After a long, restful summer, it’s great to be back in Ann Arbor, jumping right into M2 year. For this blog post, I’ve decided on the theme, “Things I didn’t expect about medical school.” Here we go!
1) I’d be excited about a single specialty (or two) very early on.
This past summer, my research entailed looking at late effects of proton radiation on survivors of childhood cancer. Through this experience, I was able to spend time in clinic meeting young patients and their families, from recently diagnosed toddlers to teenagers at their 9-year follow-up appointments following successful medulloblastoma treatment. The project itself was quite fascinating too — I learned how to interpret CT & MRI images of the brain, and how to draw 3D structures on fused images. By superimposing radiation treatment plans on top of the drawings, I could extract dose information, with which we found correlations to long-term changes in neurocognitive performance. Getting back to this paragraph’s headline, neurology and oncology are both jumping out at me as fields of interest. But then again, the M2 Cardiovascular sequence has been pretty awesome so far, so maybe I’ll change my mind again…and again.
2) The preclinical curriculum would be so flexible that I could write a book on the side.
I’ve been working for the past year with 3 friends from college, and we have finally completed our 189-page manuscript, What Every College Science Student Should Know, and sent it off to our publisher to begin the peer review & editing process. Definitely was an exciting project that consumed the better part of my time outside studying during M1 year, but more importantly, we envision it helping incoming college students who hope to follow an academic course of study in the sciences.
3) I could actually be more efficient with my week by going to class.
This sounds obvious, but if you happened to read one of my previous blog posts, I streamed many of my M1 lectures from my apartment and from various sides of the country. However, with the lecture hour count significantly higher than M1 year, I couldn’t possibly focus long enough on my computer to make it through all of them online. Returning to Med Sci II and joining my friends in South Lecture Hall for live lectures has made M2 year pretty awesome so far.
That’s all for now. Hope everybody enjoyed the long weekend!
Being officially out for summer is a strange feeling — mostly because I am enjoying a brief respite from headphones and streaming lectures. According to our lecture video homepage, there are 481 recorded events for 2013-2014, so I’d say during the M1 year I watched a solid 400-425 from the comfort of my apartment, the med school, my home, or any of the multiple cities I traveled to for AMA conferences and other various events, namely Indianapolis, East Lansing, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Boston, New York, New Haven, Hanover…and probably other places I missed. That’s the most unique part about being a preclinical student in medical school — so much flexibility to travel and take part in very collaborative projects, the defining extracurricular for me being policymaking and leadership development through the AMA.
I recently had the privilege to join hundreds of other medical students in Chicago for the 2014 Annual AMA-MSS meeting, alongside my classmates Jonathan Li, Adriana Coleska, and Vince Pallazola, pictured below
I helped write a few resolutions (policy proposals) that were heard in Chicago, one of which asked the AMA to support STEM education and programming, which had been approved back in April at the Michigan State Medical Society’s meeting and subsequently sent to the AMA by our state, and the second asking the AMA to work with the NBME in addressing some of the changing trends in medical education. The former was officially adopted into policy, and the latter was adopted by the Medical Student Section and will be heard by the AMA in November.
In addition to policymaking, these meetings are an excellent opportunity for jumpstarting leadership development. I am excited that during the coming year, Adriana and I will both be serving on our Region 5 Executive Board (representing ~17 schools from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia), and Vince will be serving on the executive board for the AMA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the AMA. Each of us will represent the University of Michigan to our very best during the coming year, and use these experiences as an opportunity to build relationships with students all over the AMA.
Of course, a trip to Chicago (only 4.5 hours by Amtrak from Ann Arbor!) is incomplete without a run along Lake Shore Drive and a bit of sightseeing, so I’ve included a few photos for completeness:
On Monday, we began what is notoriously the most rigorous sequence of the M1 year: Infectious Diseases & Microbiology. With laboratory exercises and case discussions every morning for a five-week period, each preceded by ~2.5 hours of relevant lectures beginning at 8am, my class has noticeably shifted back to attending live lectures, on par with our overall enthusiasm for class-going back in August. The emphasis on clinical applications of the course has made this our first “real taste of M2 year.”
During one of our first labs, we prepared a throat culture by sampling another one of our classmates — look what I discovered on the plate containing my own flora:
That’s right, Gram-positive (purple) cocci (round) bacteria in clusters, basically a microscope slide full of grapes to the untrained eye. Relatedly, I learned how to successfully take pictures with an iPhone through the eyepiece of a microscope. Anyways, we get to learn how to perform many cool lab techniques during this sequence, which I wasn’t expecting at all. The labs are run by a Microbiology faculty member and an Infectious Disease physician, and I have only fantastic things to say so far, except of course the mysophobia I’ve developed from learning about the microbial world surrounding me.
