Author: Jennifer Tsai

Jennifer Tsai Jennifer Tsai (12 Posts)

Writer-in-Training and in-Training Staff Member

Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University


The white coat is a scary, scary thing, and I'm still trying to figure out if I should have one. If you like screaming about ethnic rage, dance, or the woes of medical education, we should probably do some of those fun activities that friends do.

I have few answers, many questions. Dialogue is huge. Feel free to email with questions and comments!




A Critique of Cultural Competency in Health Care

The cultural competency framework that has become the mainstay of medical education is often times employed in incredibly reductionist ways. It seems to propose that exposing physicians to homogenized, static and packaged ideas of culture will aid them in estimating patient behavior, preference or response in the clinic, thereby diminishing health care inequality. Training like this paves the way for even well-intentioned student-doctors to be explicitly ignorant under the auspices of clinical benefit. It spoils the good intent to create better patient outcomes by legitimizing the validity of stereotypes and the development of physician bias.

To Medical Student Activists on the Anniversary of the White Coat Die-In

One year ago, on December 10, 2014, over 3,000 medical students participated in the National White Coat Die-In. We knelt to the ground, rested our backs on concrete and tile, looked up at the ceiling and contemplated what it meant to be a citizen. We embraced a deafening silence pregnant with the implications of erasure. Our bodies, cloaked in the privilege of a white coat, painted a complicated image of advocacy and appropriation.

How Racism Makes Us Sick: Incarceration and Illness

Today, there are more people in jail for drug offenses then there were prisoners for all crimes in 1980. People of color comprise more than 60 percent of those incarcerated, yet represent only a third of the country’s population. While the issues leading to the disproportionate incarceration of people of color are many, I wish to focus on a single contributor which is the most important cause of America’s dramatic increase in incarceration — the structural racism readily apparent in our country’s approach to drug offense convictions.

Booster

For me, hepatitis B booster shots feel pretty much as pleasant as being sucker punched in the arm. You can imagine that it didn’t inspire much elation when I scrolled through my calendar to see, spelled out in big red letters, a reminder for “Hep B #3.” Now, as I reflect, this reminder feels like a victory of sorts.

Breeze

A woman once told me that babies cry at the slightest breeze because that is the greatest level of discomfort that they have yet experienced in their short lives. It is a reminder that we can persevere through life’s tribulations. That we grow from adversity. That new challenges make past trials smaller. That this, too, shall pass.

How Racism Makes Us Sick: The Medical Repercussions of Segregation

In the recent White Coat Die-In demonstrations orchestrated by medical students across the nation, aspiring physicians displayed solidarity with the message that racial injustice is a public health concern that merits the attention and efforts of health care professionals. It is clear from the mobilization and investment of our medical community that there is a desire to engage in clearer articulation and understanding of the health disparities landscape.

A Reflection on the National White Coat Die-In

This afternoon, medical students across the country, from Providence to San Francisco, will lay down on sidewalks and atrium floors in their white coats to express solidarity with ongoing victims of racial violence. As aspiring health care professionals, we don our white coats for these “die-ins” to express our commitment to the idea that racial injustice can and should be framed as a public health issue demanding our attention and efforts.

A Lack of Care: Why Medical Students Should Focus on Ferguson

You can’t ask your co-worker for narcotics the same way you can ask for extra Advil stashed in their purse or backpack. There are good reasons for this. Drugs like Advil or Tylenol carry no association with danger and can be easily bought at any local drugstore. While they are perfectly good for minimal pain relief from headaches or muscle soreness, they are underequipped for addressing major sources of pain. In comparison, opioid narcotics are serious painkillers.

Broken

Straight arms. Lock elbows. Depress three to five centimeters down into the chest. Stay perpendicular to sternum. Keep rhythm. Do not relent. “If you don’t break ribs, you’re not doing it right,” my classmate jokes. He must know — he is one of three experienced paramedics in the classroom. He has seen this all before. “There is a high risk, during cardiopulmonary resuscitation, that the ribs will be broken.” Our training pamphlet makes it clear. …

Jennifer Tsai Jennifer Tsai (12 Posts)

Writer-in-Training and in-Training Staff Member

Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University


The white coat is a scary, scary thing, and I'm still trying to figure out if I should have one. If you like screaming about ethnic rage, dance, or the woes of medical education, we should probably do some of those fun activities that friends do.

I have few answers, many questions. Dialogue is huge. Feel free to email with questions and comments!