Over 100 years since the 1910 Flexner Report resulted in the closure of all but two predominantly Black medical schools, underrepresented minority (URM) medical students and faculty still struggle to surface amid the rising currents of medical education.
This past summer, I was fortunate enough to be an intern for the government relations arm of a national medical society.
“No, no, no,” I repeated, first silently and then as a whisper, as I frantically pushed the elevator button. The reliable elevator chime did not ring, and the button light would not stay on. “Great. Fantastic,” I sarcastically muttered.
“That’s rubbish.” My new friend — I’ll call her Sylvia — lay supine on her bed, staring bleary-eyed at the ceiling. White bedsheets swathed her long, gaunt limbs, and her sickly pallor startled me.
Dan and I mimicked ducklings as we followed our senior resident, Tassia, single file down the stairs on our way back to the resident room. As we neared the bottom, we crossed paths with another medicine resident leading two medical students playing the same roles as Dan and I.
Do you remember the classic high school physics project where you were tasked with designing a contraption that would protect an uncooked egg from a high fall? At first, this task may have seemed daunting and maybe even impossible, but with a little inspiration, persistence and learning from several scrambled eggs, you likely achieved success.
“I used to be an elementary school art teacher in San Francisco.” The more he smiled and the more he spoke, the larger the lump grew in my throat. He wore a grayed t-shirt that matched his unkempt black beard.
My palms were sweaty as I slid on my blue gloves and boot covers, feeling excited and anxious at the same time. “I’ve delivered hundreds of babies,” Dr. Johnson said. “I think I can give you this one.”
“Military Medicine” would be grossly incomplete without a physician’s input, particularly one who spends so much time with veterans. I asked Eric Young, MD, a hospitalist at the Denver Veterans Administration (VA), for his perspectives on service, medicine, their intersection and the greatest opportunities for medical students.
The Veterans Administration (VA) is as indelible and resilient as the patients it serves. The service has changed, succeeded beyond belief and otherwise trudged along to the present. As a preclinical medical student, one hears all kinds of things about “this one VA patient,” without any context, and it piques curiosity.
In honor of Veterans Day, the in-Training staff would like to dedicate a few pieces in “Military Medicine” to the Veterans Administration (VA), an institution entrusted with serving those who served us. This article is a primer, perhaps more correctly a gross oversimplification, of the history of veterans’ health care in the United States.
And whenever I see you smile / There are significant changes in my cardiology, / I love you