Rejuvenated.

My summer vacation is officially over.

I’m sitting here back in Winston-Salem wondering how fast time can fly by as I prepare myself to start my second year tomorrow. My summer vacation was very relaxing, thrilling and rewarding to say the least. I enjoyed every minute of it. As a matter of fact, my summer break was so great that I feel completely rejuvenated! I’m actually very excited to begin this new chapter in my medical career! Everything we will be learning this year will be absolutely critical to know if we want to blossom into effective doctors. It will also just so happen to be vital information for our impending Step 1 exam, which is my #1 priority this school year. (The fact that I’m taking it in less than a year though…) This year, we’ll be focusing on organ systems and learning about the physiology and pathophysiology of each one, starting with Hematology/Oncology (Blood & Cancer) tomorrow. Studying the organ systems and how they make the body work is what I thought I would be doing when I first embarked on the pre-med track in college…instead, I got bombarded mercilessly with multiple years of Evolutionary Biology, Organic Chemistry, Physics, etc. So being finally able to actually learn about how the human body functions on a day-to-day basis sure does invigorate me! Plus, the medical school building moved to a new building downtown…which just so happens to be literally next door to my apartment 😁. I can actually make it from my bed to the classroom in less than 5 minutes if I really wanted to! So needless to say, this is going to be a hell of a convenient year.

Before getting back to the good ol’ Dash city, I spent a week at home with family and friends. I didn’t really do much except hang with my little brothers, run errands for my mom, watch the Democratic National Convention (I just might drop a few tears when President Obama leaves office 😢😭), chill with some of my cousins, catch up with childhood friends, and play FIFA/Mortal Kombat/Monopoly. It was such a chill final week of summer. Oh and guess what?

I FINALLY FINISHED BLACK MAN IN A WHITE COAT.

Martin laughing cheering cheer 2x01

Took me almost a year to get through it, but I did it! It really shouldn’t have taken me that long to read through it…but on the other hand, in that long span of time, I was able to fully absorb Dr. Tweedy’s story chapter-for-chapter. There are so many topics in the book that could potentially used for great discussions, that’s for sure. Lol, I could literally write a series of posts concerning several of the many topics brought up in the book.

On a side-note, before I left home to come back here, I visited an older cousin who works as a Nurse Practitioner and her two kids. While I was there, we had an interesting conversation about how different the mentality of receiving healthcare is in Cameroon and other countries like it. I don’t even know how we came up on the topic…but we ended up talking about it for almost an hour. She was telling me how a good number of people in Cameroon would rather pray or look for other sources of “traditional” care whenever them or one of their loved ones became ill and because of this resistant mentality against Westernized medicine, the nation of Cameroon as a whole has a lower life expectancy and people there tend to wait until the last minute to receive adequate care. She also talked about how certain conditions are stigmatized there, with an example being epilepsy. The craziest thing about it all is that if any one of us from America were to go there to help inform them about the benefits of Western medicine as well as the inherent dangers of some aspects of their traditional mentality, we would most likely be seen as “know-it-alls” and viewed as if we thought we were in some way “better than them”. It just goes to show how powerful a mentality can be, especially when it comes to giving and receiving healthcare. This is very important to keep in mind if you are going to be providing healthcare to people of various populations. Hell, it’s important to keep in mind in general. Trying to understand where someone else is coming from can really help you reach a compromise when it comes to solving issues.

Man, I lowkey can’t believe I’m about to start up my study routine again. Yes, I’m ready, but at the same time this really is the last day of my vacation. So I suppose I’ll go and enjoy it now before having to start classes at 8 AM tomorrow. But before I do, I just need to shoutout the students I worked with in the Motivation Program this summer one more time. They actually made an appreciation video where each of them expressed their gratitude to the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs for their experiences in the program. Click here to view the video that warmed our hearts!

Here’s to a spectacular start to this new school year! Shoutouts to all the new medical students around the nation starting off their medical school careers!

Make sure you have a resplendent week! You have the power to do so!

“When someone tells you it can’t be done, it’s more a reflection of their limitations, not yours.”

– Black Man, M.D.

Summer ’16 Finale

Alas, the Motivation program has come to a beautiful end.

Which means I have exactly one week left until I start my second year.

Complex awkward bye oops jay z

Thankfully, I get another chance to see my family before I head off to studying the copious amount of lectures waiting for me back at school. I’ll leave from Miami tomorrow morning (I can’t stand paying baggage fees…), chill back home for a few days, and head off to Winston this upcoming weekend. Should be a good week.

