Monday --July 29, 2019
James Hu, Jeffrey Pan, Andrew Hu
Even though today was only the first day of the program, we learned a lot about medicine. First, in Dr. Tong Zhu’s lecture, we learned about several aspects of cardiology, such as sudden cardiac arrest and a hands-on experience of valve surgery. Afterwards, Dr. Yi Lu informed us about the difficult and rewarding experience of neurosurgery and the steps to become a specialized surgeon. Dr. Jia Hua Li explained to us not only about the advantages of learning medicine, but also the opportunities we can seize and branch out so that science and entrepreneurship can become valid options. Finally, Dr. Chen Xi went over the causes of OSA and insomnia and their treatment using sleep medicine. Overall, we learned that medicine covers a huge spectrum of specialized occupations, and that it is a worthwhile career to pursue.
Tuesday --July 30, 2019
Aidan Liu, Elsie Liu, Olivia Yang
In the morning, Dr. Wei Wang taught us how to present ourselves during the medical school application process. He was very direct about how difficult standing out is, mentally preparing us for the path ahead of us, but also gave us many tips about what opportunities to look for and how to explore our horizons. He also gave us an insight into the perspective of a medical school administrator.
Then, Dr. Walter Kim explained his experience and the path he took to get to his position as a physician-scientist. His energy and enthusiasm illustrated his passion and commitment towards his job. He told us about his stories regarding his intimate relationship with his patient, showing us that there is more to the human anatomy and physiology to be a physician. He was very amiable and was also willing to support us on our own medical journey. Walking us through a case presentation, he showed us what it's like being a clinical doctor and the process taken to diagnose a patient. Even with our limited knowledge, he was very encouraging and willing to guide us through the thought process of a doctor.
After lunch, Dr. Dongdong Yao taught us about anesthesia and what it's like to be an anesthesiologist. He explained the differences between his career and that of a surgeon or a clinical doctor. Not only did he answer all our questions, but we also got the opportunity to have hands-on experience in intubating a patient and using an ultrasound to identify and analyze veins and arteries.
Lastly, Sally Ethel Justus described in depth the process to get into college, medical school, and beyond. We also participated in a simulation where we tried to diagnose a patient, which helped us learn a lot about the stress level doctors face, despite being in a low-risk situation. Her enthusiasm while guiding us through the entire process was very infectious and truly stimulated our interest in pursuing a medical career. We also toured the Warren Anatomical Museum where we got to look at Phineas Gage's skull and learn about the discoveries of the human brain--specifically how scientists were able to learn about which part of the brain contributed to each aspect of a person through autopsies and patterns.
Wednesday --July 31, 2019
We started day 3 off with a one hour presentation from Dr. Feng Guo who researches functional genomics in Dr. Xiaobo Zhou’s lab. During her talk, she explained what the purpose, benefit, and uses for analyzing DNA and more specifically its proteins. We were able to learn quite a lot of information about her field and what some of her specific research projects might look like, such doing as asthma experimentation in mice. Dr. Guo also informed us on both the rewarding moments and drawbacks of being a Ph. D. researcher, such as sometimes feeling lost at the beginning of the research process, or the pride that comes with discovering and publishing a new scientific idea that many peers respond to. To further give us a glimpse into her life, Dr. Guo brought us to her lab where she gave us a tour of the rooms and equipment, finishing by allowing us to touch dry ice! Dr. Guo was also kind enough to tell us about an internship opportunity her lab offers to a high school student every summer and encouraged us to get in contact with her or her supervisor if we were interested.
Dr. Zhe Li is a Cancer Researcher who told us that he often introduces himself as a Stem Cell Researcher instead because he focuses all of his time on research and not the patient care side of medicine. He started by giving us a broad overview of what cancer is, explaining the biological process that involved metastasis, cell fates, and the genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors that define them. He then explained the differences between pediatric and adult cancer, specifically for conditions like Down Syndrome. From there he spoke about a specific type of cancer, breast cancer, and explained some of the stem cell and bloodwork tech that could he uses in his research.
Following the first two talks, we had lunch from Fresh City at 12.
After a quick lunch and subway ride, we met Dr. Hong Gao, a doctor of internal medicine at the Tufts Medical Center. From there, she brought us to a private practice clinic in Chinatown and introduced us to Dr. Robert Wu. Afterwards, we toured Tufts Medical Center and visited Dr. Hong Gao’s. After visiting both a private clinic and a clinic in an academic hospital, we learned about their differences. Dr. Hong Gao explained the distinct lifestyles of doctors that work in either area and their responsibilities. Further along the tour, we discovered the origin of Tufts Medical Center’s Floating Hospital and other parts of the hospital’s history. Dr. Hong Gao concluded by briefly presenting why people should become physicians and their essential characteristics.
Afterwards, Dr. Haiyun Gong, a pediatrician, explained why pediatricians are the happiest physicians. She gave us an overview of her job as a pediatrician, describing the broad range of children, from infants to adolescents, that she looked after. Dr. Gong explained that pediatrics is particularly fulfilling because children are vivacious and tend to recover quickly. She described taking care of children as watching a tree bloom, comparing a child’s rapid development to a tree’s growth. She gave examples of milestones in a child’s development, such as when they learn to crawl or talk. From her explanation and her passion for pediatrics, we gained insight on why doctors choose their specialties.
As Dr. Gao explained to us, Dr. Yong Zhan was unfortunately unable to make it to our presentation today because he had to perform an emergency heart transplant surgery from a donor to a patient with only three months left to live. Though we were all sad that we didn’t get to learn about his profession, it was great to hear that he was out saving lives!
