Sunday, June 28, 2015

DiverseMedicine Inc – Web Based Mentoring for All!

With it being application season for pre-medical students, and the fact that a ton of medical students (along with myself) are always looking for physician mentors, it is only fitting to have a post about DiverseMedicine Inc.

If you haven’t already, please go to (or click on the DM logo to the right of your screen if you’re in desktop mode), sign up, and check out all that it has to offer! It is a completely free website that provides mentors to both pre-medical and medical students, in addition to having many other awesome features. The DiverseMedicine website also provides forums where you can ask any questions that you may have regarding medicine, and the cool thing is that you can get answers from your peers and physicians alike. What really sets this website apart from others like it though, is its committed focus to underrepresented ethnic groups. One of the things that I have talked about often (and is a major reason for the creation of my own blog) is that I do not see a lot of others like myself largely represented in all fields of medicine. DiverseMedicine does a great job of shining a spotlight on these individuals while helping to connect its members to people that can help them reach their goals. The website also boosts videos, podcasts, and even a “Doctor Like You!” spotlight that highlights and interviews physicians in various fields. Medical students can even find a very helpful array of practice clinical cases and lecture series.

I was recently connected with a physician in the surgical subspecialty that I am interested in through DiverseMedicine, and he not only answered all of my questions, but provided me with an amazing list of suggestions to help me on my path. I have also had the chance to answer questions from pre-medical students on the site, and it has been really rewarding for me in that aspect as well. I definitely think it is a website worth being a part of for anyone interested in medicine.

To further increase your interest, I recently joined the DiverseMedicine leadership team as the Director of Articles and Blogs, so if you like reading this blog, then you’ll love reading posts from physicians and others in medically related fields. There really is something for everybody on the site, so don’t take it from me, go and check it out for yourself!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

SNMA National Leadership Institute June 2015 Recap

You would think being out of school for almost two and a half weeks now would equal a ton of sleep and extra relaxation, but nope, not for this girl! I have somehow managed to stay extra busy and on-the-go, and so far I’ve loved every minute of it.
Fully transitioned into my new role as SNMA Osteopathic Schools Co-Chair

This past weekend I found myself in Wilmington, Delaware and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania attending the Student National Medical Association’s National Leadership Institute and Board of Directors’ Meetings. This NLI was hosted by Christiana Care Health System (CCHS), and they did an amazing job with the prepared workshops, talks, food, and general sessions. I learned so much about leadership and work-life balance as a physician, and we even had the chance to speak with current residents and find out about the residency programs that CCHS has to offer.

Great time meeting Edmondo Robinson, MD, MBA of CCHS 

My favorite part of the weekend was getting the chance to meet and talk with Edmondo Robinson, MD, MBA, who not only is a former Vice-President of SNMA, but he currently serves as the Associate Chief Medical Officer of Christiana Care Health System. He presented two talks (one titled “The 5 A’s pf Failure” and the other called “The 5 F’s of Success”) that were absolutely amazing! I plan to do future blog posts on the information he presented, because it is absolutely too good not to share. It was also nice being able to sit with him during dinner and ask questions about his career and personal life, and he shared a lot of valuable advice on just about everything.

Learned about leadership and met Edith P. Mitchell, MD, current President-Elect of The National Medical Association

My other favorite session focused on balancing life in medicine, and it was presented by Deborah K. Witt, MD, of Sidney Kimmel Medical College. In this workshop, she gave the attendees a chance to talk about how they currently balance life as students on the path of medicine, and she offered some excellent suggestions to further help us seek a good balance. This session stuck out to me because as a single mother in medical school, I am always trying to find a way to maintain a good balance and my sanity. I also attended talks focused on becoming a leader in medicine, and I even had the chance to meet and chat with current President-Elect of The National Medical Association, Edith P. Mitchell, MD, who also presented a nice talk focused on Medicare.

The bulk of my weekend: meetings, meetings, and more meetings!

In addition to attending amazing workshops, I also sat in a number of Board of Directors meetings where, as the 2015-16 SNMA Osteopathic Schools Co-Chair, I had the chance to discuss new ideas and ways to make SNMA an even better organization. These meetings took up quite a bit of time, so I wasn’t able to go out and explore the cities I was in, but it was such a pleasure working and interacting with fellow members of the BOD. Our last meeting even took place at Thomas Jefferson (now Sidney Kimmel Medical College), and it was very nostalgic for me since during my previous career as a research associate, I had the chance to collaborate with many people at the institution. It was nice finally being able to see the campus in person for the first time.

Being on this campus brought back memories of my time as a research associate

Other than that, it was a super amazing weekend, and I am glad I had the opportunity to attend. I am also excited to be working with some amazing individuals within SNMA leadership, and I can’t wait for everyone to see what we have in store this year. Our next NLI will be held at Duke University School of Medicine in September, so if anyone reading this is interested, I would love to see you there!   

