General MSPress Announcements

The Medical Student Press Journal is live!

The Medical Student Press Journal team is delighted to announce that Volume 4 Number 1 is now live! You can access the journal here:



Lance-Adams Syndrome: A Case Report, Alec Rezigh, Kayla Riggs



Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the Stethoscope with a Song, Geoffrey D Huntley

Learning Together: How Interprofessional Education Can Strengthen Health Care Professional Relationships and Improve Patient Care, Braydon Dymm

Improper Statistical Analysis: A Cause of Poor Translation of New Biomarkers into Clinical Practice, Justin Barnes

The Curation of Creative Hospitals, Shella Kirin Raja, Lilah Raja
DIG FAST, Puneet Sharma

Young Patient X, Logan William Thomas

The Watchman, Daniel Wang

The Longest Journey, Lauren DeDecker


The Teaching Dead, Alexandra Wood

General MSPress Announcements

New Year Wishes, 2016 Blog Highlights

Wishing all of our readers and supporters a new year blessed with good health, fulfillment, and joy. Thank you to all of those toiling as healthcare workers and defending the right of the pursuit of health for all. May this year be filled with teamwork and  innovation within medicine all towards the goal of alleviating human suffering and illness.

This year, the MSPress continued to enrich medical student dialogue with our various publications.  

Here are my favorite blog pieces from 2016:

The Doctor as the Advocate by Gunjan Sharma

Meaningful Community Involvement by Roy Collins

The Policy on Policy: Why Medical Students Need to Learn About Healthcare by Leigh Goodrich

Thank You for Being a Patient: A Reflection on Gratitude and Its Place in Medicine by Jordan Metsky

Frankenstein: A Tale for the Modern Age by Gunjan Sharma

Storytelling and Patient Advocacy by Ashley Franklin

A Farewell to Oliver Sacks by Josip Borovac

Other highlights include:

The MSPress Journal, Vol 3

The Free Clinic Research Collective, Vol 2

The Medical Commencement Archive, Vol 3

As a final plug, remember that the deadline to submit application to join the executive MSPress board is Jan 30th.



General MSPress Announcements

Call for MSPress Team Member Applications!

The MSPress Call for Applications 
Executive Team applications due by Dec 30th. These roles include: 
  • Executive Editor (in line to become Editor-in-Chief)
  • Medical Commencement Archive Associate Editor
  • Free Clinic Research Collective Associate Editor
  • MSPress Journal Associate Editor
  • MSPress Blog Associate Editor & Copy Editor
General Team applications accepted on a rolling basis. These roles include:
  • Editor
  • Blogger
  • Peer Reviewer
General MSPress Announcements

Call for MSPress Team Member Applications!

The MSPress Call for Applications 
Executive Team applications due by Dec 30th. These roles include: 
  • Executive Editor (in line to become Editor-in-Chief)
  • Medical Commencement Archive Associate Editor
  • Free Clinic Research Collective Associate Editor
  • MSPress Journal Associate Editor
  • MSPress Blog Associate Editor & Copy Editor
General Team applications accepted on a rolling basis. These roles include:
  • Editor
  • Blogger
  • Peer Reviewer

Our Thanks

We have had an incredible four years here at the Medical Student Press. Thank you to each of our executive editors, associate editors, editors, bloggers, peer reviewers, and readers! There are over 100 students across the globe currently involved with the MSPress with over 3,000 website views monthly. A huge thank you to you all this Thanksgiving holiday!

With appreciation,

The Medical Student Press Executive Team

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Image courtesy of Jeff S. PhotoArt

General MSPress Announcements Public Health Reflection

“Fulfillment in Practice”: Dr. Howard K. Koh, 2015 Commencement Address of the Yale School of Medicine

We are excited to publish the final contributor to this year’s Commencement Archive, Dr. Koh’s 2015 commencement speech to the Yale School of Medicine, “Finding your calling.”

Howard Kyongju Koh is the former United States Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 8.08.49 PMDr. Koh oversaw the HHS Office of Public Health and Science, the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, and the Office of the Surgeon General. At the Office of Public Health and Science, he spearheaded programs related to disease prevention, health promotion, the reduction of health disparities, women’s and minority health, HIV/AIDS, vaccine programs, physical fitness and sports, bioethics, population affairs, blood supply, research integrity and human research protections.

Dr. Koh graduated from Yale College and earned his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine. He has earned board certification in four medical fields: internal medicine, hematology, medical oncology, and dermatology, as well as a Master of Public Health degree from Boston University. 

Dr. Koh previously served as the Harvey V. Fineberg Professor of the Practice of Public Health, Associate Dean for Public Health Practice, and Director of the Division of Public Health Practice at the Harvard School of Public Health.  

Dr. Koh begins his speech by advising students to find meaning and fulfillment in medicine, regardless of external expectations,

“Please listen carefully to your inner soul so that you can discover your own sacred calling.  Doing so will help you express yourself, not just prove yourself. Doing so will help you determine in your life what is ultimate versus what is merely important.”

He continues by reminding students that patients will be teachers as well, and may be key factors in finding that calling,

“One way to learn more about meaning through your journey is to respect how your patients find meaning in their own. They can teach you in unexpected and profound ways. Sometimes the patients who will educate you the most will be the ones you couldn’t cure, no matter how hard you tried.”

He concludes and advises students to enjoy every step of the way,

“So please pay great attention to how you live your lives, not just as doctors, but as individual human beings.”

Visit the Medical Commencement Archive to read Dr. Koh’s full speech here


“The Three Ingredients of Medicine” Dr. Myron Cohen, 2015 Commencement Address of UNC Chapel Hill Medical School

This week, Dr. Myron  Cohen’s 2015 Commencement Speech at the UNC School of Medicine entitled, “Becoming a Citizen of the World” debuts via the Medical Student Press.

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 9.25.18 PMDr. Myron Cohen is known for his invaluable contributions to the construction of the HIV Prevention Trials Network 052, which established that treating an HIV patient with antivirals makes them less contagious to their sexual partners.

Dr. Cohen earned his medical degree from Rush Medical College, completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Michigan, and did his infectious disease fellowship at Yale University.

Dr. Cohen is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Health, the Yeargan-Bate Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology and Epidemiology, Chief of Division of Infectious Diseases and Director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Cohen’s research work focuses on the transmission and prevention of transmission of STD pathogens. Dr. Cohen and his coworkers have identified the concentration of HIV in genital secretions required for transmission of HIV, and the effects of genital tract inflammation on HIV.

Dr. Cohen structured his speech based on three “ingredients” of medicine that are essential to identify: change, being a citizen of the world and humanity.

“Diseases do not respect borders… Tomorrow -wherever you go- you might well be asked to deal with a patient from West Africa at risk for Ebola, or to make recommendations about measles vaccination.”

He continues by advising graduates to remain compulsive and balanced or the pleasure and significance of medicine may be harder to appreciate. He then concludes with reminding graduates of the privilege they now have of being physicians:

“And with this privilege and recognition comes responsibility: the responsibility to do your very best for your patients; the responsibility to contribute to the health of people in your community; and the opportunity for leadership for the graduates of UNC who will move to communities all over this great state.”

Read Dr. Myron Cohen’s full commencement address.


“The Power of Giving Hope” Chancellor Bill McRaven, 2015 Commencement Address of the UTSW Medical School

This week, Chancellor Bill McRaven’s 2015 commencement speech at UT Southwestern Medical School entitled, “The Power of Giving Hope,” debuts the Medical Commencement Archive.

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 9.52.28 AMBill McRaven, who recently retired as a four-star admiral after 37 years as a Navy SEAL, became Chancellor of The University of Texas System in January 2015.

McRaven also is a recognized national authority on U.S. foreign policy and has advised the President, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, Secretary of Homeland Security and other U.S. leaders on defense issues.

In 2012, Foreign Policy Magazine named McRaven one of the nation’s Top 10 foreign policy experts and he was later selected as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. He served as primary author of the President’s first National Strategy for Combatting Terrorism and also drafted the National Security Presidential Directive-12 (U.S. Hostage Policy) and the counter-terrorism policy for President George W. Bush’s National Security Strategy.

McRaven graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 1977 with a degree in journalism and received his master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey in 1991.

Chancellor McRaven begins his speech by boldly listing the very real responsibilities and expectations that graduates now have as residents and doctors in practice:

“As a patient, I want my doctor to be smarter than I am. I want them filled with knowledge and I want them to understand how to use that knowledge to confront the challenge before them… As a patient, my doctor must at all times be in command – in command of themselves, in command of people around them and in command of me.”

He continues by narrating his personal experience as a patient with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and the life-altering and healing power of hope that one physician gave him:

“All because one man gave me hope.  Because one man healed me of my greatest malady: fear.

Above all else, as doctors, you must give your patients hope.  Even under the most dire of conditions, hope can heal.  Hope surpasses all our understanding.

Hope is the medicine that gives smiles to the forlorn, faith to the disenchanted and life to the dying.

Give your patients hope.”

He finishes by reminding graduates that although delivering bad news can be spiritually crushing and debilitating enough to push physicians into an emotional separation from patients, maintaining compassion and faith is a moment that patients will remember forever:

“A thousand moments to restore their faith, a thousand moments to give them hope, a thousand moments to heal their wounds and to show them the love and compassion that every great doctor must possess.
And that first moment begins right here and right now, because for now and evermore, you will be the doctor.”

Read Chancellor McRaven’s full speech here.

General Narrative Opinion Reflection

Visit Your Ill Loved One Less, Please.

