"The unparalleled and pervasive nature of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic has touched all of us in some way. There is limited, albeit growing, research on the mental health effects of disasters.  A recent review article pointed out the potentially negative consequences of prolonged quarantine, while other research from Wuhan, China, highlighted the impact of COVID-19, particularly amongst healthcare personnel. Psychiatrists and mental health professionals will play a ...

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In early 2001, my sister was tired, paler than usual. We didn’t think much of it. Then, months passed, and crimson pinpoints appeared on her skin. My brother and I took turns grasping her arm and snickering as our handprints would appear as red dots just a few minutes later. Symptoms amassed silently, but on my ninth birthday in May, something big happened. I remember hearing words like “low blood count” spoken ...

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I feet truly honored to have been asked to speak at your graduation and to have a chance to share on this day with all of you. We are experiencing a truly singular moment, and I imagine you are hoping that I might say something that would be comforting or inspiring, and I really can’t think what that could possibly be. For the last half of your third year of residency, ...

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Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic gripped New York City, I have come to dread calling home to my parents. Every conversation ultimately leads to the question: “Is everyone okay?” This is always followed by a pause as my parents consider how much to tell me. Over the past few months, I learned on an almost weekly basis of a new family member, family friend, or neighbor who was hospitalized, transferred ...

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acp new logo A guest column by the American College of Physicians, exclusive to KevinMD. The recent occurrence of widespread civil unrest in the context of the coronavirus pandemic has challenged us as physicians about our appropriate role in dealing with both. The response of doctors to the pandemic has been fairly straightforward.  The central role of individual physicians ...

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What if I told you that the most important vital sign of the COVID-19 pandemic is likely being incorrectly reported in almost every doctor’s office, urgent care center, and hospital around the country? The everyday citizen probably believes that this is an exaggeration, but most physicians know that this is unfortunately, accurate. Let’s step back a minute. Years ago, terms like sepsis, septicemia, and bacteremia were frequently used in an interchangeable ...

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"Recent articles have accused some physicians of hoarding medications for themselves during our international medical crisis. Authors such as these should be ashamed of their coverage and wasted ability on sensationalism when they could be spending their time informing the public about the dangers of COVID-19 and the actions communities, hospitals, physicians, businesses, and public servants are taking on a daily ...

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The fight. The battle. The conquest. The opponent. The enemy. The nemesis. Our collective descriptions of our response to COVID-19 are analogous to our descriptions of wartime.  We have cast the novel coronavirus as the opposition and ourselves as the mighty conquerors. Reflecting on this portrayal over the past three months – during the final stretch of my medical training before becoming an independent practitioner - I find myself wondering if this ...

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June 25 Like most physicians, I am bad at scheduling my own doctors visit. This year, despite COVID craziness, I had made an appointment with a new PCP to get Singulair refills (my allergies were a killer, and a drippy nose behind an N95 is no joke). I loved my new PCP! She connected with me on a personal level. She dealt with all my concerns without making me come in ...

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Across the globe, the month of March became a turning point for the COVID-19 pandemic. Amidst daily clinical updates, dramatic increase in cases, and rapid policy changes, International Women's Day – an observance that allows gender equality to take the spotlight – came and went. Since March, COVID-19 worsened existing health disparities, further exacerbated by unacceptable police brutality, Read more...

Every day since George Floyd’s death, I have read to my five-year-old, brown-skinned boy about reasons to love his skin. After reading a book that explained how black and brown-skinned people are not always treated fairly, he asked, “Does that mean white people are mean?”

As we discussed ways that systemic racism plays out in society, this was exactly the generalization I feared. In the process of explaining how ...

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In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the rush of similar stories from around the country, many have called to “defund the police.” While critics paint this as a reactionary response to high-profile incidents, the phrase deserves deeper consideration than that. The killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others are not isolated incidents. They are symptoms of a systemic flaw in our criminal justice system. ...

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"This pandemic presents a unique opportunity for senior anesthesiologists to see the benefit of accommodating the health care needs of our workforce. Just as I tried to avoid the teratogenic effects of certain cases when pregnant, we should consider the most effective ways to protect senior anesthesiologists from a life-threatening infection. When the pandemic has passed, anesthesiologists of all ages can ...

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When I was in Sweden, I heard this phrase several times: “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad preparation.” They said this when we asked them what they did with their children in dead of winter. The proud parents made it very clear that no matter what the weather, when it is time to go outside for recess at school, or to get out of the house ...

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Long before COVID-19 plagued our nation and world, physicians in the United States found themselves facing their own epidemic within the profession – occupational burnout. Associated with depression and suicidal ideation as well as potential risks to patient safety, physician burnout has uniquely profound and possibly deadly implications in this field, unlike in other professions. Likewise, doctors have been consistently found 
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First and foremost, a mental health crisis is a medical emergency well within the sector of public health. Therefore, the question of who should respond to mental health emergencies is one in which physicians and all medical providers should have a say. Medical providers should not only be aware of the systems in place to respond to mental health crisis but must advocate for patient safety as a measurable outcome ...

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Recently, the AAMC announced its partnership with HireVue’s video interviewing platform to introduce the Video Interview Tool for Admissions (VITA), an online, one-way recorded interview without a human interviewer. The candidate is shown several text prompts on HireVue’s system and instructed to record a ~3-minute response to each prompt. A list of participating medical schools will be released by AAMC in July 2020. I advocate against the use of this ...

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The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on the health inequities many Americans face because of where they live and the air they breathe. We are seeing what I have long seen in my allergy practice—many of my patients live in communities with unhealthy air.

Patients like James, a 50-year-old African American bus driver who lives in Maryland. He sees me for asthma and pollen allergies, which are ...

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"Being present is a wonderful thing. It relieves stress caused by focusing on failures of the past and worries of the future. Both realms are unreachable, largely unchangeable. But at the same time, they both entice and tease our minds such that we often find ourselves everywhere, but at the moment as we focus on changing what has already passed or ...

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An excerpt from Doctors' Orders: The Making of Status Hierarchies in an Elite Profession. Copyright (c) 2020 Tania M. Jenkins. Used by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved. I met Trevor on his very first day of residency, at the start of three years of practical, ...

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