The Marvels of Leadership

I’m just going to go ahead and warn you now, this post might end up being one of my long ones. I already know that I’ll have plenty of opportunities to get long-winded as I type about my experiences at the SNMA’s Annual Medical Education Conference, where I spent most of this past week at. I’ll try not to write a novel about it all, but if you’ve been following this blog for some time now, you know that I’m more than capable of doing so without even realizing it lol.

So now that I’ve prefaced this post by saying that, let’s get started. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Like I said, I spent the vast majority of last week at AMEC, which took place in Philadelphia this year. It was such a great time, although I was much busier at this conference than I had been in the other AMECs I attended these past couple of years. It also happened to be the 55th Anniversary of the Student National Medical Association, which only added to all the hype and fanfare surrounding this sold-out conference. Before I get into all of that though, I first want to talk about an unexpected experience that took place the day before I traveled to Philly, that of which has nothing to do with the conference. I literally just thought about it right now and figured I would share it with you since it was cool and all and it happened before I went to AMEC.

I had been in Chapel Hill the weekend prior to the conference and I had planned to stay there with my girlfriend until Tuesday morning, which was the day I left to go to Philly. On Sunday, she told me about an unanticipated rally that Beto O’Rourke was hosting at UNC the very next day and asked if I wanted to go while she was in class. I figured that I wouldn’t have anything to lose by going, but I also didn’t want to have to deal with the parking situation on campus…..plus I was busy getting ready for the conference and I didn’t really want to interrupt my day by going to a rally for a few hours. In addition, there are so many candidates in the Democratic primary race and I think that it’s far too early for me to throw my support behind someone, especially since I haven’t done a ton of research into each of their respective platforms. So with all that said, I decided that it would be a gametime decision.

Monday afternoon eventually came around and I finally made the decision to go and listen to what this presidential candidate had to say. I liked watching him speak on TV and I figured that it would be cool to hear him speak in person now that I was given the chance to do so. Plus like I said, I had nothing to lose. So off I went.

I got to campus, found a visitor garage to park in, walked across campus to the student union, and dropped my jaw when I saw the line to get into the building.

Bruh, it was so long.

It wrapped around the building and stretched deep into the courtyard. As I walked alongside all of these people in line, I started to become concerned that it was never going to end. When I FINALLY reached the end of the line, I just stood there in disbelief and was about two seconds from saying “screw this” and walking back to my car when the people in front of me started to engage in conversation with me. I then convinced myself that I would wait about ten minutes to see how fast the line moved before deciding if I was going to leave or not. Thankfully (and surprisingly) the line began moving rather quickly and before I knew it (actually took a little over twenty minutes), I was very close to the entrance. ๐Ÿ˜

Then they halted the line.

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They informed us that there probably wouldn’t be space for the rest of us and offered that we could see him speak outside for a few minutes before he walked into the building. At this point, I didn’t care either way. I just wanted to see this man speak so that I wouldn’t be mad at myself for having made this trip to campus. So I stepped to the side along with a few other people and patiently waited for his arrival. Because I was one of the first people to decide to step out of line, I ended up being front and center of the small platform he was given to speak on. When he finally did arrive, I found myself literally a few feet in front of him. It was pretty cool, to say the least.

He spoke to the small group of us for a few minutes and then shook hands and took pictures and whatnot. I got the chance to shake his hand, look him in the eye and express my thanks to him for coming to speak to us. I wish I had been able to get a legit picture with him, but he was obviously being pulled in every direction and I only was able to get pictures of him with other people. I took a few selfies as he was speaking but I looked like a straight-up dweeb in them, so I’m not sharing them with y’all ๐Ÿ˜‚.

All in all, it was a pretty cool experience and definitely not how I expected my day to go when I woke up that morning lol. I’m glad I took the time to go see him; I got to shake his hand, listen to him speak and I didn’t even have to spend that much time there because after he went inside, I just left. Now if I could have similar experiences with some of the other candidates and/or the Obamas, that would be spectacular. This is me speaking it into existence! ๐Ÿ˜‰

What the hell, I’m at 1000 words and I haven’t even started talking about AMEC. See, this is what I was talking about at the beginning of the post; y’all should have just told me to shut up. Welp, I guess I don’t have any choice but to continue. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿฟโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ™ƒ

I left for Philly on Tuesday afternoon and after hopping off my quick flight, I arrived at the hotel that I would be spending the next five days in. I already knew that it was going to be LIT the moment I walked up to my room and noticed that I had two doors as opposed to one.

Once I got settled into my suite, I grabbed dinner with a couple of friends and prepared myself for the events that would be taking place at the conference, starting with the community service event that was scheduled to take place the very next morning.

This event, the Healthy Attitude Summit, was co-sponsored by the SNMA and the Student Health Impact Project and its purpose was to engage with local high school students in order to help inspire them to pursue careers in the STEM fields. We engaged with them via interactive sessions where we taught them basic medical skills (CPR, blood pressure measurements, heart sounds, bag-valve-mask ventilation, splinting, etc.), introduced them to osteopathic manipulative techniques, taught them about vision & dental care and emphasized the importance of exercise and physical fitness. They also were able to listen to a few people speak, including a public health professional who talked about the power and inherent dangers of addiction. My main role throughout my time at the event was to float around, which pretty much meant to “get in where I fit in”. I found myself helping out at the CPR station, where I met some interesting high school students who impressed me with their high level of interest in the field of healthcare. I also got the chance to catch up with old friends as well as establish new connections with pre-meds and medical students while I volunteered alongside them. It was a great time!

