Opinions

Rishab Chawla Rishab Chawla (2 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Medical College of Georgia


Rishab Chawla is a first year medical student at Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA class of 2024. In 2019, he graduated from Georgia Tech with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. He enjoys reading, going outdoors, and learning new languages on Duolingo in his free time. After graduating medical school, Rishab would like to pursue a career in psychiatry.




Essential Workers & Escapism

For better or worse, I have always partaken in escapism in one form or another. “Escapism,” defined as the practice of avoiding a difficult reality by immersing oneself in distraction or entertainment, is a concept that rose in popularity in the 1930s as a natural reaction to the Great Depression of the previous decade. Although I did not know it at the time, I have been practicing escapism since 2000 BC (before COVID). As the eldest daughter of immigrants who were new to the continent and busy building a life from scratch, I would get lost in stories from a very young age. I had little in the way of friends and even less of an interest in being popular, so naturally I was drawn to books to fill that emotional void; novels were the way to my heart — fantasy and fiction, oh my!

The Fallacy of Shared Decision-Making

I took a quick trip to Target a month ago and browsed for new jeans. I approached the clothing section and was suddenly struck by the overwhelming challenge I had undertaken. From rack to rack, I had to choose from a multitude of different brands (Levis, Wrangler, True Religion and more), different styles (skinny, bootcut, tapered and more) and different colors (blue, black, tan and more). I had to figure out my current exact size …

In Sickness and Health: Concern for Presenteeism in Medical Trainees

Presenteeism does not simply exist for seasoned providers; it seeps down the medical training pipeline and perhaps poses the greatest threat to trainees at the start of their careers. The fear of missing out as the “beginner on the team” can be paralyzing when there is so much important knowledge beyond us. Such pressure persists longitudinally, too, as trainees at every level fear that taking time off will appear as a lack of dedication to clinical education or will result in lower performance evaluations.

The COVID Narrative

Our illness narrative, the COVID narrative, is about so much more than regaining health (though I acknowledge that for those afflicted by the disease, overcoming the debilitating circumstances may be more than can even be hoped for). Returning to Frank’s ideas, our narrative is about rediscovering the voice that was stolen by forces beyond our control.

Beyond the Bottle

“We are taking him to rehab,” she said. I could hear a faint sigh of relief and happiness permeating her voice, which had been distinctly absent for the last few months. I could also hear wind whooshing in the background and a distant trail of her voice, which meant they were already on the road.

Taking a Wider View: A Medical Student’s Perspective on Reforming Obesity Medicine Training

As physicians, we must work to lift patients up when they are struggling, rather than shaming them into well-being. As Dr. Donald Berwick once noted, it is not always patients’ diagnoses, but their helplessness that kills them. Indeed, the helplessness we instill through our focus on individualism and molecular pathology in the clinical setting will ensure that this epidemic kills millions prematurely and costs billions of dollars. If obesity is a disease caused by society — its inequities, trauma, and expectations — then the solution for obesity should address more than just the patient sitting in front of us.

The “Problem” with Politics and Medicine

In 2018, a patient filed a complaint against a medical student for wearing a “Black Lives Matter” pin on her white coat. When the student reached out to her school’s administration, she received this response: “It is best to not raise barriers in the way we present ourselves … Some of your political pins may offend some people, and it is probably best not to wear them on your white coat or while you are working in a professional role.”

Alma Esparza Castañeda Alma Esparza Castañeda (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

University of California Riverside, School of Medicine


Alma is a second-year medical student at the University of California Riverside, School of Medicine in Riverside, California class of 2023. In 2015, she graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor of Science in human biology. She enjoys playing soccer, board games, and spending time with family and friends in her free time. After graduating medical school, Alma would like to pursue a career in pediatrics.