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Insider insights on getting into, and thriving, during medical school | University of Michigan – Michigan Medicine

Its no secret that getting accepted into medical school is highly competitive, and for those who are admitted, making the choice of which school to attend can feel overwhelming.

Hearing insights and advice directly from those who have successfully navigated the process and are currently thriving in medical school ahead of you, though, can be invaluable.

Here, five University of Michigan medical students share their experiences for current and future applicants, breaking down some of the most asked about elements of the process (you can also watch their livestream Q&A video above.).

Kelsey, fourth-year medical student: I think it's important to think about your most important experiences to you. I would pick three or four things that feel really meaningful. I was an EMT prior to coming to medical school. I made sure I really had crafted my story around that and what was important for me to share. I also was a middle school teacher. I thought through those experiences and what valuable lessons I learned from those and what I want to convey to an interviewer. It's important to practice with friends and family.

In general, there's kind of standard interview questions that get asked at a lot of different interviews: what are your strengths, what are your weaknesses, what's a challenge you have overcome. Having a couple of prepared answers will help alleviate a lot of stress when youre interviewing.

Chelsie, second-year medical student: I had never in my life been interested in cardiology. Now I'm interested in doing a cardiology fellowship. It was due to me being able to reach out to faculty and talk to them about their experiences. It's not like having to beg or pull teeth. Michigan is a great institution with brilliant faculty members. People who are leading their fields. To be able to work with these people, learn from them, hear about their backgrounds and how they got to where they are, in hopes of maybe me getting there one day, it's so inspiring. It gives you more fuel to keep going when you have faculty who validate you constantly.

Matt, first-year medical student: One thing that is unique or nearly unique about Michigan Medical School is we only do one preclinical year. It is a true pass or fail. I've been blown away the first few weeks of school. We had a quiz after the first week and folks were sending their big study guides they put together in our class group chats. The preclinical year is six blocks. Those are little terms, with midterms in there. You have a final block exam at the end of each of those blocks, which range from four weeks to ten weeks.

Kelsey: Clinical year is great. We do it the second year versus the third year. You do a bunch of rotations. You have so much responsibility if you want it. You answer pages, you go see your patients, and you really get to own them. But, at the end of the day, I have residents, an intern, a senior faculty and an attending faculty who are all looking over my shoulder and making sure I'm not making mistakes when it comes to taking care of the patient. It's incredible learning without the scary pressure that youre going to mess anything up.

I can wholeheartedly say the Michigan process works, and you learn a lot. I feel really ready and excited for residency.

SEE ALSO: What does it take to get into Michigans medical school? Just ask the new dean

Quintin, fourth-year medical student: Not only are we getting the experience of being able to perform things, write notes, come up with differential diagnoses, and fully manage our patients as best we can with a lot of the guidance that was discussed, but we are also allowed to flex our teaching minds.

You realize as a medical student that its really helpful to have a resident who is interested in teaching, and I am one of those people who is very interested in it. So it was nice to work on that now, see what works and see what I can carry forward or what would I change as I move forward into residency.

Xinghao, second-year MSTP student: Our learning community, M-Home, has a lot of spirit. It's about support and community, and that's important. My house counselor, Christine, Ive cried to her on multiple occasions. I will admit that. If you end up in Fitzbutler House, you probably will cry to her too. Medical school is hard. Life is hard. Definitely having a support system that cares about your emotions and how happy you feel in school makes it all worth it.

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Unraveling the Mystery of Touch | Harvard Medical School – Harvard Medical School

Some parts of the bodyour hands and lips, for exampleare more sensitive than others, making them essential tools in our ability to discern the most intricate details of the world around us.

This ability is key to our survival, enabling us to safely navigate our surroundings and quickly understand and respond to new situations.

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It is perhaps unsurprising that the brain devotes considerable space to these sensitive skin surfaces that are specialized for fine, discriminative touch and which are continually gathering detailed information via the sensory neurons that innervate them.

