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AMSA ad lib

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AMSA ad lib is the American Medical Student Association's podcast, bringing together the intimate perspectives of medical students and experts on topics ranging from specialty selection and personal finance to technological developments in medicine's near future.






77. What you should talk about in your personal statement

Leaving your personal statement to the last minute will lead to a frantic search for the right topic and in turn, not your best work. Many of the timelines you’ll see out there place preparing for your residency application in your third year of medical school. But waiting to think about starting on your application materials until then, could mean you’re missing out on getting the most out of a meaningful experience that took place in your earlier years.

Duration: 00:17:36

84. The experience of disaster and response

A week and a half ago, Hurricane Harvey struck coastal Texas. Even now, Hurricane Irma is slamming into Caribbean islands and will soon approach the Southeastern United States. T.J. La, student editor of The New Physician magazine, grew up in Houston and experienced Harvey both as a resident of the city and as a future physician.

Duration: 00:17:40

Ep. 38: Leadership is learned. Here's how

Learn how to be a effective leader. We've all heard that leaders aren't born, they are made. But who "makes" them, and how? In this episode, Drs. Deborah Hall and Suzanne Rose explore the importance of medical leadership, starting in medical school, and how med students can improve their leadership skills.

Duration: 00:21:10

59. Keeping residency interview travel costs down

You’re unlikely to attend only one residency interview, and even then, it’s doubtful that it’d be right in your backyard. Traveling for residency interviews adds to the list of those hidden costs around the corner in med school, and sometimes the best way to prepare yourself is by hearing from those who did it before you.

Duration: 00:15:44

83. Interview questions asked: A residency program director answers

Why do program directors ask the questions they ask during the residency interview? What are they looking for in your response, and how do they evaluate the success of your answer? We turned the tables on Dr. Tom Kuivila, Residency Program Director in Orthopaedic Surgery at Cleveland Clinic, to learn why program directors ask the questions they ask, what kinds of answers they're looking for, and how to give the right responses during the interview process. Hear how he would answer both...

Duration: 00:22:52

57. Make the most of "social" interviews on the residency trail

Some residency programs host a social event for you to meet current residents and interns from the program before the formal interview takes place. A former program director and recent residency applicant explain what you should be looking for out of this experience, how you can use it to your advantage, and how important this interaction really is to residency programs during their selection process.

Duration: 00:18:39

82. Dr. Kevin Pho on social media, medicine and future physicians

How can you establish and manage your online presence as a future physician? And better yet, why is that important to your future practice? We caught up with Dr. Kevin Pho, founder and editor of, and a leading physician on social media.

Duration: 00:24:32

Residency work hour limits: How to deal with the increase

The ACGME voted this year to change the rules on work hour restrictions, allowing interns to work up to 24 hour shifts with an additional four hours of transitions in care--an increase from the 16 hour shift restriction that was previously in place. How can you stay resilient going into your intern year with this change?

Duration: 00:35:49

80. Don't make these mistakes in your med school interview

Your prerequisites, GPA, MCAT prep and essay answers have gotten you this far. Now it’s time to ace the med school interview. Setting your nerves aside and facing a med school interviewer--does it really all come down to this moment? How do you get ready? What should you do once you are there, on campus? What should you not do? We spoke with two experienced interviewers and experts about common mistakes they’ve seen made, how to avoid them, and what medical schools want to find out about...

Duration: 00:32:03

51. Make your international experience count

You’ve completed an international elective or global health experience; so, what’s next? Explore how you can maximize the value of that experience and what next steps you should be taking upon your return with Dr. Joseph C. Kolars, Senior Associate Dean for Education and Global Initiatives at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Duration: 00:14:36

79. The gateway to med school: anatomy lab

It’s a ritual so common among medical students that it would be cliche--if it weren’t so solemn. For some medical students, the experience of anatomy lab--when the medical student first pulls back the shroud on a body donated for study--marks the boundary that separates physicians from lay persons. For some medical students, it’s their first tactile exposure to the magical inner workings of the human body. For some, it’s a first shared team experience, working together with colleagues just...

