medical students

Courtesy of David Vega

This is part of Essential Voices, a series of interviews with people confronting COVID-19.

David Vega is a fourth year-medical student at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Earlier this year, he was in Africa for one of his courses. He had heard about the coronavirus spreading in China, but didn’t think much of it.

He returned to the U.S. in early March, stopped in Florida to visit family and friends, and then came back to Indiana. He told Side Effects that his symptoms started a couple days later.

Photo by Parentingupstream is licensed under CC0.

A law professor in Illinois wants to put a stop to a medical practice that she says treats women’s bodies like cadavers. 

Across most of the U.S., teaching hospitals allow medical students to conduct pelvic exams on female patients without their knowledge or explicit consent. 

Southern, Midwestern States Tackle A Severe Doctor Shortage

Jun 16, 2016
The first class of medical students gathered last week to mark the opening of a branch of the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine on the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. Starting new branches of medical school
Arkansas State University

Earlier this month, dignitaries gathered at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro to cut the ribbon on a new medical school, only the second in a state with a dire shortage of doctors.

This Med School Teaches Health Policy Along With The Pills

Jun 9, 2016

Medical students cram a lot of basic science and medicine into their first two years of training. But most learn next to nothing about the intricacies of the health care system they will soon enter.

That's something the medical school at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., is trying to remedy.

New Orleans Medical Students Learn To Cook, Teach Their Community

Mar 7, 2016

The United States has seen the rise of chronic diseases and certain cancers, but it may soon see the rise of healthier diets. “When we see healthier eating, we see more disease prevention and less hospital stays, which means less money spent on healthcare,” says Leah Sarris, chef and program director of The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University, where medical students are learning to cook to better advise the health of their patients.

Greek vase with a depiction of a doctor treating a patient.
Marie-Lan Nguyen via Wikimedia Commons / Louvre Museum

You don't expect to see classes like fiction writing, drawing and drama in a medical school curriculum. But some of the county's top med schools are integrating arts and humanities classes in an attempt to build empathy for the patient experience of  illness, as Stat News reports. 

Oviea Akpotaire and Jeffrey Okonye put in long days working with patients at the veterans' hospital in south Dallas as fourth-year medical students at the University of Texas Southwestern.

They're in a class of 237 people and they're two of only five black men in their class.

"I knew the ones above us, below us," Okonye says. "We all kind of know each other. It's comforting to see another person that looks like you."

When doctors told Robert Madison that his wife had dementia, they didn't explain very much. His successful career as an architect hardly prepared him for what came next.

saiah Roggow, a third-year medical student at the University of California, Riverside, examines patient Becky Ketchum during the school’s free clinic.
Rebecca Plevin / KPCC

Time for a pop quiz: When it comes to health care, what’s the difference between cost, charge and payment?

“Does anyone want to take a stab at it?” Sara-Megumi Naylor asks a group of first-year residents at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

This story is part of a collaboration that includes KPCC, NPR and Kaiser Health News

Fourth-year students at a Tennessee medical school wait for residency letters telling them where they will finish their medical training. Tennessee is one of several states with too few residency positions for the graduates of its medical schools.

Last year, 369 students graduated from Iowa medical schools, but at least 131 of them had to finish their training elsewhere because Iowa had only 238 residency positions available.

The story was the same for at least 186 students who graduated from Missouri medical schools and 200 who studied at Tennessee schools. States such as New York, California, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania were happy to take them—all four states took in more residents than students they trained.

Medical Students Jump In To Help The Uninsured

Apr 7, 2015

At an Institute for Family Health center near Union Square in New York City, medical student Sara Stream asks a new patient named Alicia what brings her in. The 34-year-old woman arrived last summer from Guatemala, and says she hasn't been seen by a doctor in many years.

Her list of ailments is long.

"I have trouble seeing, headaches, problems with my stomach," says Alicia, who declined to use her full name, because she is in the country illegally. "I feel depressed."

