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Scope Announcements

Scope will return tomorrow

Scope will return tomorrow

MLK statue2

Our office is closed today in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Scope will resume publishing tomorrow.

Photo by Zach Frailey

Medicine and Society, Mental Health, Stanford News

Helping those in academic medicine to both “work and live well”

Helping those in academic medicine to both "work and live well"

stethoscope with blue backgroundOne of the perks of working for a university is that I get, like a regular ol’ student, a nice long winter break. I was off work for more than two weeks in late December and early January, and I used the time wisely (if I do say so myself) – by working out a lot, playing lots of games and doing lots of crafts with my young daughters, cleaning out my ridiculously packed garage, and even settling down with a 278-page book I had found the time to check out from my local library. The title (a rather ironic one given that I felt, during those glorious days off, as if I had all the time in the world)? Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time.

The book was penned by journalist Brigid Schulte and published last March, and I quite enjoyed reading Schulte’s take on, and the science behind, the work-life demands of hard-working professionals (especially ones with kids) and “our addiction to the daily grind.” And while many of her stories – like how she once stopped doing housework in favor of eating soup and watching the rain with her kids – resonated with me personally (ah, the importance of slowing down and savoring life’s little pleasures!), I was also happy to see a shout-out to my place of work.

In a section on workplaces that have been remade to help their employees both “work and live well,” Schulte described how Stanford’s medical school is:

seeking to ‘rewire’ [the beliefs that success in academic medicine only comes from working 24/7] by changing the narrative of success. They have ambitious plans to remake their culture, to provide career counseling and multiple paths to success at various speeds. And they’re starting by showcasing a different kind of role model, in prominent displays along corridors and on the university website, focusing on those who have achieved excellence at work and have a rich life outside of it.

Schulte briefly discussed the work of Hannah Valantine, MD, former senior associate dean for leadership and diversity and now the first chief officer for scientific workforce diversity at NIH, who alongside Stanford colleagues had been working to change the workplace culture in academic medicine. Valantine and pediatrician Christy Sandborg, MD, co-created a pilot program called Academic Biomedical Career Customization (ABCC) in an effort to help faculty achieve balance; the program, which ran from 2012-14 and is described in an excellent 2013 article from the Clayman Institute for Gender Research, encouraged “faculty to address work-life issues by varying their workloads and responsibilities over the course of their careers” and included “a ‘time banking’ system, where faculty earn credits they can cash in for help with certain tasks at work or at home.”

Schulte quoted Valantine as saying, “We decided to include the housework benefits, because when [molecular biologist] Carol Greider got the news that she’d won the Nobel Prize in Medicine, she was doing the laundry.”

While grant funding for the ABCC program ended last year, folks at the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity told me that Stanford is applying the lessons and successes of the program into new work-life and work-flexibility initiatives throughout the School of Medicine.

Previously: Program for residents reflects “massive change” in surgeon mentality, NIH selects Hannah Valantine as first chief officer for scientific workforce diversity, Amplifying the physician-mother voice and Hannah Valantine: Leading the way in diversifying medicine
Photo by Michael Tam

In the News, Medical Education, Stanford News, Surgery

Program for residents reflects “massive change” in surgeon mentality

Program for residents reflects "massive change" in surgeon mentality

Black Read, M.D, Cara Liebert, M.D, Micaela Esquivel, M.D, and Julia Park , M.D. all are  Stanford School of Medicine surgery resident taking part in the ropes course on Tuesday, September 9, 2014, as a  team-building exercise on the Li Ka Shing Center lawn on Stanford University campus. ( Norbert von der Groeben/ Stanford School of Medicine )

“The old-school surgeon mentality is that surgery is your life. The very existence of the program is an acknowledgment that a cultural shift is occurring.” Those are the thoughts of Lyen Huang, MD, a fourth-year resident, about Balance in Life, a Stanford Medicine program designed to offer support to its surgical residents. We’ve written about it on Scope before, and the current issue of San Francisco Magazine now also provides a look.