But how does the connection between sensory neurons and the brain result in such exquisitely sensitive skin?

A new study led by researchers at Harvard Medical School has unveiled a mechanism that may underlie the greater sensitivity of certain skin regions. The research, conducted in mice and published Oct. 11 in Cell, shows that the overrepresentation of sensitive skin surfaces in the brain develops in early adolescence and can be pinpointed to the brain stem.

Moreover, the sensory neurons that populate the more sensitive parts of the skin and relay information to the brain stem form more connections and stronger ones than neurons in less sensitive parts of the body.

This study provides a mechanistic understanding of why more brain real estate is devoted to surfaces of the skin with high touch acuity, said senior author David Ginty, the Edward R. and Anne G. Lefler Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. Basically, it's a mechanism that helps explain why one has greater sensory acuity in the parts of the body that require it.

While the study was done in mice, the overrepresentation of sensitive skin regions in the brain is seen across mammalssuggesting that the mechanism may be generalizable to other species.

From an evolutionary perspective, mammals have dramatically varied body forms, which translates into sensitivity in different skin surfaces. For example, humans have highly sensitive hands and lips, while pigs explore the world using highly sensitive snouts. Thus, Ginty said this mechanism could provide the developmental flexibility for different species to develop sensitivity in different areas.

Moreover, the findings, while fundamental, could someday help illuminate the touch abnormalities seen in certain neurodevelopmental disorders in humans.

Scientists have long known that certain body parts are overrepresented in the brainas depicted by the brains sensory map, called the somatosensory homunculus, a schematic of human body parts and the corresponding areas in the brain where signals from these body parts are processed. The striking illustration includes cartoonishly oversized hands and lips.

Previously, it was thought that the overrepresentation of sensitive skin regions in the brain could be attributed to a higher density of neurons innervating those skin areas. However, earlier work by the Ginty lab revealed that while sensitive skin does contain more neurons, these extra neurons are not sufficient to account for the additional brain space.

We noticed that there was a rather meager number of neurons that were innervating the sensitive skin compared to what wed expect, said co-first author Brendan Lehnert, a research fellow in neurobiology, who led the study with Celine Santiago, also a research fellow in the Ginty lab.

It just wasnt adding up, Ginty added.

To investigate this contradiction, the researchers conducted a series of experiments in mice that involved imaging the brain and neurons as neurons were stimulated in different ways.

First, they examined how different skin regions were represented in the brain throughout development. Early in development, the sensitive, hairless skin on a mouses paw was represented in proportion to the density of sensory neurons.

However, between adolescence and adulthood, this sensitive skin became increasingly overrepresented in the brain, even though the density of neurons remained stablea shift that was not seen in less sensitive, hairy paw skin.

This immediately told us that theres something more going on than just the density of innervation of nerve cells in the skin to account for this overrepresentation in the brain, Ginty said.

It was really unexpected to see changes over these postnatal developmental timepoints, Lehnert added. This might be just one of many changes over postnatal development that are important for allowing us to represent the tactile world around us, and helping us gain the ability to manipulate objects in the world through the sensory motor loop that touch is such a special part of.

Next, the team determined that the brain stemthe region at the base of the brain that relays information from sensory neurons to more sophisticated, higher-order brain regionsis the location where the enlarged representation of sensitive skin surfaces occurs.

This finding led the researchers to a realization: The overrepresentation of sensitive skin must emerge from the connections between sensory neurons and brain stem neurons.

To probe even further, the scientists compared the connections between sensory neurons and brain stem neurons for different types of paw skin. They found that these connections between neurons were stronger and more numerous for sensitive, hairless skin than for less sensitive, hairy skin. Thus, the team concluded, the strength and number of connections between neurons play a key role in driving overrepresentation of sensitive skin in the brain.

Finally, even when sensory neurons in sensitive skin werent stimulated, mice still developed expanded representation in the brainsuggesting that skin type, rather than stimulation by touch over time, causes these brain changes.