Now there’s a reason I described the end of the Motivation program as beautiful. It all ended last Friday afternoon with a lovely banquet that was full of emotion, pictures and heavy hor d’oeuvres. (I definitely had my fair share of Swedish meatballs and shrimp. ☺️) The banquet started with the Executive Director of the program welcoming everyone to the banquet and thanking each of the staff & faculty in the room. She then had me and my co-TA stand up to be recognized and gave a congratulatory speech thanking us for our help in the program. We were then each gifted with a card and a stethoscope (ayeeee!!!) and in a surprising twist, we were summoned to the podium to say a few words to the audience. Gotta love impromptu public speaking. After all that, the two student speakers selected by the class delivered their touching speeches to the audience. Their words of gratitude and admiration brought both laughter into the room and tears to the eyes of some of the students in the crowd. Watching them speak on a public platform and witnessing how grateful they were of the program was an awesome feeling in itself. After they spoke, certificates were given out to each student and the program ended with a story from the Associate Dean for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs of the Miller School of Medicine. Then hella pictures were taken for the next hour or so. It was a great time overall. What made it 10x better was the card I received from the students with a note and a signature from each of them on it.

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Reading what they said in the card moved me more than anything else did that day. (I also got the “Proton Award” from my students the night before for being such a positive force throughout the program 😂.) After the banquet ended, one of the students came up to me and sincerely thanked me for being a presence in the field of medicine and told me how motivated he was by my blog. He not only appreciated the content of it, but it also is encouraging him to read more so that he can increase his reading speed and his reading comprehension overall. Isn’t that dope or what? Hearing testimonials like that is what keeps me going with this blog and with this path of medicine in general.

A couple of days prior to the banquet, the SNMA chapter at the UM Miller School of Medicine hosted a forum addressing the racial tensions being felt nationwide as a result of the continued use of excessive force by some police officers in the country against African-Americans. I’m happy to say that the classroom was packed with a diverse array of people from various backgrounds and that we were all willing to listen to each other express ourselves in an inclusive atmosphere. Mediated by the same Associate Dean for Diversity & Multicultural Affairs, we decompressed and reflected on many topics including privilege, the power that medical students have to implement change, advocacy & accountability, how institutional forgiveness of institutional racism in the system causes distrust with the system in this country, the pool party incident that took place last year in Texas, the vast number of incidents of police brutality that have taken place these past few years, the importance of legislative action and instituting actual change in the community, and racial profiling. I found it interesting when he mentioned that many of us have various privileges that we may not be aware of due to their mainstream nature in society and that we should be cognizant of them. He gave white privilege and heterosexual privilege as examples, but he said that there are numerous ones out there that many of us don’t even realize we have when compared to others around us. In regards to speaking out and taking action as medical students and doctors, a first-year student asked how we could do that if we are supposed to be outwardly neutral. A fourth-year med student responded that we shouldn’t have to be afraid to speak out on political issues, especially when it comes to political issues that directly impact the livelihoods of our patients since we are meant to be advocates for our patients, no matter what. Later on in the discussion, an Ed.D spoke on how he was racially profiled by the police as he was driving his wife’s car one day. They had informed him that the vehicle had come up as stolen and they drilled him with questions about it before letting him go. One more thing that piqued my interest during the discussion was when a medical student, a young white male, spoke on how much he appreciated the inclusive tone of the talk and how he was initially worried of race-bashing when he came to the discussion. He stated how he wanted to be helpful in making progress happen and that he wants to fully educate more of his friends about the very real issues that people of color face on a daily basis, but is also uncomfortable asking black people certain questions due to his fear of coming across as aloof or offensive. Another medical student, a young black female, responded by telling him he can help the cause simply by educating others that may be ignorant about the current issues at hand and actively engaging with the community in various ways. She also mentioned how important it was for him to inquire about things that he may not know much about even if it may come across as ignorant, because the answers he’s looking for will kill that ignorance. All in all, it was an engaging and extremely necessary forum. In order for things to get better, we must continue to talk about these issues. But we also need to complement discussion with action, because talking didn’t save Mr. Charles Kinsley from being absurdly shot at by an officer as he laid on his back with his hands in the air while trying to calm down his autistic patient sitting next to him. Ridiculous. Thank God he’s still alive.

That about does it for this post. I unfortunately have to now go and pack for tomorrow…

Make your week a fantastic one!

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

– Black Man, M.D.

Facing the End

Welp.

I’m facing the final week of the Motivation program that I’ve been working in for the past six weeks of my summer vacation. I don’t know how I feel about this…I’ve been having a great time down here 😥. Actually, I’m lying. I know exactly how I feel. I’m shocked at how fast time slid by. I’m sad that this program is coming to an end and that I’ll have to change up my daily routine once again. I’m very happy for the students that will be taking their final exams this week to finish off the program, but I’ll also miss all of them because who knows when I’ll ever see any of them again after this week. I’m internally sobbing because after these next two paychecks, I’ll be living in the government’s pockets again (with interest). I’m excited to start the school year up in two weeks, yet apprehensive about not having as much free time as I currently am enjoying right now. I feel very well rested and recharged, but I’m not ready to give my last summer break up just yet.