Explaining that surgical residents are “under enormous pressure to learn quickly and produce good patient outcomes—all while working 80-hour weeks on little sleep,” writer Elise Craig outlines Balance in Life’s offerings for residents: a fridge filled with healthy snacks, happy hours and team-building events, mentorships and friendly nudges to go to the dentist or doctor. And, she writes:

If having surgical residents take time away from the operating room for lawn games sounds a little juvenile, consider this: Recent surveys conducted by the American College of Surgeons found that 40 percent of surgeons reported burnout, 30 percent screened positive for depression, and almost half did not want their children to follow in their professional footsteps.

Some snacks and an afternoon ropes course might not sound like much, but [Ralph Greco, MD, the professor of surgery who helped build the program] and his residents argue that the unique program reflects a massive change.

Previously: New surgeons take time out for mental health, Using mindfulness interventions to help reduce physician burnout and A closer look at depression and distress among medical students
Photo, from a Fall 2014 team-building activity, by Norbert von der Groeben

Scope Announcements

Happy New Year from Scope

Happy New Year from Scope

HNY dog

We’re signing off for the holiday until Monday, January 5, when we’ll resume our regular publishing schedule. Happy New Year!

Photo by Mr. Nixter

Grand Roundup

Grand Roundup: Top 5 posts of 2014

The five most-read stories published this year on Scope were:

Stanford bioengineer develops a 50-cent paper microscopeManu Prakash, PhD, assistant professor of bioengineering, has developed an ultra-low-cost paper microscope to aid disease diagnosis in developing regions. The device is further described in a technical paper.

“Stop skipping dessert:” A Stanford neurosurgeon and cancer patient discusses facing terminal illness: Paul Kalanithi, MD, a chief resident in neurological surgery at Stanford, was diagnosed at age 36 with stage IV lung cancer. In this Q&A, he talks about his experiences and about the importance of end-of-life decisions.

Free DIY microscope kits to citizen scientists with inspiring project ideas: Through the Ten Thousand Microscope Project, Manu Prakash is giving away 10,000 build-your-own paper microscope kits to citizen scientists with the most inspiring ideas for how to use his new invention, called the Foldscope.

Top 10 reasons I’m glad to be in medical school: As part of our SMS Unplugged series, medical student Hamsika Chandrasekar highlights ten things she likes about being in medical school. Among them: discount coffee, sleeping in scrubs, and (on a more serious note) “finding meaning every day of my life.”

Knitting as ritual – with potential health benefits?: A piece on The Checkup covers recent research on how activities such as knitting and crocheting may have therapeutic effects in certain populations, including a study in women hospitalized for anorexia.

And still going strong – the most popular post from the past:

What are the consequences of sleep deprivation?: Brandon Peters, MD, an adjunct clinical faculty member at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, explains how lack of sleep can negatively affect a person’s well-being in this Huffington Post piece.

Research, Science, Stanford News

Some of Stanford Medicine’s biggest developments from the last year

Some of Stanford Medicine's biggest developments from the last year

DiehnWhen pondering what were the biggest medical stories out of Stanford Medicine this year, we turned to some very reliable sources: our office’s team of talented science writers, who regularly talk with and write about the work of the school’s researchers. What did these wordsmiths pick as some of the most important developments? In no particular order:

  • a study showing that the DNA of peanut-allergic kids changes with immune therapy
  • researchers’ tracking of a mysterious polio-like illness in kids
  • the development of a blood test that could provide rapid, accurate method of detecting solid cancers
  • a study showing that an infusion of young blood recharges the brains of old mice
  • the invention of a nanotech microchip to diagnose type-1 diabetes
  • an analysis showing that a gene variant puts women more at risk of Alzheimer’s disease than men
  • the development of a noninvasive way to detect heart-transplant rejection weeks or months earlier than previously possible
  • a study showing that breast cancer patients with bilateral mastectomy don’t have better survival rates
  • the discovery of brain abnormalities in patients with ME/chronic fatigue syndrome
  • the development of a technique for measuring insulin levels in fruit flies, giving researchers a powerful new way to study diabetes

