Heidi Chumley, MD
As we continue to evolve how we prepare medical students to join the US physician workforce, we should continue to create global health experiences that will impact how we approach clinical practice—whether that be when managing a diverse patient population or when addressing the global health issues that are now on our doorstep.
When I was in medical school, we often saw the term international health in the context of faraway villages where issues like access to clean water, sanitation, and basic understanding of the spread of disease were at the heart of figuring out how to improve a community’s well-being.
As medical students, we viewed short-term medical mission trips as our way of getting a glimpse of the world outside our environment and gaining exposure to not just tropical diseases that we would never see at home, but also to the ways that healthcare providers in these settings coped in order to care for their patients.
Things changed somewhere along the way, and what we used to call international health became global health, the term much more indicative of a connected world where diseases–and physicians–crossed borders. A decade ago it was SARS and later the avian flu. Recently we had our first cases of Ebola in Dallas and New York City. Global health, it seems, has come home.
In the journal Family Medicine, Dr John Frey III of the University of Wisconsin writes that global health experiences can be “a treatment for [US] medical myopia,” referring to a seeming inability for the US clinical and educational systems to learn from other cultures and systems. “At its best,” he writes, “global health offers a perspective based on humility rather than arrogance and on an openness and generosity of thought that changes thinking and practice in all directions.”
By David Anthony, MD, MSc, Alec Chessman, MD, Kristina Duarte, MD, ScM, Katie Margo, MD, of Medicine Jacob Prunuske, MD, MSPH, and Martha Seagrave, PA-C.
This is in response to a previous blog post, How Faculty Can Prepare Students for the Match.
In an effort to address the increasing challenge of assisting students in obtaining family medicine positions in the Match, Michelfelder et al recently published a set of recommendations derived from discussions at sessions presented at the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) Conference on Medical Student Education (MSE) and the Association of Departments of Family Medicine Conference. We commend the authors on their important work, and we support many of their recommendations, including:
- Encouraging increased communication between medical school advisors and program directors
- Discouraging students who do not “see themselves as thriving as family physicians” from applying to family medicine programs
However, we take issue with one of their recommendations, and pose an alternate viewpoint.
The authors state that “Most clerkship directors recommend students apply to 20–40 programs to increase interview offers.” While this statement may represent the prevailing voiced opinion during the lecture discussion at MSE, we take issue with the claim that most clerkship directors recommend students apply to 20–40 programs, and we vigorously disagree with the recommendation. Broadly encouraging students to apply to such a large number of programs will worsen the challenges of students in obtaining interviews and residency positions.
Betsy Goebel Jones, EdD
For the past 5 years, I have been intimately involved with the Family Medicine Accelerated Track, or FMAT, at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine (TTUSOM), so I’m always interested when an item lands in my Twitter feed or inbox about 3-year medical school curricula. As a result, it’s been hard to ignore the irony of not one but two Perspective articles in the September 19 New England Journal of Medicine (by Abramson et al.) and (Goldfarb and Morrison) and at least one prominent blog post (by Pauline Chen), all prompted by NYU’s launch of a 3-year pathway to the MD—and just as I was preparing for the AAMC meeting in Philadelphia that had as its theme “The Change Imperative.”