disney cartoons & comics max frustrated sigh

Oh well. Such is life. Talking about how I feel isn’t gonna turn back time or anything. I can certainly say that I’ve had a great time this summer though. It got even better earlier today when I jet-skied for the first time in Bayside near Miami Beach! That was another incredible experience…the view of the city was stunning 360° around me as I was gleefully speeding across the boundless waters of the bay. When I say I was gleeful, I really mean it lol. I was grinning from cheek to cheek, screaming “WWWOOOOO!!” like Rick Flair (or Pusha T, take your pick), fully taking in the scene around me, singing random lyrics at the top of my lungs and happily praising God for allowing me that awesome experience. I would have taken a video of myself skiing along the waters, but I wasn’t trying to donate to “Bayside’s Underwater Apple Store”, as one of the jet-ski workers put it. What I look like, losing my phone for a damn snap…boyyy I woulda done my mama a favor and slapped myself. So with that said, the only pictures I got of the experience are the ones locked in my memory. That’ll have to do. If you’ve never been jet-skiing before, I highly recommend trying it at least once! It’s nowhere near as crazy as jumping out of a plane, I’ll be the first to tell you that. There’s also a low chance of you actually falling off…you’ve gotta be acting reckless to fling yourself off your jet-ski.

For last week’s Dinner & Discussion (our final one 😭), we had a first-year intern fresh out of medical school come in and speak with us about her life. She actually turned out to be an old friend of mine, who graduated from UM when I was just finishing my freshman year there. Isn’t that cool or what? But before she came in, the director of the program allowed for some students to express how they felt about the program overall since it was all coming to an end soon. I knew the students appreciated the program and all, but I was pretty surprised to see how emotional some of them got when they shared their feelings about their summer experience. I could see that they really took so much out of the program and that it has been a necessary catalyst to their growth. One student talked about how she was able to find herself in the program while another talked about the great familial atmosphere that the program encouraged. Yet another student spoke on how she had a low amount of confidence soon after starting the program, but then received a considerable amount of motivation from the group after realizing how willing everyone was to build each other up as opposed to tearing each other down. My co-TA and I even got some shoutouts of praise from the students. 😁 It was awesome to see how influential the program has been for them, both on an individual basis and as a whole. Now after the intern entered and introduced herself, she started to speak on how much she loved her medical school and how she had to adjust from her hometown of Miami to the overall climate and culture of D.C. She then got deep and talked about how important it was to not compare yourself to other people in your class due to the wide variety of life experiences that others possess. I personally agree with that viewpoint…trying to compare yourself to someone else (especially in medical school) is one of the quickest ways to launch yourself into a depression, because you’ll always be wrongly doubting yourself and your capabilities. She continued the discussion by touching on how necessary it is to be honest with yourself at all times, how she finds herself being conscious of how people perceive her as a black Haitian woman in medicine, and on the incredible importance of confidence and how one needs to use it in order to fight any self-defeating thoughts that may lurk in one’s head. Overall, it was another fantastic discussion, just like all the other ones have been this summer. Needless to say, I’m extremely proud of her and what she has been able to accomplish so far!

A couple of last notes. First, I just finished a sad, yet incredible book written by a top-notch neurosurgeon who actually just passed away last year at the young age of 37 from Stage IV lung cancer. This highly established man was in his final years of his neurosurgery residency program at Stanford when he was diagnosed and lived just long enough to be able to graduate from his program. In his book, When Breath Becomes Air, he eloquently describes his upbringing, his many experiences from college to residency and how his life came full-circle when he was forced to face death square in the eyes. This book had me really appreciating life and how mortal we all are in this world. Be sure to check it out if you ever have a chance. Finally, I’ve added a new section to the blog called LifeSavers. This page describes many of the general resources that medical students typically use in the first couple years of school as well as a number of resources that I personally used during my first year. I hope that it’ll be helpful for any of you out there that are either currently looking, or will be looking, for resources applicable to health careers. I’ll be updating it as I continue to advance through school! In addition to this new page, I was recently granted a video interview with Ms. Ashley Roxanne from Daily Medicine Blog where I talked about life as a med student at Wake, some of the biggest lessons that I learned in my first year, the mistakes I felt that I made as a pre-med student, how to find a mentor along with a number of other subjects. The link can be found on the “About Black Man, M.D.” page of this blog. You can also click here if you would like to check it out! I apologize in advance for its length and my fast, sometimes-hard-to-understand speech. (Learning how to speak slower and clearer is an ongoing process for me!)

That’s it! Please stay optimistic and safe in this unstable world!

“What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.” – Tony Robbins

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – R.I.P. to the 84 people who tragically lost their lives in the terrorist attack that took place on La Fête Nationale (Bastille Day) in Nice last week. R.I.P. to the three officers who were tragically and unjustifiably murdered in Baton Rouge this weekend. May God be with all of their families and loved ones. There’s too much senseless violence in the world man. Every day there’s a new tragedy on the news. It’s depressing as hell. Violence isn’t the answer to our problems. Peace, Love and Happiness is all we need man. Peace, Love and Happiness. 

