MD Program

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

See one

Earlier this month, I helped out with teaching a class at Roosevelt High school, through the Student National Medical Association / Latino Medical Student Association, with help from the student interest groups for Emergency Medicine and Surgery. I got to watch 6 of my peers, both first and second year medical students, teach this group of teens how to tie surgical knots and how to do basic sutures. As you might expect, the response of … Read More

What do you think the teacher will look like this hour?

If I’m counting right, I had 14 teachers this week. Since we had a test Friday, that’s 14 people over 20 hours of class time. I’d hit 23 if I count the doctor I work with in clinic and the patients I saw — and, frankly, no one teaches me more. This isn’t an unusual week. Medical school is remarkable for the enormous breadth of knowledge presented to us. In our first two years, we … Read More

I love my job, I love my job, I love my job

Remember learning how to ride a bike? I don’t, not really anyway. What about learning how to do long division? Physics? Pulmonary physiology? (I don’t know that I ever really learned this the first time through. Dr. Thornburg, we still miss you!) I ran into Dr. Ciment at the Body Worlds exhibit this year. He was the anatomy course director from first year of med school; and I was a teaching assistant for his anatomy … Read More

Future providers should begin their medical careers already civically engaged

As I go through my medical education, I realize more and more the impact that health policy has on a population’s health. Whether this is legislation that governs how providers practice, or legislation that determines how many people can afford care, what happens in Salem and in DC is extremely important to me as a future physician.  Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, and in the midst of severely tight budgets, many changes have … Read More

School of Medicine x School of Nursing

I was recently visiting the Midwest for a residency interview at one of the major Pediatrics program in the region. During a presentation about the program by one of the current chief residents, an interesting remark was made in regards to how rounds were being conducted throughout the hospital. She stated that pediatric rounds were family-centered, with the nursing team present as well (nothing new, and something that is done here at our fine institution). … Read More


Mid-December brought us first- and second-year med students a much-needed winter break. Mine was lovely, punctuated by only a few moments of panic as I contemplated studying for this summer’s upcoming board exam or attempted explaining this grueling test to my family. The boards, which I have affectionately started calling That Which Shall Not be Named, will be haunting the mind and soul of every second-year medical student ever you meet, for the rest of … Read More

“Don’t let your tongue wreck the rest of your body”

I used to ask all my patients about their sleep. It was an area I felt comfortable with, having worked for a year in the OHSU sleep lab and treating folks with sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and REM behavior disorder. Now, I ask them all about diet. My quick and dirty is, “How’s your diet–what did you eat last night?” I can get a pretty good sense of their nutritional status with this one question. In … 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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