Since last March, every day has been filled with news of COVID-19 statistics: surges, declines, the myriad of symptoms, and the staggering number of deaths. As a 23-year-old pre-med post-bacc student, I was suddenly moving home -- with my apartment’s meager supply of toilet paper and Clorox wipes -- to spend the unforeseeable future with my parents. Like many, the first few weeks were filled with uncertainty, worry, and a naïve ...

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In a February 2021 Facebook Live presentation sponsored by Seattle Children’s Hospital, Jill Escher, the president of the National Council on Severe Autism (NCSA), called for splitting the autism spectrum. In some individuals, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) presents as a serious developmental disability affecting communication, learning, motivation, and all aspects of daily living. These individuals require 24/7 level care. Others on the spectrum have mild differences in ...

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"Separated by less than a month (Boseman on August 28th and Ginsburg on September 18th) and both due to gastrointestinal cancers (Boseman had colon cancer and Ginsburg had pancreatic cancer), the situations of Ginsburg’s and Boseman’s deaths is emblematic of the racial disparity in American health outcomes. Boseman was African American/Black and ...

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I recently returned from Northwest Territories, where I’d been working as a physician for six months. Now, back in Nova Scotia, I’m reflecting on what it’s been like to have worked in areas of Canada with relatively few cases of COVID-19.

A large part of my work is hospital medicine. As the name implies, a hospitalist is a doctor who cares for patients admitted to the hospital. Often, we work ...

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Social media platforms lit up when sponsors of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) announced Step 1 score reporting will change from 3-digit numerical scores to pass/fail by January 1, 2022. First-year Harvard Medical School student LaShyra Nolen tweeted, “this could reinforce the hierarchy among med schools,” arguing the score change could encourage residency admission directors to favor applicants from prestigious medical ...

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Just as providers have reimagined their clinical and business models in light of the pandemic, there is an opportunity to reimagine their relationship with health plans. Particularly in the context of evolving value-based contracts, there are a variety of “asks” that are likely to find receptive health plans. Three issues that are particularly important to health plans are administrative efficiency, quality measures, and overall cost of care. Each one creates ...

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I was somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, heading to Ukraine “to make a difference,” or so I hoped. I was leading a medical mission to this beautiful yet poor and war-torn country. I was watching the movie First Man about the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon that epic day in July 1969. I was not quite 14 years of age at that time, but I vividly remember the ...

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“To become successful, you need to be excellent and likable,” said a local Black physician giving advice to young underrepresented students facing the usual challenges of medical school. “Black excellence is the only way forward. The system and the institutions are racist, but we just need to work extra hard. If we do, we will get what we deserve,” said another prominent African-American doctor trying to inspire graduating Black physicians. Both of ...

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"When it comes to using telehealth to treat patients out of state, most physicians are mindful about licensure issues. But some are not aware that if you don’t have a license to practice medicine in a given state, it isn’t just malpractice: It’s a criminal offense. Licensing restrictions have been eased to facilitate ...

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The “model minority” is a term that denotes Asians in the U.S.  East Asians, in particular, have been the target of xenophobic hate crimes and microaggressions since the outset of COVID-19. When a former presidential administration used hate and fear to garner power, it does not surprise me, that Sinophobia runs rampant during these times. The NYPD reported a 1,900 percent increase in Asian-American hate crimes in 2020. As an ...

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“Last question,” the woman from the insurance company said. Good, I thought; I was eager to get back to seeing patients. “How long have you been taking care of Sarah?” “I’m not sure,” I replied, “How old is she?” “She’s 34.” “Then I have been taking care of her for 35 years.” “Doctor, I’m not sure you heard me correctly; she is only 34.” “I heard you perfectly,” I retorted, “She has been my patient for 35 ...

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In her hospital bed, she sat there confused as to what was buzzing around her. Rita was 96 years old and in the throes of dementia and agitation. As her physician assigned to her that week, I remember walking into her room and noticed her elderly husband brushing her hair w an unsteady hand and feeding her chocolates. “My sweetie loves chocolates,” he states. Rita, agitated, grabs his arm and throws it ...

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Quick, think of someone unrelated to you who has had a major impact on your life. I’d wager the vast majority of us pictured a face or two, and that nearly all (I hope) represented a positive influence. In my thirty-plus-year career in medicine, I’ve been blessed with several, and their impact on my life and career is truly inestimable. As a smart kid who went to medical school because it’s ...

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There is light at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic tunnel, but public trust in national and global public health institutions is at an all-time low. What happens if folks don’t want to travel to the light? As the pandemic drags on, the banality of persistent distancing measures and continued calls for social distancing are falling on deaf ears. Cases and fatalities continue to set records. In an attempt to regain ...

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"I will never forget these words. This physician validated my efforts to emotionally connect with patients. This message will indelibly shape the way I allow myself to care for and become invested in the patients to come in my future. Illness is often incredibly unfair, and sometimes we cannot overcome. However unbeatable ...

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As the challenges to get an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine get harder and not easier, and as the pressure for schools to open their doors for in-person learning, as long as teachers will get vaccinated, rises, the question remains: What about those who choose not to? In the midst of so many individuals clamoring to get vaccinated, there remain many who will not get vaccinated. Not this week, not next ...

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As a Latina physician on the frontlines of COVID-19, it feels like a race against time to get as many vaccines as possible to the communities of color that are more likely to be infected, hospitalized, and die from the virus. A lot of effort right now is focused on the logistics of managing vaccines that need to be manufactured, stored, allocated, ...

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As I finished the endless clicking, the clinic day came to a close. Clicking to begin and end phone visits. Clicking to get on and off Zoom visits. The endless video game clicking that is life as a physician documenting electronic health records. Too bad I have never been a gamer; maybe some who are can imagine amidst all of this they are in a scene from a Nintendo or Playstation classic. Clicking boxes ...

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Part of your job as a parent is to teach your children, and there's no way for a child to learn anything without making a few mistakes. Actually, a lot of mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes can be infuriating. They might be self-destructive mistakes. They might be mistakes that can cause harm to their siblings or classmates. They might be mistakes that happen over and over again. They might ...

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An excerpt from Cured: A Doctor's Journey from Panic to Peace. Dead bodies surrounded me. They lay on their backs, supine in medical terminology. I imagined some staring at the white plastic sheets that covered them completely, others glaring at their closed eyelids. Their smell, a mixture of formaldehyde and ...

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