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Medical Education, Medical Schools, Stanford News, Technology

A prescription for reducing medical student stress

A prescription for reducing medical student stress

iPad in surgery - 560

A second-year medical student blogger once described the process of studying for Part I of the United States Medical Licensing Examination as “the black hole that temporarily consumed my life.”

Studying for this exam, which is used to select students for residency positions, can be a burden to already overloaded medical students - especially when the knowledge being tested is different than what is being taught in medical school classrooms.

In a recent article in Academic Medicine, Charles Prober, MD, senior associate dean for medical education here, and Salman Khan, founder of the non-profit Khan Academy, issue a “call to action” to fix this disconnect between classroom and test content. More specifically, they write:

This is not to suggest that medical school curricula should be designed to “teach to the test.” Rather, there needs to be a conscious alignment between those responsible for creating medical school curricula and the National Board of Medical Examiners. To that end, we propose the creation of a medical school collaborative, charged with the identification of material that would represent a consensus opinion on the core content of the curriculum.

Part of their plan, outlined in a three-part roadmap for “reimagining” medical education is for multiple medical schools to produce and share short multimedia tutorials on foundational content. Students learn from the study materials most compatible with their individual learning styles before class. Then lessons are reinforced and enriched through classroom interactions with faculty and clinicians.

Stanford has been testing this “flipped classroom” approach in biochemistry, and early results have been promising. (See this Inside Higher Education article for details.) Prober and Khan add:

…the convergence of the modern “digital native” learner, exponentially growing biomedical knowledge, and a dated medical education delivery system compel a need to change the way we educate contemporary physicians.

According to Prober, who was a driving force behind the Stanford Medicine Interactive Learning Initiatives, a positive side-effect of these proposed changes should be a more efficient use of medical student time, more effective learning and less stress.

Previously: Combining online learning and the Socratic method to reinvent medical school courses, Using the “flipped classroom” model to re-imagine medical education, Rethinking
the “sage on stage” model in medical education
and Stanford professors propose re-imagining medical education with “lecture-less” classes
Photo from SMILI

Medical Education, Medical Schools, Stanford News

Stanford’s largest medical class ever starts school

Stanford's largest medical class ever starts school

incoming medical students

The newest class of Stanford medical students started school late last month as the largest ever to don white coats and step into their first anatomy class. The 102 students, an increase of 10 over last year, also includes one of the first sets of co-matriculating twins, both biology majors from MIT.

A story I wrote for Inside Stanford Medicine explains the unexpected bump in class numbers for the school, which likes to keep its numbers low, and provides a few interesting facts and figures. Approximately 180 people were offered admission from an applicant pool of more then 7,300, and the modestly bigger class was the result of a higher-than-expected acceptance rate. But Charles Prober, MD, senior associate dean for medical education, says the school hopes to return to its target class size of about 90 next year:

“Our philosophy is to stay small so that we can provide an optimized journey for each of our students,” Prober said. Stanford enrolls fewer first-year medical students than many of its peers, such as Harvard and University of California-San Francisco, both of which generally enroll about 165.

Also of interest, the newest class is almost one-fourth foreign born and heavy on advanced degrees:

The new class is made up of 47 women and 55 men. Twenty-three were born outside the United States, including nine in China and five in South Korea. Fifteen of the students already hold advanced degrees: 10 have master’s degrees, and five have PhDs. Fourteen earned bachelor’s degrees in nonscience majors. The students come from 39 different colleges and universities. Stanford, as usual, tops this list, with 19 students. There are also 11 from Yale, 11 from Harvard and seven from MIT. Eight of the students participated in varsity athletics, and one-third have published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Previously: Congratulations to the Class of 2013!, As part of annual tradition, budding physician-scientists display their work, No imposters here: Stanford grad students reassured as they begin school and “Something old and something new” for Stanford medical students
Photo of student orientation by Norbert von der Groeben

Medical Education, Medical Schools, Stanford News, Technology

A closer look at using the “flipped classroom” model at the School of Medicine

As reported previously on Scope, the School of Medicine is developing a new online learning initiative to re-imagine medical education using the “flipped classroom” model. Titled the Stanford Medicine Interactive Learning Initiatives , the program aims to make better use of the fixed amount of educational time available to train doctors.

In a piece published today on the Health Care Blog, Michael Painter, JD, MD, a  senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, recounts his visit to an ECG cardiology course at the medical school to observe how educators are using web-based videos to impart basic knowledge and reserving class time for more engaging activities. He writes:

This Stanford class-flipping experience is new—in fact, it’s just a week old—so I got to see it at its beginning.  In the first hour, Dr. [Paul] Wang essentially gave the video lecture again.  In the subsequent two-hour small group sessions, the students worked with teachers on ECG problem-solving and games.  They engaged well with the teachers and each other—and seemed to be using new vocabulary and identifying ECG patterns pretty adeptly by the end.