I spent that afternoon at a Board of Directors meeting, where we talked about the business of the SNMA and kept everyone informed of what to expect in the next few days. There was going to be a huge influx of conference attendees the very next day, so it was important that we were all on the same page. After the meeting, I made my final preparations for the conference before going to sleep. I knew that I was going to be very busy this conference due to the fact that I was holding the position of Region IV Director, which meant that I was literally being held responsible for the MAPS and SNMA chapters in my entire region (chapters in the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Florida & the Caribbean) when it came to business matters during the conference. So I had to make sure that I was at the top of my game by the time the attendees arrived. I had already made agendas for the regional meetings that I would be running, sent out all the documents that I deemed to be helpful for AMEC to the chapters in the region, and even created a GroupMe for all the conference attendees from my region (this eventually grew to include 250+ people) so that people could stay in communication with one another.

With all of this complete, I felt as prepared as I was ever going to be. However, I still didn’t sleep that well that night because I honestly was a bit nervous about how I was about to represent a whole region at the House of Delegates meetings and run two separate regional meetings as well as host regional elections, considering the fact that I had just unexpectedly taken over as regional director just two short months ago. I also knew that I wouldn’t be anywhere near as free as I was in prior AMECs to do whatever I wanted to do or to go to whatever sessions I wanted to go to because of my responsibilities as regional director, which bummed me out a bit. And lastly, I definitely planned on having fun at the nightlife events, so I already knew that I would find myself running on less sleep than usual throughout the conference, which would leave me feeling drained every day of the conference. With all of this in mind, you could probably imagine how much my mind was racing as I tried to fall asleep.

Turns out that I was pretty much spot-on with my predictions.

I was TIYYYAADDD, especially from Friday-Sunday. I ended up rallying throughout each of those days and making it to all of the nightlife functions, where I would spend a few hours at before crashing on my bed for another few hours only to get up and do it all over again. The vast majority of my time at the conference was spent at either the House of Delegates meetings, where the official business of the SNMA took place over the span of three days (including the elections of national officers), the Board of Directors meetings that took place both on Wednesday night and throughout the day on Sunday, my two regional meetings where I held regional elections as well as updated the regional members on the status of the region and touched on a variety of topics pertaining to our region, some other random meetings that I was pulled into, the AMEC Opening Ceremony, the President’s Luncheon, the Exhibitor’s Hall, and the Closing Banquet, where SNMA graduation took place as well as the delivery of regional speeches and chants (I gave one of those speeches ๐Ÿ˜„), the distribution of awards, the delivery of a keynote speech, and a variety of other things. Oh and I put together a compilation video of the ten regions, that of which was shown at the banquet! The video ended up coming together quite nicely, but maaannn getting that video to the tech team was a hell of a stressful ordeal that I don’t even feel like talking about right now….let’s just say that the people at the banquet were able to enjoy the video mere minutes after the tech team received it. Lol. I’m just glad that it all worked out. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฟย I did end up missing the graduation picture of all the fourth year medical students because of the ordeal though, but it’s all good. I probably wouldn’t have even been able to spot my face in the picture anyway. I did get my stole and walk across the stage thooo!!! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฟ

Man, there’s so much that I could talk about regarding my experiences at AMEC but then I would be sitting here all day, fervently typing away. I gave about as decent of a summary as I could, and I still ended up typing up a novel that’s now well over 2000 words and counting. There were such dope vibes all throughout the conference, and I got to listen to some AMAZING, INSPIRING & INFLUENTIAL physicians speak while I was there. I also got the chance to catch up with a lot of old friends as well as make brand new ones, especially within the region I was leading these past couple of months. And lastly, I was able to successfully transition both of my leadership roles (External Affairs National Committee Co-Chair & Region IV Director) to my successors, so I’m officially off of the SNMA Board of Directors! Definitely a bittersweet feeling, but I know that the people I’ve transitioned power to will be phenomenal in their respective positions! Plus, I’ll still be in the background helping with transition stuff, so I won’t be completely ghost or anything. Oh and speaking of the External Affairs Committee, HUGE shoutout to my co-chair, Osose Oboh, for being elected as President-Elect of the Student National Medical Association!! That’s my co-chair, THAT’S MY CO-CHAIR!!! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฟ

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Now that the conference is officially over (I was EXHAUSTED yesterday and ended up getting a smooth nine hours of great sleep after collapsing on my bed), I’m back in Winston kicking off my Intern Boot Camp experience. We were given a TON of great information today that I’ll share with you on my next post because I’m tired of typing. And you’re probably tired of reading. But you a real one, which is why I appreciate you! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ˜„

I look forward to seeing what this week has to bring and to sharing my experiences with you next week! I hope that your week is a marvelous one!! To those of you who celebrate it, I hope that your Easter holiday was a gratifying one!

Also, please keep the families of the many people who were targeted by the horrific acts of terrorism in Sri Lanka in your thoughts and prayers. Words cannot even begin to express the sadness, anger, despair and anguish I felt when I first learned about that catastrophe. Like, what can you even do or say in the face of something like that? Smh. The world can be a scary place man. I’ll definitely be praying for them.

