It’s summer for the new M2s!! Actually, this is old news. We took our last exam on May 15th and so we have enjoyed almost six weeks of break. Since we start class again on August 1st, we are almost exactly at the halfway point of our summer. Time is flying by, so I’m not going to think about that; instead I’ll focus on how wonderful these past 6 weeks have been.
A few days after the end of term I headed northeast…really northeast…all the way to Iceland! I traveled around the island hiking above fjords, ogling beautiful glacial waterfalls, waving at sheep, camping under the midnight sun, and forgetting that I was a medical student.
I needed the break. I came back ready to get to work on my task for the summer: my SBRP project. The Student Biomedical Research Program (SBRP) is organized by the medical school, and provides a stipend for 10 weeks of research that medical students complete in partnership with a faculty member. I am working with Dr. Maggie Riley, a family medicine physician here at UM, to analyze the effectiveness of a program called MiHealth. MiHealth was designed by two M2s last year, and was piloted this spring. In the program, groups of medical students teach a series of health lessons in high school health classes, covering Smoking & Drugs, Mental Health & Depression, Healthy Relationships, Sexual Health, Nutrition, and Fitness & Exercise. The goals were to increase high school students’ health knowledge and reduce their risk behaviors, and to create a program that everyone involved (high school students and medical students) valuable. We gave everyone involved pre- and post-surveys to measure these metrics. I helped teach some of the lessons, and I certainly thought the program was valuable! It was great to get out into the community and interact with the high schoolers. By the time I finish my SBRP project we’ll know if the others involved agree with me. Stay tuned!
My summer days have developed a rhythm: wake up early and go running, make breakfast and pack a lunch, walk downtown to work for a few hours in a coffee shop, change to a different coffee shop or the library after lunch and work some more, head home to relax or hang out with friends. After a year of keeping my nose to the grindstone for school, even working full time on a research project feels like a break. Having time to hang out with classmates without having to study at the same time feels particularly novel and fun. We’re working hard at completing the “summer in Ann Arbor bucket list,” which includes things like going to free concerts at the Summer Festival, tubing down the river, trying new restaurants during Restaurant Week, drinking sangria at Dominick’s, watching Shakespeare in the Arb, and walking the streets during the Ann Arbor Art Fair.
I’ve had time to read as well, which is great! My favorite book for this summer so far has been The Ghost Map, by Steven Johnson. It tells the story of the 1854 London cholera outbreak that, through a groundbreaking epidemiological study, resulted in the discovery that water coming from the Broad Street pump was the source of the bacteria, advancing public health, epidemiology, and bacteriology. Johnson writes a great narrative and incorporates aspects of sociology and urban history as well. I definitely recommend it.
A parting word of advice, if you are attending medical school in the fall, relax and soak up as much sun as you can now! I know I am.
Kate is a third-year medical student at University of Michigan Medical School. She is passionate about women’s health, reproductive justice, and finding the humanities in medicine. When not in the hospital, you’ll probably find her running along the Huron River or puzzling over the NYTimes Sunday crossword.