were truly inspired to make a difference. However, regardless of how talented and hard working you are, medical school is one of the most challenging things you will ever ...

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This New York Times article stimulated thoughts about teaching internal medicine: "Better Ways to Learn":

In the new book, “How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens” (Random House), Benedict Carey, a science reporter for The New York Times, challenges the notion that a high test score equals true learning. He argues that although a good grade may be achieved in the short term ...

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An excerpt from Getting Into Medical School: A Comprehensive Guide for Non-Traditional Students. Tranditional vs. non-traditional Traditional premedical students enter a four-year university directly after high school and begin taking courses for their major while also working on their required pre-med core sciences in order to finish their studies in a timely fashion.  Most of these students finish their sciences by their sophomore year in hopes of taking the Medical ...

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A friend of mine, a diabetic who has been pretty passive about his medical care, suddenly learned the importance of patient engagement a few weeks ago when a matter affecting his pocketbook grabbed his attention. A bill arrived from Express Scripts, the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) for Emblem Health, a Medigap plan offered to former New York City employees. For years my friend had been taking the drug gemfibrozil that diabetics ...

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Recently, I have been reflecting more about my musical journey as an organist over the past 15 years. It has been great to learn how to continue my medical training to the best of my ability while still trying to keep my musical interests alive. Despite the busyness of medical training, I have thankfully had opportunities to perform publicly, as well as meet other musicians. I began ...

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To be or not to be: An artist in medicine “Why would an artist want to go to medical school?” It was a good question, and one of my favorite questions asked of me during my medical school interviews. I am what one might define as an artist, and yes, I really wanted to go to medical school. I was a photographer, musician, composer, and actor. I loved the arts and they ...

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During most of my career as a psychiatrist, I haven't often dealt directly with death. For the past five years, though, I have had the privilege of spending two days a week treating service men and women returning from deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Listening to their stories and talking with them about their war experiences, I've spent much more time thinking about death and dying. Despite this, I was shocked ...

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