MD Program

Five weeks in Medellin, Colombia

Greetings! On behalf of Dr. Jorge Tolosa, MD, MSCE and recent OHSU graduate,  Britt Severson, MD, MPH, I will spend five weeks in Medellin, Colombia working on a research project involving tobacco exposure in pregnancy. The project involves two surveys: one targeted to prenatal care providers and one for pregnant patients in four different medical institutions throughout the city. Besides promoting our project (through presentations to potential participants) and finalizing the survey instruments, I am gaining clinical … Read More

1 down, 3 to go

Ah, summer. Despite the recent rain, it’s nice that the summer is finally here. Our faculty and upper class people have all been pleasantly referring to this as “The Last Summer Break of Your Life,” complete with ominous music. It’s true; I can’t believe that we are done with our first year of medical school! Looking forward, I’m pretty sure the next three years will pass as quickly as the first year did. Looking back, … Read More

Meeting my future

As my classroom education winds down – I’m in the very last week of basic science classes now – I spent several days getting a glimpse of my future education. I headed to Seattle for the American Geriatrics Society’s annual meeting, where I had the chance to listen to several continuing-education presentations and help present a poster at a student-research session. I like Seattle, and have friends and family there, so I was glad about … Read More

Film: Voices And Concerns of the Uninsured & Underinsured Millions

Health Care Equality Week culminated in a health screening fair on March 11, 2012, at O’Bryant Park in conjunction with PotLuck in the Park. This was the 5th Annual health screening fair (formerly called Cover the Uninsured Week), and 275 underserved Oregonians had a chance to receive health screenings and see physicians. Many Oregonians shared their personal health stories with students filming for the Voices And Concerns of the Uninsured & Underinsured Millions (VACUUM) Project. … Read More


Model patients. That small sentence almost implies that there is supposed to be an ideal that our patients are working towards, but actually it is more descriptive of part the training medical students receive here at OHSU. 3 times a year in our first two years, we don our professional attire and white coats in order to take histories and perform physical exams on actors trained to portray an illness or injury. This training emphasizes … Read More

Reflections on community service through iCHEE

I am so grateful for the opportunity to participate in this program. The experience was eye-opening in so many ways. I grew up in Portland and I didn’t know that such a place like the VOZ Work Center existed. I always had an interest in global health and working with the underserved. Through iCHEE I learned that the underserved are not just in Africa or Asia or third world countries. There are people who need … Read More

The Final Countdown

If you can read the board in this picture, you will see what has been striking fear into my heart for days now. Not “Pig meeting — Dr. Morgan will be talking about painful sex taco bar.” As strange and sinister as that sounds (who wants a painful sex-taco?) such bizarre messages are common ads for med student lunch topics. I recently promoted a talk on physician-assisted suicide with the promise of homemade cookies.

Med students relax INTENSELY

Question: How do medical students at OHSU stay balanced? What do they do for fun? Medical students stay balanced by relaxing INTENSELY. The logic goes as follows: If one studies and trains intensely, then to stay truly balanced – that is, to counter the academic intensity – one must also take intense vacations and enjoy intense hobbies. On a recent three-day weekend, for instance, my classmates planned to relax by hiking to the summit of … Read More

This learning curve feels more like an icy cliff

“Okay Mr. X, little poke… “ Ouch! “Nearly there…” [Mr. X is beginning to not-so-subtly pull his hand away from me] “Shoot.  Okay…just a few more minutes….” The above scenario lasted in fact only one more minute, and that is only because Person A (me) finally called it and relinquished the task of placing Mr. X’s IV to my (much) more experienced nursing colleague.  And though Mr. X was exceedingly gracious and understanding of the … Read More

Students still focused on crisis of uninsurance, unequal care

One general truth I’ve learned about health: Ignoring a problem rarely makes it go away. Imagine you regularly get winded and feel your chest clench up for a minute after climbing stairs. Yes, if you rest a minute the pain might subside. But that doesn’t erase the root problem of disease choking off the flow of oxygen to your heart. If you don’t make an effort to uncover and address the underlying problem, you’re courting … Read More



Ever wondered what life is like as a student at OHSU? What does it take to become a researcher? Just how gross is gross anatomy? Welcome to the blog that answers these – and many other – questions. It’s students writing first-hand about their commitment to careers in science and health care. It’s honest about the challenges as well as the joys. It’s not always pretty. But it is our story. Thank you for sharing it with us. And please, let us know what you think.

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