Ideals and Inadequacies: Living the Physician’s Vocation

By Amy Blair

I was not sure I wanted to be a physician when I stood in front of the dark blue US mail box on the street corner of my college campus, one hand on the door handle and the other on my neatly typed applications, hesitant to let them go. I wanted an extraordinary life, but I wasn’t sure this was the right path.

The closest I felt to certainty was when I shadowed a family physician who cared for immigrants in a rural Midwest clinic.  He had served as a physician to countless victims in El Salvador during the civil war in the 1980s.  His past and current practices were rooted in his social justice, in the philosophy that all humans on the globe deserve the physical, mental and emotional well-being necessary to arrive at their potential.  I wanted to be a part of that and I began to imagine myself as a physician…
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To be heard you have to listen

“Health Equity, Racism, and Dialogue”

By Lena Hatchett

I started writing this commentary as a reflection on my trip to the National Health and Prosperity Assembly, in August.  It was a feel good reflection on the power of listening.  As the presidential campaign has sunk to new lows, I’d like to share my views about the complicated relationship of identity politics…
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Educating for Resilience and Humanism in an Uncertain Time

By Darrell G. Kirch

We face a crisis of well-being in medicine. From the acceleration of science to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, rapid change has become the “new normal” for our profession.  While many of the changes have the potential to revolutionize health care, they also create stress and uncertainty within our community about our personal futures and the future of academic medicine.  At its worst, this stress contributes to the high levels of burnout, depression, and even suicide we are seeing in health care professionals.  As a psychiatrist who has treated physician colleagues, I have seen depression interrupt promising careers in medicine and science.  As dean of two medical schools, I saw the impact of burnout along the entire continuum, from students to senior clinicians…
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The capturing on video of the recent death of Terence Crutcher due to a police shooting has renewed concern about the respect paid to black lives in U.S. society.  ReflectiveMedEd reprints these remarks from a #WhiteCoats4BlackLives event at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine which was part of a national observance that gathered significant media attention. (See MSNBC link)

Loyola Stritch Medical Students Participate in National Justice Action

The following remarks were delivered by first year student, Kamaal Jones at a “die-in” on December 10, 2014 in the Atrium of the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.  This event was part of a nation-wide day of action at medical schools calling attention to the need to become a more just and inclusive society toward persons of color.  The staged “die-in” specifically expressed solidarity with all seeking justice for deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.  This action was student-led and coordinated by Chizelle Rush.

kjones-bGood afternoon, my name is Kamaal Jones and I am a first year medical student here at Stritch.  I first would like to briefly acknowledge all those involved in making today happen, specifically Chizelle Rush, who really took the lead in mobilizing and organizing us for this event.  Today we, along with over 1000 medical students across the nation, are here to stand in solidarity with the recent protests which have captivated our country.  For those who may lack some familiarity, these demonstrations have been born from a long history of issues with racial profiling and police violence in our society, and specifically, the grossly disproportionate levels at which the lives of Black and Brown people are taken by officers in this nation.  The tipping point which has served as the catalyst for these most recent events was the August 9th killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as the July 17th killing of an unarmed man named Eric Garner by an NYPD officer in Staten Island, NY. In both of these incidents, Grand Jury’s decided not to seek any charges against the officers…

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Wait for it

By Tim Lahey

At 94, my patient V. was funny and flirtatious.  Her French accent made even the name of her life-threatening fungal infection sound poetic.

“DEE-seminated HEESTO-plasmo-sees,” she said, “Oaf the skin.”

I smiled.

I also admitted her to the hospital because our treatments were not working.  I hoped intensified wound care and antibiotics and a biopsy would help us turn things around.  A couple of days in the hospital would also, I knew, give us a chance to talk about whether all of this, any of this, was what she wanted…
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Building a House, Creating a Home

By Matthew Schreier

“There is nothing more important than a good, safe, secure home.”
~Rosalynn Carter

Food, water, shelter, education.

These facets of a healthy, safe lifestyle are seen by most of us as a basic human right.  It is in their steady presence that we are able to pursue our goals of personal growth, intellectual achievement, and career success.  For people in many parts of the world, however, it is in the acquisition these basic rights that they must focus the bulk of their energy.

For one week of this summer, six fellow medical students, one physician, one bioethicist, one firefighter, one dean, and I had the opportunity to travel down to Belize and help a family build themselves a shelter.  Estrella, the woman for whom we would be building a house, lived in a house with her son and mother that had all the components of a home: photographs, decorations, a pair of adorable dogs, and one of the strongest family bonds I have experienced.  The structure of the house itself, however, was a bit less faithful, with the foundation sinking and the floor caving in to the moisture. The shelter that this family deserved was giving out on them, so together with Hand-In-Hand Ministries, we were to come down and assist them in building a new one…

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The Value of Reflection in Clinical Teaching

By Patricia Stubenberg

“No words are ofterner on our lips than thinking and thought.”  – John Dewey

The teaching physician has opportunities for personal and professional growth through reflection and revisiting not only their own experiences in training and practice, but also their role as clinical teachers with medical students and residents.  Studies on reflection in teaching are abundant including, Freese’s work on Reframing One’s Teaching1, Dewey’s Art of Reflection2, and the theoretical underpinnings of reflective engagement, metacognition, and transformative learning.  The literature on reflection in clinical teaching is expanding through scholars including, Irby et al.3 and Sanders4.  This essay offers perspective on the value of reflective activity to advance medical education in training the next generation of physicians…
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