The Impact of A Decision

I must say, this week flew by pretty fast…I legit feel like I just finished typing up last week’s post. 😅

The completion of this week marks the halfway point in my current rotation, which means that I’m a week closer to Match Day as well as to graduation! People always say that this time period in fourth-year flies by especially fast and I gotta say, they WERE NOT lying. Like, we’re already approaching the middle of February 2019! This also means that the last day to submit my rank list is rapidly approaching (next Wednesday)!

The Office No GIF by EditingAndLayout

For those of you who don’t know the significance of that, it means that by next Wednesday I need to be 100% sure of which programs I want to rank #1, #2, #3 and so on. Once I submit this list, there’s no looking back. So as you can imagine, a ton of fourth-year medical students across the nation are currently stressing out about making an important decision that will directly impact their immediate future. I’m fortunate enough to say that I’m not necessarily that stressed about submitting my rank list because I believe that I’m going to end up wherever I’m meant to be and that I’ll do all I can to make the most out of my experience at whatever program I end up training at. That being said, I’ve been doing A LOT of thinking, praying and talking with others in order to make sure that I’m making the best decisions I can for my list. I’ll probably work to get it finalized and sent in this week just so that I don’t have to worry about it next week. (I can’t even begin to imagine what would happen if I missed the deadline to submit it…😳) After submitting it, I’ll chuck up a quick prayer and move on with my life. 😊

As for my most recent week of my Immigrant Health/Public Health rotation, it was another great and informative one full of memorable experiences that I’ll be sure to carry with me as I begin my career as a medical doctor. I was afforded some more unique experiences throughout the week that I was able to appreciate, including attending a Stakeholder Advisory Committee meeting within the Wake Forest Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s Program in Community Engagement, helping treat low-income immigrants from various countries around the world, attending a Department of Health & Human Services board meeting where leaders in Forsyth County reviewed North Carolina public health law, recieved updates about various public health initiatives in the community and approved substantial budgets for public health programs in the county, experiencing first-hand how a WIC clinic functions on a day-to-day basis, observing how an ID card drive for undocumented immigrants operates in the community, and learning more about what the POSSE (Prevent Ongoing Spread of STIs Everywhere) program does in the community.

I could write in detail about each of these experiences, but then I would end up spending a lot more time typing up this post than I would like. What I will say is that as I worked with some of the low-income immigrants in the clinics I was rotating through, it was painfully obvious just how much harder it was for them to get adequate access to care. Not only did they have have a significant language barrier that they had to hurdle over, but they also had other additional barriers to care that you and I may take for granted. It was wild to hear about what a lot of them have to go through just to get by, but I’m glad that their struggles were reinforced to me. It definitely gave me some perspective that will prove useful to me in my career.

Overall, I really am glad that I decided to sign up for this rotation. The experiences that I’ve had so far and that I will continue to have these next two weeks will undoubtedbly impact how I practice medicine in my career. With all of the knowledge that I continue to acquire about the community throughout this month, I will feel much more empowered to connect my future patients to various resources that their respective communities have to offer.

That’s pretty much all I have to say for today. I have quite a busy day ahead of me now that I’ve recently (and unexpectedly) taken on the role of interim Region IV Director of the Student National Medical Association, a position that I’ll hold in conjunction with my position as one of the External Affairs National Committee Co-Chairs. While this new, temporary role just made me busier than I would have liked to be at this time in my fourth-year, I still have all intentions of living my best life on this final stretch of the school year!

Go on and make this week an outstanding one! And continue to revel in the awesomeness of Black History Month!

“If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.” – Marcus Garvey

– Black Man, M.D.

A Different Angle

I’m only a week into my Immigrant Health/Public Health elective and I already love it! This unique rotation has been unlike any other I’ve had in medical school thus far. While I’ve been able to spend some time in clinics with various patients afflicted with conditions like HIV and Hepatitis, I’ve also gotten the chance to spend some time at the Forsyth County Department of Public Health, where I toured the facility and their in-house laboratory,  and learned about many of the resources that the county has to offer to its residents. I especially learned a lot more about the ubiquitous WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program, which I appreciated because although I knew what it was, I didn’t have as firm of a grasp on the details of the program as I should have as a future Pediatrician. 😅

I spent another day tagging along with Community Paramedicine Emergency Medical Services, where I got the opportunity to learn about the special role that these medical professionals have in the community. These medical professionals were seasoned paramedics, but their role as a community paramedicine EMS responder was quite different from what you and I would expect when we hear the acronym “EMS”. Instead of riding around in ambulances all day responding to 911 calls, these people moreso respond to acute calls concerning behavorial health, only responding to acute medical emergencies if it is absolutely necessary (i.e. an unforseen shortage in emergency responders in the community).

As they described it, the main reason as to why the county created their position a few years ago was to identify the people in the community who call 911 the most and find ways to reduce the call volume from them by connecting them to useful community resources that they may have otherwise never heard about. By doing this, the theory was that there would be a potential decrease in the number of unnecessary Emergency Room visits, thus saving time and money for everyone who was involved in the coordination of care. Over time, this group of paramedicine EMS responders have shown that their work does decrease the number of unnecessary visits to the ER and because they have been able to save the system money, they are increasing their team size in order to have a bigger impact in the community. It was cool learning about their unique role in the community and although there was a paucity of calls the day I was there (I only went on two trips), I am grateful that I got to appreciate the important work that they do. 🙏🏿

According to my schedule for this upcoming week, I’m going to have even more experiences in the community than I did last week! In addition to rotating through infectious disease and refugee clinics, it looks like I’m going to be participating in community talks, board meetings, and an ID card drive with FaithAction for immigrants. I feel like it is about to be a very interesting week, with plenty of dope experiences to learn from.