“If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” – Thomas Edison

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I hope you all are ready for AVENGERS: ENDGAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Preparations.

Umm, okay……well……not much has changed in my life since my last post.

Your boy is still here making the most of the free time that has been afforded to him during this flex block. ๐Ÿ˜œ

I flew back from Boston last Tuesday and have been hanging around both Chapel Hill and Winston since then. I’ve also been continuing to prepare myself as well as my region for the SNMA’s Annual Medical Education Conference, which is taking place this week in Philly! Definitely excited about that, especially since it will be my last AMEC as a medical student. ๐Ÿ˜ฅย I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about my experience at the conference next week, so stay tuned for that post!

Although I don’t have much to update you with today, I do have a couple of things that are worth mentioning in this post. First off, my girlfriend and I did some apartment shopping yesterday in the Chapel Hill/Durham area and ended up being impressed by a couple of great places on our short list of complexes to visit. It was invigorating to explore new locations and to imagine what it would be like living in a brand-new community after having spent several years in Winston. It was also just as thrilling to consider the fact that I will now be in close proximity to my significant other after having spent the past four years in separate cities! ๐Ÿ˜„

What I’ll NOT be looking forward to is the actual process of moving all our stuff into a new apartment. God, I HATE moving. This is probably part of the reason as to why I don’t own a lot of things lol. I guess I just figured that the less I own, the less I’ll have to move. You may think that sounds stupid, but I don’t really care. I stand by my logic! ๐Ÿ˜ค

The other thing I would like to mention is that I got the opportunity to be featured on a podcast a couple days ago! The podcast, Melan-In-White Coats, is one that was started by three medical students who wanted to use their unique platform to share their experiences as minority medical students with their audience while also discussing a variety of topics with invited guests on the podcast. On the episode that I was featured on, the host and I talked about numerous things, those of which included: sustaining a relationship while in medical school, the importance of giving back to the community, the growth of my blog, the scholarship that I just recently launched, my ambitions and expectations in the field of Pediatrics, and more! We had a great time chatting with one another as the time flew by, and we ended up inspiring one another to further expand our own respective platforms! Speaking on a podcast for the first time was a humbling experience, and I’m looking forward to sharing the episode with you all once it is officially up and running! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฟ

That’s all I really have to say today. Short and sweet.

I hope that you have a delightful week! And to those of you who celebrate it, have an amazing Palm Sunday!

“You can have anything you want if you are willing to give up the belief that you can’t have it.” – Dr. Robert Anthony

– Black Man, M.D.

Excursions, Freedom, & Inspiration

Man, I can’t believe that I’m already at the halfway point of my flex block. I only have another two weeks of living in absolute freedom until I go back to school to start Intern Boot Camp, a two-week pre-orientation program that the school organizes for the graduating fourth-years that is full of various sessions designed to help prepare us for the first few days of residency. (If you’ve been keeping up with my posts as of late, you may have just had some serious dรฉjร  vuย ๐Ÿ˜‚)

I’ve really been able to appreciate all the freedom I’ve had these past couple of weeks, even with all the work that I have been doing in my extra-curricular leadership positions. I even went ahead and made a trip to Boston this past weekend to visit some people, as well as to really take in and appreciate the city that I was born in. Boston has so much history man, it’s incredible. I didn’t know there was an African-American museum up here, so of course I had to go and check that out. I also had a pleasant walk in the Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden, although it was a bit chillier than I would have liked. (It has warmed up quite a bit since I first got here though ๐Ÿ˜Š) And you already know that I had to go and check out what the nightlife in Boston had to offer lol. Overall,ย I’ve had a great time so far here (even with the one night it unexpectedly sleeted ๐Ÿ™„) and I plan to continue enjoying my trip up until I leave from here on Tuesday morning!

After I return from Boston, it’ll only be about a week before I find myself in a plane again headed to Philly for the SNMA’s Annual Medical Education Conference. Yup, the conference is FINALLY about to happen! I already knew it was going to be an amazing experience simply based off of my past experiences at AMEC…but now that we’ve officially reached capacity for the conference as of last week, I am absolutely certain that it is about to be LIT LIT!! I’ll definitely be crazy busy during the conference, but that won’t stop me from having a great time! I’m very excited about being able to enjoy this experience for the third time in a row, especially since I’ll be actively participating in a leadership role this time around. There was so much work and time that was put into making this conference a reality, so it will be awesome to see what the final product ends up looking like! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฟ

Outside of hanging out with my girlfriend and watching the insanity of March Madness (I unfortunately ended up not winning any of the bracket competitions I was in, thanks to UVA’s lucky run), not much else has happened this past week.

Actually, scratch that.

I did do something that was quite exciting.

I FINALLY launchedย The Desire To Inspire Scholarship!!ย 

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I had been waiting soooo long to officially launch this scholarship….like, it was something that I couldn’t stop thinking about ever since the idea was first conceived at some point during my first year of medical school. Even before then, I had developed a burning desire to create and fund scholarships for students, especially after I received the scholarship that ultimately allowed me to attend the University of Miami. (Shoutout to the Hammond Scholarship!ย โœŠ๐Ÿฟ) I sincerely believe that everyone should have access to obtaining a quality education and that the lack of finances should NOT serve as a barrier to securing an education. There are just so many intelligent people out there with such amazing potential who simply deserve to be educated in a way that gives them the best chance of turning their dreams into reality.

