I spend much time talking with medical students.  It is part of my job, but more than that I like medical students. What should be the goal of medical schools?  I believe we have an obligation to help our students grow into great physicians.  What philosophical principles should we use? Perhaps the answer to success is Servant Leadership.  As I learn more about this concept, I hope that have become a servant ...

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Many fellow medical students are eager to improve "the system." However, an overeager attitude offers both promise and peril -- promise that budding physicians are inspired to improve the inner workings of their chosen field, peril in that our naiveté may simply clutter the very complexities we seek to improve. How do we strike a balance between getting involved and getting in the way? I found guidance in law professors Raustiala’s and Sprigman’s ...

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In our clinical years, our medical school has instituted a program in which we do learning modules along with our in hospital experience and didactics. I was happy to see a module on empathy for my second month of surgery. The last question to be answered in this module was: "Although the studies on empathy are very consistent other authors have indicated that medical students are really not losing cognitive empathy, ...

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We’ve started taking a course called the “Introduction to Social Medicine and Global Health” headed up by Paul Farmer and David Jones. This is a course that exposes us to a variety of issues related to the social determinants of illness and health with a different lecturer each week. Recently, we had Nicholas Christakis, this week we have Allan Brandt, and for the next few weeks we’ll have Michael Porter, ...

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This month of my intern year, I am covering night float for the private hospital.  Compared to the massive county hospital teeming with laboring patients, churning at all hours of the day and night, the private practice pace is meant to be a luxury for interns seeking respite.  And for the most part, life has been pretty nice. This week however, has been nothing less than hell.  One night, I was ...

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by Timothy Dempsey and Pamela Savitz Last month, the National Football League inducted seven of its all-time great players into its Hall of Fame in a ceremony filled with nostalgia and memories of legendary careers long-finished. While this was going on, there was another type of induction ceremony taking place around the country. Yet, these celebrations lacked recollections of past achievements by retired legends finally receiving ...

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Recent rules issued by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for resident work hours have further limited the consecutive and total number of hours that medical trainees may work.  These measures, originally created because of safety concerns, are intended to decrease the number of fatigue-related errors made by physicians in training.  They have received broad support within the medical community. A recent story published by Mike Lillis in The ...

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A rising second year medical student read some of my posts and wrote me a kind note asking if I would write something for students. I taught students and ran surgical clerkships at community teaching hospitals for my entire career until about 19 months ago. I also was prompted to address this subject after reading a recent New York Times story about a new admissions policy at Mt. Sinai ...

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The Wall Street Journal's Health Blog carries an interesting piece about a program at Indiana University–Northwest that allows volunteers from the general public to participate in preparing cadavers for first year medical students. This is a brilliant idea for several reasons:

  1. One persistent problem facing physicians is the extremely low health literacy of most patients.  Simply put, “health literacy” refers to how well patients can comprehend what their ...

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There's been considerable buzz on the web recently - on the New York Times website, on Facebook, and on a physicians' forum called Sermo, at least - over a New York Times article recently entitled, "Getting Into Med School Without Hard Sciences." The article describes the Humanities and Medicine Program at Mount Sinai Medical School, a program which each year admits into the medical school 35 undergraduates who major ...

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