Super Star Blogs!

Congratulations to Kim! Premed of the Week!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello everyone! My name is Kim Kolb. Outside of medicine I have about the longest bucket list of things I want to do that someone can have! In the last few years I have been able to cross off skydiving, snorkeling, and parasailing! My boyfriend and I love to travel and are heading off to a 16 day European adventure in London, Paris, Zurich, Venice, Florence, and Rome in about a month (I am beyond excited =)) Other than that I plan on becoming fluent in Spanish, learning guitar, and developing my creative writing hobby.

2. Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you?
As far as my favorite teacher in school I want to take that in a different direction. In my early premed classes I was unfocused and interested in pretty much anything you mentioned that remotely related to medicine. This led me to go to just about every meeting and never really choose solid interests. It took the intensity of nursing school and my first year of working to focus my energies.

3. When did you first decide you wanted to become a doctor and why? 
Like many of you, I have wanted to be a doctor since I was very young. I was in a terrible boat crash when I was 8 that left me short one aunt and with a huge passion for medicine. I was so curious about what all the machines did that the nurses thought I must have been in shock =p (which I probably was), Unfortunately, my early grades at university were not good and not trending upward. This led me to change directions and head off to nursing school. The desire to be a doctor never truly left me.

4. What area of medicine are you interested in?
Working in dialysis and on a cardiac unit made me passionate about nutrition and palliative care. As a doctor it will be important to me to advocate for palliative care and educate all physicians on its importance.

5. What’s the coolest experience you’ve had so far on your premedical journey?
The challenges of being a new nurse always take a toll. In order to cope I found that VIDA volunteer travel trips really kept me grounded. This also bred an interest in public and global health! I hope to make it into a medical school with a strong global health program. Maybe this summer you all can read about my exploits on my new blog ;). If I had tried to go straight from undergrad to applying to medical school I would not be so motivated and focused.

6. Tell us one thing interesting about you that most people don’t know.
One thing interesting about me is that I love to write! I actually wrote a rough draft of a fantasy trilogy many years ago. If I ever find it, I’ll finish it and try to have it published! I love reading fantasy novels. Sometimes I need to get out of myself for a while!

7. If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you want to do?
While applying to NP programs this past year I realized I would never be happy until I went back and tried again! I could not see myself as anything but a doctor!

8. What has been your biggest obstacle as a premed and how did you (or are you) overcome it? 
As a premed my biggest barrier to overcome will be my early grades. The only thing I can do is make sure the rest of the classes I take end in A’s and that the rest of my application is strong.

9. What do you like most about PreMed STAR?
Sites like premed star and all of the online studying tools are amazing! I wish I would have had them 10 years ago! This site is such an inspiration. I look at everyones amazing profiles and it motivates me to keep building mine!
Thank you so much for electing me premed star of the week!

Five Ways to Get Motivated

5 Ways to Get Motivated

I get it….it’s easy to sit back and go with the flow.  Everyone else is on “chill” mode and you know you’ve got work to do.  But for some reason, you can’t turn on your “go” button.  Have you been in this position?  Better yet, are you stuck in it right now?  If so, here are 5 ways to get motivated!

