Why doctors need stories

After posting the last two entries about Jay Baruch and Rita Charon’s upcoming talks, a recent article in  the New York Times offers thoughtful opinions about why narratives are important in the field of medicine.  Take a look at Peter D. Kramer’s article and let me know what you think.

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Narrative disaster zones–a talk with Jay Baruch, MD

October is a great time to be on campus.  Sure, there are midterms and falling temperatures–but there are also some amazing talks happening.  Here’s one that promises to be incredible–and it’s free and open to the public.

 

Jay Baruch, MD

Jay Baruch, MD

Annual Human Values in Health Care Lecture

Wed, Oct 22, 3:30 – 5:00, in Goergen Hall 101, (Optics and Bioengineering) on the River Campus

Narrative Disaster Zones:  Story Pearls and Pitfalls in the Emergency Department

Presenter:  Jay Baruch, MD, Associate Professor, Emergency Medicine, Alpert Medical School, Brown University

Jay Baruch, MD is Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University, where he serves as the director of the Program in Clinical Arts and Humanities, co-director of the medical humanities and bioethics scholarly concentration, and director of the ethics curriculum.  Dr. Baruch’s short fiction and essays have appeared in numerous print and online medical and literary journals.  His academic work centers on the importance of creative thinking and creative writing skills in clinical medicine.

This event is sponsored by the Division of Medical Humanities and Bioethics in the School of Medicine and Dentistry and the University Committee for Interdisciplinary Studies Human Values in Health Care Cluster.

For further information, contact Mary Fisher, 275-6435; mary_fisher@urmc.rochester.edu.

I hope to see you there!

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The Care of the Sick is a Work of Art

Rita Charon, MD, PhD

Rita Charon, MD, PhD

Rita Charon, M.D., Ph.D., will present the 2014 Sischy Lecture, “The Care of the Sick is a Work of Art,” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21 at the Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Avenue.

Dr. Charon is a general internist and narratologist at Columbia University who originated the field of narrative medicine. Narrative medicine recognizes the value of patients’ spoken viewpoints and first-person accounts in clinical practice, research and education. Narrative medicine aims not only to validate the experience of the patient, but also to encourage creativity and self-reflection in the physician.

“Sick people need physicians who can understand their diseases, treat their medical problems, and accompany them through their illnesses,” Dr. Charon has said. She is the author of Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness (Oxford University Press, 2006) and co-editor of Stories Matter: The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics (Routledge, 2002) and Psychoanalysis and Narrative Medicine (SUNY Press, 2008).

Dr. Charon is founder and Executive Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia. Her research focuses on the impact of narrative medicine practice, reflective clinical practice and health care team effectiveness.

The lecture is free and open to the public. To register now, visit http://event.urmc.edu/sischy . For additional registration information contact Angela Pullen at 585.273.5937.

The Ben Sischy, M.D., Lecture in Humane Medicine was established in 1991 as a tribute to the former chief of radiation oncology at Highland Hospital. Dr. Sischy’s career was based on his beliefs in the importance of quality patient care, innovative research and dedicated treatment. He pioneered many new approaches to cancer treatment in a community hospital setting.

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A tip of the hat

HatTipCartoon

If you’re one of my advisees, you possibly already know how much I appreciate the sagacity of Liza Thompson’s blog. She has a particularly useful recent post on pre-med planning that I encourage all pre-health students to read.

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Easing the final passage

Slate Magazine has published an eloquent, haunting excerpt from Atul Gawande’s new book Being Mortal:  Medicine and What Matters in the End.  “No Risky Chances:  The Conversation That Matters Most” offers a short meditation on death, palliative care, and the delicate balance between shaping our own stories and accepting the realities of biology and physics.  I highly recommend it.