I don’t really have much else to talk about today. I’m scheduled to help out with medical school interviews tomorrow morning, which should be pretty straightforward since I’ve already done this two other times this year. I’m also still working on my rank list, which I’m sure will continue to be a work in progress for the next week or two. Not gonna lie, life as a second-semester fourth-year medical student is pretty smooth. 😎

I hope that you have a terrific week!

AND SHOUTOUT TO BLACK HISTORY MONTH!!! WE OUT HERE!!! ✊🏿🙌🏿🔥

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.” – Booker T. Washington

– Black Man, M.D.

Shaking Up The Status Quo

WELLLLLPPP….it’s about that time again.

I’m taking my oh-so-lovely 2nd Neuro exam in less than 24 hours. (Testing My Brain On A Test On The Brain…..Take #2!) I want to believe I’m ready for it, but I also felt ready before the last exam I took and I ended up being left pretty bamboozled, to say the least. However, I now have a better feeling of what kind of questions to expect going into this upcoming test and I feel like I’ve been studying harder/smarter than I did for the first exam. Plus, I’ve prepared myself the best I could to handle any potential foolery that may be thrown at me during the test. Sooo even though I may have been hoodwinked last time,  I won’t let it negatively impact the way I approach this exam tomorrow. I honestly do believe I’m ready. I’m also ready to get it over with in order to move on to the next section of material, and to the end of the semester in general. Confidence is key y’all. Without it, you’ve already lost. Believe it to achieve it!

A few days ago during dinner, I got the pleasure to listen to Dr. Manisha Sharma speak on what it’s like to be a family medicine doctor that practices social medicine (social, not socialized) while engaging in “disruptive healthcare”. She defined “disruptive healthcare” as innovations in healthcare that challenge the status quo in the establishment and make quality healthcare more attainable and affordable to all. I’m so glad I decided to attend the talk. She was freakin’ awesome y’all. And hilarious. Coming from the Bronx, she described herself as a Puerto Rican girl trapped in an Indian girl’s body. 😂 It was a small amount of us there listening to her speak, but she took advantage of that by engaging all of us, making it an intimate conversation. She even took the chance of trying to learn each of our names (she said my name right…ON THE FIRST TRY!). It was, by far, one of the best talks I’ve been to since I’ve been here. After having dinner with some of the attendees, she began the conversation by telling us she never intended to be a doctor and was actually very interested in music, which really upset her Indian parents. They didn’t get any happier when she enrolled in music school after high school and got hired later on as a backup dancer for Prince. Yes, THE Prince (R.I.P.). She was all good until she was hit by a car in her early 20s by a careless driver, who childishly fled the scene. After going through surgery and racking up hospital bills, she learned that insurance wouldn’t cover her because a “3rd party was involved in the accident”. So here she was, a 22-year old music school graduate that could no longer dance, slapped with hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospital bills because of a situation that wasn’t her fault. She said that’s when she started to get involved in health equity and in working to change how the healthcare industry worked. After some time, she realized that she would get further in her passion for health equity and policy change by becoming a doctor, so she enrolled at St. George’s University School of Medicine in the Caribbean, much to the delight of her parents. While she was there she became deeply passionate in getting to know the community surrounding her campus and she also became highly involved in community efforts by working heavily with Doctors for America. After finishing medical school, she took a break and focused on her work with Doctors for America (she was plugging hard for this organization lol), where she got the chance to even open up for President Obama at one point! She then completed her residency with a focus in Social Medicine and is now in Maryland working with the Surgeon General on policy change while at the same time teaching classes at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and treating patients in an innovative & integrative patient-centered environment (google Iora Health). Didn’t I tell you she was freakin’ awesome?

Throughout the whole presentation, she talked about how important it was to not only network on a continuous basis, but to also have a sense of community responsibility, or in her own words, “street cred”. She developed “street cred” with her patients by actually living in the communities she served and by learning where the people in the community went in their everyday lives (churches, grocery stores, parks, etc.). She also made a huge point of talking WITH the patients you’re treating, not talking DOWN on them. Treating your patients with dignity and respect will cultivate an environment of trust and will further build up your “street cred”. Another thing she stressed on was how crucial the “why” was when it comes to doing your job. She repeatedly stated that she has been able to successfully do everything she’s done so far by focusing on why she’s doing it all. Her passion truly guides her as well as drives her. What impressed me even more about her presentation (how is that even possible) was that although her PowerPoint was full of random & simple pictures, she was able to connect each of those pictures to her overall presentation in personal ways, which made her presentation all the more entertaining. She has a very powerful way of expressing her beliefs…she had me captivated throughout the whole presentation, even with the cold she had! Boooyyy she really made a career in Family Medicine sound good. Because Family Medicine is so flexible, she’s been free to pursue her passion of health equity in various ways. She keeps herself busy, but it’s very obvious that she loves what she does. I’m still riding strong for Ophthalmology, but like I’ve said before, I’m keeping my options open…

Okay lemme stop typing in wondrous awe and actually review some more for my test tomorrow. My ol’ 😍😍😍 lookin ahhh…

Have a blessed week! And remember, you gotta believe it to achieve it!

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

– Black Man, M.D.