  1. Expose yourself to someone you admire. There are few things that motivate us more than being exposed to people we admire.  When I was a kid, basketball was my thing.  I’d play all night long if my parents would have let me.  I was always a hard worker and was typically the last guy out of the gym.  Even still, there was always something, or should I say someone, that could push me the extra mile.  I remember watching recorded Michael Jordan games and highlights before I headed out to the courts.  By the time I got there, I was pumped to take on the world.  In my mind, MJ himself couldn’t have stopped me!  Nowadays, I pump myself up by listening to innovators of all backgrounds.  Who do you admire that can give you the energy to keep on pushing?
  2. Imagine the worst-case scenario. One of two things tend to drive people; success or failure. In some situations, the fear of what comes with failure can be a stronger motivator that success.  And at times, it is helpful to consider the opposite of your dreams as possible realities.  Gary V is a well-known business man and media tycoon.  He often shares that one of his biggest motivators is imagining what life would be like if he lost his family.  That’s a little too much for me to consider, but I understand what he’s getting at.  Sometimes, to appreciate your opportunities, you need to consider what life would be like without them.
  3. Imagine the best-case scenario.  Most of us have this one down!  We’d rather dream of the perfect circumstances an ideal lifestyle.  Just close your eyes and let your mind take you to that perfect little place. Think of something you want and allow the natural dopamine release to give you a little rush.  While this is a great exercise to do, it’s important not to get stuck dreaming.  The goal is to get a little teaser, so you’ll be motivated to work harder.  The dream can’t be enough for you.  You must wake up and go after the real thing!
  4. Think about the people you’ll be helping. As healthcare professionals, we must remember that there’s always someone waiting for us to make it to the next level, so we can take care of them.  Although they don’t know it yet, there is a patient that I will take care of next week who will be happy that I made it through my premed years, med school years, residency, and fellowship!  This person has waited all these years for me to be their doctor and care for them when our paths cross.  I owe it to them to deliver the best healthcare I can.  The same is true for you.  Your future patients are waiting for you to impact their lives!  This should be motivation enough!
  5. Listen to the right song. If you’re anything like me, no matter what type of mood you’re in, there’s always that one song that will get you pumped and ready to go.  I remember the morning of my MCAT, I woke up and prepared to head off to my exam.  Just before I got going, I played my MCAT song.  I know, it sounds corny, but ya…I had an MCAT song.  Sometimes you just need to hear the right words with the right melody to get you in the right mood!

 

Have you tried any of these tactics to get motivated?  What other strategies do you use to get going?  What’s your go to song?

Congratulations to Alberto! Premed of the Week!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. 
My name is Albert Aguilera. I was born in Mexico and migrated to California as a child. I grew up the Central Valley, an area predominantly agricultural in a town with around 60,000 residents. During an “Introduction into Health” lower division course, I became aware of “health care disparities” and this intrigued me because I had experienced them myself. I then began exploring careers in health and became passionate about pursuing a career in medicine. I graduated with a B.S. in Health Science. With encouragement from my mentors, I entered graduate school. I earned an M.P.H. and a Ph.D in Nutritional Biology from University of California, Davis. My research focused on nutrition assessment using noninvasive skin carotenoid measurement and nutrition interventions in a rural, agricultural community in California. I am now a postdoctoral scholar at UC Davis.

2. Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you? 
Dr. Farver, my professor for advanced biostatistics during my first quarter of graduate school. Biostatistics was a difficult subject for me. It was one of the first classes I had “failed” earning a C, which did not meet minimum B grade requirement. Although I was discouraged, Dr. Farver provided countless hours tutoring and guidance along my studies. His encouragement and persistence was vital for me earning an “A” the second time I took the course. Although I had despised biostatistics, I grew fond of my nemesis and turned it into my minor during graduate school. I thank Dr. Farver for his support and believing in my abilities, even when other faculty told me “…maybe graduate school is not for you.”

3. When did you first decide you wanted to become a doctor and why? 
After being intrigued about health during one of my classes, I began being involved with the health professions club on campus. This provided me with opportunities to volunteer at events and network with others. The first event, I got to participate in through the club was a free healthcare clinic being held at a local community center. They day of the event, I recall the long line of people waiting for the clinic to open. This was a reminder of the health disparities that millions in the U.S. are experiencing. Since I am fluent in Spanish, I was given the role health interpreter. I got to help ease the communication between the physician and patients. It was during my first interactions that I realized that barriers also went beyond the economic. After reflecting on this experience later, I felt that I could contribute to the solution that I had observed that day. This was just a piece of the story that helped me decide to pursue medicine, but it was the first one that had a major impact.

4. What area of medicine are you interested in?
I am interested in pediatrics. I had the pleasure of volunteering at an emergency pediatrics department. Here I witnessed the challenges a pediatrician has when explaining medical advice to a fearful parent, but also the joy of working with children who have an amazing ability to make everyone smile. My experience in graduate school focused on addressing nutrition challenges that young children face, particularly related to obesity. I believe that with rising costs of health care, it will be imperative to establish healthy life patterns early in life. This is particularly true in populations who are most at-risk. As a pediatrician, I see myself helping provide guidance to parents and caretakers, but also contributing to research that may influence policy. I have had the privilege of being part of a research project that includes physicians who are clinicians, researchers, and teachers. They demonstrate to me the value of being a physician who uses their expertise to impact health outside of the patient room.

