Why should pre-meds be plugged into current events?
The importance of tuning in to your surroundings extends beyond the fact that health policy may come up in your medical school interview. Reading the news and understanding the evolving healthcare landscape will broaden your perspective and make you an informed healthcare professional. Since medical schools are placing more emphasis on an applicant’s understanding of the world, our Cracking Med School Admissions team compiled a list of current event resources to help you ace your interview and become a better physician. Included with every topic are informative, high-yield articles and their summaries. We also added a “Points and Counter Points (PCP)” section, which includes two op-eds with conflicting arguments. Reading differing opinions will give you a more comprehensive insight into any given topic.
What are the top 10 current events you should know for your medical school interviews?
- Vaping & E-Cigarettes
- End-of-life Care
- Cultural Differences and Expectations of Medical Care
- Suicide and Mental Health
- Affordable Care Act, Obamacare
- Abortion and Contraception
- Opioid Crisis
- Physician Burnout
- Artificial Intelligence and Applications to Healthcare
If you have any questions about current events and medical school interviews, email the Cracking Med School Admissions team at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us down below.
Top 10 Current Events For
Medical School Interviews 2019
Written by: Neha Dronamraju; Rachel Rizal, M.D.; Rishi Mediratta, M.D., M. Sc., M.A.
Current Events Topic #1: Vaping & E-CigarettesE-cigarettes are now the most popular form of tobacco use among youth in America. According to Harvard Health Publishing, the number of middle and high schoolers jumped from 2.7 to 3.6 million between 2017 and 2018. While the long-term effects of vaping are still ambiguous due to its novelty, growing concern about its adverse effects exists. Recent reports by the CDC, such as this one, link vaping to lung disease and warns against it e-cigarette use.
Current Events Topic #2: End-of-life Care
Palliative care is an often-debated topic in our society. According to the WHO, palliative care is defined as “that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.” Palliative or end-of-life care is a vast field that harbors different sub-specializations. The ethics of palliative care are debated because it involves physician assisted suicide, which some people oppose because it opposes a fundamental dictum of the Hippocratic Oath — “do no harm.”
Current Events Topic #3: Cultural Differences and Expectations of Medical Care
Cultural competency is a critical component of patient care. A physician’s awareness of the whole patient, including their culture, assists the therapy they can provide. According to Daphne Koinis-Mitchell, associate professor of behavioral and social sciences at Brown University, lack of cultural competence among medical professionals can undermine the doctor-patient dynamic as a patient will be less likely to trust the doctor and be onboard with their treatment plan. The roles of stereotyping and generalizations are increasingly discussed in health care settings and taught in medical schools to raise cultural awareness and improve patient care.
Current Events Topic #4: Suicide and Mental HealthSuicide rates and mental illness has been increasing among adolescents in America. Since 1960, suicide rates among 15- to 24-year-olds has nearly tripled. Access to mental health services is limited. Solutions for the mental health crisis include finding ways to increase access to mental health services along with more awareness and prevention. How can the healthcare system alleviate the mental health epidemic? Read this brief article by the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy to find out.
Current Events Topic #5: Affordable Care ActThe Affordable Care Act, otherwise called “Obamacare” or the “ACA,” is a contentious healthcare law passed in 2010 under the Obama Administration. The legislation’s goal was threefold: 1) to democratize healthcare, 2) expand Medicaid, and 3) make innovative healthcare methods more accessible to those who could not previously afford them. It met with a lot of resistance from opposing parties for its allegedly socialist principles. The Affordable Care Act is a crucial turning point in healthcare policy to be familiar with. Read this article by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which succinctly summarizes the main components of the affordable care act. The information is organized into a table so it’s easy to comprehend.
Current Events Topic #6: Abortion and ContraceptionWomen’s health is yet another contentious topic in the American healthcare landscape. It has been debated for almost a century, after the establishment of Planned Parenthood in 1916. This topic includes the following topics: abortion, contraception accessibility, the history of the Hyde Amendment, and women’s rights regarding their own health. Understanding the Hyde Amendment is key to understanding the political context of abortion in America. Whether you’re familiar with this legislative provision or not, you will benefit from the well-organized and detailed information provided in this article by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Current Events Topic #7: Opioid Crisis
The opioid crisis, which entails the over-prescription and abuse of opioid-class pain medication, began in the 1990s. It is exacerbated by profit-minded pharmaceutical companies and physicians. Drugs such as heroin and fentanyl are prevalent in this public health crisis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 130 people die every day due to opioid abuse in America.
Current Events Topic #8: Microbiome
There is a lot of discovery yet to come all the bacteria in our gut, otherwise known as the microbiome, and how they are connected to various diseases. Additionally, researchers in recent years have been investigating the difference between our gut and our brain, known as the gut-brain axis. The foods affect our microbiomes, and consequently can affect our physical, mental, and emotional well-beings. This article is a great primer for understanding the microbiome and how it may affect our health.
Current Events Topic #9: Physician Burnout
Physician burnout plagues healthcare today. According to the American Medical Association research, 44% of physicians are suffering from burnout. It is caused by systematic flaws in education systems and workplaces. This burnout results in adverse effects for both doctors and their patients. According to the AAFP, the three cardinal symptoms of burnout for physicians are exhaustion, depersonalization, and lack of efficacy. According the same source, possible solutions include lowering stress levels and “improving ability to recharge your accounts.”
Current Events Topic #10: Intersection of AI and healthcare
Artificial intelligence is a relatively new phenomenon in medicine. It comes with a plethora of benefits and negative consequences. One significant benefit includes rapid collection and analysis of data and one consequence of the same magnitude is the loss of personal touch in a field that is founded upon on human interaction and bedside manner. It’s important to stay current with this rapidly evolving and innovative field. What is artificial intelligence (AI) and how can healthcare benefit from it? AI is a relatively new and often misunderstood field that is rapidly transforming the healthcare landscape. Learn how in this article.
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We hope that this current events guide is a good primer for your medical school and residency interviews! Even if you’re not currently preparing for your medical school interview, it’s good to stay on top of current events in healthcare.
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