Tuesday, September 29, 2015

SNMA September 2015 NLI Recap

Fresh off the plane and ready for business!

I’m a couple of weeks late, but I just had to do a recap of my experience at the most recent Student National Medical Association (SNMA) National Leadership Institute / Board of Directors’ Meeting. This NLI was hosted by Duke University School of Medicine from September 11 – 13, 2015, and it was a really great experience! The theme of the NLI was “Mental Health, Social Media, and Leadership in 21st Century Medicine,” and every workshop and speech did a great job of incorporating the theme.

Meeting Flow

I had class that Friday morning, and then I had to make sure my daughter was squared away, so I ended up catching a late afternoon flight to Durham, NC. When I finally checked-in to my hotel, and made it to the welcome reception, I had missed most of the welcome speech. The last fifteen minutes that I was able to catch were really powerful though, so I hate that I missed most of it. Luckily, there was still a lot of food available and I was right on time for the National Committee meeting that was held much later that night.

"A Conversation about Race"

The next day during breakfast, there was a very powerful “Conversation About Race” presented by some of the medical students that really hit me hard. Of course, everyone is aware of what is and has been going on in the news, but to see all the new victim faces up on the screen and past faces (such as that of Emmett Till) really hit home for me. To discuss the entire presentation would take up an entire blog post of its own, but current medical student Samara Jinks (MS3) helped lead the discussion, which began with a YouTube clip of her that can be found HERE.

Dr. A. Eugene Washington with PMBM Kevin Anderson (left) and SNMA President Anthony Kulukulualani (right)

The rest of the day involved workshops that dealt with topics such as finances and establishing our own personal branding. During lunch we had a chance to have a Q&A session with Dr. A. Eugene Washington, President & CEO of Duke University Health System, and it was a great interactive experience. It really was interesting hearing about his journey through medicine which involved leaving medical school twice to pursue other passions, and ending up in OB/GYN when it was thought he was highly unlikely for the path. At the end of the lunch, he was presented with a SNMA t-shirt by our current National President and Pre-Medical Board Member as seen above.

Took a small break for photos!

The rest of the conference involved Board of Directors meetings where we discussed everything related to the organization and ways to improve it. I really do love my position as Osteopathic Schools Co-Chair, and it feels great being able to be a much larger influence within the Student National Medical Association. I also enjoy attending these meetings because it allows me to network with so many different and unique individuals who are where I want to be in life. I especially enjoyed the final dinner of the NLI where we had the chance to sit and eat with current residents at Duke. My table had an anesthesiologist resident, and while he thought I was absolutely crazy for wanting to pursue surgery, he gave a lot of great advice about the school and area in general.

Duke Selfie :-)

I think that pretty much sums up my experience. I flew back home that Sunday afternoon after our final meeting, and I had an OMM exam that Monday morning, so I didn’t get a chance to really experience the nightlife or the general area of Durham since I was in my hotel room studying during my free moments. I did receive a ton of great information from the school though, so maybe I’ll get the chance to come back during an away rotation and explore when I'm a fourth year medical student :-)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Meeting the 14th Surgeon General of the United States

Pictured with Dr. Antonia Novello, 14th United States Surgeon General

Yesterday, I had the amazing honor of introducing Dr. Antonia Novello, the 14th Surgeon General of the United States to my school! Not only was she the first woman AND Hispanic to hold the position, but that's just one huge accomplishment out of a long list of many that includes being the New York State Health Commissioner during 9/11. She is such an inspiration, and the lecture she gave was really powerful and on point!

My daughter and Dr. Novello loved each other!

The evening before Dr. Novello came to my school, I had the opportunity to join a group of student leaders in having an informal dinner with her. I almost did not attend the dinner because I had a major exam yesterday morning to prepare for, and I also had a conference call Sunday night that conflicted with the dinner. At the last minute, I decided I would stop by to introduce myself and I asked if it would be OK to bring along my daughter (which received no objections) since I did not get a babysitter due to my original conflicts. The dinner ended up starting earlier than planned, so I was actually able to stay for the entire time, and I was so glad I brought my daughter because Dr. Novello loves children! My daughter also Googled Dr. Novello prior to the dinner and wrote a list of questions for her to answer, which apparently surprised everyone, lol. They ended up talking and taking pictures together, and now my daughter is super inspired to go into medicine.

