Is ‘The Good Doctor’ Any Good at Representing Neurodiversity?

By Kayhan Parsi

The Good Doctor recently debuted on ABC.  Billed as an unconventional medical drama, it features an autistic surgical resident, Dr. Shaun Murphy, played by Freddie Highmore.  As a parent of an autistic adolescent, I welcome more varied depictions of autistic individuals in popular culture.  Unfortunately, the trailer for the show concerned me, as it played up some now familiar tropes in depicting individuals with autism.  Dr. Murphy is not only autistic but is a savant as well.  The autistic savant is an irresistible cliché for creators of film and television programs.  For example, Dustin Hoffman’s depiction of Raymond in Rain Man is the granddaddy of savants in popular culture.  Raymond was able to count cards at an incredible level, something his estranged brother (played by Tom Cruise) tried to exploit to his own advantage.  The savant trope also reared its head in the recently released Netflix series Atypical featuring an adolescent male with autism (played by Keir Gilchrist).  Although he doesn’t exhibit the kind of genius-level savant characteristics that Dr. Murphy displays, Sam in Atypical goes to a mainstream school, holds down a part-time job, and is struggling with dating…
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DACA MD-PhD Student: “I humbly ask to be given the chance”

By Cesar Montelongo

(These remarks were delivered at a rally of the Stritch School of Medicine student to support their DACA recipient colleagues on September 6, 2017.)

My name is Cesar, I am a DACA recipient and a third year student in the Loyola MD-PhD program, training to be a physician and a scientist.

In 2011 I graduated college with three degrees, two minors, and honors. Months prior to my graduation, the Dream Act failed to pass in Congress.  This was a life changing event:  Had the Dream Act passed, I could have applied to medical school.  Instead I was left stranded, unable to exercise my college degrees, much less attend medical school.  For over a year I struggled, my only hope being that some unforeseen chance would appear…Read More »

The Power of Mentorship and Transformation: from “What’s next?” to “Bring it on!”

By Jody Platto

Since graduating from Wellesley College in 2015, I have experienced a paradigm shift from always searching for what is next to remaining committed to what lies straight ahead. Strong personal and professional mentorship in my first career as a professional athlete set the stage for me to excel when I resumed my university education. At Wellesley, mentorship again played a key role when I joined a neuroscience lab. Inspiring leaders helped me to gain the skills and confidence to succeed, encouraging me to take whatever career path I chose. But choosing was hard!

Now, as a second year medical student, this lifetime of support from powerful mentorship and a healthy respect for transformation guide me in navigating – and sticking with – my burgeoning career…Read More »

A DACA Recipient Asks Her Medical Student Colleagues to Advocate for the DREAM Act

By Alejandra Duran Arreola

(These remarks were delivered at a rally of the Stritch School of Medicine student to support their DACA recipient colleagues on September 6, 2017.)

Hello friends. Thanks for being here. My name is Alejandra Duran Arreola. I am a second-year medical student and part of the 2020 class. I am a physician in training; I am a DACA student; I am your classmate, your volleyball line person, your small group rep. I am you and you are me; we both wear this coat with the purpose of being physicians for others…Read More »

“There’s a Person in There”

By Joe Burns

The elderly female patient was a frequent visitor of the dermatology clinic.  Her physician had provided routine care for her, removing suspicious spots for decades.  Today she was presenting for an exacerbation of her psoriasis.  We entered the room and the patient was visibly distraught.  She was wearing a wrinkled t-shirt and old jeans, a stark contrast to her usual Southern Lilly Pulitzer dresses.  As we began taking her history, she broke down, bawling over her psoriasis…
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Beginning Your Medical Journey: Advice for First-Year Students

By Steve Goldstein

On August 19, 2017, I offered the keynote address at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine Class of 2021 White Coat Ceremony.  It was an honor to address this class, my first as dean.  I had welcomed the students during orientation when they were absorbing a great deal—rules, responsibilities, schedules, safety, organization– and met with them during discussions of a book we all read recounting the rich, complex career of pediatrician– events when they were in a focused, serious mood.  This day, however, the student’s were with their families and excited, bolstered by well-deserved pride, and filled with the shared mission of improving the world through the practice of medicine.  Below are the thoughts I shared in my address to the class as they began their formal training as first-year medical students…
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