Meet Mayo Med

The Official Blog of Mayo Clinic School of Medicine

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Jul 22, 2015

Another Beginning

By Tyler Brobst @tylerbrobst
Welcome back! We are excited to launch Meet Mayo Med for its second year. Our goal has been to share the incredible stories of students at Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota, both inside and outside of the classroom and hospital. We are looking forward to sharing more of these stories over the [...]
Another Beginning
May 6, 2015

Full Circle

By Brian Rodysill @brodysill
As I stepped up to the patient on the operating table, side by side with a doctor who had changed my life, I could feel goose bumps starting to creep up my arms and chest while the little hairs on the back of my neck began standing on end. Approaching [...]
Full Circle
Apr 22, 2015

Allen

By Margaret Cupit @margaretccu
I had never seen someone quite so helpless as Allen*, so away from the grasp of any type of comfort. When I walked into the room, the 20-year-old cancer patient was sitting on the exam table with his legs crossed. He was looking down at his electronic gaming device, pressing buttons randomly, perhaps in an effort to avoid making eye contact with anyone in the room-especially me. The thinning hair on the top of his large round head, his long and scruffy beard covering his chin, and his thin-rimmed glasses seemed odd in juxtaposition to his windbreaker pants, big white sneakers, and toy. It was as if he was both a young child and an aging old man at the same time. I wanted more than anything to speak with Allen, though I’m not sure what I would have said if I had been given the opportunity to make anything more than small talk. I wanted him to know that I understood what it felt like to dry heave for hours during a chemotherapy treatment, how strange it was to have all your friends be afraid to talk to you and to have your mother treat you like a five-year-old again. I wanted him to know that I understood what he was going through far more than most people did. But that wouldn’t have helped Allen, because while I was standing before him, a medical student following my passion, he was dying. I resorted to trying to make him smile. Allen, however, did not even seem annoyed, as if my presence was not even significant enough for such a thing. He seemed angry at himself, his situation, and his tumor. But the worst part about Allen’s situation was not his appearance or his sadness or even the fact that his pelvic sarcoma had relapsed for the third time and was only going to get worse. The worst part about Allen’s situation was his mother. [...]
Allen
Apr 8, 2015

Calzones: Proceed as Indicated

By Rachel Hammer @rachelrha
Just three weeks into my general surgery rotation, I have continually been given the privilege to “close”, or stitch shut, the incision. It sounds like I might be a reserve star pitcher, but really, it’s the grunt work OR job for medical students. Since I’m not allowed to do anything [...]
Calzones: Proceed as Indicated
Mar 25, 2015

Who will you have your next coffee with?

By Michelle Hwang @soyunmhw
Coming from a public school where nearly a third of my classmates did not graduate, I would not be where I am today if not for my family and mentors. And surprisingly, many of my mentors were not physicians. One was a flute teacher, who cared as much about my [...]
Who will you have your next coffee with?
Mar 11, 2015

Medical Illustration: Shadowing an Artist in Medical School

By Diem Vu @diemvu
Art has been one of my passions ever since I could hold a pencil—an important outlet for expression, relaxation, and reflection. However, I never found an intersection between art and medicine until I discovered medical illustration in college. Medical Illustration is a field where artists take medical school classes alongside medical students to become experts in anatomy, histology, and pathology. Medical illustrators are responsible for providing the textbook and anatomy atlas illustrations over which medical students pore daily. It’s a field with a rich history, including the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Andreas Vesalius’s artist partner Jan van Calcar, Max Brödel and Dr. Frank Netter. I ended up choosing medicine because I was interested in the roles and responsibilities in healing patients with which physicians are privileged. But I’ve still had a niggling curiosity about medical illustration. So when I got a chance to spend a week shadowing in the Mayo Clinic Media Support Department, I seized it. I watched in amazement as the illustrators meticulously drew and painted beautiful images of hearts, arteries, bowels and stem cells on their Cintiq tablet screens. I watched the animators make muscles contract and DNA molecules spin in programs like Autodesk 3Ds Max and Adobe After Effects, and then watched their creations at the patient education kiosks in the Mayo Clinic. [...]
Medical Illustration: Shadowing an Artist in Medical School
Feb 25, 2015

