Memento Mori- Reflecting on my Death and the Education of Medical Students

By Laura Creel

As part of their undergraduate medical education, students discuss end-of-life care; they hear lectures about valuing the lives and deaths of future patients; they are instructed in the legal issues surrounding advance directives and care planning.  They see death, too—see it in the cadavers that they incise, see it in patients who die surrounded by family members and in patients who die alone.  Sometimes these experiences with death are personal; many times the experiences are stripped of emotion because they occur in clinical environments.  But although students see death in medical school, some recent research shows that approximately half of residents do not feel well-prepared to deal with the deaths of patients.[i]

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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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