Always an honor to introduce amazing individuals

As for the actual GA-PCOM Diversity Speaker Series, Dr. Novello gave a very powerful speech that focused on the disparities between minorities in both a personal healthcare aspect, and in a medical profession aspect. It was shocking to hear the small number of black men there are entering into medical school, and the fact that black women make up the largest number of applicants to medical school, but the number accepted absolutely does not reflect it. It definitely hit a nerve with me, and made me even more determined to become a leader in healthcare, so that I can be a part of the change that is desperately needed. I especially liked the ten principles to live by that she added at the end of her speech. I was not writing as she spoke, so the bolded below was taken from a blurb about the event on the GA-PCOM Facebook page:

 “She discussed her 10 principles, born from her experience, that have helped her in her life journey. They include: 10) Be a pioneer. Don't be afraid to forge into new directions; 9) Do not deny your roots as you walk the ladder of success; 8) Never underestimate your capabilities; others will do it for you; 7) Achieve the highest level of education - it is the key to the door of opportunity; 6) Set goals for yourself and when doing so, make them realistic and then share them with those who believe in you. It's amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit; 5) When you get to the top, don't forget you owe something back to your peers, your family and your community; 4) Don't be afraid to speak your mind; 3) Take care of yourself spiritually, physically and mentally; 2) Never lose your sense of who you really are, even when others believe they know you better than you know yourself; and 1) Plan big and dream greatness.”           

Dr. Novello's note to my daughter. Such an amazing gift!!!!

I honestly wish I could get a transcript of the entire speech, because it was really good and by far, one of my favorites! Afterwards, we all presented Dr. Novello with gifts from the different student organizations, and she was really happy to receive a framed group picture of all of us from the night before. She made it a point to mention my daughter to the crowd and how impressed she was by her, so you know this made me an extremely proud momma! I even made sure to give Dr. Novello pictures of her and my daughter from the night before as she requested, and she returned one of the smaller pics to me with a note for my daughter that really made my day. I am definitely going to have it framed, and I know it is something that my little one will cherish forever :-) This will be added to the list of one of my most memorable moments as a GA-PCOM student, and I am so incredibly blessed to have wonderful opportunities like this, AND be blessed to have the ability to expose my child to great people and experiences at the same time.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Sooo Many Updates!!!!

I can finally breathe again (at least a little, lol)

I can’t believe it has been almost a month since my last real post! It’s not that I haven’t wanted to blog; I just really haven’t had the time. Fortunately, I’ve finally caught a moment where I can just relax and unwind, so I’m happy to be spending it reflecting and typing out my thoughts from the past few weeks. A few of the experiences deserve separate posts of their own, so I will be typing them out tonight, but sharing them on different days this week.

As for right now, I feel like I have been under a rock for at least the past week (apparently the Emmys were on last night???), and I’m just trying to get back in touch with reality. This morning, I took a major exam and less than an hour after that I was introducing the 14th Surgeon General of the United States to my school (more on that in a separate post). Yesterday, I not only attended a dinner with the former Surgeon General, but I (along with my co-chair) held the first conference call of the SNMA Osteopathic Schools Committee shortly thereafter, and I still had to study for this morning’s exam in the midst of everything else. Last weekend, I was at Duke University School of Medicine for the SNMA National Leadership Institute / Board of Directors meeting (I will post about this separately as well), and I flew back to Atlanta only to prepare for an exam I had the very next day. I think a few days prior to flying out to North Carolina, I performed my very first prostate and female GU exams on real patients, and in between all of this, I have been in and out of meetings, studying, and attending class. I’m also still taking care of my parents’ dog, and I even managed to play the super mom role and host my daughter’s friend over for an entire weekend not too long ago
So as you all can see, I have been extremely busy!!!! I apologize for the delayed responses to e-mails, messages, etc., but nowadays it's so easy to get behind on things of that nature. I’m not sure if the workload of second year medical school courses is just extremely intense or if I’m just way too involved, but it feels like I have a lot less free time this year. I’m hoping it is just this term though (we’re currently in Cardio-Pulmonary-Renal), and that things will get smoother as the year progresses. I can’t wait to give more details on all of my recent awesome ventures, so I hope you all will check back in this week for the extra posts I have in store!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Accepted.com Follow-up Interview as a 2nd Year Medical Student!

Hey, Everybody! It's been an awesome week, but I am so happy that tomorrow is Friday!!!! Anyway, just wanted to log on to let you all know that my follow-up interview with accepted.com is now live! It's hard to believe that one year has passed since I had my first interview as a newly accepted medical student, and it's even crazier to see how much I have been able to accomplish in such a relatively short time period. Click HERE to read the full interview (it also has a link to the original included), and don't be afraid to tell me your thoughts! 

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