I’m really hyped that, after a ton of preparation and fundraising, this scholarship idea that I’ve been mulling over for years has finally been transformed into a reality! I’ve already done this many times, but I want to send a HUGE THANKS again to all of you who have played a part in making this scholarship a reality! This definitely could not have happened without your support!!! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฟ

And with that, I’ll end here. Thanks for reading!

I hope that you have a remarkable week!

“Successful people have fear, successful people have doubts, and successful people have worries. They just don’t let these feelings stop them.” – T. Harv Eker

– Black Man, M.D.

Marching Into Opportunity

I don’t know about you, but I was a bit shocked when I woke up this morning and realized that today was the last day in March. Like, WHAT?!?

Los Angeles Rams Wow GIF by Gatorade

It feels like JUST yesterday that I woke up and blasted Future’s “March Madness” on my speakers on the morning of March 1st! (Yeah I’m lame, so what? Fight me ๐Ÿ˜ค)

While the month has flown by quite fast, I have been intentional in taking the time to appreciate the easygoing and exciting vibes all around me throughout the month. From rotating through my informative, yet chill Radiology clerkship to experiencing Match Week and transitioning into my second flex block, I haven’t really had much reason to stress about academics as of late. Also with March Madness going on, I’ve had such a great time watching the games and either celebrating the survival of some of my brackets or bemoaning one of my bad picks. (UNC’s recent loss definitely screwed up a few of my brackets ๐Ÿ˜…)

Honestly, I would be chillin’ even more if I wasn’t working in the position of Interim Regional Director for my region of the SNMA. I’m not going to lie, the constant work that I’ve had to perform in this position has taken up quite a chunk of my free time and has kept me busier than I had envisioned being during this time in my fourth year, especially since the Annual Medical Education Conference is coming up in a few weeks. And let’s not forget that I still have to fulfill my duties as one of the External Affairs National Committee Co-Chairs, so that has been keeping me busy too. ๐Ÿ˜…ย Even though I’ve only served as Regional Director for a little over a month now and didn’t really have much onboarding at all when I took on the position, I think that my team and I have done some good work so far in pulling the chapters in the region together, effectively communicating with them so that everyone was on the same page, and getting them prepared for the conference. I really have to emphasize how crucial the people helping me have been in making my life easier as Regional Director. Shoutout to all of them, because your boy would currently be incredibly lost in this role without each of them! Can’t wait to see them all at the conference so I can thank them in person!

This past week, I spent a good amount of time taking advantage of some opportunities that had been afforded to me. I attended a community town hall meeting hosted by the Office of Cancer Health Equity, where we had a discussion about the findings of a community assessment that was done in East Winston concerning cancer care for African-Americans. While I was there, I got the chance to listen to what the East Winston community thought about the healthcare systems present in the city and to help brainstorm solutions to the issues that people in that community are facing. It was enlightening to be able to communicate directly with the community and it reminded me of all the community work I participated in during my Immigrant Health/Public Health rotation. Engaging in these community experiences has provided me a framework that I can use in the future as I attempt to impact my future community as a physician in effective and meaningful ways.

In addition to attending the East Winston community town hall meeting, I got the chance to listen to Dr. Bonnie Mason, the founder of Nth Dimensions, speak at a noon conference that revolved around mentorship for underrepresented minority residents at Wake Forest. She gave an engaging and memorable talk on mentorship and shared with us some very practical advice that we can use during our residency years and throughout life in general. I then got the chance to talk with her as well as with some other minority physicians in the community at a dinner later on that evening, where two prominent physicians in the city (Dr. Lawrence Hopkins & Dr. Charlie Kennedy) were honored. The URM resident mentorship program at Wake Forest was offically named after them at the dinner, and they also had the day of March 27th named in their honor by the mayor of the city of Winston-Salem! It was a wonderful dinner that showed me the incredible impact that physicians can have in their respective communities. I hope to have a similar level of impact in the communities that I serve in the future!

On that positive note, I’ll go ahead and wrap up this post!

I hope that your week is an excellent one! ๐Ÿ˜

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” – Golda Meir

– Black Man, M.D.

P.S. – I watched “Us” last Sunday and it was such a great movie! Had my mind all messed up for the next day or two though…I definitely recommend watching it if you haven’t already!!

Scanning The Future

I’m one week into my Radiology elective and I must say, I’m certainly glad that I not only decided to select this rotation, but also that I ended up placing it at the tailend of my fourth year. ๐Ÿ˜Š

It has been a real chill week, yet I’ve learned a lot of useful information about chest x-rays, CT scans, joint x-rays and MRI scans of the musculoskeletal system while working with the radiology residents and fellows. It’s amazing to watch how they are able to describe their findings in such detail as well as how they navigate through the various imaging modalities in order to accurately interpret an image. I was also able to appreciate what actually happens when an image study is sent to the Radiology department for interpretation and I ended up receiving helpful tips from the residents, fellows and attendings regarding the appropriate indications of sending in image studies for interpretation. Getting the opportunity to learn more about their perspective of healthcare delivery will definitely encourage me to think more about what imaging studies I order for my patients in the future and also think critically about why I decide to order them.