The University of Texas Southwestern class of 2014 is celebrating graduation. Class vice president Amy Ho has shed her scrubs for heels and a black dress. She says with modern technology, med school really wasn't too hard.

"If you want to do the whole thing by video stream, you can," she says. "I would wake up at 10 a.m., work out for an hour or so, get some lunch and then video stream for 6 hours and then go to happy hour. It actually was not that bad."

AMA's Susan Skochelak On Reshaping Medical Education

Oct 10, 2014
stock photo

The field of medical education is experiencing just as much upheaval these days as the field of medicine itself. My next guest is Dr. Susan Skochelak. She is vice president for medical education for the AMA. And she's helping lead a national overhaul for how new physicians are trained. For one thing, she wants them to learn more about teamwork. 

Imagine a job where about half of all the work is being done by people who are in training. That's, in fact, what happens in the world of biological and medical research.

In the United States, more than 40,000 temporary employees known as postdoctoral research fellows are doing science at a bargain price. And most postdocs are being trained for jobs that don't actually exist.

Some of us are lucky enough to stumble into a job that we love. That was the case for Gabrielle Nuki. The 16-year-old had never heard of standardized patients until her advisor at school told her she should check it out.

"I was kind of shocked, and I was kind of like, 'Oh, is there actually something like this in the world?' "

Shortly after finishing my second year of medical school I have come to Iquitos, Peru. With a population of nearly half a million, it is the world's largest city inaccessible by road. Iquitos is located along the Amazon River, so the only way to get here is by boat or airplane. And cars come at a premium.

The main mode of transport is the motokar, a motorized versions of the three-wheeled rickshaw, with loud two-stroke engines and no emissions controls. Rush hour sounds as if you're surrounded by an angry swarm of lawnmowers. The exhaust can be stifling in the hot, humid air.

IU Surgery Residents Hone Skills In Art Class

Jul 18, 2014
stock photo

Last summer, reporter Sandy Roob sat in on an art class at the Indianapolis Art Center, where Indiana University plastic surgery residents sketched a nude male model. 

Author Danielle Ofri On The Challenges Faced By Medical Students

Jun 20, 2014
stock photo

Dr. Danielle Ofri, author of the book "What Doctors Feel," speaks with Sound Medicine's host Barbara Lewis on the range of emotions and struggles faced by physicians. Dr. Ofri is a 20-year internist at Bellevue Hospital; an associate professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine; and editor-in-chief of Bellevue Literary Review.

Barbara Lewis

After the overwhelming amount of pessimism and unhappiness among doctors was revealed in the 2012 Physician’s Foundation’s “Survey of American Physicians,” 13 Indiana University medical students organized a workshop to address the issue and look for solutions. Over 100 medical students attended. The daylong workshop “Finding Inspiration and Resilience in Medicine” was held April 25 at Eskanazi Hospital.

Medical Students Devote Free Time To Online Magazine

Jun 9, 2014
Sean Winters/

In-Training, an magazine run by medical students, fosters the development of future medical journalists and is devoted to creating well-rounded physicians. Joe Ladowski, a student at the Indiana University School of Medicine, and Ajay Major, a student at the Albany Medical College, edit the online publication. 

stock photo

Katy Kreider, a fourth-year medical student at the Indiana University School of Medicine, discusses her experience interviewing for residency programs across the country. Kreider reminisces about the wonderful patients she has had the experience of treating in the past and why she’s looking forward to her residency in family practice. According to Kreider, a smile is the most important thing to bring to an interview.

stock photo

Currently there are 110 student-run free medical clinics operated by 49 U.S. medical schools. These clinics provide the homeless and indigent population with medical care, while also providing training for the medical students who run them. Field reporter Scott Goldberg takes Sound Medicine behind the scenes of a student-run medical clinic in Chicago and exposes the problems facing the facility and clinics all over the country.

You might that the more you know about how medicine works, the less likely you are to be a hypochondriac. Yet medical students are some of the most intense hypochondriacs around. Why? Jeremy Shere and Barron Lerner, M.D., explain this troubling trend.