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The MD path or the PA path

When thinking about a career in medicine, those who are leaning towards getting an MD often consider the Physician Assistant path; and if they're leaning towards a PA career they often consider the Medical Doctor path. On this show, PA students Steffanie Robertus and Terry Hayes join MD students Emma Barr and Katie Christel explore the similarities between their educational journeys, the exams they'll take, the career paths, and the lifestyles they'll enjoy. Then, Dave pits the two teams...


Don’t count on Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Former co-host and now PM&R Doctor Cole Cheney returns for a discussion of what he's discovered about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which rewards careers in public service by forgiving student loans after 10 years of qualifying work. The first 11 years have passed since its inception, and you'll never guess how many people have had their loans forgiven. Aline Sandouk, Dylan Todd, Brady Campbell, and financial aid counselor Chris Roling were on hand for a discussion of why...


The Harsh Truths and Pleasant Realities of Med School

Happy New Year! With the holidays slowing down the pace of listener questions, Dave asks new co-host LJ Agostinelli and old hands Rob Humble and Hillary O'Brien to discuss the harsh truths and pleasant realities of studying medicine. Plus, Yahoo! Answers gets another visit, and manages to live up to Dave's characterization of it as the saddest place on the internet. Scientists make themselves chuckle while proving a point about the gold standard of research, the randomized controlled trial,...


The Darkness Without: SAD in Med School

Madeline called to ask: it's finals week and you're stricken with seasonal depression--what's a med student to do? We feel you, Madeline. Luckily, Aline Sandouk, Nick Lind, Derek Bradley, and Hillary O'Brien are ready to throw open the curtains on their ideas to help. And Jeannet-tello hit us up on our Instagram to find out what she should do about impostor syndrome. Dave shares the recent video that UIHC Marketing and Communications unwisely allowed him to be in. Healthcare providers, if...


Mouths Wide Open

Aline Sandouk discusses with her co-hosts the recent breakthrough in her research--which is pretty much that she's experiencing the exact opposite of what PhD students fear, and that her research may just have a path forward. Whew! And while we couldn't answer any listener questions this week--hang in there, Madeline and Tiana, you're on the list!--we did answer anatomy questions asked with dental mouth spreaders in our mouths. Warning: this episode contains more than the usual amount...


Genetically Engineered Babies, Medical Student Influencers

Are you buying what med student Instagrammers are selling? You've probably noticed them. Cute med students hawking makeup and study guides on Instagram, posting photos of their fav study beverage, and composing carefully arranged shots of the contents of their backpacks, #medstudentlife #sponsored. Well, who can blame them--med school's expensive! But is it a slippery slope, just waiting for some unsuspecting student to lose their ethical footing? Short Coats Sam Palmer, Miranda Schene and...


LGBT in Med School

Short Coats Rob Humble and Claire Castaneda are joined by new co-hosts Mitchell Hooyer and Jeremy Sanchez to talk about their personal experiences as members of the LGBT community while studying medicine. They highlight Iowa's surprisingly inclusive nature--among other things, Iowa was only the third state to legalize same-sex marriage. And they discuss the interesting origin of CCOM's student group EqualMeds, as well as how LGBT topics are covered in med school curricula. We also answer the...


Recess Rehash: Poor: a deadly diagnosis in America, ft. Sarah Smarsh

This past week, the Carver College of Medicine hosted its 12th annual Examined Life Conference. Our featured presenter, journalist and memoirist Sarah Smarsh, grew up in a family of farmers and teen mothers in Kansas. Her family, laborers trapped in a cycle of poverty, made the kinds of choices that poor people must make in rural America--whether to eat or seek medical attention, for instance. Decades of inattention--and scorn--from politicians and the media have widened this class divide,...


Recess Rehash: Bonus Episode! Why You Might Want an MD/PhD

The MD isn't the only degree offered by many medical schools. For those who get excited about data, research, and advancing medical knowledge, you can add a Doctor of Philosophy degree. Of course, there are those who get their PhD separately from their Medicinae Doctor. Others get their PhDs from combined degree programs, including Medical Scientist Training Programs (MSTP). Aline Sandouk and Jayden Bowen took on the topic with a number of first-year MSTP students--why is an MD/PhD something...


Getting there from here, a novel recipe, and future projects

[We’re now available on Spotify and RadioPublic!] Co-hosts Tim Maxwell, Aline Sandouk, Annie Rempel, and Mackenzie Walhof confront pictures of their younger selves and offer themselves the advice they should have gotten at the start of their med school journeys. Listener Darius asks us for the best options to progress from his current work as an … Continue reading Getting there from here, a novel recipe, and future projects → The post Getting there from here, a novel recipe, and future...