Although I was blindsided by the fact that there would be more work on this rotation than I expected (we have to write about an interesting case every day, deliver two separate five-minute presentations about interesting patients at some point during the rotation and take a final exam at the end of the rotation that’s based on the lectures that residents give us daily ๐Ÿ™„), I’ve still been having a great time so far and I’ve had more than enough time to get work done not only for this rotation, but for my other responsibilities as well (I have no idea why my list of responsibilities continues to grow when I’m just tryna chill ๐Ÿ˜ฉ). However, I’ve been also taking some time to relax and thoroughly enjoy the free time I have; I’m definitely not about to take this hard-earned free time for granted.

Outside of reading diagnostic images and attending lectures, I spent some time last week providing input at a focus group dedicated to boosting the recruitment side of future admissions efforts at my school. I also spent some time interviewing prospective medical students for the fourth (and final) time this school year, getting my SNMA Region organized so that we are fully prepared for the Annual Medical Education Conference in April, and making preparations for both Match Day and Graduation Weekend. The more I think about this transition to the next phase of my life, the more unreal it seems. Like, I’ll have confirmation of my next destination in less than two weeks and I’ll be a full-fledged physician in less than three months! And from there, I have the potential to do whatever I want with my budding career!

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It’s both thrilling and nervewracking at the same time, but I’m honestly much more excited about it all than I am nervous. So much work, time and sacrifice has been put into this mission, so I deserve to be excited about this next phase in my journey! I’ve come a long way from fighting vigorously for my hard-earned spot in medical school a few years ago and an even longer way from my teenage years, where the concept of becoming a physician was an idea that I believed in and was starting to work towards, but at the same time was one that almost felt unreal to me simply because it had seemed like it would take FOREVER to achieve the goal of becoming a doctor. All these years later, it’s incredible that I’m going to be obtaining my medical degree and am going to FINALLY turn this long-standing idea into a reality! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฟ

Figured I would go ahead and end the post here on a high note! I hope that your week ends up being a marvelous one! ๐Ÿ˜„

โ€œI had to make my own living and my ownย opportunity. But I made it! Donโ€™t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” – Madam C.J. Walker

– Black Man, M.D.

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. ๐Ÿ˜…

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)!

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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…๐Ÿ˜ณ)ย After submitting it, I’ll chuck up a quick prayer and move on with my life. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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!

โ€œIf you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.โ€ โ€“ย Marcus Garvey

– Black Man, M.D.

Final Quarter

Last Friday, I delivered my presentation on “The Pediatric Airway” and took my Anesthesia final exam (JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL), thus officially ending my Anesthesia rotation. Now that I’ve powered through that experience, I’m about 3/4 of the way done with my fourth year!!

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Good God, time flies by so freakin’ fast. I now have only three more month-long rotations before I’m officially done with my final year of medical school and graduate with my medical degree from the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

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With my last three blocks being an Immigrant Health/Public Health elective, a Radiology elective and another “Flex Block”, this final stretch of the year should be somewhat of a breeze. However, there are quite a few important things to take care of throughout this time outside of my rotations. I need to complete and submit my rank list by February 20th in order to be eligible for the Match. Then there’s Match Day, the one day in the year where all the fourth-years across the nation find out what residency programs they have matched into. Then there’s the SNMA Annual Medical Education Conference, which is taking place in Philly this year. Then I have to attend “Intern Boot Camp”, a two-week orientation session organized by my school for all the graduating fourth-year students. And of course, there’s the whole process of preparing for graduation and the transition into the next phase of my life.

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While these next few months will be more chill than the vast majority of my medical school experience was, it will still be a very busy time for me nonetheless. I didn’t even mention that I still have to carry out my obligations for the SNMA as well as put some dedicated time aside for blogwork. Since I’ll have more free time than usual, I definitely want to invest some of that time and energy into further enhancing this blog and figuring out how I’m going to move forward with it in residency. When I initially started this blog, my sole intention was to record my experiences throughout my time in medical school. Now that it has become so much bigger than I could have imagined, I have absolutely no intention on stopping the momentum that has propelled this platform into the lives of so many people. Aside from taking some time for both the SNMA and the blog, I definitely want to spend some time traveling to a few places for fun and also spend quality time with friends, family and my girlfriend. I’m real excited for what these next few months will bring, and am looking forward to the fantastic fourth-year life that has been promised to me for soooooo long!!

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I don’t want to take up too much of your time today, so I’ll breeze past some quick updates. The Anesthesia exam that I spent TOO MUCH time studying for was annoyingly specific and difficult. Who knows how that test went…I’m just mad that I actually read through ten chapters in two weeks, only to be asked questions that I would have never known the answer to, no matter how much I studied those chapters. I prepared a great presentation though, and it was on a topic that will be beneficial to me in the long run, so there’s that.

I had a meeting with Financial Aid last Wednesday about my loans and we discussed the options that I had to repay them. Looorrrrd, I’m going to need the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to come in clutch, because otherwise it’s very likely that I’ll be paying these loans off for the vast majority of my life moving forward. ๐Ÿ˜…ย That is, if I don’t end up doing any of the other forgiveness programs where I would practice primary care for a few years in specific locations after residency, which is a viable option as well. But with the PSLF, I will have the most flexibility with what I can do. Or I could just start up a wildly successful app and profit from that. Or invest in stocks early on in my residency that end up being wildly profitable later on in my career. Or win the lottery. Or find a sugar mama. My girlfriend wouldn’t be too fond of that idea though.

