A message for you.

September 27, 2011

( Taken from Morning Rounds, Daily devotional stories, Sept 28.  Written by Paul Y. Chung, LLUSM class of 1991)

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil 1: 6

It was crunch time and I was desperate.  My performance on the first set of exams was dismal.  Now it was the day before our second set of exams and I was feeling hopeless.  I had studied as hard as  I could, but it was still not good enough.  College was not difficult for me…But medical school was different.  The sheer volume of information to learn prevented cramming for tests.

So here it was the night before out second set of exams and I felt as if I were going to fail.  As I sat at my desk praying for wisdom and God’s grace to help me through, a song came to mind.  It talked about God beginning a good work and being faithful to complete it.  As the melody kept playing in my mind, I tried to find the Bible verse that inspired the lyrics.  I needed to claim its promise so I could be confident of my success the next day.  …The verse showed me that God did not bring me all the way to medical school to let me fail.  He not only brought me here, but He is also faithful to complete it!  Of course, I had to do my part, but there was no longer any despair.  I had confidence that He would help me succeed.  The  next day, my exams went well.

During my first year of ophthalmology residency, I felt lost again.  There was so much information to assimilate and everyone else seemed to learn it much faster than I did.  Then, that verse came to me again., He who began a good work in you…”  God and brought me into this resideny and he would be faithful to help me succeed.  With his assurance, I was able to settle down and study hard knowing that, eventually, I would learn what I need to know.  Today, I am happily working in a Christian ophthalmology practice.

Stressful situations still come up periodically, but I know God will help me through them all.  We are not meant for failure here.  He will be faithful to give us the courage, wisdom and endurance necessary to complete our tasks until the day of Jesus Christ.  May the promise of Phillipians 1:6 always stay close to you in whatever difficulties you may encounter.  Our only job is to faithfully remain close to Jesus.

Getting Acquainted With the AAMC

September 22, 2011

So, you’re thinking about going to medical school huh?  Well let me introduce you to the American Academy of Medical Colleges , an organization you will become all too familiar with over the next few years. The AAMC is a great resource for anyone with even a tinge of interest in medical education to the seasoned pro who’s preparing to enter residency.  Regardless of which of the categories you fall into, the AAMC has something for you.

Thinking about medicine, but not quite sure?

Exploring the medical career  is just for you!    Its an excellent resource that asks the basic questions that everyone should consider early on when deciding to pursue medicine.  It explores the characteristics, basics of daily living for physicians. It provides cues and things to consider for those who are early in the decision making process before they

Decided, but need help navigating the process?

At the Applying to Medical School tab ,  you will find information on financial aid,  a four year application timeline, and general admission requirements, as the site attempts to walk you through what can be a tedious process.  As you start to consider which medical schools you will apply to, the Medical School Directory is an invaluable resource. There you can search for schools by class size, city, public vs private, etc.  You also get information on the cost of tuition, and application deadlines.  As you narrow you schools down, you can mark favorites and compare institutions.

You’re in, but residency and a career are just around the corner…

Careers in Medicine is for you.  At the  Careers in medicine site, you’ll find statistics, and descriptions regarding the different specialties.   This is actually a great resource that can be used at any stage in the medical education process.  You will definitely make use of the Loan calculator and organizer feature and the link to Loan Forgiveness programs, for when it comes time to pay those loans back.
Charles Collins M.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, talking with students at the AAMC’s annual minority medical school fair in 2010.

Bonus Features

Into numbers?  Interested in data on the racial, gender demographics in medicine?   That information is here too.  (I”ll be talking about one very interesting statistic, that involves our illustrious school / alma mater, Oakwood University in a few weeks.
One of my FAVORITE features is the link to Aspiringdocs.org.  This is part of an initiative by the AAMC to address the need for diversity ( racially, and academic background) in healthcare.  I think this site is good for so many reasons.
Some  features of the site include:

Inspiring Stories,  where,  like the name suggests, current medical students and graduates who have gone the nontraditional route or overcome great obstacles along their journey share their stories of hope and triumph.  I know for me,  a major motivator to complete a task, is knowing that ordinary people just like had done it before.   If you’re like me, these profiles will give you that extra boost to keep your going.