5. What’s the coolest experience you’ve had so far on your premedical journey?
As a health educator for the Diabetes Interest Group (DIG) at Clinica Tepati (UC Davis health clinic), I have worked with providing health and nutrition education for diabetes patients. Clinica Tepati is a free clinic that serves a predominantly Latino population; many are bilingual, but most are more comfortable speaking Spanish. Therefore, DIG sessions were conducted in Spanish, which led me to educate myself more about particular Medical terminology in Spanish. During one discussion on fiber, the group had asked me why fiber was so important, more specifically, the biology behind it. In order to provide a culturally- and linguistically- appropriate presentation on this topic, I needed to pull out my entire tool kit. My nutrition expertise, training in cultural adaptation/presentation and my own experiences with Latino community all came together in order to present medical and scientific jargon of fiber in what I thought was a simple and clear manner. I first I thought I failed to communicate well, but to my surprise the group was very responsive and positive. One patient mentioned that they always heard “fiber is good for you” but actually understanding why it was good for you made her want to follow through with this advice from her physician. This was indeed a cool experience for me since it reminded me why I am passionate for medicine.

 

6. What is your favorite book? 
“The Good War” by Studs Terkel. As a self-proclaimed WWII history buff, I enjoy reading just about anything surrounding the topic. However, what made this book stand out was its presentation. Most history books paint WWII as an event that consumed the world in its chaos. However, “The Good War” brings forward the hidden experiences of people from different parts of the world and their perceptions of the war. What makes the book enjoyable is each chapter provides a lens into history in short bursts. I was fascinated to hear that many people accepted the environment of war and still managed to live their daily lives.

7. Tell us one thing interesting about you that most people don’t know. 
I started my undergraduate career wanting to be an architect/structural engineer. However, being naïve as I was then, I selected my undergraduate school because of the sports program, particularly to try out for collegiate football. On the orientation day, a few weeks before the semester started, I went to my counselor and told them I wanted to do architecture. To my surprise, I learned that the school did not have an architecture program. Although I chose my university for the opportunity to play football and do architecture, I ended up doing neither.

8. If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you want to do? 
I would continue being involved in health and nutrition, but without certain letters at the end of my name. The degree gives you a level of credibility and authority, but I know that I would be able to continue doing the activities that I do now outside the patient room.

9. What has been your biggest obstacle as a premed and how did you (or are you) overcome it? 
As a Mexican immigrant from a low-income, single parent household, many challenges arose. I held two jobs while attending school full-time for the majority of my undergraduate career. I struggled with “imposter syndrome” many times, believing I did not belong at the collegiate level. I endured the mourning of relatives who passed away. These are obstacles that I think many students experience.

However, the most challenging obstacle was learning to take care of myself. With the ever-growing expectations for premed students, the mounting pressure to fill up your application with leadership, clinic, extracurricular activities, research, and every other credential can be overwhelming. At one point, I felt like I was just a walking application. I stretched myself to be involved in everything while maintaining strong academic record. I reached the point of exhaustion many times. However, I felt I could not complain and it was just part of being premed. It was not until my senior year in undergrad that I opened up to others about this stress. I felt relieved when others expressed the same sentiment. From this, all encouraged me to take time to do other activities. I changed my viewpoint and accepted that it is ok to take time for myself, that this was not being selfish, but necessary to ultimately meet my goals. I think that medicine attracts many who are very passionate and unselfish, but we need to remind ourselves that we cannot take care of the world, if we do not first take care of ourselves.

10. What do you like most about PreMed STAR?
Having the opportunity to share your thoughts, experiences, and knowledge with peers and mentors is what I like most about PreMED STAR. We are all going to be colleagues in the future, so I think establishing relationships now will not only benefit ourselves, but our future work. From meeting others I have learned new ideas and different perspectives. I value this greatly and appreciate outlets like PreMED STAR that allow me to interact with people who share interests and goals.

 

Phi Theta Kappa Induction

I am proud to be a new member of this great organization. 

102 BRCC students were inducted into the Beta Mu Omicron Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society – the international honor society of two-year colleges and academic programs, particularly state colleges and community colleges.

Generation Z: You’ve Got Next

I took a second to review my surroundings during a clinic lunch one day. Another young provider was engaged in conversation with the guest speaker. A seasoned, middle-aged nurse quietly ate her meal while glancing at the materials. At the end of the table, two young nurses and a shadowing premedical student sat with their eyes glued to their cell phones. Another provider nearing retirement age was nowhere to be found. As usual, he was still in clinic booked through most of his lunch break. This really got me thinking about generational dynamics and its impact on medicine.