Lastly, I got to help out with Wake Forest SNMA’s 12th Annual Pre-Medical Conference yesterday morning, where I served as a greeter and welcomed various pre-medical students from across the region to the conference. Having volunteered at this event in various capacites in the past, it was a pleasure to be able to communicate with these students about my experiences as well as their own experiences thus far. Also, it was very heartwarming to hear that there were 200+ students that registered to this conference, making it the most attended pre-med conference out of the twelve that the school has hosted in the past! Shoutout to the Wake Forest chapter of the SNMA for organizing such a successful conference!

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That’s it from me today! I finally got my schedule for the first week of this new Immigrant Health/Public Health elective, and it’s not looking bad at all! I’ll let you know how this week ends up going in my next post!

Go on and make your week a glorious one! ๐Ÿ˜„

“Great things never came from comfort zones.” – Neil Strauss

– Black Man, M.D.

The Influence of Racism

First off, I want to give a shoutout to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as we celebrate his legacy as well as all the sacrifices that so many people in both the past and the present have made in order to guarantee everyone access to the civil rights that they deserve. While he wouldn’t be much too pleased about the current state of our country, he would be actively encouraging us all to fight for justice and to combat the racist & divisive rhetoric that is being spewed to us on a frighteningly regular basis. With that said, let’s continue to do our best to live up to the ideals that he believed in and work to make this country, as well as this world, a better place to live in!

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I spent the entirety of my weekend in Nashville, TN, at the quarterly SNMA National Leadership Institute, where members of the Board of Directors as well as pre-med and medical students in local chapters convened for a weekend of leadership sessions, networking, research presentations, and business meetings. Because it was my third one as a member of the Board of Directors, I already knew what the flow of the weekend was going to be like.

And sure enough, it was ridiculously busy.

Although I spent the vast majority of the weekend in board meetings discussing various matters pertinent to the organization, I did get the opportunity to sit in on a few sessions where physician-leaders of various disciplines spoke with us on topics such as what leadership in the SNMA looks like, leadership behaviors, addressing health disparities and racism as an executive, community organizing and using leadership for social justice. One common theme that kept resurfacing throughout the sessions of the conference was the powerful and negative impact that racism can have on one’s mindset. It’s almost mind-numbing to consider how something as arbitrary as race was turned into this whole social construct that was ultimately weaponized against specific populations for such an extensive duration of time that these minority populations ultimately came to believe and internalize the false and damaging stereotypes that were associated with their respective race.

I personally spent so much of my formative years internally struggling with this ordeal. Due to the media, my surroundings, the “Black” & “African” jokes and stereotypes I routinely heard throughout my adolescent years, I truly believed that Black people just simply weren’t “good enough” and that as a Black Man in America, I was supposed to be either an athlete, a rapper, an entertainer or something else along those lines in order to truly be successful. Even though I was fortunate enough to have an amazing support network and incredible parents who invested so much in me throughout my life, I still saw the intelligence I was gifted with as unusual, even embarrassing at times. I found myself desperately tryingย to fit in with what was considered to be “Black” as I went about my high school days and ended up suffering through an identity crisis. It didn’t help that I had a completely separate lifestyle back at home as a first-generation American.

It really wasn’t until I got to college that I began to truly feel comfortable in my own skin. My mindset about being Black also shifted dramatically during my undergraduate years and I ended up meeting many people who were just like me, including those who were raised by immigrant parents from various countries in the continent of Africa. I found strength in being Black and for the first time in my life, I was 100% proud of my heritage and of being a Black Man in America. I began to actively fight against the stereotypes that I had unconsciously internalized up to that point, instead finding traits such as resilience, wisdom, perseverance, courage and strength commonplace across the Black diaspora. I realized how troublesome it was to believe that being an intelligent Black Man could be seen as unusual and decided to not only be proud of who I was, but to also begin motivating and inspiring others like me to disregard the false stereotypes being placed upon us and to instead internalize the positive traits that we all have the ability to possess.

Even to this day, there are moments where I find myself having to mentally combat a stereotype I was conditioned to believe throughout my life. What’s so crazy about all of this is that even with the relatively comfortable upbringing that I had, I STILL went through all of this. I can’t even begin to imagine all of those young Black kids who don’t have the same resources I had growing up who have been conditioned to believe that they are inferior to others and that they don’t have the ability or potential to be just as great as, if not greater than, what they perceive to be as successful.

Yeah I know, I went off on a MAJOR tangent….but I felt that it was necessary to put all that out there. It was especially fitting, considering that it’s MLK Day.

Overall, the SNMA conference was pretty productive and I was able to catch up with some friends that I hadn’t seen in months. However, I wasn’t really able to do much of any sightseeing of the city because I was so busyย ๐Ÿ˜”.ย Now that this leadership conference is over, it’s time to gear up for the national conference that everyone knows and loves; the SNMA Annual Medical Education Conference! It’s taking place in Philly this year and I’m really looking forward to it, especially since it will be my final year participating as a medical student ๐Ÿ˜ญ. The past two AMECs that I’ve been to were phenomenal experiences and I have no doubt that this one will be just as awesome!

