In my first year of medical school, I attended a lecture on health disparities that focused on the difference in patient outcomes based on race and socioeconomic status. The lecture cited multiple peer-reviewed studies that extensively demonstrated these disparities and how health care professionals, not solely social determinants of health, contribute to them. The lecture concluded with an appeal to improve our cultural awareness and acknowledge our conscious and unconscious ...

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If you are in the same boat as I and aspiring to become a physician, you are likely in the process of compiling an application for medical school. If you are like me, then one of the most intimidating parts of the application process is the personal statement segment of the American Medical College Application Service. It is increasingly difficult to stand out in the medical school application pool, as ...

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Let’s talk about that infamous transition to third year. This is a precarious time in your medical school career when your resolve faces its greatest challenge yet. After weeks of self-imposed exile to prepare for Step 1, you finally take that dreaded exam. Before you even know whether or not you’ve passed, you and your colleagues scattered to the far corners of the earth to begin clinical rotations. But hey — ...

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As medical students, we are asked to learn in exquisite detail the ins and outs of rare diseases that we may never encounter in clinical practice. Yet the education we receive on caring for a population numbering in the millions is sorely lacking, and the health of those patients — the members of our communities identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or as another sexual ...

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"How do you say cultural competence in Korean?" “I am always treated with respect in America. So why don’t they care about me here?” My first patient at my community clinic rotation struggled to speak English. But she came prepared, her words memorized, printed from Google Translate. “All I want is help.” She had immigrated from Korea not too long ago and found this community health center for her first dental care in over ...

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Ours is a chaotic and overburdened medical system. As a senior resident, there is every temptation to seek in our incoming classes more obedient interns and junior residents who would obey my orders as their senior without question. I challenge that we must do the harder thing. The explosive growth in the health care industry has seen a shift in priorities to traumatic, urgent and emergent care. And we see profits ...

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The United States will be short 120,000 doctors by the end of next decade, according to the latest research from the Association of American Medical Colleges. That shortage will become permanent unless medical schools make the path to becoming a doctor a bit less arduous. Some medical schools seem to take pride in imposing a heavy emotional and physical toll on their students. Toughen up aspiring doctors early on, the thinking goes, ...

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Based on my clinical experiences, there are ten pieces of advice I would give to any medical student starting their rotations that will maximize productivity and lead to a robust and thriving work environment (your interns will thank you). 1. Do as complete of a workup on your assigned patients as you can. Be thorough with your admission H&P. Think of all the tests, labs and imaging studies you want ordered. ...

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During the recent winter break, I went home and visited my yearly slew of doctors for check-ups: vision, dental, gynecology, etc. In the exam room, my new gynecologist instructed me to put my feet up in the stirrups. I had recently learned in a seminar at school that new guidelines on Pap smears suggest spacing them every three years for women at my age, and I wondered, “Do I even ...

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One of the major challenges of being on medical school rotations is the necessity of changing rotations every four weeks, and how adapting to each new specialty feels like going through the first day of school all over again. I want to share my experience on other side of the coin. About a year ago, I started participating in Stanford’s Continuity of Care program, a clerkship in which I am excused from ...

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