The dean, Dr. Charles Prober—a Stanford Medical School champion of moving medical education content into YouTube format and onto the Khan platform— was there.  Another local champion of this work, Dr. Drew Patterson, associate professor of anesthesiology, was there as well.  These leaders, Drs. Prober, Patterson and Wang, are creative and brave people.  They are trying to bring the first ripples of widening care transformation to fortress academia, and no doubt the status quo will not adjust quietly.  Both Drs. Prober and Patterson spoke passionately about the enormous potential of this technology along with changing attitudes about medical education.  They are trying hard to get their medical school to embrace that change and help lead it.

Previously: Combining online learning and the Socratic method to reinvent medical school courses, Using the “flipped classroom” model to re-imagine medical education, Rethinking the “sage on stage” model in medical education and Stanford professors propose re-imagining medical education with “lecture-less” classes

Medical Education, Medical Schools, Medicine and Society

A call to tap “latent creative” physicians in the medical community

A call to tap "latent creative" physicians in the medical community

What can medical schools and institutions do to better communicate with the public? According to physician-blogger Bryan Vartabedian, MD, the answer is to seek out and support “latent creative” physicians. He writes today on Wing of Zock:

Latent creatives are providers who love to write but never had permission and never had a platform. Latent creatives have strong opinions and amazing ideas just waiting to be shared, understood, labeled, tagged, and built upon. They have some unusual ability to speak in front of a camera, make diagrams, or collect and create images.

Medical leadership should be motivated to bring what’s inside their faculty out for everyone to see. Human attention centers around content—and where there’s attention, there’s money. This is the value proposition for dean and CEOs. But it goes beyond the bottom line.

For those doctors wondering how to carve out time in their busy schedules to “write, record and make,” Vartabedian talks more about how he overcame this challenge in a past Scope Q&A. Additionally, fellow physician-blogger Kevin Pho, MD, offers advice on how physicians can communicate online in this Q&A.

Previously: Social media advice from a physician-blogger, Advice for physicians when interacting with patients online, 33Charts’ Bryan Vartabedian talks about physician blogging and How can physicians manage their online persona? KevinMD offers guidance

Medical Education, Medical Schools, Stanford News

Highlights from Med School 2013

Highlights from Med School 2013

Last month, a group of 150 Bay Area high-school students visited Stanford to attend a series of hands-on, interactive sessions and lectures on a diverse range of subjects including biodesign, virtual anatomy, neuroscience and cancer. Their visit was part of our annual Med School 101 event, a day-long medical education program designed to expose teens to ongoing research at the School of Medicine and get them excited about potential careers in medicine and science.

This gallery illustrates some of the students’ exciting experiences, from performing procedures on simulated patients to examining animal brain tissue samples. To see more images from the day, visit our full photo set on Flickr.

Previously: Bay Area students get a front-row seat to practicing medicine, scientific research, Image of the Week: Studying brains at Stanford’s Med School 101, Live tweeting sessions at Stanford’s Med School 101, Med school: Up close and personalA quick primer on getting into medical schoolTeens interested in medicine encouraged to “think beyond the obvious” and High-school students get a taste of med school

Medical Education, Medical Schools, Technology

A conversation about digital literacy in medical education

A strong advocate for including digital literacy in medical education, self-described “geek medical futurist” Bertalan Meskó, MD, PhD, believes that online communication tools, such as social media, can improve the way medicine is practiced and health care is delivered. His interest in technology and health care led him to create a university course focusing on bringing the web into medical practice and to launch Webicina, which offers curated social media resources in 140 topics and 20 languages for patients and medical professionals for free.

In September, Meskó will lead a Master Class on how to teach social media in the context of health sciences as part of the Stanford Medicine X conference. Interested to know more about the class, I contacted him to discuss his approach for incorporating digital literacy into medical school curriculum. Below he discusses, among other things, top trends in social media and health care and why medical professionals should take an evidence-based approach to social media.

Why do you believe that medical students and professionals should engage in social media?

Being a medical professional means we constantly have to communicate with patients, our peers and even with information. Since social media is now an integrated part of communication, medical professionals must deal with this as well. [It's] the responsibility of doctors to deal with e-patients properly and use the Internet in a meaningful and efficient way.

It is getting more complicated to keep ourselves up-to-date and get medical answers when we have really hard questions, but social media can be useful if used with strategy and design. This is why we have to teach how to properly use these tools.

During a 2011 keynote speech at Doctors 2.0 & You, you advocated for health-care providers to take an evidence-based approach to social media. Can you explain why this strategy is important and how you use it in your own practice?

Including social media solutions in any industry can be a fast and efficient process, but medicine works in a different way. I was trained to embrace evidence-based medicine and I use that approach when teaching social media. There are platforms and solutions that might be fantastic and useful in health care, although sometimes when these are tested in practice, they fail compared to traditional methods.

By using the evidence-based approach, I mean that we should not include something immediately in medicine just because it is about social media… We have to test everything to make sure it’s truly useful.

What are some of the top trends you’re seeing in social media and health care?

Platforms come and go. I’m glad to see that trends are now more about meaningful use. There are fewer medical mobile apps downloaded, and people spending their precious time online seem to use the web in a more efficient way. If I have to mention certain trends, I would say Twitter seems to be the top platform for communication; gamification seems to be the best way to motivate students (the Septris app is a good example); people tend to realize they need to know their communities if they want to crowdsource medical questions; and curation of social media is key; while wearable technologies such as Google Glass will definitely add new practices to using social media.