Sourdough Lungs: An Anatomy Primer

By Rachel Hammer @rachelrha
It has occurred to me, late in the game, that all of this time I could have been using my bread baking not only as catharsis but also as a study device. Bread can be more than nutrition; it can be education. Let me explain. Because I spent the last week in the ICU and was constantly doing chest X-rays and fussing with tracheostomy collars and ventilators, it got me thinking about the lungs. I considered making a ventilator in a square pan, but that seemed a bit square. Going for the anatomical, I decided instead to make bread lungs. It made the most sense to create a pull-apart bread recipe, to better represent the lobes of the lungs, and, because I am on a surgical rotation week after next, to practice my lobectomy. Kudos to any pathologists out there who can make apt diagnoses as to the health of these lungs. Pull-Apart Wheat Bread Lungs 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water (85°F to 95°F) 1 cup sourdough starter 1 cup warm whole milk (105°F to 115°F) 2 tablespoons honey 1 tablespoon salt 1/4 cup olive oil 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder 3 1/2 cups bread flour [...]
Sourdough Lungs: An Anatomy Primer
Feb 4, 2015

Developing Community Resilience through a Zombie Apocalypse

By Lauren Smith @laurenesm
The 4th annual zombie apocalypse simulation, Bounce Day, took place this past fall and gave many medical students first-hand experience on handling a community disaster. As an organizer and participant, I saw the event unfold in a perfect combination of organized chaos that gave me a glimpse into what might actually happen in a real-life disaster environment. Our goal was to help prepare medical professionals and the local community to “bounce back” from large-scale disasters and become more comfortable in handling crisis situations. Volunteer actors portrayed local community members infected with the deadly, and thankfully fictitious, HADAD virus (Hemorrhagic Acral Dermatitis with Anesthetic Delirium). Leading up to the event, participants received fake news reports chronicling HADAD’s path of destruction from its point of origin in the Iowa cornfields, ultimately resulting in the virus reaching Rochester, Minnesota and turning much of the local population into zombie-like victims. Bounce Day participants were asked to manage this crisis by helping refugees, securing the area from zombie attack, and helping to treat the infected and injured. [...]
Developing Community Resilience through a Zombie Apocalypse
Jan 21, 2015

Reaching Out to Siblings of Children with Disabilities

By Methus Earth Hasassri @methusearthha
As medical students, we often fall into a routine of learning in a certain way, probably as a result of classroom-based learning during our first two years. It’s not very often that we students have the opportunity to expand our newly attained scientific knowledge into the context of the human experience. However, a group of us in the Mayo Pediatrics Interest Group did so in February and August last year during a Sibshops event, organized by Mayo Clinic Child Life specialists.  The event, held at a local family fun and athletic center, was targeted toward a population that often doesn't receive the spotlight: the brave siblings of kids with special needs. Following an Olympics theme, the February event began with group bonding by decorating a team flag and fleece scarves that corresponded to our team colors.  The exciting and engaging day was filled with activities including mini-golf, jumping on inflatables, Minute-to-Win-It, and completing a capture-the-flag course. All games incorporated teamwork challenges, reflection opportunities, and Q&A sessions related to being a sibling of a child with a disability. Recognizing the challenges that a child with disabilities may bring to a family, we hoped to provide a safe, open environment for the siblings to discuss the challenges they faced and explore potential solutions. Above all, we sought to do this in an empathetic and understanding manner to create an environment that is not always possible—but is very much deserved—in busy households. To the surprise of the volunteers, the children were able to take initiative in brainstorming their own creative solutions related to avoiding bullying, managing conflict, and gaining communication skills with other children who were facing similar challenges. While most of the medical students who participated have an interest in pediatrics, students interested in other specialties were also involved. By serving as team leaders, photographers, and activity station leaders, we were able to engage in almost every aspect of the day’s activities.   [...]
Reaching Out to Siblings of Children with Disabilities
Jan 7, 2015