Atul Gawande

Atul Gawande

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The Holistic Review: What a Pre-med Needs to Know

Holistic review

 

In the mood for some interesting reading? I recommend Holistic Admissions in the Health Professions: Findings from a National Survey.  Written by Urban Universities for Health (a collaboration of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, and the Association of American Medical Colleges), this report is the first national study documenting the increasing prevalence of holistic admissions review by health professions schools. According to the authors, nearly three fourths of the medical, nursing, dental, pharmacy, and public health schools have moved toward a holistic admissions review. Driving this change is a desire to train a workforce of health professionals who can treat patients from all walks of life. Health professions schools hope that their students will draw on their personal qualities and professional skills to treat patients with expert, compassionate care. Increasingly, schools seek a study body that is diverse not only in terms of race and sex, but also diverse in perspective, socioeconomic background, ethnicity, and experience.

 

What is a holistic review process? Simply put, it’s when admissions committees take a range of factors into account when assessing applicants. In addition to standardized test scores and grades, schools consider socioeconomic status, whether an applicant is a first-generation college student, and the breadth of experience an applicant brings to the table.

 

What does this mean for YOU, as a prospective applicant to any health professions program? It means that to most admissions committees, you are more than your numbers. While MCAT, DAT, and GRE scores are important, they do not represent the sum of who you are as an applicant. Certain online medical school predictors claim to calculate your chances of getting into medical school. I encourage you to be suspicious of any person or program implying that you can be reduced to a series of numbers.

 

This is not to say that grades and test scores are not important. These metrics offer a valuable look at a student’s scientific aptitude, work habits, and current level of knowledge. But they are not the full picture of who an applicant is. They say nothing about a whole host of competencies that medical schools have identified as important for future doctors.

 

Here are some other resources to learn more about holistic reviews of medical school applicants:

The Changing Face of Medical School Admissions (from the New York Times)

Holistic Review — Shaping the Medical Profession One Applicant at a Time (article in the New England Journal of Medicine)

Core Personal Competencies Important to Entering Students’ Success in Medical School: What Are They and How Could They Be Assessed Early in the Admission Process? (from Academic Medicine)

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Filed under applying to dental school, applying to med school, Holistic admissions review

Financial help for dental applicants

In one of our most popular blog posts, we discussed the AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program that is available for aspiring doctors-to-be.   There’s a similar program created by the  ADEA AADSAS for financially needy dental school applicants.  One thing you need to know is that this aid is limited, so you must apply early.  Although the official 2015 deadline was to occur on November 28, 2014, the waivers ran out on June 26, 2014–a mere 24 days after the ADEA  AADSAS began processing applications.  Thus we see yet another embodiment of the old truism “The early bird gets the worm.”

EarlyBirdWormIt’s a pretty nice worm, though.  Fee Assistance is available to qualified applicants through ADEA AADSAS, and is worth $431.00 each. Fee Assistance waivers cover the first ADEA AADSAS dental school designation, and two additional dental school designations for a total of three.

Dentist-toolsThe American Student Dental Association is offering a free webinar about financing a dental education.  If you’re interested in registering, you can do so on the ASDA website.

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New student orientation

Last week was our orientation for incoming post-bac students.  If you’d like to check out the prezi we went through at our orientation, you can find it here.

George Eastman reveals his super powers.

George Eastman reveals his super powers.

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White coats

2014 White Coat Ceremony at SUNY Upstate

2014 White Coat Ceremony at SUNY Upstate

August is the month for white coat ceremonies, the ritual celebration by which medical students are given the traditional coats that are the hallmarks of physicians.  So we’d like to take a moment to salute our former post-bac  students beginning their medical training.  This year’s group are heading to Albany Medical College, SUNY Upstate,  the University at Buffalo, and the University of Rochester.  Congratulations to all of you.  On behalf of the entire post-bac community, I want to say that we’re thrilled to see you moving forward!

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Mad scientists

 

Post-bac students taking a break during Organic Chemistry lab.

Post-bac students taking a break during Organic Chemistry lab.

 

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