What generation are you?


I am not a fan of lumping large groups into a box but I am also not ignorant to the fact that generalizations and assumptions are at times helpful. As a proud 80’s baby, I guess I am considered one of those millennials or “Gen Y” guys. Recently, we millennials have been plagued with not so flattering adjectives such as lazy, impulsive, disengaged, and of course… entitled. However, we are also positively recognized for being accepting, tech savvy, resourceful, and entrepreneurial. My generation has entered the workforce over the past decade and have had to navigate through the stock market crash, housing bubble, social changes and borderless wars. At the same time, those of us who have chosen to be physicians are finding our way through a rapidly evolving medical field. Speaking to premeds across the country, I have come to realize that many are now classified as the generation Z or post-millennial cohort. As emerging adults, some of you are college students and others are nontraditional students attempting to find yourselves. We will soon be welcoming you into the profession so I thought I would briefly share three key areas I have observed across the past few generations.


Communication:

This is one of the most overlooked area I have observed in medicine. The fact that a team spanning 3-4 generations are now able to share the same clinic space, there is bound to be some type of conflict. I still feel uncomfortable hearing staff or patients who are baby boomers call me “sir”. I have learned to kindly accept this from them but never allow it to puff up my head. Some older staff are not welcoming of change and want things done the way they’ve always been while many millennials want a more modernized surrounding. I believe the younger members should occasionally set their gadgets aside and learn from the older staff about their interesting cases and techniques. Medicine to some baby boomers and generational X docs has shifted from an art to cookbook medicine. I also think the older staff can spend time with the younger ones in order to learn about tools that can enhance their style of care. Too often, these bridges are not formed and we stay in our own generational worlds.

As a physician, your communication with the patient is demonstrated through your bedside manner. I had an elderly patient last week look at me in awe as I auscultated her lungs. Soon afterwards, she smiled at me and said, “I was just so shocked that you young docs these days still do that.” Apparently, she and many others feel as though they aren’t even touched by the younger physician anymore. Many baby boomers are adapting to the diverse physician body and new tools used. Some are resistant to these changes while others welcome them gladly. There is a constant battle these days for face-to-face interaction with patients heavily due to the electronic medical records with all of the check boxes we must cover during each visit. This has been tough for us millennials but even tougher for the baby boomer and generation X physicians. Unfortunately, a number of seasoned docs have left medicine or have been forced into early retirement due to these changes.

Lifestyle:

This has significantly evolved over the past 50 years. I encourage you to take some time to speak to a baby boomer physician about their medical practice in the 70s or 80s. If you do, I hope you’ve got some time on your hands. Many conversations will start with, “Ahhh, the glory days of medicine, those were the days.” As you listen further you will realize that many of them worked hard. Super hard. Many found their identity in their work and medicine was a very well-respected field. Some would do house calls and there were no safety laws keeping them from performing 24-48 hour shifts as residents. The Sunshine Act was not in effect at the time, so some physicians of that day took vacations on the pharmaceutical company’s dime. Some of you may have physician parents who you rarely saw while growing up. Much of this has now changed as work-life balance has become a priority for many in the gen x and millennial groups. It is important for many of us to be present for our child’s dance rehearsal or soccer game. Many younger docs find positions where they can work part-time to raise a child and some even take on hobbies or side businesses. Dual degrees are becoming more and more common these days as we want the freedom to contribute to the world outside of the clinic as well.


The Future:

There remain a ton of problems with healthcare yet to be solved including expenditures, disparities, access to health, cost of schooling, and physician shortages. Many in the baby boomer and generation X groups feel disengaged in politics and business. Some come across as apologetic that medicine has slipped out of our hands as the local family medicine clinic is bought by the large hospital chain and new laws are placed forcing us to spend more time on notes than with the patient. I remain optimistic that these challenges will improve with my generation and the generation Z. I’m excited to see younger generations display courageous actions in their fight for better gun control laws. My generation faced the Columbine massacre but had little means to express ourselves. We applaud generation Z. I am amazed by premedical students standing up for social injustice at their state capitals. I see young docs and premedical students take the lead in creating apps and nonprofits benefiting hundreds to thousands of people’s health. This leads me to have hope that these problems can and will be solved one day. I am very excited about what you will bring to the field of medicine. 