Photo, of radiation oncologist Maximilian Diehn, MD, PhD (who shared senior authorship of a paper describing how a blood sample could one day be enough to diagnose many types of solid cancers), by Norbert von der Groeben

Podcasts

Heart disease, old brains and happiness: Looking back on some of the year’s best 1:2:1 podcasts

Heart disease, old brains and happiness: Looking back on some of the year's best 1:2:1 podcasts

Looking for something to listen to while you wait for a flight or take a wintery run over the holidays? Consider these five 1:2:1 podcasts, which were selected by host Paul Costello and producer Margarita Gallardo as among the best of the year:

Previously: Top 5 1:2:1 podcasts of 2013

Scope Announcements

A winter break for Scope

A winter break for Scope

snowy fence

Happy Holidays from all of us at Scope! We’re taking a holiday break; from now until Jan. 5 we’ll be on a limited publishing schedule.

Photo by K.Hurley

Grand Roundup

Grand Roundup: Top posts for week of Dec. 6

Grand Roundup: Top posts for week of Dec. 6

The five most-read stories this week on Scope were:

Role reversal: How I went from med student to ED patient in under two minutes: In the latest installment of our SMS Unplugged series, second-year medical student Hamsika Chandrasekar shares her recent experience as both a trainee and patient in the emergency department.

Stanford Rhodes Scholar heading to Oxford to study ways “the brain can go awry”: Undergraduate Emily Witt is one of two Stanford students selected to receive the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to study abroad at Oxford next year. In this Q&A, Witt discusses her work and future plans.

Stanford alumni aim to redesign the breast pump: This post features the work of three Stanford graduates who are designing and building a breast pump that is discreet, intuitive, and supportive of mothers.

Blocking a receptor on brain’s immune cells counters Alzheimer’s in mice: In a new study led by Stanford neuroscientist Kati Andreasson, MD, blocking the action of a single molecule situated on the surfaces of certain brain cells was shown to reverse memory loss and a bunch of other Alzheimer’s-like features in experimental mice.

How I’ve survived survivor’s guilt: In this first-person piece, part of our Inspire patient series, a cancer survivor shares that she’s torn between being grateful that she is doing well and feeling anguished over knowing that other cancer patients haven’t made it.

And still going strong – the most popular post from the past:

Researchers explain how “cooling glove” can improve exercise recovery and performance: The “cooling glove,” a device that helps people cool themselves quickly by using their hand to dissipate heat, was created more than a decade ago by Stanford biologists Dennis Grahn and Craig Heller, PhD. This video demonstrates the device and explains how it can be used to dramatically improve exercise recovery and performance.

Grand Roundup

Grand Roundup: Top posts for week of Nov. 30

Grand Roundup: Top posts for week of Nov. 30

The five most-read stories this week on Scope were:

Why I screamed when my boyfriend hugged me: In the latest installment of our SMS Unplugged series, a second-year medical student reflects on her own prejudices and calls for people to admit their imperfections and “to challenge ourselves to be better.”

Stanford bioengineer develops a 50-cent paper microscopeManu Prakash, PhD, assistant professor of bioengineering, has developed an ultra-low-cost paper microscope to aid disease diagnosis in developing regions. The device is further described in a technical paper.

Stanford-led study suggests changes to brain scanning guidelines for preemies: For a just-published study, a group of researchers at Stanford and elsewhere examined what type and timing of brain scans give doctors the greatest ability to predict preemies’ neurodevelopmental outcomes in toddlerhood.

A doctor’s attire – what works best?: A recent article in The Atlantic focused on physicians’ clothing and highlighted the subtle effects a doctor’s dress may have on patients.

How one mom learned the importance of the flu shot – the hard way: In this first-person piece, a mom discusses her daughters’ experience with influenza and shares how it served as a reminder to not become complacent about disease and illness prevention.

And still going strong – the most popular post from the past:

What are the consequences of sleep deprivation?: Brandon Peters, MD, an adjunct clinical faculty member at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, explains how lack of sleep can negatively affect a person’s well-being in this Huffington Post piece.

Stanford Medicine Resources: