AMSA On Call
  • New Year, New You!

    Tracy Lee, OMS II
    A.T. Still University-SOMA
    Wellness Coordinator
    AMSA Trainee Wellness and Professionalism Committee

    Welcome to the New Year! This means a new you, right? I know many have New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, stay fit, or be healthy. How about we start off the New Year on a good foot? One thing I read recently said to make it GOALS instead of a resolution. A goal is something we can work towards that will not necessarily “resolve” by the end of the year.

    According the American Psychological Association (APA), many people have a laundry list of goals they want to accomplish by the end of the year, but remember to take it one-step at a time. Here are some quick tips by APA to help accomplish your goals.

    1. Start small: Make reasonable goals —ones that you think you can accomplish rather than pushing yourself to make goals that may be a stretch for you personally.
    2. Change one behavior at a time: Behaviors are developed over time, thus, changing many behaviors at once can be overwhelming. Changing behaviors will require time. For example, I had a patient who was a heavy alcoholic and a minimal smoker. Since she ...

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  • The Pre-Med Plan in a Nutshell

    With the New Year, comes a fresh start. Last month we discussed shaping your personal statement, but in the New Year, let's shift the focus onto your overall plan.

    Depending on where you are in your pre-med studies, you are going to need to do different things, but at minimum, you want to make sure you have a solid plan. A good template for a pre-med plan includes three categories - academic performance, academic potential, and the qualitative factors that shape you. Let's break down how you can maximize each of these three categories:

    Academic Performance:

    Medical schools pay particular attention to not only the grades you receive in your classes (pre-med and overall) but also to the trends in your grades, the types of courses you take, and the variety of courses. The great thing about being pre-med is you can major in whatever subject your heart desires. If you look at the typical cross section of a medical school class you will find students who majored in engineering, art, music, business, languages, English, and pretty much anything you can think of. Regardless of your major, however, you’ll need to take pre-med prerequisite classes such as General Chemistry, ...

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  • It's Never Too Early to Think About Your Personal Statement

    There is no doubt that the medical school application is complex. As a pre-med, regardless of where you are in your education - just starting out as a freshman or sophomore, completing pre-med courses as a junior or senior, or studying for the MCAT - it's never too early to start thinking about your personal statement. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes pre-meds make is to not start thinking about their personal statement early enough. In fact, whether you realize it or not, you have already begun to write your personal statement, or at least gathering the experiences that will shape your story.

    So as you take a step back from the hustle and bustle of school during the holiday season, I invite you to start taking some inventory of what makes you you! After all, the personal statement needs to be personal, and too often pre-meds take about everything but themselves in the statement.

    First and foremost, it's important to have a clear reason for your desire to study medicine - the inevitable, “why do you want to be a doctor” question. Rule number one, it is not good enough, nor will it help you at all, to ...

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  • Perspective: We lay down; now it's time to stand up

    Livy Low image

    (Photo courtesy Livy Low)

    Hannah Keppler
    Student, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

    Last Wednesday, thousands of students at more than 70 medical schools across the country staged “white-coat die-ins” to make a statement about racial injustice, including as it manifests itself in our health care system.

    As one of these students, I lay on the ground for 7 minutes, the same amount of time that Eric Garner’s body lay on a Staten Island sidewalk after he was choked to death by police. While I laid there, I thought about the systemic injustices in our society and how I and other students could effect change.

    When we first donned our white coats, my classmates and I took an oath to “do no harm.” To me, taking that oath was making a pledge to always respect and honor the value of human life.

    Looking at current inequalities in the health care system, it’s clear to me that not all lives are valued equally. Racial disparities persist, often insidiously. One study found that there is an excess of 83,570 African American deaths per year due to health disparities. [1]

    How can we explain this persistent inequality? Racial disparities are endemic ...

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  • Surviving Pre-med: When Work-Life Balance Matters Most

    AMSA and national partner Kaplan have teamed up for a blog series featuring AMSA leadership from across the country. We are calling this series The Premed Experience, and each week AMSA's On Call and Kaplan's Med School Pulse will post new articles from AMSA leaders on their premedical experience and journey to medical school.

    by Laté Lawson-Hellu, Professionalism Coordinator, AMSA Pre-medical Leadership Team

    Pre-med. That “Pre-,” tell us that we are working toward a specific goal. In our case that goal is medical school. With a great goal comes great challenges that we deal with day in and day out just so that one day we might lose the status "pre" and finally be one step closer to our common dream profession. Life as a pre-med student is incredibly challenging, and some of us face other external challenges due the environment we live in. For instance, some have to financially support themselves while taking classes, or some are taking classes and preparing for the MCAT. Some may also have to financially support their family while working toward their goals. Between going to school, working, and trying to stay sane (enjoying life), we risk an imbalance that can significantly affect our ...

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