I’d love to hear what generation you belong to and what ways you think your generation will impact medicine.

Congratulations to Tiana! Premed of the Week!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. My name is Tiana Clemons and I am originally from Chicago, IL but I’ve lived in Michigan for ~10 years. I attended Western Michigan University as an undergraduate and earned 3 Bachelor degrees and 1 Master degree. I am currently a graduate student attending Quinnipiac University and I will apply to medical schools this upcoming cycle. I love to mentor, read and dance.

2. Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you?
My favorite teacher in school and out of it is Life. She has taught me how to be present and considerate while dedicating my time to a commitment.

3. When did you first decide you wanted to become a doctor and why? 
The youngest I remember wanting to be a doctor was about eight years old. I loved learning about the human body and how different body functions occur. What solidified my decision to becoming a doctor was a lack of satisfaction in pursuing other career paths. No matter what, I somehow came back to medicine and helping patients and their families.

4. What area of medicine are you interested in?
I am interested in orthopaedic surgery, geriatrics, and cardiothoracic surgery.

5. What’s the coolest experience you’ve had so far on your premedical journey?
My coolest experience was working with a dementia patient to write a short story about her life. Every time we met she didn’t remember the last meeting, but by the time we finished the book She told me, ” I will never forget you”. That touched me to my soul.

6. What is your favorite book? 
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

7. Tell us one thing interesting about you that most people don’t know.
My initials are TLC and I think it’s awesome! Tender, Loving, Care is great for a future doctor 🙂

8. If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you want to do?
Absolutely nothing else – If I could be a doctor and do something afterward, then I would be a mentor and consultant for healthcare policy changes (public interest lobbyist)

9. What has been your biggest obstacle as a premed and how did you (or are you) overcome it?
The biggest obstacle I faced occured during my time as an undergraduate with overextending myself and a lack of resources. School, work, extracurriculars, and life were hard to balance and I didn’t really seek help. Now that I am a graduate student and VERY INTENTIONAL about my path to medical school, I make sure to stay at peace. For example, I positioned myself to solely focus on my graduate courses without a work obligation, I attend office hours, and visit an academic counselor every week. As a result, my first semester I earned a 4.0! I’m in my second semester and working to maintain my GPA while studying for the MCAT. Now that I know I can achieve academic success, I am confident that I can accomplish my goals.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

10. What do you like most about PreMed STAR?
I love the sense of community. It’s so vital to this process to know you’re not alone and that we can support each in
accomplishing our professional aspirations.

 

The Essence of Gratitude

Most times, I wonder why the opposite of every good thing exists. Don’t we all strive for a utopian world? Every profession is trying to make the wrong right, the worse better, and the broken fixed. So, why does the other side of the coin counters the endowments and lushness of life? Well, I think the answer can be simplified into a single word. That word is gratitude. For we humans to understand the value of the good, the bad has to permeate our existence.

As we sit right now, in our comfy homes, as the day melts into the night, the world is in chaos. Children are starving due to famine, people are dying from injustice and war, and women are having stillbirths. The list goes on. Understandably, we do not like to think of these world problems because it disrupts our happy bubble. How about if we think of these plights when we stumble in life or when we presume ourselves as failures. Ruminating on these thoughts creates a mindset filled with gratitude. You become appreciative of where you are in life. You give thanks that your circumstances were not any worse, and you move to action or pray for those who are in distress. You slide into a great space where you can set things right and rise above any obstacles. Gratitude makes you content, and contentment makes you happy.

When someone dies, you should be appreciative of life. It may be a day more or a minute more; you have to make it count. If you are rejected from a position, you should be thankful. It may reposition you in a better place to reach for the stars. If you are treated in an unfair manner, be thankful. You now know the importance of kindness. When you become sick, be thankful. You now understand the value of having a sound health.

Gratitude lurks in every darkness, waiting for us to behold its worth. Take a minute and look around you. Now, take another minute and look within. You have all these armies of cells working daily to keep you alive. You have a great network cheering you on to live your best life. You have passions, hobbies, and routines that feed your soul. You have a foundation- your beliefs– which guides your steps. Why would anyone focus on the worst possible outcome? Why would anyone begin to sow seeds of doubts that only bear fruits of fear? Live now and be grateful! Your thoughts will grow into actions, and your actions will create your tomorrow. 