Money Talk, Challenges & Code Black.

Gotta love 4th of July weekend.

It’s pretty much the only major holiday in the summer months, if you don’t count Labor Day. It’s a time where you can catch people grilling, take in some sun at the beach, celebrate our independence by submitting to the power of the liquor, and who can forget the spectacular fireworks that stretch across the starry summer skies? It’s a feel-good time, a break for those that work a job in the summer and a day of free food for people like me. The only thing that can ruin this weekend are aliens that are trying to take over our planet…but then we can just call up Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) and friends to save the day by blowing up the alien motherships! Speaking of, it aggravates me that he’s not gonna be in the Independence Day sequel…but Bad Boys III bout to be lit as fuhhh!!! June 2, 2017 is less than a year away!

praise bernie mac day god tomorrow

As of late, I’ve been getting more serious about learning how to manage finances not only as a med student, but even more so as a physician. I don’t know if I already told you but during the course of my first year, I was reading a book on finance specifically designed for physicians. This book, called The White Coat Investor, was such an eye-opener for me when it comes to money management. I mean I took Money 101 during my last semester of college so I had a little bit of background knowledge, but this book really took my financial IQ to another level. Not only that, it made me want to learn more about how money works in general. So I checked out the author’s blog, also named The White Coat Investor. Doesn’t it bother you that there’s so much you may not know about using the one thing that makes the world go round? Cash rules everything around us and you literally use money every single day…but could you tell me what a Roth IRA was? Backdoor Roth IRA?  Do you know the difference between a common stock and a preferred stock? How about the difference between a tax deduction and a tax credit? Have you heard about the rule of 72? Mutual funds? Index funds? For you aspiring doctors out there, do you know of the different methods you can use in order to pay back your federal loans? And all of this is the simple stuff. My point is that there’s so much financial literature that is foreign to a large amount of the population, yet a lot of people invest their money in a variety of things as if they know what they’re doing. It’s pretty crazy man. And by the time most people want to learn more about how money works, they’re already in dire financial circumstances and are “too busy with life” to learn financial literature. That’s one of the main reasons why I’ve decided to equip myself with this knowledge early on; I want to be prepared for whatever financial challenges arrive on my doorstep in the future. I also want to be financially independent because I’ve been SOOO BROKE FOR SOOO LONG!!! People tend to shy away from learning about finances because it’s such a dry subject. I agree, it’s pretty damn dry. I can only learn about this subject in doses. But like it or not, you’re gonna be using money for the rest of your life…so you might as well learn a thing or two about how you can use it to benefit you and those you love.

On another note, this week was just as much of a breeze as the ones that came before it. Well for me that is. The students were going through it with the quizzes, presentations and tests that they had to complete. And now that we have only three weeks left of the program, it’s only gonna get tougher for them. I believe in them though 😊. They’re putting forth their best effort and although they’re stressed about the grades they’re getting, they are gaining vast amounts of knowledge whether they know it or not and are getting a lot out of this summer experience. They also were given the opportunity earlier this past week to present to the class what they each learned in their assigned weekly clinical rotation the Friday prior. The presentations included rotations in Anesthesia, Pediatrics, Trauma and Internal Medicine. The patients they saw included a teenager that was hit by a car before getting into a fight and suffering from a seizure, a physician that was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, a young man who acquired a staph infection after popping a pimple and a medical student that was shot while in Haiti. Wild. They also cleverly used their newly acquired anatomy knowledge in their presentations in order to describe what they saw during their rotations. Speaking of, the test they took this week was actually an anatomy practical where they looked at different parts of a cadaver and named the structure that the pin was in. I won’t lie, I got a couple flashbacks while I was in the lab with them as they were taking their test. I do NOT miss taking lab practicals. It was kind of funny to see them all freaking out beforehand, only for them to find that taking the practical wasn’t really that bad at all. Some of them even found it fun. I wanted to say that “it’s because y’all had only 23 questions and were able to go back to previous stations and check your answers before turning your paper in!”, but I let them be great lol. I’d rather have them think that anatomy is fun than have them absolutely dread it.

One more thing. For our weekly (free) dinner & discussion, we watched this medical documentary called Code Black. It was based in Los Angeles and focused on the emergency department in the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, a public hospital dedicated to serving all of those who come in, no matter what their insurance status is, how much they make, or their immigration status. It was a very riveting and raw perspective of what the busiest Emergency Department in America looks like. It showed how the health workers at the center struggled with the extremely packed waiting rooms and how they found innovative ways to tackle that challenge. It also touched on the reality of having to immediately treat a new sick patient after having a patient die, the bureaucracy of medicine & all the paperwork, rules, regulations, policies, etc. that it comes with, the doctors having to defend themselves against lawsuits from patients that are encouraged by the media to press charges, and the state of healthcare as we know it in this country. I definitely recommend watching it, especially if you’re looking into working in the healthcare field and double-especially if you want to pursue a career in Emergency Medicine. You can find it on Netflix. Now all you have to do is find someone to chill with. I should warn you though, there are many graphic images in the film. If you don’t like blood, then this documentary probably won’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Okay I’m gonna go and enjoy the rest of my long weekend with my girlfriend, who flew across several states to come and spend time with me 😁. Savor the barbecue and relish in the fireworks!

