Medicine, Health Policy, Education

Innovations in Medicine: TEDMED2016, Days 2 and 3

This is a guest post as part of a series by Evan YatesTEDMED Frontline Scholarship Winner.

Autonomy, the hive, startups

Day 2 led off with something that I was particularly excited about- the Hive. The Hive is a gathering of select startups focusing on advancing health, medicine, or biotechnology. Does this seem incredibly vague and encompassing a wide variety of topics? Yep, and it’s not an accident either. Being able to walk from one table to another, seamlessly picking the brains of Harvard trained physicians turned executives, then getting advice from Silicon Valley angel investors provided me with a unique opportunity to experience interdisciplinary collaboration in real time.

Chairman of the TEDMED Foundation, Jay Walker, stole the show with select objects from his personal library. When you start a talk with, “oh, and this is the first book ever to be written in English” or “let’s see where’s my Guttenberg Bible”, you’re setting yourself up for some attention. Mr. Walker has distinguished himself as a curator of knowledge, culminating in the creation of his personal home sanctuary, The Library of the History of Human Imagination. I can talk about this forever, but I’ll just leave this link here- http://www.walkerdigital.com/the-walker-library_welcome.html

TEDMED2016 exceeded all of my extremely high expectations. It honestly blew me away. What was perhaps most remarkable, was the lack of breakthrough discoveries, or most advanced and novel publication being talked about. Presenters opened up about personal experiences that changed the way they see the world.

The theme of the conference was ‘What if…”.  Attendants were required to submit their own question- your own personal open ended, life-changing scenario. What if. A phrase commonly used to reinvent past experiences, hoping for different more favorable outcomes, was now given to us as an opportunity to tackle what we felt was most important. What if open source collaboration was not only encouraged, but also rewarded? What if we took the egos out of innovation, humanized everyone, rolled up our sleeves and got to work? TEDMED is a place where we did just that.

Inside Medical Innovation: TEDMED2016, Pt 1

The following is a part 1 in a series of guest posts from Evan Yates, TEDMED Front Line Scholarship Winner.

Live from TEDMED2016, Day 1:

Wow. That’s all I can say. I knew being invited to attend something as prestigious and stimulating as TEDMED (@TEDMED) would be special, but I don’t think much could have prepared me for the energy, excitement, or innovation. Day one was dedicated to fighting against those invisible enemies.

Here’s a run down from Day 1 of some select talks:

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha. (@MonaHannaA) Never heard of her? She lives, works, and bleeds for Flint, MI. What do you get when you cross legislation that doesn’t care if toxic levels of lead are in drinking water and a whistle-blower pediatrician? You get one pissed off pediatrician who will spend her life fighting for the inalienable, unassailable rights of children.

Emi Mahmoud. Darfur refugee, Yale graduate, slam poetry champion. Everything we take for granted in this country, everything we see as normal, she had to fight for. What stuck with me outside of the chills? She was positive throughout it all- she has faced unthinkable events and someone left with the same radiant smile.

While there were many other chats, I’ll leave with (in my opinion), the most powerful. Sue Klebold is the activist mother of one of the two Columbine shooters. She gave an inspiring, gut wrenching, compassion stirring presentation about her experiences, both intrinsically and extrinsically, in mental health. One of her quotes that I think should be heard loudly was, ‘if love was enough to stop suicide, it would hardly ever happen.’

Follow me on twitter @biroyatesgroup for life updates from talks and other stimulating events going on this week at TEDMED2016.

Education Technology- It’s Here, But Will it Last?

This is a guest post from WesternU medical student Evan Yates

Since the first days of kindergarten, we have become accustomed to a typical style of receiving information- a teacher rattles off facts, we digest it, and regurgitate it on a Scantron. Fast forward 20 years to my second year of medical school, and aside from the Starbucks cups now glued to my hand, the teaching methodologies have remained constant.

While sitting through my 6th hour of lecture one day, I thought to myself- should these orthodox teaching methodologies eventually evolve? Is the way we learned the alphabet the most effective way for us to learn which class of anti-hypertensive medications can also cause ototoxicity? Or is there an untapped market out there for novel tools to better integrate complex information into manageable bites to bed drawn upon later on? Continue Reading

Review: So You Got Into Medical School… Now What?

“My goal was always to do well in school while enduring as little stress as possible.” 