But the practice of medicine must still take place in real life, and these digital technologies can only be useful after an established relationship between the patient and the doctor.

Continue Reading »

Medical Schools, Parenting

Reflections on being a med-student mom

Reflections on being a med-student mom

Getting through medical school and raising a child are two activities that on their own can each be challenging – not to mention exhausting. But what’s it like to do them simultaneously? In a candid piece on Mothers in Medicine (a blog that I consider a must-read for doctor-moms), a writer shares the less-positive aspect of her juggle:

I judge myself constantly. If I were not a medical student mom, I could have given my child a more even-keel life filled with playgroups, museum activities, more reading and less TV. Should I be doing those things despite needing to study and handle school and fatigue? Should I have done more anyway? Maybe sucked it up, because darn it – medical school moms are supposed to be smart and manage the house and family? Having it all and doing it all, right?

Now I’m looking backwards. I am less than two weeks from graduation as I write this, and I still judge myself for decisions I made in medical school. We did survive the away rotations despite living in a 350-sq ft apartment for one of them. We survived each of the Step exams and third year. We even survived a crazy interview season that involved many flights, and I matched somewhere that is perfect for my family. However, did I do enough of the right things to balance out the wrong ones? Should I just be thankful Sesame Street and Super Why! have taught my toddler all his letters and numbers? (Thanks PBS!) I don’t really know, but I console myself that he is a loving, sweet toddler who seems to somehow really love me…

Medical Education, Medical Schools, Research, Stanford News

Bay Area students get a front-row seat to practicing medicine, scientific research

Bay Area students get a front-row seat to practicing medicine, scientific research

When Bay Area high-school students arrived on Stanford campus last Friday for Med School 101, little did they know they were about to spend the day practicing medical procedures on simulated patients, examining brain tissue samples, studying anatomy on a life-sized iPad, or learning how to use crowd-sourced research data to build and launch a company.

The day-long program kicked off with a welcome speech from Ann Weinacker, MD, chief of staff at Stanford Hospital & Clinics, who spoke to the crowd of 140 about the range of career options in science and medicine. “There is no end to the opportunities,” she told students. “You can bring babies into the world, you can help people die with dignity, you can go into research and help cure cancer.” Weinacker ended her talk with by telling students to ultimately “follow your heart and do what inspires you.”

Following Weinacker’s presentation, students headed off to sessions on a variety of medical and scientific topics taught by some of the country’s top experts. We’ve chronicled the excitement of the day and range of students’ educational activities in tweets and photos on our Storify page. We hope you enjoy perusing the collection of student experiences.

Previously: Image of the Week: Studying brains at Stanford’s Med School 101, Live tweeting sessions at Stanford’s Med School 101, Med school: Up close and personalA quick primer on getting into medical schoolTeens interested in medicine encouraged to “think beyond the obvious” and High-school students get a taste of med school
Photo by Norbert von der Groeben

Image of the Week, Medical Education, Medical Schools, Stanford News

Image of the Week: Match Day 2013

Image of the Week: Match Day 2013

Two days ago, on Match Day, Stanford medical students, and others at institutions around the country learned where they’ll be heading to residency in July. In this photo, Stanford student Danica Lomeli hugs her father, Luis, while her mother, Diana, reacts to the news that Danica will be doing her residency in family medicine at UCLA.

This year’s class was particularly successful, with all 91 students matching, 70 percent receiving their first choice and 85 percent one of their top three choices. Students matched in 15 different states, with two-thirds divided between Massachusetts and California. Nineteen matched with Stanford residencies.

Previously: Good luck to medical students on Match Day!, My parents don’t think I’m smart enough for family medicine: One medical student’s story, Image of the Week: Match Day 2012Match Day 2012 decides medical students’ next steps, A match made in heaven? Medical students await their fate and Brian Eule discusses Match Day book

Medical Education, Medical Schools, Stanford News

Good luck to medical students on Match Day!

Good luck to medical students on Match Day!

This morning, medical students at Stanford, and thousands more around the country, will gather at the same time for the annual Match Day celebration. Arriving dressed up and nervous, the students will join family, friends and faculty members as they prepare to hear where they will be “matched” for their residencies, the next phase of their medical training. We wish our students at Stanford and around the country the best of luck!

For those not familiar with Match Day, it’s a nerve-wracking affair during which each student receives a letter at 9 a.m. Pacific time detailing where they will spend the next four to seven years of their lives completing residencies. The post-graduation assignments are determined by the nonprofit organization National Resident Matching Program, which uses a computer algorithm that aligns the choices of the applicants with those of the residency program.

My colleague Tracie White will be joining anxious students this morning on the Stanford campus to capture the excitement of the day. Watch for her story later on Scope.

Previously: Image of the Week: Match Day 2012Match Day 2012 decides medical students’ next steps, A match made in heaven? Medical students await their fate and Brian Eule discusses Match Day book
Photo fro by Norbert von der Groeben

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