Saturday, June 13, 2015

I Survived My First Year of Medical School (and Then Went to Canada)!!!!!

My first year of medical school is officially over and I can finally breathe again! I would have posted as soon as I finished last week, but an extremely last-minute trip to Canada had me packing my bags and on a plane the day after classes ended. I didn’t care about waiting for final grades or anything school-related because I needed a break!

No words can truly express how good it feels to have completed this first year. There were times when I absolutely didn’t think I would make it past the first term, and the final term brought along its moments of doubt as well. I have literally stretched myself beyond my normal limits, and when I didn’t think I could handle any more, I learned that I was capable of way more than I ever thought possible. From having to learn an insane amount of material to finding a balance between parenting, school, and time for myself, I learned so much about myself during the past school year. I look forward to posting a list of all the things I learned as a first-year medical student (both in and out of the class), so be on the lookout for that soon.

Anyway, everyone keeps stressing how important it is to enjoy the last “free” summer of the rest of my life, and I truly intend to as much as possible. I honestly have no idea where this summer will take me, but Canada was a good start. It was definitely different from my previous travels, but it seemed like a good place to relax after an extremely hectic term. I ended up traveling all around Alberta, which had some amazing scenery. I even ended up seeing an actual grizzly bear on the side of the road! The weather was also a surprise. Outside of when I was in the mountains, the temperature stayed above 85F, there was no rain, and the sun was always shining. I was so happy!

Pictures say a thousand words, and I have a ton of stuff to take care of, so the rest of this post will be some of my favorite pictures from the trip. I look forward to writing more posts this summer, and I hope all of you reading this have an amazing weekend!

Downtown Calgary

This picture was taken at 11:30 at was still bright outside!

A grizzly bear!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I Can Almost See the Light at the End of the Tunnel!!!!

The 3rd term neuro note stack...crazy!!!!

I told myself I wouldn’t write another post until after I finished final exams, but I think now is a good time to take a little breather to update everyone. Today I took (and passed) my last neuro exam and I am so happy that the course is over! I still have an OMM practical exam tomorrow along with a primary care skills written exam on Thursday, but right now the worst is behind me. Plus, I received some amazing news earlier today that has me on cloud nine right now. I honestly just want to stop everything and celebrate, but I have to keep reminding myself that I still have two more exams to go.

I think this term has been the most draining for me this year. It wasn’t necessarily the hardest, but it definitely felt like first term on steroids.  I think the hardest part was getting down the spinal tracts and pathways in the beginning of the term, but once that was out of the way, it was somewhat smooth sailing. And as much as I loved being back in anatomy lab, I really wasn’t a fan of the lab practical exams or the brain in general. Luckily, I have no interest in becoming a neurosurgeon, but I will probably take some time during the summer to brush up on my weak points, since it will inevitably show up on the medical board exams. I just can’t believe that in two days, I will officially be a second-year medical student!

On another note, I am completely child-free at the moment and won’t know what to do with myself when this term ends, LOL. My wonderful parents agreed to watch my daughter for the next month to give me a break from having to pay for child care and also to give me time to relax. My daughter has spent time with my parents during the summer before, but this will be the very first time where she will be away from me and I don’t have to worry about school and work or any other major responsibilities. Straight freedom!!!!! My plan is to travel and enjoy my free time, but I may also have to look for some type of summer employment to cover where my student loans are lacking. The little one seems to be having a great time already though. Before she left, my classmates came over and did her hair for the summer so my parents wouldn’t have to worry about doing it every day, and she just loves showing it off. Plus, she called me tonight while I was on campus practicing OMM, and while I thought the voicemail would be along the lines of how much she misses me, it went more like this: “Hi Mommy, I need you to call me when you get a chance because I need you to give me my friend’s number. Oh, and I just wanted to see how my wonderful medical student doctor is doing!” Haha, all I could think was good save little one!!!! I am just glad she is happy and enjoying herself because I know she would be bored out of her mind dealing with all this studying I’ve been doing if she were here right now. I also realized that having her around keeps me pretty grounded and on track with my studying. I now understand how my classmates without children get easily distracted with sleeping or relaxing a little too much. Oddly, it’s a lot harder to manage your time when you no longer have to wake up at 6am or worry about setting your schedule around someone else’s.

But anyway, the end of term means I will have a lot more time to write new posts. I looking forward to sharing with you all the things I learned throughout the year, and I know it is also application season, so I will definitely be writing posts and responding to messages regarding the process. Right now, I am going to do some last minute studying for tomorrow to make sure I have all the basics down, so I hope everyone reading this has a wonderful week!

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