How to Raise a Doctor

Before I get too far into this post, I want to strongly encourage you all to keep your hobbies!  Throughout your career, continue to do the things you love!  For me, one of those things is writing.

A few of you have asked about my book that was recently released.  I decided to drop a short excerpt for you all here and attempted to make the book free for a limited time, but was not allowed to (apparently I can only do that one day in a certain period of time).  So I dropped it as low as they’d let me, just for this weekend in case any of you are interested.  People usually ask how this idea came about.  A few years ago, a young mother reached out to me in desperation.  From what I remember, she was young and single.  Her question was simple, yet potent.  “Dr. Dale” she wrote, “what can I do to help my son become a doctor?”  At that moment, I made a promise to myself to answer this question, not just via a short 50 word reply on Facebook, but by providing something of true and lasting value.  It wasn’t only for her, but for all the other parents and teachers who are asking this exact question.  That is the reason I wrote How to Raise a Doctor.

To answer this mother’s question, I needed some help.  Although I spend a great deal of my time helping students get into medical school, my children are young and I haven’t raised a doctor. Fortunately, I know a lot of people whose parents have.  I asked a bunch of my doctor buddies to connect me with their parents.  I then interviewed and surveyed over 75 of them to learn how they raised physicians.  It was quite the journey and I enjoyed every second of it.  Now, I don’t necessarily plan to raise doctors myself, but my wife and I certainly do intend on raising leaders.  That’s what this book is really about, how to raise a leader.  I’ve drawn on lessons from various physician parents, as well as lessons from my own upbringing.  The result is a practical yet powerful book that’s an easy read full of stories and gems.

Surprisingly, one of the biggest take home points was; don’t raise a doctor!  Below is a short excerpt from chapter 2.  As a special PreMed STAR deal, we’re dropping the price to $2.99 for the next 3 days!  I hope you grab a copy of the book and share it with any friends who might be interested.  If you do, please shoot me a message and let me know.

*I should also mention that PreMed Mondays (my next book) will be out May 1st.  This one is a premed mentorship book and will be very applicable to many of you.

-Dr. Dale

 

How to Raise a Doctor is Available on Amazon

 

Chapter 2: Don’t Raise a Doctor

I know what you’re thinking, I thought this book was about how to raise a doctor, and now this guy is telling me not to raise a doctor! That’s exactly right. I’m telling you to not raise a doctor. Instead, raise a leader, and let that leader become a doctor, lawyer, author, president, or whatever he or she dreams to be. Let that leader change the world for the better! Hone in on your child’s gifts and nurture them to full development. This is what all parents should want for their children.

Would you believe me if I told you most parents I spoke with didn’t set out to raise a doctor? Well, it’s true. Only 22 percent of the doctors’ parents surveyed reported that they intentionally raised their child to become a doctor. This means that the clear majority, 78 percent, did not.

At this juncture, your question is (or should be): Should I intentionally raise my child to become a medical doctor? The fact that you’re reading this book would suggest you might be leaning that way already. I can help you answer the question right now with one finding from my survey. Among the 22 percent of parents who intentionally raised their children to become doctors, 71 percent of the children wanted to be doctors throughout their childhood. So, to answer your question, you should intentionally raise your child to become a doctor if he or she wants to be a doctor.

The Power of Suggestion

Seventy-one percent of the children who were intentionally raised to become doctors wanted to be doctors since childhood. With this finding in mind, the question then arises: Was it the influence of the parents that led these children to dream of careers in medicine, or did the desire truly belong to the child?

It’s true that parents can influence their children to pursue medicine. Mine did. The power of suggestion is a real phenomenon that can change behaviors, beliefs, and desires. To show you just how real it is, I’ll share the work of Dr. Julia Shaw. Dr. Shaw is a psychologist who has done extensive work in the field of memory and suggestion. Her research has shown the world how easy it is to influence the beliefs of other people. In a ground-breaking study, Dr. Shaw interviewed parents of college students to learn about their children’s upbringing. Next, she identified sixty of these students who had never committed a crime, then held a series of three interviews with each of them. The students were under the impression that the study was simply about their childhood memories.  The true objective however, was to see whether or not they could be influenced to believe lies about their past.

