Through the course of medical education, students learn to call for “consults” from various medical specialties. Yet, consults can come in many forms — from social work, nutrition, law, ethics and policy. There is also much to be learned from premedical and post-bacc students, who may be walking into medicine with a fresh set of eyes. “Consults” invites experienced non-clinicians and undergraduates to contribute pieces relevant to the medical student community.

Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba (1 Posts)

Guest Writer

Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba is the Research and Policy Director for Children’s HealthWatch, a non-partisan pediatric research and policy network focused on improving the health and development of young children by informing policies that address and alleviate economic hardships, like hunger, trouble keeping the heat or lights on, or unstable housing. In this role, she oversees the network’s data collection, research and preparation of publications. She has co-authored more than 65 research and policy publications on a variety of subjects from food to housing to health care. She collaborates extensively with policymakers and advocacy organizations to disseminate Children’s HealthWatch original research. Prior to joining Children’s HealthWatch, Ms. Ettinger de Cuba worked at Project Bread – the Walk for Hunger, a statewide anti-hunger organization in Massachusetts. There, she focused on SNAP (formerly food stamps) policy and outreach and was the evaluator and interim project director for USDA grants to develop and pilot Massachusetts’ first SNAP website and online application. Ms. Ettinger de Cuba previously worked for the Agricultural Health Study at the University of Iowa, College of Public Health and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bolivia focused on small-scale agriculture and nutrition and hygiene education. Ms. Ettinger de Cuba received her BA from the University of Michigan and her MPH in International Health from Boston University School of Public Health, where she is also currently a doctoral candidate in Health Services Research.

Special Messengers: Physician-Advocates

Do you remember the last time your insurance denied payment for a visit or procedure you had? Or your gym double charged you for your membership fee? What did you do? Did you sit back and say – “Well, they must know better than me – I’ll just accept their decision.” Or did you call up and say, “Excuse me, but I believe there has been an error and I’d like you to fix it.” My guess is, you did the latter. What you did was advocate for yourself.

Teachable Moments: An Evening in the Emergency Room

I’m an academic and an educator. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I chose to be treated in a university setting. It felt right to me, that if I had to go through the experience of breast cancer, that my body would become a teaching tool. It helped provide some form of meaning to the experience. It is with this lens that I found myself regretting not calling out to the clearly first-rotation medical student while in the emergency room.

Are Financial Incentives the Answer to Our National Organ Shortage?

For patients struggling to stay alive, organ donation serves as a new lease on life. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are 123,358 people waiting for life-saving organ transplantation, yet there are only 13,125 organ donors. While subtle, nominal changes such as changing the U.S. organ donor program from an opt-in to an opt-out program have been proven to increase rates of organ donation, the rising levels of organ demand and stagnating levels of donors indicate that the only way to completely bridge the gap is through tangible and pervasive policy change.

Reconciling Religious Law of Orthodox Judaism with Medical Practice

Sometimes it is difficult to reconcile value systems that pull a person in opposite directions. Specifically in medicine, where the laws and nature of the work are so sensitive, yet also so important, it is within normal daily function to default to the ethics and American system of law. However, for Orthodox Jews, it is not that simple. Certain laws, such as the laws pertaining to the Sabbath, can make practicing medicine quite tricky.

Teaching Empathy to Aspiring Health Professionals

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on the blog The Arts & Humanities in the 21st Century Workplace by guest writer Jakub Kaczmarzyk. I see a unique side of people: the tops of their heads.  I can spot gray hairs, roots and baldness at a glance. Faces, however, often escape me. At 6-foot-3, it’s hard to always see them. Where does that leave me? Out of touch. We are inherently different people, seeing from different perspectives and facing different …

Why Health Care Costs Matter

It is no secret the US health care model is unsustainable. Costs continue to skyrocket, emergency rooms have become the primary care source for many of the uninsured, and physicians spend 22% of their time on nonclinical paperwork. Amidst the numerous problems and proposed causes, the unpredictable and high cost of health care is an undeniable symptom of a sick health care system. The price of procedures, visits, medications, and hospital stays has become a …

Pre-Med Courses: Fruitless Venture or Worthwhile Investment?

Upon graduating high school, many students have some sort of idea of their career as well as life aspirations. He or she will enter college and begin looking at coursework, thrilled at the opportunity to expand his or her knowledge in classes that were previously unimaginable. Orientation will come and then, the rock, an unreckonable force will finally hit. The time will come and the student will consult with either his or her pre-med or …

Compassion: Diagnosis Disappointing, Prognosis Hopeful.

As that white coat flutters down the corridors of the ward, clinic, or examination room, a feeling of hope emerges. The white coat, a ubiquitous symbol, has become synonymous with all the precepts that a doctor stands for. Trust, hope, and strength are all ideals that doctors strive to personify in their actions with not only patients, but also with their colleagues. By striving to actualize these precepts as a physician, one will lead a …

C. J. Skok C. J. Skok (2 Posts)

Contributing Writer and Former Undergraduate Guest Writer

Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine

My name is C.J. Skok and I am a MS-1 at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine - Midwestern University. I attended Indiana University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and Psychology (Honors), with a minor in German.