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Hi everyone!

The M1s just wrapped up one of the most enjoyable weeks of the school year. Most of us came back from Thanksgiving break well-rested (and well-fed!) and were treated to an eye-opening week of Clinical Foundations of Medicine (CFM). We have had one full CFM week prior to this one, but, at least for me, this week was the first time in medical school where I really felt that I was practicing my clinical skills. My classmates and I spent hours tapping on each other’s chests, listening to each other’s heart and breath sounds, and poking around at vessels in each other’s necks to learn how to do pulmonary and cardiac physical exams. In our Cardiac and Pulmonary Classics sessions we were lucky enough to have patients volunteer their time to come to the hospital and help us learn by listening to murmurs, lung disease, and more. I feel like I learned so many practical skills within just a few days — and we got to test out the new Clinical Skills space for medical students in the old Mott hospital, which worked out great! Of course, we all have a long way to go before becoming proficient at these physical exam skills, but it feels great to already be starting down that road!

On top of all the fun of CFM week, this was also a fantastic weekend for the UMHS community — it was Galens 87th Tag Days! For those of you who don’t know, Tag Days is a huge, amazing fundraiser put on by Galens Medical Society every year to raise money for the children of Washtenaw County and Mott Hospital. Medical students from all years are stationed out on the streets of Ann Arbor with red ponchos and buckets, requesting donations from the community. Anyone who donates gets “tagged” with a red, green, or yellow square of paper, which they can tie to their coats and show off proudly for the rest of the weekend. Of course, this fundraiser must always take place in December when it is bitter cold outside, but the brilliance of this ploy is that the frozen, dedicated students get the joy of being visited by Happy Vans. Happy Vans, driven by our most upbeat and fun-loving faculty, circle around Ann Arbor to bring food, warmth, and smiles to all of the Taggers, so that we were never too cold for too long.

I worked three separate four-hour tagging shifts this year, including one in which I sang with the medical school a cappella group, the Auscultations, on Main Street for Ann Arbor’s yearly Midnight Madness event (see photos below). I am so impressed with the generosity of the Ann Arbor community. People were so excited to donate to Galens — some families came all the way into Ann Arbor from out of town just to find one of our buckets. Tag Days is such a unique event, because it really brings the medical school, the hospital, and the entire Washtenaw County community together to work toward the wonderful goal of raising money for children in need. So, for future Michigan medical students, don’t pass up the opportunity to participate in Tag Days! It really is some of the most fun you’ll have all year.

Starting Renal tomorrow … one last sequence before we head off for the holidays. Thanks for stopping in!