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February 26 - March 1, 2015 

Taking a Risk to Teach a Lesson

The New Physician October 2014

Recently, I heard from a medical graduate who had spoken to us for a past story about his experience as an openly gay student at a medical school where that was not common. Though at the time he experienced no direct harassment, years later he was calling to explain that a patient had recently assaulted him verbally in the clinic, referencing quotes in our article.

At the time of the article, the then-medical student had not asked for any protection for his identity in the story, instead sharing the details of his experiences with our readers to help them understand a complex and important issue simmering at many medical schools. It was an important contribution. Many of our sources—especially medical students—take risks to provide depth and personality to our coverage, and I was aggrieved to hear that the student had suffered simply for helping our readers understand a different perspective. 

In this issue, you’ll again find very personal experiences of the challenges in medical training. In particular, second-year Joseph Johnson uses his experience as a minority med school applicant to explore the hidden difficulties minority premeds face that other students may not appreciate. It’s a great read, and begins on page 24. 

Though many medical students have family members practicing medicine, there are also many premeds who don’t have a close relative to serve as a precedent or role model, as in Joseph’s experience. In this issue’s Premed Adviser on page 15, writer Paul Wynn brings us some advice from other med students and admissions experts about the hurdles of being the first in your family to pursue medicine as a career. 

In our other departments, you’ll find commentary on the quiet erosion of unbiased patient care caused by subtle conflicts of interest (see The Oath on page 13) as well as an insider’s nuanced take on the promise of personalized medicine in this month’s Perspectives on page 29. 

This issue touches on several aspects of the medical student experience, and we’d like to share yours as well. Please let us know what’s going on for you by e-mailing tnp@amsa.org.

Pete Thomson
Editor