Leadership in Community Health and Wellness

By Bre Kluck @bnkluck
Since beginning medical school last year, I have increasingly been pondering this question: How can we shift the focus of our energy into promoting health, rather than reacting with healthcare?  To me, seeking ways to decrease our risk of attaining chronic illnesses, all while improving our mental health and relationships with others, seems to be an obvious path to follow. However, this path is often complicated by finances and varying levels of community engagement, among other factors. I decided to dedicate one week of my summer selectives to learning about how various leaders are discovering solutions to these difficulties, all while finding creative ways to promote health and wellness in their communities. To get the ball rolling, I reached out to the consultant in my mentorship family, Dr. Dave Agerter. He supported my interest and connected me with Sandy Anderson at Mower Refreshed, a unique community wellness movement in Mower County, Minnesota. From the beginning, Sandy welcomed me and transparently shared the successes and challenges of the Mower Refreshed initiatives: Healthier Choices, Mental Fitness, Workforce Wellness, and Latinos Saludables. One of the greatest leadership “pearls” offered by Sandy was that at the end of each day, she asks herself, “Did I engage, equip, and/or empower today?” By having a daily check-in with these questions, Sandy can stay on track, ensure that she is using her talents to the best of her ability, and promote the wellness of her community. I also had the opportunity to meet with representatives from Mower County Public Health, Mower County Statewide Health Improvement Program, United Way of Mower County, Vision 2020, and the Hormel Foundation. These leaders provide creative solutions to addressing health, education, economic stability, and community pride and spirit by providing programs, volunteers, and monetary resources to shift the culture of health and wellness in Mower County. [...]
Leadership in Community Health and Wellness
Dec 17, 2014

DBT - The Tastier Version!

By Rachel Hammer @rachelrha
I’ll admit sometimes I eat brownies for breakfast. If they happen to be out, and I’m whirling through the kitchen to get dressed and upright on the moped and into the hospital, I’ll grab a brownie and chase it with a pot of coffee. I’m getting help. Actually, I’ve invented my own Crisis Hotline for others. I call it Dialectical Brownie Therapy (DBT), an adaptation of a cognitive treatment known as dialectical behavioral therapy, and I’ve been learning to practice on my current psychiatry rotation. For my version of DBT, as in real Dialectical Behavior Therapy, the goal is to seek a synthesis between two extremes, between feeling overly controlled and feeling out of control. When I eat brownies for breakfast, I get caught in the Hegelian dialectic between 1) my own out of control emotional vulnerability of wanting the goodness of a gooey brownie regardless of the health consequences and 2) the over controlling invalidating environment that shames me for wanting to eat chocolate for breakfast and oversimplifies the ease of reaching for the banana or granola instead. I get caught between blaming myself and blaming others for the problem of brownies for breakfast. Only after significant work at distress tolerance did I arrive at a revolutionary conclusion: I am fine to have brownies for breakfast (acceptance) AND the brownies need to be radically different, healthier (challenge). [...]
DBT - The Tastier Version!
Dec 3, 2014

Wisconsin, Where Doctors Go to Play

By Tony Blankers @tonyrbl
His name was Caddy Shack: not the first horse I had ridden, but the first horse I had ridden in a long time. He didn’t know me; in fact I’m sure I was a stranger, as I had only arrived at his house 30 minutes before. Still, here I was, riding through the woods of Wisconsin on his back, four other horses in front and none behind. Little did I know that this was just the beginning of the adventure that “Camp Polzin” had to offer. Following our hour-long horseback trek through the woods, we were greeted by the warm smells and hearty taste of the first of many excellent Sue Polzin meals. Though she claims to be a high-school math teacher, I suspect there is a Cordon Bleu degree in her past. After the first evening, my classmates and I settled into our beds, excited for what our selective in Black River Falls, Wisconsin had in store. The rest of the week only brought more adventure, including 5:30 AM boot camp workouts, journeys through white water rapids, volleyball games, and high altitude rope-swings. Most days we didn’t know if we were at camp or on an educational venture. The answer came when we entered the clinic and hospital. Black River Memorial Hospital (BRMH) is one of the few and certainly the most remarkable remaining independent hospitals in western Wisconsin. The newly renovated BRMH bears the marks of an excellent community hospital, apparently the pride-and-joy of the town. Across the street, the more humble Krohn Clinic signifies years of dedicated service to the community, being named after the founding Brothers Krohn, akin to our own Mayo Clinic. Within these walls, there are no three shields representing their mission, but the doctors and staff of the BRMH and Krohn Clinic are hospitable beyond belief, chatting in the hallway about career pathways and real-life decisions for a half hour between procedural cases. From the front desk to the back door, the place seems to say, “Welcome, hope you enjoy your stay.” [...]
Wisconsin, Where Doctors Go to Play
Nov 12, 2014

