Tag Archives: Health Professions

Article: For Doctors of Color, Microaggressions Are All Too Familiar

By Emma Goldberg August 11, 2020

When Dr. Onyeka Otugo was doing her training in emergency medicine, in Cleveland and Chicago, she was often mistaken for a janitor or food services worker even after introducing herself as a doctor. She realized early on that her white male counterparts were not experiencing similar mix-ups.

“People ask me several times if the doctor is coming in, which can be frustrating,” said Dr. Otugo, who is now an emergency medicine attending physician and health policy fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “They ask you if you’re coming in to take the trash out — stuff they wouldn’t ask a physician who was a white male.”

After years of training in predominantly white emergency departments, Dr. Otugo has experienced many such microaggressions. The term, coined in the 1970s by Dr. Chester Pierce, a psychiatrist, refers to “subtle, stunning, often automatic, and nonverbal exchanges which are ‘put downs’” of Black people and members of other minority groups; “micro” refers to their routine frequency, not the scale of their impact. Dr. Otugo said the encounters sometimes made her wonder whether she was a qualified and competent medical practitioner, because others did not see her that way.

Other Black women doctors, across specialties, said that such experiences were all too common. Dr. Kimberly Manning, an internal medicine doctor at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, recalled countless microaggressions in clinical settings. “People might not realize you’re offended, but it’s like death by a thousand paper cuts,” Dr. Manning said. “It can cause you to shrink.”

The field of medicine has long skewed white and male. Only 5 percent of the American physician work force is African-American, and roughly 2 percent are Black women. Emergency medicine is even more predominantly white, with just 3 percent of physicians identifying as Black. The pipeline is also part of the problem; at American medical schools, just 7 percent of the student population is now Black.

But for Black female physicians, making it into the field is only the first of many challenges. More than a dozen Black women interviewed said that they frequently heard comments from colleagues and patients questioning their credibility and undermining their authority while on the job. These experiences damaged their sense of confidence and sometimes hampered teamwork, they said, creating tensions that cost precious time during emergency procedures.

Fall Health Profession Jobs and Interships

COVID-19 Contact Tracer

CONTRACE Public Health Corps, Boston, MA; Los Angeles, CA; Chicago, IL; New York City, NY; Washington, DC; Seattle, WA; Houston, TX

Opportunity Expires December 31, 2020

The Contact Tracer will use a web-based client resource management (CRM) platform to call all contacts of anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 to document a symptom check, refer them for testing according to established protocols, and provide them with instructions for quarantine. Contact Tracers will be required to follow all scripts, policies and procedures provided by the hiring organization, and comply with Department of Public Health training regarding confidential information related to personal information. We are creating a national database of candidates interested in working as contact tracers and giving this information to organizations looking to hire them. We are in need of full-time and part-time, paid and unpaid (volunteers). State and local governments all across the country are hiring for these roles.

Dermatology Medical Assistant

Fenway Health Boston, MA

Opportunity Expires September 30, 2020

Under the direction of the Executive Director of Nursing (EDON) and as a member of the Nursing Department, the Medical Assistant will provide support for patients and medical providers as well as general support for other clinic functions.              

Family Medicine and OB/GYN Medical Assistant

Fenway Health Boston, MA

Opportunity Expires September 30, 2020

Under the direction of the Executive Director of Nursing (EDON) and as a member of the Nursing Department, the Medical Assistant will provide support for patients and medical providers as well as general support for other clinic functions.              

Medical Assistant

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Pittsburgh, PA

Opportunity Expires September 7, 2020

Are you a Medical Assistant interested in a career that provides plenty of opportunity for growth and development? If you’re passionate about patient care and looking for a career that offers great benefits and plenty of room for growth, we invite you to explore this opportunity today!UPMC Shadyside is currently hiring a Medical Assistant! This position will be located at Shadyside Medical Building.  This is a Monday-Friday, daylight position – no weekends required! Previous Medical Assistant experience and those with Medical Assistant Certification is preferred!  Recent Medical Assistant graduates/externs are welcome to apply as well!

Medical Assistant

Northern Light Health Waterville, ME

Opportunity Expires August 29, 2020

At Northern Light Health, we’re building a better approach to healthcare because we believe people deserve access to care that works for them. As an integrated health delivery system serving Maine, we’re raising the bar with no-nonsense solutions that are leading the way to a healthier future for our state. Our more than 12,000 team members are committed to making healthcare work for you: our patients, communities, and employees.

For this role, you would be responsible for patient vital signs, drawing blood, administering shots to patients in addition to assisting in the functions of a Patient Service Representative (PSR)

Article: Want to Be a Doctor? Take Your Chances in a Closed Room With Strangers

By Roni Caryn Rabin August 7, 2020

Students applying to graduate schools can take the GRE, the LSAT and other tests at home this year because of the risks of gathering in an exam room for hours during the pandemic. But applicants sitting for the longest and arguably most grueling graduate entrance exam, the Medical College Admission Test, do not have that option.

Even as the nation is overwhelmed by a tide of Covid-19 cases, the Association of American Medical Colleges, which administers the test, is requiring would-be doctors to sit for the $320 exam in small groups at testing centers running back-to-back sessions in order to make up for time lost in the spring, when exams were canceled.

New testing protocols implemented in May require test takers and staff members to wear masks and maintain social distancing, and prescribe rigorous disinfection of test centers. But examinees have complained of sloppy practices, and there have been isolated reports of people saying they tested positive for the coronavirus around the time they took the exam.