Mr. Gerald knew the exact day, three years ago that his wife moved into assisted living due to her early-onset dementia and primary progressive aphasia. After being admitted, she suffered a femur fracture, underwent surgery, and soon was no longer able to walk. Her dementia progressed rapidly. As I sat collecting interview data from Mr. Gerald in the hallway, his wife was being moved from her bed to her wheelchair; she was now unable to speak, only able to change her facial expressions and occasionally move her hands. I feared talking to Mrs. Gerald’s love, as I knew that he must be hurting tremendously. Making Mr. Gerald relay the struggles of the last few years simply for the sake of practicing my interview skills felt wrong. My sorrow began to mirror Mr. Gerald’s as the story of his wife’s incurable condition unraveled. He told me the intimate details of the Gerald family dynamic with great accuracy, stating that he was happy to be teaching medical students about their experiences.

“I am with my wife every morning and afternoon for six days of the week; our daughter comes on the seventh day. I am her companion and I keep her active constantly.” Honored to be speaking to such a dedicated husband, I asked, “…and what is that time like? Do you feel that your presence helps your wife with her condition?” Silence fell upon the room. Mr. Gerald tried to speak but was caught by tears. “Please,” I said, “you don’t have to talk about anything that you don’t want to – you are doing such incredible things for your wife. Thank you so much for sharing with us.” The other medical students added their humble thanks and Mr. Gerald continued,

“the aids here, the nurses, they tell me that my wife lights up when I am around – that it is simply not the same when I am not here.”

I asked Mr. Gerald about the strain that this illness has had on life and he relayed that tending to his wife was indeed difficult but it was his duty to do so for his loved one. Being by her side was crucial to him. He described his other daily activities, revealing the healthy social and family life that he maintains outside the assisted living facility.

The physical examination was next, so we moved into Mrs. Gerald’s room. Calling her by her nickname, Mr. Gerald walked in with great enthusiasm and began attending to his wife. Her eyes opened and she smiled, fixating all her attention on her love and ignoring the three white coats that brooded over her.

Once my time with Mr. and Mrs. Gerald was over, I consulted Mrs. Gerald’s medical file. As I read, I came across notes from the assisted living facility’s social worker:

“Mr. Gerald visits his wife frequently. With time, he should do so less.”

That is all that was written. Posing that family or friends aught to visit their ill loved ones less often is not such a cut and dry topic and surely does not merit such stringent of a statement. All families react to illness differently and this should not only be understood by healthcare providers but respected. This was a case of absolute dedication. The physician-patient relationship is secondary to the loving human relationships that enrich patients’ lives. Recognizing this essential fact is crucial to approaching patients and their loved ones humbly – without it, true healing is not attainable.


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Clinical General Lifestyle MSPress Announcements Narrative Opinion Reflection

“Preserving the Nobility of Medicine” Dr. Robert Alpern, 2014 Commencement Address of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Page 1 copyIn continuation of the Medical Commencement Archive, this Friday we are releasing a new commencement speech. Today’s commencement speech is titled Preserving the Nobility of Medicine. This commencement speech was given by Dr. Robert J. Alpern, a Northwestern University alumnus, to the students of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The esteemed Dr. Alpern is Ensign Professor of Medicine and Dean at Yale University School of Medicine. He also is President of the American Society of Nephrology, as well as a sitting Advisory Council Member of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Dr. Alpern took a moment for students to take a closer look at the value and weight of the two-lettered title: MD. He reflected upon the unique status given to physicians, and the reverence given to doctors from the community and from patients. Yet, at the same time the medical paradigm continues to evolve. Dr. Alpern astutely foresees a future where physicians must adapt to the growing roles in the medical team, changes in bureaucracy, and the changing expectations of patient’s for their treatment. Dr. Alpern also notes that these changes will influence the training and education of physicians. On top of our own desire to stifle the monsoon current of medical information during our education, there are legitimate concerns that the future medical student will receive but an abbreviated biochemistry course, or won’t need to take an MCAT, maybe even spend less time in medical school. Yet, Dr. Alpern urges one thing: to value the pursuit of scholarship. He reminds us that only with a strong foundation may a strong physician be built.

“We observe the patient and draw on our scientific understanding of how the body works and sometimes does not work, to develop a truth that we can implement as an action plan. We must know clinical guidelines and the most up-to-date treatment algorithms, but we must also be ready to identify clinical circumstances in which they do not apply.”

Dr. Alpern eloquently explains that, above all else, the pursuit of knowledge and scholarship is indeed the nobility of medicine. He reminds us to respect this pursuit in lieu of the changes we will see in our futures as physicians, such that “we do not return to the era of trade schools of medicine”. Dr. Alpern further mentions that, in addition to being a scholar, the physician must be compassionate, and that neither trait is mutually exclusive:

“I also want to make the point that an emphasis on science is not the antithesis of compassion, but it is rather the complement of compassion”.

At the end of his speech, Dr. Alpern concludes with this piece of wisdom:

“Do not be intimidated by the evolving healthcare system. Rather, as the next generation of physicians, you will define healthcare, and you must define it well.”