An Episode of Questionable Things

As medical science progresses, it not only answers questions but generates even more. Listener Tyler pointed out a study (now on hold) that proposes to withhold the current standard of care for victims of penetrating trauma to try something else, and he wondered what we thought of the ethics involved. Co-hosts Nick Lind, Kyle Kinder, Madeline Slater, and Justin Hababag are here to help unwind these and other questions. For instance, we explore how far medicine has come in its quest for...


Hit By A Bus

Our newest co-host has already had a taste of fame. Abby Fyfe joins the crew this time, along with Aline Sandouk, Jayden Bowen, and Aditi Patel. Turns out, Abby is an old hand at being internet famous, because she was once run over by a bus. True story. She has since regained her 3-dimensional shape, but did she mine that experience for her med school applications? But first, listener Tyler wants to know: is your undergrad institution's reputation an important factor for med school...


Nebraska has questions.

Jennifer Andersen, a sociology PhD student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, teaches a course called Sociology of Health and Health Care. She reached out to us to propose that her students would send in questions for us as an extra credit assignment, which was a great idea we jumped on because it meant Dave would barely have to prepare for this show...I mean, it'd be a great education opportunity for her students' young, fertile minds. Ahem. Aaanyhow, her students really stepped up with...


Listeners Revolt!

We love listener feedback...even when it's negative. And this whole obesity thing is really great for generating negative listener feedback. For instance, Marlene thought our comments on nutrition were mostly wrong. And Laura didn't seem happy with what we thought was our neutral stance on keto, either, as she's having some success with it...although a lack of carbs looks just as bad as a bunch of carbs. We could ride this obesity gravy train all the way...but Dave is le tired. Fortunately...


Ambien Dreams

This week, listener Jen sent us an article from JAMA in which the author bemoans his tendency to let the electronic health record (coupled with his data-entry difficulties) dominate his attention at the expense of his ability to really see and empathize with his patients. The cost: missing clues that indicate a patient's progressive decline and family dynamics that contribute to the condition. Meanwhile, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend find themselves chewing on sleeping pill side effects,...


Bonus Episode! Palliative Care: A Perspective from A Land Where It Barely Exists, ft. Dr. MR Rajagopal

In most of India, palliative care--a medical specialty focused on improving the quality of life of people with life-limiting or disabling diseases--is available to only 1% of people who need it. But in Kerala, one organization is making lots of headway in promoting this vital specialty. In this episode, Pallium India's founder, chairman, and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Dr. MR Rajagopal visited the University of Iowa College of Medicine to talk about their efforts to introduce to Indian...


What Skinny Doctors Don’t Get About Their Obese Patients

Fifi Trixiebell (not her real name) wrote to asking us to discuss what medical students learn about nutrition, and whether they think the keto diet is just another fad. Luckily, Madeline Slater, Emma Barr, Kyle Kinder, and newbie Sam Palmer--M1s all--just had a unit on nutrition so that's an easy one. But Fifi Trixiebell had written in before, a message which--despite his policy of answering every listener question--Dave had passed over. Why did he ignore it? He's not...


Are physicians hopeless in the face of the obesity epidemic?

Listener Hannah wrote in after shadowing physicians, noting that many of the morbidly obese patients she observed resisted their doctors' advice to lose weight. Is there any hope that doctors can treat this intractable illness when patients don't "want" to do the work? Aline Sandouk, Claire Casteneda, Ali Hassan and Kylie Miller offer their views and what they've learned so far about treating this difficult disease. Also, in Dave's constant quest to 'contribute' to his co-hosts clinical...


Is AOA racially biased?

Aline Sandouk, Jayden Bowen, Aditi Patel, and newbie Madeline Slater are on hand to answer listener questions, such as J's query about the utility of post-bacc programs for med school applicants, and Chelsea's question about the use of primary literature in medical school curricula. We also discuss how membership in Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society boosts residency applicants' competitiveness, and what some schools are doing to ensure they don't leave out minorities underrepresented...


Man Ovens, Shoring Up Weaknesses, and Ditching the MCAT

Activia (not her actual name, though it probably should be. Feel free to take that name, anonymous caller) emailed us at to ask whether she should retake her physics classes (which she took while coping with other unfortunate life-related stuff) or concentrate on getting great grades in other courses. In addition, she wanted to know if admissions committees REALLY take into account extenuating circumstances? Well, you're in luck, Activia! We've got answers from...