We think we've uncovered a component of this magnification that accounts for the disproportionate central representation of sensory space. Ginty said. This is a new way of thinking about how this magnification comes about.

Next, the researchers want to investigate how different skin regions tell the neurons that innervate them to take on different properties, such as forming more and stronger connections when they innervate sensitive skin.

What are the signals? Ginty asked. Thats a big, big mechanistic question.

And while Lehnert described the study as purely curiosity-driven, he noted that there is a prevalent class of neurodevelopmental disorders in humans called developmental coordination disorders that affect the connection between touch receptors and the brainand thus might benefit from elucidating further the interplay between the two.

This is one of what I hope will be many studies that explore on a mechanistic level changes in how the body is represented over development, Lehnert said. Celine and I both think this might lead, at some point in the future, to a better understanding of certain neurodevelopmental disorders.

Co-investigators included Erica Huey, Alan Emanuel, Sophia Renauld, Nusrat Africawala, Ilayda Alkislar, Yang Zheng, Ling Bai, Charalampia Koutsioumpa, Jennifer Hong, Alexandra Magee, and Christopher Harvey of Harvard Medical School.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (F32 NS095631-01, F32-NS106807, K99 NS119739, DP1 MH125776, R01 NS089521, and R01 NS97344), a William Randolph Hearst Fellowship, a Goldenson Fellowship, a Harvard Medical School Deans Innovation Grant in the Basic and Social Sciences, and the Edward R. and Anne G. Lefler Center for the Study of Neurodegenerative Disorders.

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UB featured in PBS Newshour story – UB Now: News and views for UB faculty and staff – University at Buffalo Reporter

The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences was featured prominently in a story that aired on PBS Newshour on Oct. 13.

Part of an ongoing series called Rethinking College, the story described how, since the start of the pandemic, theres been a surge of interest in health sciences programs from nursing to medicine to public health. The segment noted that many medical schools are seeing double-digit increases in applicants since the pandemic began and that the Jacobs School saw a 40% jump in the number of applications for the class that started at UB in August.

The story also mentioned that this phenomenon is often dubbed the Fauci effect, after Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has guided much of the nations pandemic response.

But in an on-camera interview, Dori Marshall, director of admissions in the Jacobs School, noted that such an effect was unlikely to be the cause behind the spike in applications, since applying to medical school is not something people can do on the spur of the moment. Its really a process that takes years to get themselves ready to apply to medical school, she said.

The piece included an interview with Ming Lian, a first-year student at the Jacobs School, who worked on her medical school applications for two years.

Marshall noted that the increase in applications was more likely due to the fact that the pandemic caused medical schools to move the entire process, including interviews, online. The expense of flying here was gone, she said.

Lian agreed. Being able to do it virtually and at home saved me quite a bit of money, she said, adding that allowed her to apply to more medical schools.

That virtual aspect had a major effect, in particular, on increasing the numbers of applications from first-generation college students like Lian, who moved to the U.S. from a village in China when she was 13 years old.

The story reported that last year, UB saw a 59% jump in the number of applications from first-generation college students, a demographic that has long been underrepresented in medical schools.

Lians reaction when she found out she had been accepted? That was incredible, she said. That was an incredible feeling.

The story already has received significant viewership. According to Nielsen ratings at the program's website, 2.7 million people watch the program each night. The website has nearly 2 million unique visitors; its Youtube channel has 2.77 million subscribers, and this story has received more than 5,700 views so far. And the story was tweeted from a Twitter account that has 1.1 million followers.

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Dallas ISD and UT Southwestern partner to open a new kind of school – Dallas ISD

Science starts here for the next generation of students entering a PK-8 biomedical school in the heart of Dallas medical district. Dallas ISD and the UT Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) together will launch a new transformation school slated to open its doors next fall.