“In order to receive something you’ve never had before, you have to do something you’ve never done.”

– Black Man, M.D.

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

How in the hell am I already starting my fourth week of the Motivation Program???

smiling kanye west nope just kidding

I honestly feel like I haven’t been here that long yet.I feel like I just left VA a few days ago…But in reality I’ve been down here for almost a month already. This means that in a little over five weeks, I’ll be starting my second year of school. I bet you think that I’m dreading that. Nah. Not at all. Lol, I’m actually ready to take it on. But I would much rather continue enjoying my summer break, no need to rush life. 😎

You know how they say that you know you love your job when you don’t feel like you’re working a job? Or better yet, as the saying goes, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life?” That perfectly describes my summer so far. What I’m doing in the program feels so natural to me that I always forget that I’m working a summer job. It’s to the point where I don’t even have to look forward to the weekends for relaxation. I truly enjoy each and every day that I wake up to. It doesn’t matter if I’m giving the students advice in class, running errands for my boss, working out at the gym, or kicking my feet up and watching a video. It’s all invigorating to me. And I love it. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m down in South Florida…except when I get caught in torrential downpours…or when the overbearing humidity damn near suffocates me…or when the sun tries everyday to give me my first sunburn…or when the crazy drivers down here try to take over the roads for themselves…or when- okay it hurts a little. But I’m still having a great time!

Speaking of giving the students advice, it amazes me how much some of the students love reading this blog! Not only do they read it, but they are actually inspired in one way or another by it. I had one student come up to me last week who told me that he didn’t know what Juneteenth was and only learned of it because of my previous post. I had another student tell me a while back that he’s been reading a lot of my older posts about my first-year experience and felt inspired by them. I also had yet another student stop to tell me that she really liked how authentic I was in my posts and that she was appreciative of the different resources that I provide on here. Lol, talk about heart-warming. Hearing feedback like that keeps me motivated to continue posting frequently and inspires me to continue to inspire people that are striving to do great things in their life. While I’m still on the subject of helping the students, I must admit that they’ve been good at making me realize how much material I’ve forgotten when it comes to anatomy & biochemistry. Like, I can’t confidently answer about half the questions they ask me without double-checking Google. It’s sad yo. It’s insane how much you can forget as time goes on, especially when you know that you had mastered those forgotten things at one point in time. Welp, such is life. I can thank them for giving me a review of basic concepts that I SHOULD know, considering that I’m going to be a doctor in less than three years.

EditingAndLayout will smith damn men in black

Lastly, we had a catered dinner (Lime Mexican Grill) last Thursday for the Dinner & Discussion series that we’re participating in throughout the length of the program. For the discussion portion, we had both a current D.O. medical student and a D.O. practicing physician come in to talk to all of us about their experiences and to answer any questions that we had. I was happy that the students were exposed to people traveling the D.O. path of medicine because a lot of them were pretty unfamiliar with what osteopathic medicine was in the first place. I myself didn’t even know what a D.O. was until I was well into my application cycle for medical school. It’s definitely nice to be able to know all the options you have available to you before beginning to apply to schools. The physician’s story was very inspiring, for he went through numerous hardships and life experiences in order to get to where he is today as an internal medicine physician with interests in HIV/AIDS and Nephrology. He stayed dedicated to his dream of becoming a great physician, even after dealing with challenges such as starting a family while in college, obtaining his MBA along the way, dealing with tragedy in his family in his first days of medical school, and so on. I should also note that he is a black man sporting some pretty neat locs. Way to shatter stereotypes!

And with that, I’m ending this post. Be sure to put a smile on someone else’s face this week!

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

– Black Man, M.D.

 

Cruisin’

First off, I have to wish a Happy Fathers’ Day to all the incredible fathers out there that have dedicated their lives to providing for their families! Each of you are deeply appreciated and serve as outstanding role models to not only your children, but to the greater society as a whole. I know that for me, my own father played (and continues to play) a HUGE factor in making me the man I am today…and I don’t think I can ever thank him enough for that. He continues to inspire me and to push me to become greater than I could ever imagine myself to be. I hope that some of his great qualities have trickled on down to me and that I can be at least half the man he is for my future kid(s). However, I definitely don’t plan on having any little Christels running circles around me anytime soon, so I still have a good amount of time to get up to his level.

