Category Archives: Commentary

Investing in Medical Research: Resource-Intensive, Long-Term, and Worth It

By Ann Bonham, PhD

As Congress heads into summer recess, we will continue to see some heady days for medical research. The 21st Century Cures Act has provided a light at the end of a long tunnel of stagnant growth in NIH funding. While not a miracle “cure,” the bill is a good start to reversing the trend of stagnant federal support for medical research — setting aside $1.75 billion a year, for five years, for an NIH innovation fund. (See bill’s text here.) Continue reading Investing in Medical Research: Resource-Intensive, Long-Term, and Worth It

Medical School as a Reflective Community

By Mark Kuczewski, Katherine Wasson, Kayhan Parsi, and Emily Anderson

Judging from coverage in the literature lately, reflection as an educational tool is becoming increasingly popular in medical school. But instructors use reflection for lots of different reasons. In a recent article, we described how we use reflection in the formal curriculum and in two co-curricular programs at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Reflection permeates, even saturates, the curriculum here. It aligns neatly with the school’s culture and reinforces it. As we create a community of learners engaged in reflection, it raises a number of opportunities and challenges for our future work. Continue reading Medical School as a Reflective Community

My Week as a Country Doctor

By Ulfat Shaikh, MD

Originally posted June 22, 2015

Just got done with a week as camp doctor at a resident camp for children in Central California. I started volunteering as camp doc last summer, not just so I could clandestinely keep an eye on my own kids and take their pictures on the sly — but as a personal challenge to see if I could do one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs in medicine, being a country doctor.

Continue reading My Week as a Country Doctor

What Academic Medical Centers Can Learn from Lippi

By James McDeavitt, MD

Originally posted July 7, 2015

512px-fra_filippo_lippi_-_madonna_with_the_child_and_two_angels_-_wga13307What does this 15th century Renaissance painting have to do with a 21st century academic medical center?

Painted by Fra’ Filippo Lippi (a monk of some questionable repute) in about 1465, I selected this image as an analogy for our two broad challenges in building a successful academic medical enterprise in the rapidly changing healthcare environment.

The first challenge is the need to innovate.

At first blush, Lippi’s Madonna With Child and Two Angels may not scream innovation. However, in its time it included a number of groundbreaking techniques. Continue reading What Academic Medical Centers Can Learn from Lippi

What Moves Us To Act?

Originally posted June 23, 2015

By Susan Brown

I usually start my day with a Starbucks, so I was standing in the long line-up waiting to place my order. I noticed a young resident, well ahead of me in the line, pull out of the line. He grabbed a fistful of serviettes from the sidebar where the milk and sugar, lids and serviettes are found. He walked over to a middle-aged woman who was on her cell–she was sobbing inconsolably and her face was red and puffy, she had big sad tears strolling down her face. This young resident walked over and bent down as if to kneel. He put the serviettes into her lap and paused his hand on hers when she went to grab the serviettes. He looked into her eyes, paused and provided a look of acknowledgement, empathy and kindness. Then he walked back to the end of the coffee line … Many of us had witnessed this spontaneous act of genuine compassion and kindness and made way for him to move to the front of the line.

What moved this young resident to act? Or perhaps more importantly, what was it about him that saw his distraught woman and respond in such a caring and compassionate way? It was beautiful to see the tension in her face ease when he gave her the serviettes and demonstrated empathy. It was beautiful to see how other staff members in the Starbucks line watched the interaction and then volleyed him back up to the front of the line on his return. And it was beautiful to see how moved each of us was by this simple act of grace. The importance of staff-to-patient and staff-to-staff relationships were underscored. I’d like to think each of us here would do this if the same situation presented … I suppose the question is whether each of us sees these things when they are in our midst; does our culture empower us to act? Are we safe to reach out to one another and to our patients?

“Healing Beyond Science”

By Robert Folberg, MD

The title of this post is framed within quotation marks because the words are not mine. They were delivered by Mary Fisher, an author, artist, and AIDS advocate on the occasion of receiving an honorary degree as part of the commencement of the Charter Class of 2015 from the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB). Wing of Zock invited me to provide a follow-up to my post published earlier this year, “Kindness Beyond Curriculum,” where I described the underlying innovations that OUWB brings to medical education as a new medical school. I invite you now to pause and listen to Fisher’s address. [Fast forward to the 4:40 mark to skip the conferral of the degree if you wish.] Continue reading “Healing Beyond Science”

To the #MedSchool Class of 2015: Your Future in Medicine and the Triple Aim

By Susan Dentzer

I recently had the honor of offering the address at the hooding ceremony at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. In attempting to craft a memorable message, I reflected on the journeys that these students had completed as well as those that they were undertaking, and how their futures were directly linked to our continuing pursuit of the Triple Aim. Here’s an abridged version of what I told them:

Continue reading To the #MedSchool Class of 2015: Your Future in Medicine and the Triple Aim

Thoughts from a #MedSchool Professor on the End of the Academic Year


We have made it through another academic year. We will welcome the Class of 2015 into the fold of graduates (from undergraduate programs, medical school and other graduate programs). I always try to reflect on what has been surprising for me during this past academic year and what goals I will set for myself (as a professor and as a physician) for the upcoming year. I am reminded of my own graduation from medical school with my hopes and fears of the unknown aspects of starting the next chapter in my career/life. Now, many years out, I am very happy that I see that I have challenges ahead, goals ahead and things to reflect upon. Continue reading Thoughts from a #MedSchool Professor on the End of the Academic Year