As medical students at Emory, we spent our first six months building a firm conception of what it means to be healthy. It did not take long to appreciate how much of our patients’ health would be determined by their social context before they ever walk into our clinics and hospitals. The importance of adequate and healthy nutrition, safe housing and manageable stress is clearly linked to patient outcomes. We can see these issues on the ballot in every election. In this sense, voting is healthy.
This past summer, I was fortunate enough to be an intern for the government relations arm of a national medical society. Below is an attempt at recreating a “Hill Day” so that you, the reader, can get a better idea of how policy is influenced.
When I was six, a set of strawberry hair ties foiled my endeavor for independence. My mother had a way of twisting the plastic ornaments at the end of her operation so they sat together like two friends on a bus, neat and obedient at the crown of my head. Despite my assertions, (“I can do it myself!”) I could never align their orbits.
In March 2016, six medical students at Harvard Medical School launched #endstep2cs, an initiative aimed to garner support for the termination of the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) that is currently administered to medical students prior to graduation. This past week, we talked with Christopher Henderson, one of the organization founders, and Dr. Peter Katsufrakis, the senior vice president for assessment programs at the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), to discuss the faults and merits of both the CS exam and the student-led initiative to end it.