Tag: medical student advocacy

Swetha Tummala Swetha Tummala (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

Boston University School of Medicine


Swetha is a first-year medical student at Boston University School of Medicine in Boston, MA class of 2024. In 2020, she graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Arts in medical sciences. She enjoys singing, playing the ukulele, and baking in her free time.




Physicians’ Role in Addressing Racism

Mercedes drove two hours to the nearest healthcare clinic to get her first physical exam in ten years. I met Mercedes while shadowing a primary care physician, Dr. L. In the clinic, Mercedes divulged to me how nervous she had been driving in – she knew what the meeting held in store. Her fears were confirmed: just five minutes into her exam, Dr. L advised her, “Mercedes, you have to lose weight.”

To Stay Home You Need To Have One: Housing As Primary Prevention

Moreover, homelessness and COVID-19  both disproportionately burden marginalized populations — in particular, Black communities and Native Americans. When COVID-19 began spreading through the community, it came as no surprise that it would disproportionately impact those living in congregate homeless shelters. Overcrowded shelters, the inability to physically distance, and poor access to handwashing and hygiene facilities are coalescing for an unsafe environment that could accelerate disease transmission.

Care for the Homeless: Keeping Promises

It was a Saturday morning and there were close to fifty volunteers who gathered at a homeless shelter in Riverside, CA ready to give out hygiene care packages and offer free showers, haircuts, clothes, and food. Eager medical students and physician assistants provided free health care screening and visits. Efforts like these are fairly common — nothing groundbreaking.

Shut Up and Doctor?

Now, I am a fourth-year medical student standing at the foot of a tall ladder. The hierarchy of medicine requires that I follow some unwritten rules in order to climb. Throughout my training, I have gotten the sense that one of those rules is: avoid trouble, good or bad. Of course, now, doctors are beginning to find their voices through movements like White Coats for Black Lives. But as a young trainee, I sometimes feel the sentiment directed at James in 2018: shut up and doctor.

Are Medical Schools Addressing All Dimensions of Health? A Perspective from Philadelphia Medical Students

So, what is planetary health? It refers to a burgeoning field focused on understanding the health impacts of human-caused disruptions of Earth’s natural systems, including climate change and environmental pollution. This also encompasses the immediate and downstream health threats from such disruptions, which have impacts on communities at the local level — Philadelphia is no exception.

How a Pandemic Has Shifted the Conversation Around Harm Reduction

For a variety of reasons, the substance use population is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on data from previous financial crises, the emotional toll will increase rates of new substance use, escalate current use, and trigger relapse even among those with long-term abstinence. There may be a significant lag before these changes are detected and treated because health care resources are being funneled toward the pandemic.

Building a Sense of Ownership in My Medical Education Through Elective Curricular Development

When I began thinking of establishing an elective, I wished there had been a roadmap to follow to understand where to start and how to invest my time. Hopefully, by detailing my own process, which I’ve broken down into three phases, other students may feel that they too can take ownership of their education by developing something rooted in their passions for others to enjoy and learn from.

Structural Violence and Noncompliance: A 49-Year-Old Hispanic Woman with Metabolic Syndrome

Mrs. H’s story is just one of millions of Americans who have become victims of structural violence and suffered from the social determinants of health. With a clearer understanding of the complex factors that contribute to patients’ health outcomes, I now aim to reunite the erroneously separated domains of medicine and social sciences.

Yes, Doctor

Two years of intense studying should have culminated in a feeling of strength. I ended my second year of medical school thinking I was now prepared to do anything. I was excited to be a problem-solver, armed with the mental acuity to recognize diseases from A to Z, ready to proceed with the next step in my clinical training. Now, in my third year, it is finally time to act like a real doctor. But our superiors treat us like their personal assistants.

Rohan Patel (3 Posts)

Contributing Writer

American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine


Rohan is a fourth year medical student at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine. Upon graduating, he plans on pursuing anesthesiology, while continuing to focus on global health. His research interests encompass global perioperative health, social medicine, medical education, and quality control and safety. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor's of Science in biochemistry with a minor concentration in psychology. He enjoys traveling and exploring new languages and cultures, especially in Asia.

The Silver Lining

From the outside, medicine is a grand profession – physicians and trainees work together to help those that are in need while saving lives. However, every day we are faced with darkness that does not get shown to outsiders. How we deal with these obstacles truly shapes our experiences within this profession, often leading to physician burnout. This column will focus on some of Rohan’s personal experiences facing the dark sides of medicine, while shedding light on how one can overcome these challenges, as there is always a silver lining through all the darkness.