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Stanford University School of Medicine

Becoming Doctors: A podcast featuring Stanford medical students is revived

I admit it: I’m an NPR and podcast junky. I tune in every Saturday to NPR’s Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me and This American Life, and I can’t wait for the third season of Serial. So I was extremely excited to hear that Stanford Medicine’s podcast, Becoming Doctors, was being relaunched.

A School of Medicine graduate, Danica Lomeli, MD, originally started the podcast series to document and share the intense clinical experiences of her Stanford classmates as they trained to become physicians. After making several episodes, Lomeli passed the project on to Stanford medical student Emily Lines — a perfect fit, since Lines was a DJ at college radio stations throughout undergraduate and graduate school.

Initially Lines, shown here, used Becoming Doctors to share the stories of pre-clerkship students in their first two years of medical school, as described previously in Scope. Lines is now graduating and moving on to a residency in family medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado. Before she leaves, she relaunched her podcast to document the stories of a few of her fellow medical students who are interested in primary care and community medicine.

There are three new episodes available and a few more are on their way. Each episode is between 10 to 20 minutes long.

For instance, in the new “Adding Layers” podcast, Paula Trepman shares why she is interested in family medicine — based on her experiences as an undergraduate working abroad at rural primary care centers and her clinical experiences through Stanford at the Pacific Free Clinic and Mayview Community Health Center.

Lines told me about her new podcasts in recent emails:

What inspired you to re-launch Becoming Doctors with a new focus on primary care?

As I was interviewing for residency positions in family medicine, I met so many extraordinary people from other medical schools. I was really inspired by the types of things they were doing to promote primary care and family medicine in their programs. In turn, I was also eager to share with them what was happening at Stanford — many people were surprised to learn about the growing presence of the field at a research university. It seemed like a natural transition to use my podcast to seek out the stories of those who are championing primary care at Stanford, and to share them.

There's a really incredible group of people at Stanford who are doing academic research in primary care, advocating for primary care in medical education, and starting grassroots organizations in local communities. Others are just delighting in taking advantage of the clinical educational opportunities in primary care here at Stanford. I wanted to give voice to our inspiring community!

My first portion of the podcast series focused on pre-clerkship students. This relaunch addresses students from all stages who are interested in primary care and community medicine. There's value to looking at why students are drawn to primary care at the start of medical school, as well as how their clinical experiences shape this interest.

Why do you want to document the stories of medical students?

My podcast has always been centered on the idea that storytelling is an incredible tool for medical students. By telling our stories, we can develop a practice of introspection and mindfulness about our challenging career. It allows us to stop and think about what we are seeing and experiencing and to decide how we want to assign meaning to these experiences. By listening to these stories, we also learn to see the world from another perspective, which is ever valuable as a clinician.

In the era of the Affordable Care Act and health-care reform, our eyes are on primary care as one of the main channels to improve the health of our country. I'm eager to see the role Stanford will play in this process, both from a research and clinical perspective. I thought it would be timely to document some student experiences in this changing era.

What is your favorite podcast (besides Becoming Doctors)?

NPR’s This American Life inspired this podcast — it used to be called This Medical Student Life! However, my personal favorite is a podcast called the Dirtbag Diaries. I'm a rock climber and general lover of the outdoors and it's a podcast about great people who do great things outside.

Previously: Becoming Doctors: Stanford med students reflect and share experiences through podcasts and An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory: Med student encourages community engagement
Photo at top by Patrick Breitenbach

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