After our talk with Dr. Haiyun Gong, we listened to Dr. Julia Zhang who specializes in children with arthritis. There is a surprising amount of children who are diagnosed with this disease. She stated that it is around the same amount of children that have diabetes, which is around 200,000 people under the age of 20. In addition, Dr. Zhang also explained why people should become a rheumatologist. Her reasoning was that there are not that many rheumatologists in the medical field, and rheumatologists can create long term relationships with patients. She then explained to us the signs of joint inflammation. There are five signs consisting of tumors (swelling), calor (warmth), dolor (pain), rubor (redness), and loss of function (stiffness).
Our Q&A with the medical students was more geared towards college because we had received a sufficient amount of knowledge about med school applications the day before. When asked about the 7 year medical program, they stated that college is a fun time and you shouldn’t skip it. The key takeaways from this conversation were study hard, and learn to say “no” from fun.
Thursday --August 1, 2019
Vivian Ye, Cindy Li, Neil He
At the beginning of our fourth day, we started with a brief introduction to Eric, Kareem, and Tao, the interns who supervised us for the day. Then, we went to UMass Medical School to tour the campus and practice in their facilities. We started with a presentation from Dr. Qin, who gave us an overview of life as a neurologist. She explained the process of becoming a doctor to us and told us about some of her personal experiences. Besides talking about medical studies, she also told us about some benefits of going to UMass, such as low tuition. She strongly encouraged us to participate in the conversation with our ideas.
Afterward, we went to a CPR simulation lab, where we got some basic instructions on CPR for adults and infants from an EMR and practiced on training mannequins. We asked him questions about procedures for performing CPR on people and covered topics like Good Samaritan laws, performing without proper training, and paramedics’ procedures. We also went over a few misconceptions related to mouth to mouth and how the body responds to CPR.
Next, we met Diana Liu, a second-year UMass student who gave us a tour of the building, which was one of the main buildings students used to study. She showed us the learning community rooms, the fitness center, and the library. Throughout the tour, she emphasized the importance of physical and mental health as a medical student. She told us about her previous plans on becoming an English teacher but moving to medicine when she saw her students getting sick very often. She led the tour professionally, put her story together very well, and answered all of our questions, which made it very fascinating. We could better understand the path to becoming a doctor and how some parts can be unexpected.
Right before lunch, we met with Jackie Oh, a UMass medical student who provided us with insight and reflection on her career path choices. She had compiled a list of things that she wished she had known when she was in high school and college. This was particularly useful for us as most of us are high school students and approaching college. She shared her insecurities with applying to college and choosing plastic surgery as her desired profession and encouraged us to just pursue whatever we wanted to. Jackie also emphasized the importance of taking the initiative to, for example, ask people for recommendation letters as they always say yes. Following this meeting, we ate Dominos during our lunch break.
Next, another UMass medical student, Mark Liu, came to have a conversation with us regarding the relationship between law and medicine. He highlighted the role law played in the medical field that most people don’t really know about. We later discussed some scenarios and prompts that involved difficult decisions surrounding e-cigarettes, healthcare/medicare, and cancer. Many of these topics are very prevalent to society today which is what made the discussion so engaging and interesting. Everyone was able to share their own opinion regarding the question posed and realized the numerous difficult situations doctors and patients can be in.
Following this conversation, we made our way to the surgery simulation lab and tour. A plastic surgeon briefly answered some of our questions and then oriented us to all of the advanced surgical tools. With three separate activities — surgical knot tying, suturing, and laparoscopic practice — everyone had something to try out and the surgeon patiently demonstrated each one for us. During the laparoscopic practice, there were around six separate stations and each one had a different task at hand such as placing circular disks on a rack or suturing together a plastic tube by using the clamps and following the camera. The hands-on experience was not only very fun for all of us but showed us a glimpse of how difficult even a simple task like suturing really was.
After experiencing and being exposed to various surgical procedures and materials, we had a conversation with Amy Cheung, an MD/Ph.D. student at UMass. We started the conversation by envisioning where we will be in ten years. Then Amy answered our questions regarding college, research, and why she chose the MD/Ph.D. program at Umass. As she explained, not only does this program allowed her to have more contact with research, she is also studying tuition-free because of it. After Amy answered all our questions, she proposed two scenarios relating to a research internship for us to discuss. The first scenario is how we would resolve the conflict with our boss when they overwork us by forcing us to do trivial work that is not our responsibility. In this scenario, not only you are overworked, but you are also not able to spend 100% of your time and energy into your own research project. The second scenario is about what we would do if our boss is overly micromanaging our own research to the extent that he or she is wasting your research time. These two scenarios gave us an idea of what real-life problems research interns have to face.
When the conversation ended, Amy gave us a tour of her research lab where she showed us the research environment, materials, and equipment.
After the conversation with Amy, Dr. Cui, a pediatric psychiatrist, gave us a presentation regarding her journey as a college student, medical school student, and an attending physician. Dr. Cui also answered our questions as to why she became a pediatric psychiatrist and explained the difference between prescribing medicine and therapy work.
Next, three intern students at UMass, Tao, Kareem, and Eric gave us a presentation on their individual research projects, such as a research project on drum therapy. Afterward, we had a conversation regarding summer research and internship opportunities, how they balanced between academic studies and personal interests, pre-med course load, and the transitioning between high school and college.