Eddie

By Margaret Cupit @margaretccu
It was just a day of shadowing in primary care. I didn't expect to be enlightened or changed at all from the experience. What could be so exciting about general pediatrics when there was the exciting world of pediatric oncology? What could be so interesting about children with common colds [...]
Eddie
Oct 28, 2014

Welcome to Meet Mayo Med!

By Tyler Brobst @tylerbrobst
Welcome! We are very excited to be launching Meet Mayo Med: The Official Blog of Mayo Medical School as a forum to share medical student experiences with the rest of the student body, with prospective students, and with the world. We feel that the blog’s name encapsulates its mission: to [...]
Welcome to Meet Mayo Med!
Oct 28, 2014

First Impressions

By Vidhushei Yogeswaran @vidhusheiyogeswaran
As a single, recent college graduate, I never knew I would like Rochester as much as I do now. I love the Mayo Clinic, but the town was supposed to be the “compromise.” Rochester is actually a really nice place to live and has a weirdly exciting mix of cosmopolitan and suburban vibes. I live right above The Loop–a metropolitan restaurant and bar–and around me all I see are skyscrapers–99.99% of which are Mayo buildings. There are a lot of cozy restaurants and bars around me, and there are plenty of people there all throughout the week—not just on weekends! There are lots of coffee shops, chocolate stores (my favorite), and even a wine and painting center called Canvas & Chardonnay.The stops at the top of my list have been the People’s Food Co-op (an organic grocery store with really great gelato) and the boba tea stand at Thursdays on First & 3rd (a summertime street festival in Rochester with lots of food, music, and more!) [...]
First Impressions
Oct 28, 2014

Keeping Surgeons Nice with Maple Pumpkin Spice!

By Rachel Hammer @rachelrha
So I was scrubbed in on a colon operation the other day, and the senior resident had been teasing me for bringing my sourdough starter with me to Florida for my surgery rotation. No one understands how important fresh bread is to my sense of well-being. The attending colorectal surgeon, who is a lovely, soft-spoken man, muttered very quietly, “If you make oatmeal raisin cookies, you get an A on this rotation.” I don’t need much of an excuse to bake something new, and this recipe I cobbled together from a bunch of different sources is definitely worth an Honors grade in surgery. As such, I am taking the man at his word, and of course I used the baking process as an opportunity to study: Maple Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Raisin Colon Cookies Recipe 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground cumin (key secret ingredient) [...]
Keeping Surgeons Nice with Maple Pumpkin Spice!
Oct 28, 2014

Newness Is A Good Thing

By Christopher Gibbs @christophermgi
Beginning medical school at Mayo has been a period of intense transition. Everything is new! One can see newness in every aspect of life: location, hours, subject material, lingo, commuting challenges, distance from family, relationships, friends, and colleagues. The list goes on and on! What does this period of transition mean for the first-year med student? First, it is daunting. For many people, new is bad. The familiar is comfortable and feels safe. Newness even has a noticeable biological effect on us. Constantly experiencing change activates the stress response; unfortunately, the stress response can wreak havoc on our bodies. In the same way, not knowing anyone or anything in your environment can make you nervous, anxious, scared, or even sick; this is the challenging side of newness. However, newness can also be a good thing! Although the stress response can sometimes be very detrimental to us when left unchecked, it can also be good—interestingly, it helps keep us alive. In the same way, the newness of medical school has many overlooked benefits. [...]
Newness Is A Good Thing
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