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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Dear medical student, I’m sorry. You had just finished two years of didactic learning and couldn’t wait to feel like a “real” doctor. You finally were starting your clerkships, that is, ultimately working with patients and getting deep in the trenches. You were bright-eyed as you pulled on your pristine short white coat. You got to the hospital at 5:15 a.m., 15-minutes early for the first day of your very first third-year ...

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Congratulations! At this point, you are almost halfway done with your first year of medical school. Either you have finally figured out what's going on, or if you're like me, you are still trying to figure it out. Relax, take a few deep breaths. Medical school is unlike anything you have ever done. The volume of information, constant testing, and overwhelming need to keep up with your peers is an ...

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“I lift things up and put them down.” This quote is from a commercial for Planet Fitness I have seen in the past. It portrays a bulky body builder on a tour of the gym premises. There is no real communication with the tour guide since he keeps saying that he lifts things up and puts them down, irrespective of what the tour ...

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When asked to describe my career, I consider myself primarily a clinician educator.  Recently I have reflected on the influences that allowed me to have a successful career doing what I love.  This post is not meant to mention all those influencers, but just some that I recall often.  As I have thought about this post, I quickly realized that all the “heroes” that I recall focused on clinical education. ...

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College → medical school → residency → fellowship. The journey to becoming a doctor sometimes feels like climbing a never-ending ladder. The process started for me as an undergraduate when I was seventeen years old and will go on well into my thirties. I am still climbing. Each level of ascension is drastically different in both your skill set and responsibilities to your patients. The variation from one stage to ...

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Our powerful subconscious minds are processing information that we don’t even realize we are taking in, so to achieve gender equity we must actively uncover things that are unintentionally promoting stereotypes. For example, we know that if we want to promote a gender equitable environment that putting portraits of men on the walls of the classrooms would not be ideal. Even if there were one or two women in the mix, ...

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On TV shows, therapists decorate their rooms with leather lounge chairs, throw pillows and organza curtains that let in the light. But Dr. Hassan's office is in the clinic basement. The fluorescent lighting is sterile. She has a gray metal desk — I think every doctor I've shadowed as a medical student has had that same desk. But I'm not here as a student. I've been anticipating this appointment for a month. In ...

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“You folks have it easy.” As a resident, it is not uncommon to hear these words on the wards from older physicians. After all, this new generation is spoiled, one could say. At the time when I trained, we had hour limitations and “caps” on the number of cases we could handle as interns on our shifts. Now, that seems to have reversed. Second year was tougher in ...

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The news that the Department of Justice is supporting a case against affirmative action at Harvard has led me to reflect on my 38 years of experience in admissions at a New York medical school. When I started out in the late seventies, affirmative action legislation had already been in place for a decade. One of its goals ...

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