Briefly recapping my past week, I spent it experiencing various fields of Anesthesia while working on completing some of my required assignments. I spent one day working in Pediatric Anesthesia, another day observing what life performing procedures in a pain clinic looks like, and yet another day helping manage the airway of psychiatric patients undergoing electroconvulsive therapy. I even got the opportunity to push some necessary medications into them, which was a neat experience. In regards to the midterm I took on Monday morning…..it was pretty tough, but not as terrible as I was expecting. I got my score back a few days later and it definitely wasn’t the best I’ve ever performed, but more than enough to keep my chances of comfortably passing the rotation alive. I scored about what I was expecting to score, so I wasn’t really fazed by my result at all. I just want to now get through these required readings, deliver my PowerPoint presentation that I still have to finish working on, take the final this Friday and FINALLY be done with all these assignments that I REALLY DON’T want to do anymore.

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Speaking of, I’m going to go ahead and sign off so that I can start working on finishing this presentation as well as get through a chapter or two of my anesthesia textbook. *Sigh* C’est la vie.

I hope that your week is a delightful one!

“Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

– Black Man, M.D.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

Man I have so much to say, but not a lot of time to type it all out. As you can see, it’s Monday…which means that I had just about no time to type up a post yesterday. Why didn’t I have time to type up a post, you might ask? Well, I would answer back by saying that I spent the majority of my Sunday in a Board of Directors meeting for the Student National Medical Association. After the meeting ended, I had to drive from Delaware back to D.C. to attend the orientation for the Medical Senior Scholarship Program (MSSP) at Children’s National Medical Center. (My acceptance into this scholarship program allowed for me to participate in an away rotation at this hospital. Look at God!) In order to get back to D.C. though, I had to fight in the war that bumper-to-bumper traffic, blistering rain, and taxing tolls waged against me. Speaking of them tolls,ย  can you believe that I paid $16 just to get to Delaware, and $8 just to drive back to D.C.?? Like, what kind of scam is this?? Booyyy was I mad. Matter of fact, I’m starting to get annoyed just thinking about it again. Smh.ย But anyway, after I FINALLY got back to D.C., I got oriented to the hospital by one of the fellows there and then I finally got back to my cousin’s place, which is where I’m staying for the month. I then had to get all prepared for my first day in clinic in the short amount of time I had left and thus made the executive decision to push this post to tonight.

So there you have it. That’s my excuse. Take it or leave it.ย ๐Ÿ™ƒ

I’m gonna just blaze through the important updates in my life so that I can get through the rest of the tasks that I need to complete before going to bed tonight. First off, the SNMA National Leadership Institute that took place in Delaware this past weekend was a fantastic experience! Outside of helping take pictures throughout the conference to post on the organization’s social media, I was able to sit in on multiple sessions that focused on branding one’s self in this day and age, reprogramming the negative bias that we all hold within ourselves, optimizing grit and resilience, useful tips for interview season, and pinpointing & combating microaggressions. In addition, I got the chance to do some networking and even got approached by a pre-med student who distinctly remembered me from a panel I was on back at AMEC in San Francisco! Shoutout to her for reading my blog on a consistent basis and I wish her the best of luck on her medical school application cycle!

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Oh and yeah, I was also busy playing an active role in a board meeting on Sunday. I had to give (A TON) of updates from my committee (External Affairs) as well as from an AdHoc committee that both my co-chair and I are in charge of. I did a lot of talking when it was my turn to give updates, and I’m happy to say that my updates were well-received!ย ๐Ÿ˜„ย Being on the Board of Directors is some serious work though; I feel like I’m always busy doing something for the SNMA. Matter of fact, SNMA tends to take up the majority of the free time I have when I’m not busy doing clinical work. While the endless amount of work can get irritating at times, I honestly am glad that I decided to join the board. The experience that I’m receiving coupled with the connections that I’ve been establishing makes it SO worth it.

I spent a good amount of my free time last week tying up loose ends that I had been putting off during my Heme/Onc AI. I ran a ton of errands, got my locs retwisted (ayyyyeeee I’m fresh), spent time with my girlfriend, prepared for the SNMA conference, did a lot of emailing, helped host some conference calls, and drove from Winston-Salem all the way up to Maryland. I even got to stop and visit some of my siblings on my trip up to the DMV! (DMV = D.C., Maryland, Virginia. That’s for those of you who thought I was talking about the godforsaken Department of Motor Vehicles). And last but certainly not least, I actually ended up getting some residency interviews last week!!!

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I honestly thought that I wouldn’t be securing any interviews until about maybe mid-October. With that said, try to imagine my complete surprise when I got my first interview last Monday! Ever since then, I’ve been on an unusually high level of alertness for new emails lol. Like, I really do look like a madman whenever I feel my phone vibrate. Boooyyy I be yanking my phone out of my pocket so fast…..

It feels awesome to know that residency programs are confident enough in me to give me a shot at training in their program. This application cycle is already proving to be leaps and bounds better than my medical school application cycle wasย ๐Ÿ˜…. I’m looking forward to my interviews and to hearing back from the other residency programs that I’m currently waiting on!

Okay I’m all done for now. My first day at Children’s National was wonderful; you’ll hear all about it plus more on my next post!ย ๐Ÿ˜‰

Keep your grind up this week!

“Let yourself be driven by your will to succeed rather than your fear of not succeeding.” – Kevin Hart

– Black Man, M.D.

State Of Emergency

In case you hadn’t already heard, my residency application was finally submitted on Wednesday, September 12th at 8:09 PM! I’ve officially applied for my first big boy job!

