As a male medical student, I have developed a growing interest in and enthusiasm for recent efforts to raise awareness about workforce gender disparities in medicine. Though women comprise over 45 percent of resident physicians and 50 percent of medical students in the United States, research reveals deficits in key surrogate measures of successful integration. There are pay and promotion gaps, and women are much ...

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Breathing is different when you know what your lungs look like.  I first realized this during a meditation session at Stanford’s Windhover building. The space -- a large, subdivided room -- is a self-described sanctuary in the heart of campus. The walls are mostly glass, broken up by long, clay-colored steel beams. Natural light, filtered through the surrounding trees, streams in to illuminate five larger-than-life paintings -- a series called “The ...

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"Please walk slowly," cautioned Sunita, my interpreter, as I crept down the stony switchback trail towards the rural Nepali village of Dhulikhel. Sunita, in her petite navy ballet flats, hopped down the rocks as easily as the speckled goats grazing nearby. Emboldened by her speed, I stepped along eagerly, only to catch my size-ten neon running sneaker on a root and splat face-first into the dust. Looking up, I saw four ...

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The patient is a 27-year-old Caucasian woman: slender, well-groomed. She is sitting in the office of her urologist, and she is unconsciously twisting her hands as she interrupts the doctor, having finally worked up the nerve. "I know you told me to expect some pain for a while after the lithotripsy. But I've been having pain in my bladder, even when I don't think there are any stones. It started two ...

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A resident suffering from depression drinks too much and sleeps through a hospital shift the next morning. Another resident walks out of a patient room in the midst of a panic attack. As family medicine educators, how do we best handle these health concerns in our residents? The pendulum in medical training can swing in two directions. At one end, residents are indoctrinated into a macho mentality, where the need for self-care ...

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It is early on a Saturday morning when I walk out of the elevator of Doan Hall looking for a nursing desk to call the fourth-year anesthesiology resident I am supposed to be shadowing. Instead, I am met with a set of double doors and a staff-only sign. Before walking through the doors, I decided to read the placard placed on the wall next to them. As I begin to read, ...

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In the 70s when I trained, we had no add-on curricula; we had no milestones; we had little interference from governing bodies.  What we did have were role models. In the current century, when I talk with students and residents (and I do that very often) they talk about what they see or do not see from their attending physicians and fellow residents.  The carefully constructed curricula result from excellent intentions, ...

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Empathy is a cryptic term. Those in the health care profession can certainly spout off a variety of phrases and metaphors that are typically used to describe the concept of empathy in the educational setting. Throughout my medical education thus far it has been described as “putting yourself in another’s shoes” or “sharing in another’s emotion.” We are also taught early on what empathy is not. Empathy is not feeling sorry ...

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For patients who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, a medical visit can be unexpectedly stressful. LGBTQIA+ people have to keep track of who they're out to and how out they are, especially if they fit more than one letter of the acronym; some people might know they're gay, fewer people might know they're transgender, while some people probably don't know anything about their private life at all. Why does this ...

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The emergency department is a place of unpredictability. Some days are a whirlwind, others drag, but both can be interesting. On a calmer day, I found myself, a fourth-year medical student, working with a physician I will call Dr. Smith. We discovered that we shared a common love for music, and between patients, we discussed everything from opera, to banjo, to Indian music. I am a composer and amateur classical ...

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