Duration: 00:19:50

66. Five things no one ever tells you about med school

You’ll hear about the classes, the professors. You’ll hear horror stories about particular rotations. Friends and other med students will tell you all about exams. But when it comes to looking at the big picture of being a med student, they may be leaving out the social and emotional sides. Here are five true things no one will tell you about medical school.

Duration: 00:18:14

78. How to strengthen your resilience, get ready for residency

Medical training and practice will be hard on you, and on your peers. Surviving the stress takes preparation and awareness. We'll hear how one medical student used self-care to prepare for her transition to medical school, and AMSA's Rebekah Apple explains the importance of resilience and some steps for building it up.

Duration: 00:27:35

'What do I talk about in my personal statement?' answered

Leaving your personal statement to the last minute will lead to a frantic search for the right topic and in turn, not your best work. Many of the timelines you’ll see out there place preparing for your residency application in your third year of medical school. But waiting to think about starting on your application materials until then, could mean you’re missing out on getting the most out of a meaningful experience that took place in your earlier years. Corbb O’Connor, one of AMSA’s...

Duration: 00:17:28

76. 5 pitfalls of the personal statement: Don't be the PB&J

Boiling yourself down to one page may seem impossible, or maybe even a little depressing. It doesn’t have to be that way--in fact, it shouldn’t be that way. The personal statement is a chance to connect all of the dots. It’s an opportunity to explain your interest in medicine--and your value to it--better than a Step 1 score. Medical schools typically offer some guidance on developing your personal statement, at least in the form of a few examples or templates. As much as you like, though,...

Duration: 00:15:40

75. Golden tickets, toxic egos, and med student drug use

Medical school is traumatic at nearly every stage of training. The resulting wear and tear on medical students has lasting, detrimental effects. One of those is substance abuse. Does it have to be this way? What are the factors that contribute to substance abuse among medical students? From ineffective feedback to the stress of the residency Sorting Hat to the toxic, corrosive nature of the physician ego, Dr. Daniel Gouger--AMSA’s Education and Advocacy Fellow--walked ad lib’s Pete Thomson...

Duration: 00:23:23

74. Full ride to med school? Inside Uniformed Services

Medical school comes at a high cost; are you ready to take on thousands debt? Maybe you don’t have to. In fact, you could leave with none at all. Joining the armed forces is one way to have your medical school paid for in its entirety, but what’s the trade-off? AMSA ad lib sat down with Aaron Saguil, MD, FAAFP, LTC (P), USA, MC. Dr. Saguil serves as the Associate Dean for Recruitment and Admissions at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Hébert School of...

Duration: 00:25:04

73. Taking on curriculum reform at your med school

Medical students at the Yale School of Medicine have recognized the need for understanding sociology and health justice as an important part in the development of physician professional identity, as well as how these principles underscore the social determinants of health that impact patient care. The group, in part led by Robert Rock, Yale School of Medicine class of 2017, engaged in a curricular reform project within their institution. Their commitment progressed from what began as a...

Duration: 00:22:08

30. Stand out to a med school admissions committee

Med school admissions isn't just about GPA and MCAT scores anymore. Applicants have to explain how medicine is a good fit for them, and vice versa. But how do they convey that in their application and to a medical school admissions committee? We talk to admissions expert Dr. Gary Rose.

Duration: 00:22:19

9. Advice from Dr. Vivek Murthy

Last Friday, Dr. Vivek Murthy was abruptly replaced in his position as the U.S. surgeon general. In this episode, we look back at the inspiring words of one of the youngest surgeons general. As the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Murthy worked to educate the general public about their own health. But drawing on his own background and lessons from his personal journey, he offered sage advice at AMSA’s 2015 convention to medical students about overcoming challenges they’ll...

Duration: 00:25:21

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