In This Issue: Where We have Been and Where We are Going
Director's Quarterly Update
I first want to say a big UAB MSTP welcome to all of the applicants we are interviewing this year. Please use your time at UAB to get to know our MSTP family and to explore how UAB and the city of Birmingham can fit in with your future training plans. We will be interviewing 48 applicants this year and our current interviewees include students from 22 different states and 34 different colleges/universities. The only schools that currently have more than one applicant in the interview pool are Harvard, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Michigan.
This year our applicants will again participate in the UAB School of Medicine Multiple Mini-Interview (MMI). the MMI offers applicants a series of short scenarios at 7-10 stations. There are no right or wrong answers, but instead the MMI give insight into critical thinking, communication, and decision making skills. In addition to the MMIs, MSTP applicants will also do a short research presentation to the MSTP Advisory Committee and have traditional interviews with those committee members. Please use these opportunities to show us your passion for research and your drive to become a physician scientist.
White Coat Ceremony 2016
On August 14th, the first year medical students participated in their White Coat Ceremony. This event celebrates the first-year class by presenting them with the white coat they will wear during their clinical work throughout medical school. It also involves students taking an oath and officially being welcomed into the health profession by generations of physicians before them.
For others, the ceremony was a mixture of excitement and nerves. “I was elated to put on the white coat because it felt like a symbol of everything I had dreamed of and worked hard first-year Emily Hayward said. “Still, I was incredibly nervous. To me, the coat carries so many values with it—empathy, compassion, and knowledge. I felt an incredible, exciting amount of pressure to embody those characteristics as I begin my training.” Read More Here
Medicine Gone Rogue
Wilderness Medicine: using practical medical knowledge to tackle real-world problems in the absence of modern day medical technologies. Sound intriguing? Second year MSTP students, Asher Krell and Patrick Molina, think yes.These trailblazers put their interest to action by attending the Advanced Wilderness Life Support (AWLS) course over the summer at Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve (a top-notch hiking spot, if you haven’t been). This was a course intended to provide attendees with training in medical techniques that you can use when you’re not in a traditional healthcare setting, i.e. UAB Hospital.
Unique Pre-Clinical Experience: Equal Access Birmingham (EAB)
When I first stepped foot into Equal Access Birmingham (EAB), UAB’s medical student-run free clinic for the underserved, I was nervous. I had only been a medical student for a month. If I were to hand you a list of everything I knew about treating patients… you’d probably be holding the world’s tiniest piece of paper. But that day, I had the unique opportunity to volunteer as a clinic leader, which meant that I would be responsible for patient care.
Before the shift started, the other first year student and I received a crash-course on patient care at EAB. We learned about where we would take our patients and how the clinic runs each day. We learned how to operate the clinic’s sphygmomanometer and blood glucose meter, and even practiced the finger prick on each other. Read More Here
Don't Ask for Whom the Nobel Tolls
Spenser Hayward admits he had only a surface understanding of the connections between poverty and health before he started medical school in August 2015. Hayward and about 50 of his new classmates arrived on campus a few days before the start of medical school orientation to participate in the first-ever Health Disparities Boot Camp, which was sponsored by the School of Medicine’s Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. The group learned about the profound impact that income can have on a person’s health. “I wanted to become more culturally self-aware, and better able to understand the differences between my experience and that of my future patients,” Hayward says.
A Matter of Principle: Small groups offer ideal setting for medical ethics instruction
At the intersection of medicine and morality lies medical ethics, a system of principles that guides how physicians apply values and judgments to their practice. But determining the best way to teach medical ethics can be tricky. In the last few years, the School of Medicine realized that holding occasional ethics teaching sessions with an entire 180-person class wasn’t conducive to meaningful dialogue. Aside from those large group discussions, it has traditionally been left to faculty members to incorporate ethics lessons into the regular curriculum.
Now, ethics and other topics are being taught in small groups called Learning Communities. On the first day of medical school, students are assigned to a Learning Community comprised of about 18 students from all classes. “The main purpose of a Learning Community is to provide a safe, comfortable environment where a student can thrive for four years,” says faculty mentor Todd B. Peterson, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine. The Learning Communities model also offers a better way to address topics like ethics, service learning, stress management, and others, Peterson says.
Scholarship Voices: Medical students share their paths to medical school and their plans for the future
Serving Locally and Globally
Third-year medical student Salmaan Kamal probably never imagined that his pre-med education would include helping coordinate the logistics of a goat delivery service. Raised in Tuscaloosa, where his parents practice medicine—his father is an endocrinologist and his mother a cardiologist—Kamal’s senior project at Princeton University took him to Sierra Leone, where he researched the accuracy of malaria diagnostic tests at a free clinic run by Wellbody Alliance. The experience included helping Wellbody establish a goat farming initiative, by transporting live goats to farmers via motorcycle.
Kamal was selected as the 2016 recipient of the Sara Crews Finley, M.D., Endowed Leadership Scholarship. The scholarship, which was established by Dr. Finley’s family to support students who demonstrate exceptional academic and leadership abilities, honors the legacy of pioneer in medical genetics and a beloved faculty member and student mentor. “It is humbling to be recognized as someone with the integrity to carry out that legacy of service,” Kamal says.
Tools of the Trade: The evolution of medical training aids
While computer-based learning modules and high-tech gadgetry are central to medical training today, nothing compares to a physical object you can hold and inspect closely to arouse curiosity and a passion for discovery. Presented here are a few training tools and methods form the School of Medicine's past that still inspire fascination.