For two years, I served as a representative to my medical school's student affairs committee.  My job was to convey medical student concerns and problems.  As part of that role, I had a lot of time to think about how and why many medical students experience depression and stress. Two recent articles have led me to write about the issue now: "10 simple solutions to stop medical student suicide," ...

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From every direction, the practice of medicine in the U.S. is under attack. If one were to believe the headlines, the American health care system is populated by insensitive, selfie-shooting, Medicare/Medicaid-cheating, inefficient, and ineffective physicians grappling with an over-regulating government, predatory insurance companies more concerned about profits than the health of their customers, and a legal system that more often confuses a bad medical outcome with actual malpractice.  Morale in ...

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As a medical student having completed my undergraduate major in the humanities, I often receive the question, "Why did you choose to do that?" The underlying thought behind asking why I would choose a major in the humanities while holding the intention to later attend medical school is that medicine is especially distinct from the humanities (and specifically African-American studies in my case). The sciences are just a whole other ...

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Kevin-Dietl-crop-2 Medical school graduation: Time to celebrate our brand new doctors! Except for the families who can’t celebrate their child’s graduation. Or their child’s marriage. Or their child’s birthday -- ever again. Like Michele and John Dietl. They lost their son, Kevin (pictured above), just weeks before graduation. Now they cling to online condolences and family photos. And to the never-ending question: Why? I’ve become a sideline specialist ...

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Cute.  From Buzzfeed.

"Sometimes a simple, almost insignificant gesture on the part of a teacher can have a profound formative effect on the life of a student." - Paulo Freire Think back to a moment when a teacher or “authority” figure gave you a compliment. We all have them, from kindergarten to high school to college and sometimes graduate school and work. The reason why many of you can recall such moments is that unlike ...

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shutterstock_262498211 As my third year of clinical rotations comes to an end, I’ve been reflecting on the ways in which I use my training as an anthropologist on the wards. One patient comes to mind, a recent immigrant from South Asia who came into the hospital after an accident where he was bicycling and got hit by a car. He was scanned from ...

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shutterstock_256955077 The number of African-American physicians in academic medicine is dismal, and this leads to an abundance of problems.  Academic hospitals (teaching hospitals associated with universities) generally do not have a proportionate representation of underrepresented minority faculty as compared to the surrounding population. According to a U.S. News & World Report article, the number of African-American faculty increased by 0.2 percent ...

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shutterstock_282279032 In the news recently has been a complaint filed by over 60 Asian-American groups, alleging discrimination in admissions at Harvard.  They point to such statistics as this: in 2009, among accepted applicants to the Ivy League, the average SAT score on a 1600 point scale for Caucasians was 310 points higher than Hispanics ...

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shutterstock_255233311 As a multi-racial and ethnically ambiguous American, 90 percent of the time I walk into a patient's room or show up to help run a clinic I'm asked if I'm a nurse or a translator. Most of my patients simply do not perceive someone who looks like me to be a doctor. This may be because the majority of doctors at ...

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