During interview one, Dr. Shaw initially discussed true events that had happened to the student. Once they felt comfortable, she introduced a lie pertaining to a crime the student had committed. Initially, students tended to deny the crime, but Shaw used social manipulation techniques such as a childhood friend’s name to make the situation seem real. By the third interview a few weeks later, 70 percent of the students had admitted they committed a crime that never happened. Amazing!

If Dr. Shaw could use the power of suggestion to convince 70 percent of her research subjects that they committed a crime that never even happened, then of course a parent can use this same power of suggestion to influence a child to pursue a career in medicine. The real question is whether or not it matters. Is it a bad thing to influence your children to chase dreams that you believe are magnificent? I don’t think so at all. The desire to achieve anything in life has to come from somewhere.

My daughter is an infant and is unable to plant her own tree. If I take her out to our backyard and plant a seed for her, then let her water and nurture it as she grows older, who does that tree belong to? I’d say it’s hers. By the same token, dreams planted by parents, but developed by children, belong to the children. This is the most important aspect to grasp in this book: the dream must belong to the child.

So, should you use the power of suggestion as a parenting tactic? Absolutely! Doing so would be responsible of you. Expose your children to good things and suggest they consider learning more about them. Remember, I said that you should intentionally raise your child to become a doctor only if he or she wants to become a doctor. The challenge then arises in knowing if your child wants to pursue that path. The only way to find out is for someone to suggest it along the way. What better someone than you?

……….

 

How to Raise a Doctor is Available on Amazon

How I Found My Premed Identity (and Why It’s Important To)

I haven’t been a premed for long. It wasn’t until my senior year of undergrad that I committed myself to becoming a physician. I started my college education undecided/undeclared. Don’t get me wrong; I had always been drawn to the health field. I was in love with the idea of being so closely involved in science and being able to help people feel better. All of the right intentions were there, but it took time for me to grow into the position I am in today. Slowly, as all of us do, I learned more about myself and which role I felt fit me best within the healthcare team. Fast-forward two years. I am still on my journey to getting into medical school but I’ve been fortunate enough to meet one on one with medical students, recruiters, and deans of admissions.

I had gotten the chance to visit a medical school and meet with a dean of admissions that I had met through PreMedSTAR. It was great- we talked about their curriculum, their mission, my interests and goals, as well as the future of health care and health education. At the end of our meeting, I thanked him for his time and asked if he had any advice for someone about to jump into the next application cycle. To my comfort, he said, “Lauren, there’s nothing I can tell you to do that you haven’t already done.” It was reassuring to hear that I was on the right track. But to my surprise, he said the most common mistake premeds make regarding applications is not applying to the right schools. We all know stats can be a strong indicator of how competitive our candidacy is, but more importantly you must be able to connect with their mission.

Each school has a mission statement that summarizes their most important values and core beliefs. Arguably, this may be one of the most important factors to consider. You might have the right GPA and MCAT score, but a school won’t just grant you admission if you don’t seem to share a common mission. So how do you find your premedical mission statement? This takes a lot of introspection.

I sat on this for a while. As I was trying to define my premedical identity, I found it easiest to reflect on my most impactful and valuable experiences over the past few years. I threw myself into research and found myself looking for opportunities to attend and present my findings at conferences. I noticed a lot of the time my mind drifted to how we could apply modern science to investigate current health issues or designing follow up experiments to those discussed in class. I realized how passionate I am about education. I assumed a role as an educator by being a peer tutor throughout school, partaking in community K-12 science outreach programs, and educating my patients on health results and screening guidelines. Lastly, I found gratification in pushing myself out of my comfort zone and becoming a leader. This last one has multiple paths I’m still exploring: leading by example, mentoring, supporting and encouraging my peers, and learning to speak up about issues.

I think by taking the time to define some of the aspects I value the most I found clarity on where I want to go next. I want to build on all of these qualities throughout medical school and incorporate them into my practice as a clinician. It only makes sense for me to go to a medical school where I am able to do that. On the other hand, it only makes sense for a school to really want me if I match what they’re trying to create. All in all, I suppose this was just a roundabout way of saying to remember that this is a two way street. Define your current and future self. Then look for the best opportunities that are going to help you get to where you want to be. 

Congratulations to Meg! Premed of the Week!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Meg Hammond and I am currently enrolled in a Pre-Med Post Baccalaureate program at the University of Delaware. As a “non-traditional” pre-med student, I graduated from Vassar College with a degree in Psychology and went on to complete my Masters in Public Administration at Marist College. I’ve spent nearly two decades working in the non-profit sector, looking to serve various populations in different ways. I currently work in healthcare administration and finance and am the owner of a consulting business where I provide reimbursement analysis to organizations throughout the United States.

2. Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you?
Two of my math teachers in high school were amazing. They were both strict in their expectations but clear in their instructions. Some people don’t like math because it’s hard to see how it’s applicable to “real life.” Because of them, it was clear that it wasn’t just the math I was learning; I was learning how to think and problem solve. And it is because of them that I never opened the book in my graduate-level statistics course as I knew the material from high school!

3. When did you first decide you wanted to become a doctor and why? 
While I have always wanted to help people and have had a love of science, early interactions with physicians put me off the idea of medicine. My first memory of medical “care” is being tied between two foam boards while various medical personnel attempted to draw blood from my six-year-old body. Hardly inspiring, unfortunately.

Then I suffered a serious spinal cord injury. And an osteopathic physician saved my life.

The fact that I initially hobbled into his office and walked out was admittedly impressive and I began to read anything I could get my hands on about Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM). The hands-on treatments provided significant pain relief but, more than that, my osteopathic physician showed me that I could be cared for and not just managed. He didn’t treat my MRI results, he treated a person. He showed me that it was possible to practice medicine with compassion and humility. He showed me that a practitioner could possess a broad knowledgebase and skillset that instilled trust. He practiced medicine that allowed for a partnership between doctor and patient when it came to recovery.

Had I not found him, there is no doubt in my mind that I would be another statistic associated with opioid abuse as I would have desperately sourced ways for pain relief.

I was lucky to have found him (and other physicians that have joined me on my journey of recovery) as I had the means and access to appropriate health care; it didn’t seem fair that I was going to be ok and others in equally precarious places of health would not. He held a place for my body to heal when I lost faith that it would; I decided that I had to become a doctor so that I could hold that place for others.

4. What area of medicine are you interested in?
Not surprisingly, I’m interested in the manipulation side of osteopathic medicine. To be proficient at it requires an expansive amount of knowledge in anatomy and physiology; you are a student for life. However, with the growing shortage of primary care physicians, especially in rural areas like my home in Delaware, the need for wrap-around medicine and physicians to coordinate patient care is increasing. It is my hope to work in a primary care setting that fully integrates the philosophies and principles of OMM.

5. What’s the coolest experience you’ve had so far on your premedical journey?
Originally, I read all that I could find on OMM so that I had a better understanding of what was going on in my treatments. During one of my treatments with my osteopathic physician, he started to explain what he was doing when I excitedly interrupted him and proceeded to finish his explanation of Stanley Schiowitz’s Facilitated Positional Release technique. He looked at me, chuckled, and commented that his students don’t know this. I have to admit that the idea that I knew more about this than some of his first-year medical students seemed pretty cool to me.

6. What is your favorite book? 
I can’t pick just one! The Hot Zone by Richard Preston tells the fascinating and horrifying story of the first Ebola outbreaks and is what originally peaked my interest in epidemiology and related fields. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins thoughtfully explores evolution from the gene’s point of view and cemented my interest in biology. On a more lighthearted note, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books by Douglas Adams are works of fiction that provide an irreverent and entertaining perspective of our place in the universe.

7. Tell us one thing interesting about you that most people don’t know.
I’m from Guam! I love the closeness to nature and the inherent sense of community that comes with island life.

8. If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you want to do?
I would pursue various clinical and coding certifications to broaden my medical knowledge and bring that to my work in healthcare finance. Honestly though, if I couldn’t be a doctor then there’s nothing else I would want to be.

9. What has been your biggest obstacle as a premed and how did you (or are you) overcome it?
Doubt. I haven’t completely overcome it as think we likely all have moments of it. For me, becoming a physician means giving up a career that I enjoy and am good at to go back to school, take on an enormous amount of debt, and work ten times as hard as I do currently…sounds crazy. But I know this is the path for me so every time doubt rears its head, I remind myself of that.

10. What do you like most about PreMed STAR?
I love to see the various paths that bring people to medicine. It’s fulfilling to see the diverse qualities that our differences bring to our pursuits in medicine. More than that, I find that individuals drawn to serve in this capacity have many similarities and it’s comforting to find support for our shared struggles via PreMed STAR.

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