Dr. Daniel Paull, MD, wrote “So You Got Into Medical School… Now What?” as a guidebook for the new medical student looking to make the most of out of their experience with the least amount of stress. An orthopedic surgery resident, Dr. Paull undoubtedly used many of the techniques outlined in his book to match into one of the most competitive specialties. Continue Reading

5 Questions With OnlineMedEd

There aren’t many great resources for medical clerkship education. While programs such as UpToDate offer a wealth of details for practicing physicians, the sheer volume of articles can discourage students from understanding the fundamentals of clinical medicine.

Case-in-point: my education on “real-world” medicine began as a hodgepodge of cases I’d see in the clinic, reading about those cases at night, and practice questions on UWorld. Sure, this method scored me points on multiple-choice tests, but what was missing was a framework for how to think about common medical problems. As much as I’d never want to go back to those months of Step 1/Level 1 preparation, at least there was a gold standard of review material: the much glorified UWorld, First Aid, Pathoma combination. There had to be something better out there for clinical education.

OnlineMedEd, a video series for medical students and interns, aims to change all that by making learning “easier, faster, and more reliable”. And like any education good resource, OnlineMedEd has spread largely through the recommendation of its user base. It wasn’t until I grew tired of hearing my classmate rave about the platform that I gave the videos a try, and my only regret is not starting sooner. Continue Reading

COMLEX Viscerosomatic Reflexes Made Easy

Viscerosomatic reflexes (VSR’s) account for up to 20% of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment questions for COMLEX examinations [1]. While VSR’s for the head and neck (T1-4), heart (T1-4), and respiratory tract (T2-7) may make intuitive sense for most DO students, the rest of the visceral organs and corresponding spinal level are easy to confuse. However, these points can be easily memorized with a little effort in order to boost COMLEX Level 1 scores. Continue Reading

On Hard Conversations

“I learned about a lot of things in medical school, but mortality wasn’t one of them.”

In his latest best-selling novel, Being Mortal, surgeon-writer Dr. Atul Gawande explores the concept of mortality in medicine. Medical innovations have pushed the boundaries of our capacity to heal, but as Gawande argues, “I have seen the damage we in medicine do when we fail to acknowledge that such power is finite and always be.” Being Mortal dives into how we age, cultural divides in elderly care, and the limits of modern medicine, but as a third-year medical student, I found his lessons on hard conversations to be the most resonating. Continue Reading

An Evidence Based Method to Acing the COMLEX and USMLE

With the New Year rolling around the corner, many second year medical students are readying themselves for an intense few months of studying in preparation for the USMLE step 1 and COMLEX level 1 exams. For a profession that prides itself on evidence-based practices in real-world clinical scenarios, medical education is certainly lacking when it comes to evidence-based board preparation strategies.

In my first post for the First Aid team, I dive into two studies that analyzed the study habits of high-scorers on the USMLE and COMLEX exams. More specifically, these studies address the correlation between early initiation of board preparation and number of practice questions with test scores. Continue Reading

Rediscovering My “Why Medicine”

On Being Nauseous

It was the end of my first week on Oncology, and I felt like throwing up.

Perhaps it was early in the morning, seeing the hospital patients I was following all having taken turns for the worse overnight. Or maybe it was seeing a daughter comfort her mother as she came to grips with learning she had months to live.  Or it was the look of regret on the face of a man who had quit smoking earlier in the year, only to be diagnosed with lung cancer weeks later. Whatever it was, I went home that night with knots in my stomach. Continue Reading

“Memory Hacks” Part I: The Baker/baker Paradox

What can medical education take away from a USA Memory Champion?!

In 2006, Joshua Foer won the USA Memory Championships by, among other things, memorizing the order of a 52 card deck in a staggering 1 minute and 40 seconds. Other events in the competition included remembering the most names of strangers and reciting the most lines of poetry. Perhaps more astounding is that Foer had been covering the event as a journalist in 2005 and, in just one year, had trained himself to the level of USA champion.  Foer chronicled his incredible journey in a New York Times bestseller, Moonwalking with Einstein, and a famous TED talk watched over 250,000 times.

Medical students are often told during the first-week of school that studying will be “like drinking water from a firehose”. Indeed, the pace and volume are certainly ramped up in comparison to college. While a 4-unit class at UC Santa Barbara would cover 30 hours of material over a 10-week period, exams at my medical school typically engrossed 35 hours of lecture crammed into a mere 2 weeks. Breaking down the lectures, I found between 15-20 testable details in each lecture making for 525-700 items to learn for each exam. Tracking the hours I spent studying for an exam showed I was spending about 75 hours in order to memorize up to 700 testable points. The fact that Foer could memorize the arbitrary order of a 52 card deck in under 2 minutes was thus certainly fascinating to me. Continue Reading