The association has acknowledged four such cases, while a student group now counts eight. (The A.A.M.C. also has issued a national “roadmap” for ending the pandemic that calls for more testing and national criteria for stay-at-home orders.)

Now that group, Students for Ethical Admissions, has called on medical schools to follow Stanford’s lead and waive the exam requirement this year, saying students taking the MCAT are putting their health at risk.

“How can the general public trust physicians and other health care workers when the medical community is so willing to endanger its own?” the student group asked last month in a letter to medical schools. The group noted that the number of new daily Covid-19 cases in the United States in July was roughly double what it had been in April, when the exams were canceled.

Fall Internship Opportunity: Covid Act Now

Covid Act Now is a non-profit 501(c)(3) startup working on COVID disease intelligence

Covid Act Now is backed by Stanford and Georgetown University, and was built by a multidisciplinary team including former Googlers and other technologists. Our mission is to create a national shared understanding of COVID so that governments, health officials, local decision makers, and the public can make informed decisions in response to the pandemic.

Because two Middlebury students are going back to school, the Partnerships team is looking for full-time interns to help out this fall. This position is ideal for recent grads and students who aren’t returning in the fall. 

As a Strategy & Operations interns, you will manage relationships and join calls with many state and local governments and epidemiologists, small businesses, and large corporations such as IBM, who ingests our data to advise the Department of Defense, Netflix, and General Mills. Because Covid Act Now is constantly growing and changing, you will be at the forefront of writing our corporate usage license, as well as several large grants, backed by Massachusetts General Hospital. 

Here is the link to a Google doc explaining more about the position. Although it is unpaid, work with Covid Act Now is extremely rewarding.

Article: Isolating the Elderly Is Bad for Their Health

By Betsy Morris

Society hasn’t figured out how to protect the elderly from coronavirus without imposing another very real health threat: isolation. For more than 100 days in some places, residents in nursing homes and retirement communities across the country have been separated from spouses, children, grandchildren and friends of many decades. Residents have been kept apart, eating meals in solitary.

The actions are well-intended. Covid-19 has caused more than 56,000 deaths in about 11,600 long-term care facilities in 44 states, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

But there are unintended consequences. As scientists learn more about how the human brain works, they are getting a clearer picture of neurological and physiological changes that occur when people live in isolation. These changes may help explain why living alone with little social interaction is often implicated in higher rates of cardiovascular and other types of disease, worsening dementia and Alzheimer’s, and shortened lives.

Plenty of research shows that social support and social “integration,” which refers to a person’s varied roles and responsibilities, play a big role in determining someone’s health and longevity. “The combination of social isolation and loneliness is very unhealthy for anyone, but for older adults, it’s particularly bad,” said Bert Uchino, University of Utah psychology professor who studies the ways in which social relationships affect health. “Just about every biological system is impacted in one way or another by psychosocial relationships.”

The pandemic has been soul-crushing not just for the isolated elderly, but also for their children and care givers, who often have to follow strict rules they know might be as bad as the disease. “Everybody is trying to protect them. I understand. But this is not the right way,” said Atouria Bodaghi, a registered nurse at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.

2020 Virtual NIH Graduate & Professional School Fair

The NIH is pleased to announce the 2020 Virtual NIH Graduate & Professional School Fair. The event will consist of

(1) live workshops (August 4th, 2020)

(2) prerecorded workshops, panels, and interviews (recordings will be available on the OITE YouTube channel on or after August 4, 2020), and

(3) online exhibitor sessions (August 5th through 7th , 2020).

Students need to register to get the links of each session and for the virtual exhibitor session links and schedule.

This is a great opportunity for students interested in graduate, medical,  MD/PhD programs, as well as Public Health, Clinical Psychology, Genetic Counseling, Data Science/Computational Biology/Bioinformatics, Bioengineering and Academic Postbac Programs.

Article: ‘It’s Like Groundhog Day’: Coronavirus Testing Labs Again Lack Key Supplies

By Katherine J. Wu July 23, 2020

Labs across the country are facing backlogs in coronavirus testing thanks in part to a shortage of tiny pieces of tapered plastic.

Researchers need these little disposables, called pipette tips, to quickly and precisely move liquid between vials as they process the tests.

As the number of known coronavirus cases in the United States passes 4 million, these new shortages of pipette tips and other lab supplies are once again stymieing efforts to track and curb the spread of disease. Some people are waiting days or even weeks for results, and labs are vying for crucial materials.

“That’s the crazy part,” said Dr. Alexander McAdam, director of the infectious diseases diagnostic laboratory at Boston Children’s Hospital, one of many institutions seeking the prized pipette tips. “Whenever there’s a shortage, it’s lab versus lab, city versus city, state versus state, competing for supplies.”

Fed into automated devices, pipette tips can help researchers blaze through hundreds of coronavirus tests in a matter of hours, sparing them grueling manual labor.

The Swiss company Tecan, which supplies pipette tips for machines used by hundreds of laboratories in the United States, has been slammed with orders from U.S. customers in recent months, according to Martin Brändle, the firm’s senior vice president of corporate communications and investor relations. The demand has been so high, he said, that Tecan has tapped into an emergency stash, and is racing to install new production lines that he hopes will double the company’s output by fall.

Pipette tips aren’t the only laboratory items in short supply. Dwindling stocks of machines, containers and chemicals needed to extract or amplify the coronavirus’s genetic material have clogged almost every point along the testing workflow.