And whaddya know, it also happens to be Juneteenth! For those of you unfamiliar with Juneteenth, lemme break it down for you real quick. It’s the day that commemorates the actual end of slavery in the United States. On June 19th, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston, Texas and informed the locals there that: 1) the Civil War had officially ended and 2) all enslaved peoples were now free. The Emancipation Proclamation had legally freed all slaves in the country a couple of years prior, but Texas didn’t really give a Massachusetts (sound it out a couple of times, it’ll come to ya 😏). So they continued to enforce slavery until this day came about in 1865. So to put it simply, Juneteenth is a day of freedom and celebration in the African-American community. If you’re just dying to learn more about it, click here! (If you couldn’t tell, I’ve recently learned how to hyperlink and I’m lowkey addicted now 😅)

How nice it is to have Fathers’ Day and Juneteenth fall on the same day. Special shoutout to all the Black fathers out there! Pour two up for fatherhood and freedom!

As for me, I’m currently cruising comfortably thru Summer ’16. It’s already been two weeks since the Motivation program started, and I’m all ready to continue striding into the third week. The students have been very receptive to the program so far and are a pretty tight-knit group of people. They’re definitely starting to feel the pressures of the classes they’re taking, but it seems like they’ve been taking it well overall. They also had their first round of clinical rotations last Friday and just about everyone I’ve talked to said that it was a fantastic experience. Hopefully they can carry their happy spirits into the weeks ahead! Aside from working in the program, I’ve been relaxing for the most part and spending quality time with friends down here. I’ve also been dabbling a bit into next year’s subject material, because why not? I’m not hardcore studying or anything, because I’ll have time to do that in less than a couple of months…plus ain’t no one got time for all that. But I’ve been peeking into what I’ll be facing in my second year in order to get a feel of what to expect and just simply out of curiosity. It’s funny because whenever someone sees me looking at med school stuff, they always exclaim, “WOW! You’re studying?? During your summer break?!?” Lol, as if I can’t open a review book and enjoy my summer at the same time. Plus, I need something to do while I’m in class with the students, so why not preview the organ systems? It’s actually some interesting stuff. In addition, if I hated learning about how the body worked, I wouldn’t be in the medical field. So, yeah. Apart from all that, it’s been great to finally catch up on movies that I’ve been meaning to watch. There’s so many out there man. Watching old episodes of the Bernie Mac show has been fun too. And you can’t really beat kicking back to do some summer reading while watching the palm trees sway. (Yeah, yeah, I read for fun. You gonna try and stop me?) 

So that’s that. I’m going to continue enjoying my summer, and you should do the same! Make your week a spectacular one!

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

– Nelson Mandela

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I really hate the rainy season down here.

Motivation Program Kickoff!

This South Florida rain gotta stop.

I know it’s rainy/hurricane season and all…but that doesn’t mean it has to randomly rain EVERY freakin’ day. Like, the forecast for this week is straight thunderstorms every day in 90-degree weather. There’s a day where it’s “supposed” to be partly cloudy, but chances are that the floodgates up in the clouds will open up anyway. I’ve taken my umbrella everywhere with me, but I haven’t really had to use it yet because I refuse to go outside whenever a torrential  downpour decides to show up. But OF COURSE, the ONE time I don’t have my umbrella with me, I get trapped in a downpour. I had to run almost blind from the gym back to my dorm soaking wet. I’m currently rolling my eyes as I think about it. *Sigh* Well hopefully it starts becoming sunny and beautiful again, although the humidity always ruins the fun. Can’t do anything about that though.

In other news, the first week of the Motivation program is already over! And it was a very successful week! I’ve (hopefully) already got the names of all the students down too! This group of students have been pretty interactive & inquisitive and all seem to be enjoying the program so far. They’ve also already been quickly put to work. With classes in Reading & Study Skills, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Anatomy Lecture & Lab (I can’t get away from these cadavers man), Histology & Health Equity Research, they really are getting a feel of the demands of med school. Before being put to work though, they had to go through Orientation where they were given the rules & regulations of the program, listened to a seminar on diversity and sat through HIPAA/Privacy training. The HIPAA training was, of course, full of important information that detailed how crucial it is to maintain digital security and different ways in which the secure nature of the medical center could potentially be breached. It’s kinda scary to think about how a simple mistake like leaving your laptop open and unattended for a few minutes could endanger the lives of so many people. Also did y’all know that there is a black market for stolen usernames & passwords? Someone can steal thousands of them and sell them to a bidder for a TON of money. Jerks. As important as the talk was, it wasn’t the most exciting thing I’ve ever sat through. If there was a way to make this training engaging and interesting across the board, I’m sure that people across the nation would greatly appreciate it. Hell, that’s a million-dollar idea right there for anyone willing to take that challenge on. Don’t let me beat you to making it happen 😉. The seminar on diversity was pretty interesting though. One thing that stuck with me from it was when the doctor presenting talked about having to learn from the diverse nature of all areas of life, no matter how ignorant the beliefs of some people may be. Just because you don’t agree with the beliefs or attitudes of a patient doesn’t mean that you can’t learn something from them. Besides, it’s mandatory that you care for each and every patient entrusted to you, so coming into contact with people that you may not agree with is very likely to happen…so might as well learn something from them, such as why these certain patients believe what they believe and what in society made them come to that viewpoint.