Expert Advice  answers reader questions on topics that range from how to handle having a family in medical school, to financial aid and post bacc programs.  Think of it as a mini FAQs section of each of the topics presented.

As, you can see, there’s a little bit of something for everyone, regardless of your stage in the medical education process. Take some time  in the near future and peruse the site, and be sure to reference it as you go along your journey. I’m sure you’ll find something of value.

Have a productive weekend,


The Journey to Medical School: How to Pack Your Bag

September 17, 2011

Hello Everyone! I am currently a first year med student at Loma Linda University (raises hands in praise). My journey to medical school has been exciting, difficult, fun, stressful, and character building all at the same time. Along the way, I mentally picked up and developed tools I knew would help me be successful in medical school. Now as a medical student, I have already used these items packed away in my medical school bag. Each post I would like to share with you one item you need to pack your medical school bag with. Prayerfully, by the time you are accepted, you will already have everything you need to be successful in the next step of your journey.

Item #1: Trust in God (hands raised in praise again)

This item is key! It cannot be avoided, overlooked, or replaced. I vividly recall looking at my MCAT score after the first time I took it. I was devastated that my entire summer studying amounted to that disappointing score. Playing to my self-reliant attitude, I thought I could simply study and take it again next summer. As next summer rolled around, I became increasingly nervous and unsure. Thoughts such as: “What if I get the same score?, What if God is saying medicine isn’t for me?, and What if God doesn’t come through for me this time and I believe that He will? I don’t want to get played?,” all began to enter my mind. I was faced with the decision to trust God and move on or take a risk by trying to work things out on my own. I chose the former and have been blessed by God ever since. After that experience, I packed the first item in my med school bag: trust in God. After my MCAT and during my application and school selection process, I made it my goal to trust God through out it all. The waiting and guessing aspects of the process can be torturous to the one who does not trust God. I continually dipped into my med school bag and used my trust in God to provide peace throughout the process.

Now as I near my first week of testing in med school, I am again faced with the decision to trust God or to try to work things out on my on own. Honestly, I had been struggling with trusting in God up until earlier today. I had been increasingly nervous and unsure what to expect. Most of all, I had been scared of failure. Thankfully, I remembered to look in my med school bag and rediscovered the need to trust in the one who cares so deeply for me. I remembered that He who cares for me only wants the best for me. I took heart in the words written by David in Psalms 37:3, “Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday”. Remembering scriptures like these and continually asking God to help you trust Him through out it all, will be the key to making it into med school and through med school. As you start off packing your bag, begin with this foundational item. It will make it easier to pack and use other items you will need through the rest of your journey. May God bless and keep you, as I know He will.

Look out for the next item to be discussed soon. Love you guys and I wish you all the best ☺



September 8, 2011

Hello future doctors and dentists!

 I am honored and humbled to serve as a guest blogger for this new project created just for you. I want to commend the creators for launching this amazing idea. It is our hope that you benefit from it, and when you do, it is our hope that you spread the wisdom that we are proud to share, both from experience and from those who have gone before us.

  I also want to thank Ms. Nicole Haughton for the amazing introduction and I’d like to take this opportunity to expound a bit:

 First, I do enjoy traveling very much. I realized this passion during a two-year stint in South Korea. Living and working as an English teacher/missionary in Korea opened the doors to experiencing several other Asian countries and their unique cultures. Since then, I knew that experiencing different cultures annually was a must in my life. Therefore, by God’s grace, I desire to work as a medical missionary in whatever capacity the Lord sees fit.

Second, I am currently in transition into my 3rd year of medical school. I have the luxury of taking a semester off, essentially, to study for STEP 1, which will take place in less than 3 months. So, you get to go on this STEP 1 journey with me!