The Medical District PK-8 Biomedical School will start by serving scholars in prekindergarten through first grade, expanding one grade level each year up to eighth grade.

The curriculum will immerse students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by introducing real-world experiences in biomedical science. These daily explorations, centered on a STEM-based curriculum, will also provide firsthand exposure and direct access to innovative field trip opportunities.

The unique partnership is one of the first in the nation to focus on biomedical science for elementary students at a medical institution.

This school model is another game-changer for students as the district joins hands with an incredible partner to reimagine learning, said Michael Hinojosa, superintendent of Dallas ISD. It also highlights how science continues to evolve in a unique, relatable, and innovative way with students as young as three years old. This partnership will help connect students with cutting-edge resources that develop them into the next generation of scientists and medical professionals.

The Medical District PK-8 Biomedical School will have no academic requirements or attendance boundaries. Enrollment offers are generated at random, through a lottery system, based on the number of seats available in each grade coupled with the students priority group.

This exciting endeavor underscores what it takes to build and inspire the next generation of physicians and scientists instilling a love for science in children at an early age, said W. P. Andrew Lee, M.D., Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Provost, and Dean, UT Southwestern Medical School. Our hope is that the added hands-on experiences and education they will gain during their years at the Medical District PK-8 Biomedical School will be the beginning of a lifelong connection to math, science, and discovery.

Fifty percent of the seats are reserved for economically disadvantaged students and 50 percent are offered to non-economically disadvantaged students.

The school will be located on the UTSW campus at 6516 Forest Park Road. Families may apply during the application period from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31, 2022.

For more information, visit

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Hispanic Heritage Month a time to celebrate and take inclusive steps – UMass Medical School

The UMass Chan Medical School will gather virtually on Thursday, Oct. 14, for its annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Hispanic Heritage Month began as a weeklong celebration in 1968 to highlight the achievements and contributions of Latinx people in the United States. It became a monthlong celebration in 1988 through the passing of a bill put forth by the Hispanic Congressional Caucus, led by U.S. Rep. Esteban Torres. Celebrated Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, it centers on the independence of several Latin American countries, including Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, with Mexico, Chile and Belizes independence celebrations falling a few days later.

Activists and academics alike are advocating to rename the celebration to include the term Latinx, to further gender inclusivity and to encompass the multiple ethnicities from which Latinx people come.

The monthlong heritage celebration is a time to pause and take note of the work that is yet to be done around the inclusion and representation of Latinx peoples. The Association of American Medical Colleges Diversity in Medicine report, which is generated every three years, noted in 2019 that only 5.4 percent of active physicians identified as Latinx. Socioeconomic factors such as lack of access to financial assistance for medical school and psychosocial factors such as lack of mentorship and representation impact these numbers.

Given that patients are more likely to see a doctor and schedule follow up appointments when they feel heard and seen, especially by medical practitioners who look like them, this figure is especially alarming during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The risk of infection, hospitalization and death caused by the virus is 2.3 times higher in Latinx communities, the highest of all communities of color, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

As Latinx people are projected to comprise the majority of the U.S. population by 2045, the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and the concerns Latinx communities face are national concerns.

The historic gift that UMass Chan Medical School received from The Morningside Foundation, initiatives such as the Worcester Pipeline Collaborative and groups like SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) are intentional means to address such disparities.

On Thursday, Oct. 14, at noon, the UMass Chan Medical School community will join the nation in celebration of Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope. Participants will reflect on all the contributions Hispanics have made in the past and will continue to make in the future. Quinsigamond Community College President Luis Pedraja, PhD, will deliver the keynote. RSVP to celebrate the strides the community has made in the past and the hope they have for the future.

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Penn researchers to study the impact of environmental and economic interventions on reducing health disparities in Black Philadelphia neighborhoods…

PHILADELPHIA In an unprecedented effort to address the harmful effects of structural racism on health, 60 predominantly Black neighborhoods in Philadelphia will be part of an ambitious study to assess the impact of a multi-component intervention addressing both environmental and economic injustice on health and well-being, led by Penn Medicine researchers Eugenia C. South, MD, MHSP and Atheendar Venkataramani, MD, PhD.