Outside of ID/Micro, I’ve continued involvement with AMA in a few ways: this past weekend, I visited the Michigan State Medical Society headquarters in East Lansing over spring break for a leadership conference, which was a great way to prepare for the upcoming 2014 MSMS House of Delegates Annual Meeting in Dearborn. I mentioned in a previous UMDoR post that I’ll be presenting a resolution I wrote regarding STEM Education, and I’ve also completed a resolution for June’s AMA-MSS House of Delegates Annual Meeting in Chicago, specifically related to proposed changes for the USMLE Step 1 exam in the context of medical curriculum reform.
MSMS-MSS Leadership Conference
Lastly, I wanted to comment on an exciting event that took place earlier this week. UMMS hosted the AMA Medical Education Consortium, consisting of representatives from the 11 institutions that received $1M grants from the AMA in 2013 to “transform the way physicians are trained.” I was able to attend a few lectures and seminars on “MedEd Day,” the open-to-the-general-public part of the conference, and, as a member of one of the working groups for the development of our own new curriculum, I really enjoyed meeting faculty and administrators from the other AMA ACE institutions. For more information and photos, check out the press release from UMHS.
Until next time,
M1 year has really started to pick up…or I’ve just been more immersed in awesome extracurricular activities! Probably a combination of both. Last week, we completed our Immunology sequence, which allowed me to reminisce on my immunology research at the NIH/NEI several summers ago, and I’m excited to now be in the midst of the CNS/Head & Neck sequence.
Between Immunology & CNS, I attended the AMA Region V Annual Meeting, hosted by IUSM at the beautiful, recently-opened Eskenazi Health hospital in Indianapolis. Our weekend worked out perfectly, getting in the car shortly after our anatomy practical to make it in time for Friday evening activities, and Saturday was a jam-packed day of presentations, workshops, and even a community service activity at a local Boys & Girls Club, all of which allowed us to build connections at many other medical schools.
Region V community service event! UMMS students include myself (first row, 3rd from left), Vadim Rosin (first row, 4th from left), and Max Shlykov (second row, far right)
One of the highlights of the conference was the opportunity to receive feedback from many of the senior members in AMA-MSS regional/state leadership on a resolution I have now submitted to the Michigan State Medical Society. I’ve been keenly interested in science education, throwing around the buzzword “STEM” (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and I proposed a couple policy amendments in this area which, if approved by MSMS, will be heard by the larger AMA in Chicago this summer. As a former chemistry major with a minimal background in policymaking and political science, I’ve really enjoyed having support through the Medical Student Section of the AMA to learn how to write policy and potentially follow it through several stages.
Of course, while the AMA has been an awesome supplement to my M1 year, school is my primary focus, but having the flexibility to balance both has been a privilege.
PS- Fantastic job to everyone in the 2014 Galens Smoker yesterday, and congratulations to the Michigan basketball team on becoming B1G champions!
Curtain call at the end of the 2014 Galens Smoker!
Hope everyone is staying warm during this fairly chilly start to the new year! The pace of the M1 second semester has noticeably picked up, and construction is underway for the brand new Taubman Health Sciences Library: coming to UMMS in mid-2015!
Growing up in Michigan and spending college in New Hampshire, winter is not unfamiliar to me. In fact, I embrace it as a part of my identity, and couldn’t imagine a year without all four seasons. Besides, the cold and snow haven’t particularly changed my routine, since I already resorted to streaming a majority of my lectures. Only my intake of hot cocoa has increased…perhaps a good alternative to coffee?
Changing the subject completely — Ann Arbor recently celebrated its annual Restaurant Week, during which at least 20 restaurants on Main Street and several other popular locations in area coordinated to serve two-course lunches and three-course dinners at set prices. High-quality, delicious, and fairly affordable food was definitely worth the celebration, and a group of friends and I went to an awesome place called Vinology after completing our Gastrointestinal Sequence quiz last Sunday. We also stopped for lunch on Wednesday at the Gandy Dancer, a seafood restaurant which from 1886 to the 1970’s housed the Michigan Depot’s train station in Ann Arbor (there’s a new Amtrak station next-door, which I use to commute to & from home).
After next weekend’s final exam for the GI sequence, I’m headed to another concert at Hill Auditorium, this time a solo piano performance featuring Denis Matsuev. Meanwhile, some of my classmates have already taken skiing trips around the area, I believe one of which went up to Boyne Mountain in the northern part of the LP (<–lower peninsula for non-Michiganders).