The students have learned quite a bit in each of their classes so far, but what I find really cool is the fact that they have been given an opportunity to be published via their Health Equity Research class. In this class, they’ll be able to choose a topic within health disparities that resonates with them, perform some literature research on this topic throughout the program and present it to the class at the end of the program along with submitting their manuscript to a journal for potential publishing. During the course of the class, they’ll learn how to use medical research sources such as PubMed, efficient strategies in regards to publishing research material, and how to read & write a literature review. I really believe that it’s a fantastic opportunity…so fantastic that I’ve even slightly considered doing it along with them 😅. We’ll see tho, we’ll see.

Finally, both the members of the MCAT prep and Motivation programs along with the TAs attended a day-long clinical rotation seminar last Friday. They were exposed to a clinical case and had to think through it while offering suggestions as to why the person in the case was sick. They were also told what to expect when they participate in their clinical rotations for the next five weeks. Along with that, they were given talks on what it means to be Hispanic and/or Latino as well as how to engage with these patients and on cultural identity and awareness in general. The day wasn’t all full of talks though. We all participated in a fun activity that involved the PACE Palette, which is a type of “personality test” that assigns a dominant color to your overall personality. (My dominant color was blue, which symbolizes Harmony. Lol.) I also received the honor to join a panel with five other medical students that worked to answer the many questions that were bouncing around in the students’ heads. That was a cool experience. Believe it or not, it still baffles me sometimes to think that I’m on the other side of the application process and that I’m exactly where most of these students desire to be. I was in their same shoes not so long ago, so I know exactly what they’re thinking and how they feel. I guess that’s one of the reasons as to why I’m really big on helping students that are trying to cross the barriers that stand between themselves and their goals.

2016 MCAT & Motivation Summer Programs

 

That’s all I have to say for today, thanks for reading!

Okay I lied, I have one more thing to say. You may have noticed that I’ve been rolling out new additions to this blog. If not, be sure to check these pages out by clicking on the left upper icon on the page! The sections that I’ve added include Useful Blogs, Good Vibes and Med School 101. Now that I have more free time on my hands, I’m able to do some of the things that I wasn’t really able to focus on during the school year. It’s all about growth man! I hope that they prove to be of some worth to you!

Have a delightful week!

“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” – Christian Larson

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – Please pray for the families and the victims of the Orlando shooting. We’re living in some insane times.

Family Time

Well…

Week 2 of summer vacation has been just as relaxing as Week 1 was.

I could get used to this. 😎

My week back home in VA was comforting, to say the least. I spent a good amount of time with my siblings, who were all ready to play some Monopoly as soon as I got back home. (I started running the game after a slow start and knocked out a few people….but then the dice turned on me and I literally landed either in jail or on one of my brother’s overpriced-ass hotels every time I rolled. I turned into a broke boy with mortgaged properties before my brother ruthlessly slayed me. 😐) I also played a ton of FIFA with my youngest brother and beat him a few times. Unfortunately for my pride, he beat me more than a few times….and he talked hella trash throughout each game. Lol, I wanted to slap him with the back of my hand man. He really has finally hit my level in the one game that I used to consistently crush him in when he was younger. I played a couple of one-on-one basketball games with this same boy and with another crushing blow to my pride, he beat me both times. (We did have a one-point difference with our second game tho…) In my defense, this boy is about 6’1 and balls routinely. I also do admit I’m trash at hooping. 😅 It’s just wild to see my little brothers not only grow into young adults, but to also beat me in things that I used to destroy them in. SMH.

Most of my siblings and I also went laser tagging with some cousins and friends, mostly because I’m a big kid at heart and really wanted to go. That was a ton of fun! And I can’t forget about being able to go to my baby sister’s Student of the Month ice cream celebration that she was so excited for me to come to; she really was happy that I came to her school for that. 😊 I got to spend some quality time with my parents as well. I found it pretty freakin’ cool that I could talk with both of my parents about medical things now that I’ve finished my first year. My dad and I were talking about a number of different drugs on various occasions throughout my stay at home while I was able to assist my mom with a case in some of her doctorate level work. Oh, and the free homemade dinners made by my mom and one of my sisters were soooo clutch. Can never take free food for granted these days man.

Good times, good times.

You really can’t replace family man.