At the community level, the study includes tree planting, vacant lot greening, trash cleanup, and rehabilitation of dilapidated, abandoned houses. For households, the study will help connect participants to local, state, and federal social and economic benefits, including food, unemployment, and prescription drug assistance, provide financial counseling and tax preparation services, and offer emergency cash assistance.

This randomized controlled trial (RCT), is funded by a nearly $10 million dollar grant (1-U01OD033246-01) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), awarded to researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania through the NIH Common Funds Transformative Research to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity initiative, the NIH announced 11 grants totaling $58 million over five years for highly innovative health disparities research across the U.S.

Previous efforts to reduce racial health disparities have been less impactful than we would like because they often only address a small number of the many mechanisms by which structural racism harms health, said Atheendar Venkataramani, an assistant professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy and director of the Opportunity for Health Lab. Our multi-component intervention is designed to address these multiple mechanisms all at once.

Recent research illustrates that the roots of poor health in Black neighborhoods arestructural, resulting from decades of disinvestment and neglect. The impacts of structural racism are evident from neighborhood-level factors such as crumbling houses, lack of greenspace, trash build-up, and declining economic opportunity. The impact on the health of individuals living in those communities is profound, and includes increased rates of depression, post-traumatic stress disorderandheart disease compared to their White counterparts.

The researchers also aim to make it easier for individuals to navigate the process of determining their eligibility and getting help from multiple providers through development of a platform that makes collaboration between community financial service agencies simpler and more efficient. Community partners, including the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Campaign for Working Families, Benefits Data Trust, and Clarifi will implement the interventions.

Black communities are centered in this proposal, said Eugenia South, MD, MSHP, an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine, and faculty director of the Penn Urban Health Lab. Collectively, our team has spent a significant amount of time talking and working with leaders and community groups in Black Philadelphia neighborhoods and with this study we are committed to being responsive to the economic and environmental needs they have identified. We will also be hiring four full-time community members to the Penn Medicine team to advise on the entire process and lead recruitment.

The researchers will enroll 720 predominantly Black adults across the 60 study neighborhoods, half of whom will receive the proposed interventions. The study will meet participants where they are via door-to-door recruitment, rather than relying on clinic referrals or responses to flyers, which may exclude the most vulnerable adults. Investigators will use standardized surveys to evaluate the overall health and wellbeing of participants at multiple times over the course of the trial. They will also evaluate the impact on violent crime.

The overall goal is to show that deeply entrenched racial health disparities can be closed by concentrated investment in Black neighborhoods. Researchers are hopeful their interventions will be successful improving the health not just of participants in the study, but other members of the household and of the whole community. The findings of this bold project could serve as evidence to policymakers that these sweeping, big push interventions work, and should be implemented broadly.

Co-investigators on the study are: George Dalembert, MD MSHP, an assistant professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Courtney Boen, PhD MPH, an assistant professor of Sociology, Meghan Lane-Fall, MD MSHP, an associate professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, and Epidemiology in Biostatistics, and Epidemiology, and the Director of Acute Care Implementation Research at the Penn Implementation Science Center, Kristin Linn, PhD, an assistant professor of Biostatistics, John MacDonald, PhD, a professor of Criminology and Sociology, Christina Roberto, PhD, an assistant professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and Charles Branas, PhD, an Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology in Biostatistics and Epidemiology.


Penn Medicineis one of the worlds leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of theRaymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nations first medical school) and theUniversity of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $8.9 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according toU.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $496 million awarded in the 2020 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health Systems patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Centerwhich are recognized as one of the nations top Honor Roll hospitals byU.S. News & World ReportChester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nations first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 44,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2020, Penn Medicine provided more than $563 million to benefit our community.

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