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Talk about getting a weight lifted off your shoulders. My application was actually already complete on Tuesday, but for whatever reason I refused to submit it that day. I just couldn’t bear to send it off knowing that I wouldn’t be able to revise it at all once it was gone. Plus I had until Saturday to submit it, so why rush to get it in? Thanks to my growing anxiety and hesitation, you can probably guess what I ended up doing. My application ended up going through a scrutinizing process, where I couldn’t help but double-check everything that I had typed into the application. My double-check was soon followed by a triple-check, then a quadruple-check, a quintuple-check, etc. etc. I continued this maddening routine the rest of Tuesday evening and all throughout Wednesday evening until my girlfriend called me out on it and encouraged me to press “Submit”. After sitting with me for about 20 minutes, I finally mustered up enough courage to send my application in. Even after sending it in, I felt some anxiety about not being able to edit it again…but then after looking at the PDF version that was still accessible in the ERAS system one last time, I finally felt at peace with my decision to send it out early. It was liberating to not have to think about sending it out as the deadline of Sept. 15th neared. If it wasn’t for my girlfriend though, I definitely would have sent it out much closer to Saturday lol. I was also pressured to submit it by the impending hurricane that was forecasted to slam the East Coast the same weekend that my application was due. And I would be damned if I lost power before being able to submit my application.

Speaking of Hurricane Florence, this storm really screwed up all my plans for the weekend. I didn’t even know about this storm until last Sunday evening, and it very quickly became the talk of the town as we advanced through the week. By Wednesday, it became very clear that North Carolina was going to endure a direct hit from this Category 4 storm.

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With that said, the state proceeded to declare a state of emergency and widespread panic ensued. The coastal areas definitely needed to evacuate, but the forecast wasn’t as certain for more inland areas like Winston-Salem and Charlotte. We still had to take precautionary measures though, so I ended up being relieved of all clinical duties from noon on Thursday and throughout the weekend. That was actually a bummer, because it was my last week on the Peds Heme/Onc service, a service that I had grown to love. But the precautionary measures didn’t stop there. I had been recently selected to be one of the student interviewers for this cycle of medical school applicants (yay meย ๐Ÿ˜„) and the mandatory training that I needed to attend was supposed to be last Thursday. That ended up getting rescheduled to this Tuesday afternoon.ย The annual Millenium Ball, a school-sponsored party that allows for all of the classes to celebrate the beginning of a school year together, was also cancelled.

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In addition, the World Congress of Ultrasound Medical Education conference that had been scheduled to take place at Wake Forest on Saturday, Sept. 15th was cancelled too. I mention this because I had signed up to volunteer for this conference back in the spring and I really wanted to learn all sorts of things from the world-renowned ultrasound experts scheduled to attend this event. So best believe that I was pretty annoyed about that, though I’m sure that Wake Forest was 1000x more annoyed than I was because they had been planning for this conference for God knows how long. I was then supposed to FINALLY get my locs retwisted, but I had to reschedule that for this Tuesday as well. And my girlfriend and I were looking forward to going to a nearby vineyard this weekend after I had submitted my application, but you can already guess what happened to those plans.

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So because of this hurricane-turned-tropical-storm, we’ve been chillin’ in my apartment all weekend getting work done while watching a ton of college football. The worst part is that the storm really didn’t even hit Winston that bad! I’ve thankfully had power this whole weekend, and we even went out to eat last night. So much for buying extra bottles of water and groceries. I even finally broke out my heavy-duty flashlight that my dad got me for Christmas last year! (Yes, my dad got me a flashlight for Christmas. And no, I did not ask for one.ย ๐Ÿ˜‚) Turns out that none of our extra supplies have been necessary up to this point. But I sure ain’t complaining! I’m really glad to have been fortunate enough to not suffer the very real consequences of this storm that other people along the coastline have had to suffer. I feel so bad for all the people who have been severely affected by the storm though. Even though Winston mainly got a lot of rain and wind, I don’t want to downplay the havoc that this storm brought when it hit land as a Category 2 hurricane. R.I.P. to all of the people who lost their lives to this storm.

Now that my Peds Heme/Onc rotation is sadly officially over, I have a week “off” until I head to D.C. to start my first away rotation in Allergy & Immunology at Children’s National Medical Center! I have a week “off” because the rotation schedules at my school and George Washington University are off by a week, so I had to use one of my “flex” weeks this week to compensate for that. It’s great because I can take care of a lot of tasks that I’ve been pushing off for a while and also get some downtime to rest for a bit. I can also attend the quarterly SNMA’s National Leadership Institute that is taking place in Delaware this weekend. I’m excited to see all the thrilling attractions that Delaware has to offer!! Said no one ever. But still, I think that I’ll get some great networking opportunities at the conference and learn valuable things from the speakers there. Plus, the conference site is only about a couple hours from D.C., which is pretty convenient for me. So Delaware, here I come!

That’s it from me today. Oh and before I leave, I just want to remind you that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month as well as Sickle Cell Awareness Month. How crazy is it that I was on my Heme/Onc rotation this month? If you can find a way to support the eradication of both childhood cancer and sickle cell disease this month, I encourage you to do so! And then while you’re at it, be sure to register to vote if you haven’t already!ย ๐Ÿ˜„

Make sure to have an exceptional week!

“Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.” – Winston Churchill

– Black Man, M.D.