One more thing, I was asked by one of my former optometrists (who actually also keeps up with this blog, shoutout to her!) to visit her and her family when I got in town. So I did along with my brother (not the youngest one) and she introduced me to her stepdaughter who is currently in college and is deciding on what health track she wants to pursue. We all ended up talking for a couple of hours about the possibilities she could pursue, about what medical school was like, how her classes are treating her, and much more. It eventually became clear that she likes dentistry more than any of the other options she has, so she may be checking your teeth out at some point in the future! You better be flossing up! I was real happy to be able to talk with her and to help her in some way with her decision. I was even more touched that my optometrist reached out to me to do so. She even provided Wingstop for lunch! What a kind, kind woman. 😄

So now I’m back in Miami, geared up and ready to start this Motivation summer program. We’re checking in the students today and will officially start the program with Orientation tomorrow. I’ve been looking forward to meeting these twenty-three students and I’m sure that they’ve been looking forward to starting this program for a while now. Time to see what these students are made of! 😈

Hope that you have a brilliant week! Positive vibes over negative vibes!

“The more you are thankful, the more you attract things to be thankful for.”

– Black Man, M.D.

Summer Vibes

I gotta say, I’m absolutely loving my time off from school so far.

It feels good to be back home in the 757 with friends and family after having to make a pit stop (more like a week-long stop) in Miami to attend two orientations for the program I’m working with this summer. I also randomly ended up at a concluding breakfast for an annual conference for the Association of Black Psychologists soon after arriving in Florida…but that’s besides the point 😅. The orientations I had to attend were spaced out three days apart with the first one being on Monday and the second one being on Friday. How convenient. The one on Friday was very useful and it directly related to the summer program. It got me even more excited to work with the students in the program. Free Dunkin’ Donuts and Panera didn’t hurt either. 😏 I only went to the one on Monday because the university made me. The info given to us in that SIX-HOUR long new-hire orientation session did not relate to me in terms of my summer employment. Being a current medical student and an alumni of the university, I was already familiar with the information that they presented, which ranged from university history to HIPAA, safety procedures and everything in between. Simply put, I really did not need to be there. But alas, I am a mere speck of paint in the spectacular mural that is the University of Miami. I also needed my name to be on summer payroll. So I silently suffered through it with my co-workers.

I guess I should elaborate a bit more on this program I’m working with huh? I’ve name-dropped it a few times but there are a few of you out there that probably aren’t too familiar with it…my bad! As I mentioned in a previous post (Testing My Brain on a Test on the Brain), the program is called the Minority Students In Health Careers Motivation Program, which is run by the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. This seven-week, tuition-free program is one of the three summer programs run by the office with the other two being the High School Careers in Medicine Program and the MCAT Preparation Program. The Motivation program is designed to resemble a “mini” medical school experience where the selected students (ranging from college sophomores to recent college graduates) take a sample of classes such as Anatomy, Biochemistry, Microbiology, & Histology. There is also an opportunity every week to participate in a discussion on a selected topic with a featured speaker while enjoying a free, catered dinner. Not only that, but the students are exposed to Health Equity Research, have the chance to attend supplemental workshops and have the opportunity to shadow physicians every week on clinical rotations. As if all that wasn’t good enough, housing & meals as well as metro transportation between campuses are all free for the selected students! What a program! The overall goal of this program is to promote diversity in the health field by providing students from underrepresented backgrounds an opportunity to develop skills that will increase their competitiveness when it comes time to apply to medical school. As a Teaching Assistant of the program, I’ll work with my co-Teaching Assistant and the Executive Director in facilitating the overall experience of the students in the program. I’ll be in the classroom each day with them and will assist the faculty in executing lectures and activities. I’ll also serve as a useful resource for the students by answering the various questions they will have and I’ll be able to share my experiences in medical school with them. Needless to say, I’m hyped about being able to work with the program!

In between going to the orientations, I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t enjoying my free time. From taking time to continue reading Black Man in a White Coat (I KNOW I’M TAKING FOREVER TO FINISH IT, DON’T JUDGE ME) to chillin’ at the beautiful Venetian pool with some great friends, I’ve been doing a lot of not-studying. It’s been glorious. I’m only gonna continue this period of relaxation, at least until I start the program next week.

I freakin’ love Summer!!!

I definitely can’t close out this post without shouting out the big homie and Doctorate of Education student, Mr. Donovan Livingston, for his incredible graduation speech (#LiftOff) at Harvard last week! You’re a clear example of a positive force and are an inspiration to many bro! I also appreciate you for being a supporter of this blog from the very beginning and keeping up with it weekly! Thanks for being an awesome friend and a great human being in general!!

As you may or may have not noticed, I don’t usually name-drop people in my blog for various reasons…but since he already done broke the internet and all, I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal this time around. If you haven’t heard his speech by now, you can click on the link below to check it out. I know you have five minutes to spare…so go ahead and click on it. You won’t regret it.

 

Have a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend! My appreciation runs deep for all those men and women who have sacrificed their lives to protect this country! Remember that this country stands because of the bravery and courage they exuded!!

Don’t chase people. Be you. Do your own thing and work hard. The right people who belong in your life will come find you and stay. – Will Smith

– Black Man, M.D.