 Once I take it and pass (I’m claiming it NOW), I go on to clinicals in January, 2012. In my school, we have the choice of completing our clinical rotations in various cities around the U.S or in the U.K. Of course, I would choose the U.K to satisfy my thirst for new adventures. The U.S will always be there, I propose! My 20s are a time for adventures!

 I am excited at all the hands-on-experience and the travels all around Europe that is to come in 2012. I can’t wait to share with you this exciting journey that is sure to take place in the next few months and beyond…and also to share with you anecdotes from the years past, leading up to this moment.

 Sometimes I feel as though I am hovering above myself, seeing all this activity happening down below. Yes, I do realize that in psychiatric terms, this is deemed a Dissociative Disorder, called Depersonalization. But, I am partly speaking in jest, and, so no, I’m not insane.

 Another example would be: sometimes I feel like an imposter. That’s more like it.
What am I doing, masquerading as a doctor-in-training? Who am I, to be deemed this honor? Believe it or not, many more medical students/residents have feelings of being an imposter than they care to admit. We have our own insecurities, feelings of inadequacy, and fear of failure that we dare not verbalize to our peers, lest we seem weak in this competitive bloodthirsty, dog-eat-dog profession.

 Research shows that up to 30% of 3rd and 4th year med students tend to suffer from Major Depression (not just sad feelings). Yet, a good percentage of them never seek help. And sadly, some untreated cases of depression culminate into suicide.

 I digress.

 I had the honor of delivering a speech, as a member of the Honors Society, at the White Coat ceremony this past May. The purpose was so encourage and offer some words of advise to those who were was about to embark on the same journey I started just 20 months prior.

 It will never be “easy” to deliver a speech. In fact, right before I delivered it, I said a prayer, and felt as though I was hovering above myself. Again, depersonalization does not insane make.

 At any rate, the topic of my speech was about how I felt like an imposter as I sat in my own White Coat Ceremony in 2010. Was I good enough to sit there with the other medical students? How did I fool the admissions committee into accepting me, Natacha Pierre, into medical school?

As the days and weeks went by and I successfully passed my block exams, I begin to gain confidence and knew that I was set here for a purpose.

 I quoted from one of my favorite poems, Deepest Fear, by Marianne Anderson:

     My deepest fear is not that I am inadequate; my deepest fear is that I am  powerful beyond measure.
     It is my light, not my darkness that most frightens me.  I ask myself,
  “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?” Actually, who am I NOT to be?
     I am a child of God and my playing small does NOT serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t  feel insecure around me.
    I was born to manifest the glory that is within me. And as I let my light    shine, I unconsciously give others permission to do the same.

At the end of my speech, I asked the students to repeat the mantra:
“I AM brilliant! I AM gorgeous! I AM talented! I AM fabulous…and I do  deserve to be here!”

So, for any of you doubting that you deserve the opportunity to become a physician and to make a difference, you absolutely do! And no one can take that away from you.

Welcome! Welcome!

September 5, 2011

Help me welcome, two new contributors to HealthOU, Ms. Natacha Pierre and Ms. KeAndrea Titer.

Tacha is a Haitian sensation, who LOVES to travel.  She’s lived in Korea,  visited more countries than she can count on her hands ( and maybe even feet) and loves trying new things. She brings with her the unique perspective of being an international medical student.  After doing her pre-clinical years in England and St. Maarten,  she is now starting her clinical training.  She’s a great writer, very insightful and is sure to bring both entertaining and informative information to HealthOU.

Our second contributor / blogger is KeAndrea ( KiKI) Titer, a first year medical student at Loma Linda University School of Medicine.  She hails from Florida and carries a contagious passion for helping to increase the number of successful grad / professional school applicants from Oakwood University.  She along, with other members of the outgoing senior class in the Biology department took an active role in trying to motivate and advise underclassmen about the tools for success when applying to medical / dental school.  She’s excited about living in California and getting one step closer to pursuing her dream and the one thing she can’t live without (after God, of course) is cookie dough ice cream 🙂

Please join me in welcoming them both to the HealthOU family and be sure to check out their first posts in the coming weeks!