While drafting my residency application, I was reminded of a piece of advice I picked up on the interview trail four years prior – showcase your “thing.” Admissions offices navigate thousands of profiles littered with similar grades, honors, and vague generalities. But they’re looking for the “thing” – the separating IT factor. Mine? An unwavering devotion to the adrenal gland.
In fact, I’ve spent 12 years loving the crown of the kidney. Perhaps you think I exaggerate, yet I assure you the above is truth. My lanyard? A deep blue with repeating sequences of “Michigan Adrenal” in a maize block-lettered font. My favorite shirt? I get by with a little help from my glands. My Instagram handle? adrenalgoddess. My bed? Adorned with a purple, plush adrenal gland I received for Valentine’s Day (see: https://iheartguts.com/ for your very own).
We were first introduced in high school when I began to study pheochromocytoma – a rare neuroendocrine tumor derived from specialized cells of the adrenal medulla. Within three months, I knew my career would be incomplete without continued research in the field.
During the Student Activities Fair as an M1, I came across the Michigan Journal of Medicine (MJM), a peer-reviewed organization featuring medical students in every role from Reviewer to Editor-in-Chief (in the interest of full transparency, I am currently one of two Editors-in-Chief along with fellow M4, Elie Ellenberg). Our goal is to highlight the incredible passions of the professional student body at the University of Michigan and publish high-quality biomedical, translational, and clinical research to the scientific community at large. Submissions are solicited from members of several graduate programs including, but not limited to, students within the school of medicine, dentistry, nursing, public policy, and social work. Under the guidance of Michigan Medicine faculty, the submitted original scientific work is vetted by teams of Reviewers and a final decision for publication is jointly made by the Editors-in-Chief.
Published annually, the MJM has featured a variety of content beyond traditional original research manuscripts including pieces on medical innovation, case reports, visual abstracts, and educational curriculum recommendations. We want to help our peers showcase their “thing.” If you’ve dreamt up a type of communication we haven’t yet published, send us a message!
Beyond crafting the latest issue, MJM is primarily focused on helping future physician-scientists develop a leadership portfolio within the publishing community and become familiar with the review process. We have an Educational Lead Editor who coordinates a speaker series featuring Editor Bootcamps, Journal Club, and “how-to” sessions for our team. With members from each class of the UMMS community, MJM is an incredible avenue for meeting colleagues outside of your immediate circle and finding peer mentors.
Once an article is submitted to the MJM, it is de-identified (all authors names are removed) and given to a team of three to four Reviewers and an Editor. Reviewers independently assess the manuscript within a given deadline and then come together with their Editor to discuss the necessary changes that need to be made prior to publication. Given the current times, the group session is of course via 2020’s probable new word of the year – Zoom. For me, the team meetings were an incredibly valuable source of information where I learned what more senior medical students focused on when reviewing a manuscript. Not only did this improve my next review, but more importantly, it altered my own writing with a better understanding of what journals are looking to publish.
Whether you love the adrenal gland or any other far less superior part of the human body, the MJM is a place for you to share your research with the scientific community. We would love to hear from you and answer any questions, comments, or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our website (http://www.michjmed.org/) for more information.
Katherine is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Michigan. When she’s not incessantly discussing the adrenal gland, you’ll find her playing Cookie Run!