June 2, 2015

Coming up for air after a long hiatus!  We had an electronic hiatus but face to face meetings with students definitely picked up over the past 3 months and as a result, online posting fell to the wayside.  Definitely plan to work on that for upcoming busy periods.   Look forward to continuing to provide valuable content as you journey towards becoming a healthcare professional.

New beginnings on the horizon

August 13, 2013

Wow!  It’s hard to believe another school year is about to begin.  There have been some changes and transitions in the lives of our HealthOU contributors over the past few months, hence no  summer postings; but we are back, energized and excited to bring you content that supports your journey to professional school. The long, lazy summer days will soon be a thing of the past and it will be time to start anew and keep pressing forward towards your goal.  HealthOU endeavors to join you on that journey.   Here’s a little inspiration to wake you up and get you energized as you look ahead to a bright future.

We’re glad to be back!


Welcome Back

January 20, 2013

Welcome back!  Happy new year!  I hope by now, you’re well rested and get getting settled ettled into the new semester.  A new semester is always an exciting time because you can start fresh, break old habits and make new ones and continue to launch forth on your path to success!  Embrace this moment and use it well!   As promised, this year HealthOU’s focus is the same, your success and providing you with the information, motivation, and inspiration to achieve your goals.


We’re glad you’ve taken us with you into 2013 and hope to be there to cheer you on and celebrate the victories once they’re won!  We will am to keep our same posting schedule this year, every Monday and Thursday. Please let us know via email ( or facebook if there are any questions or topics you want us to address. Look out for our next post this coming Thursday, where we’ll be here from an alumni who took her dreams of pursuing a career in healthcare outside the box.

Until then, blessings to you,


To SDN with love

October 23, 2012

If you are a pre-health student and you’re not familiar with (SDN) then please keep reading. I think it is easily the largest and most popular, comprehensive website for students who plan a career that involves a hospital or taking care of people whether that is as a nurse, dentist, physician, PA, NP, optometrist, chiropractor.   I’m not exactly sure how I heard about SDN, but it has definitely been an asset to me throughout my journey.  At one point, I even blogged for them when I was a first year medical student.

So here’s to you SDN, thank you for offering countless future and current healthcare professionals with invaluable information about to get in, stay in, and then thrive in the fields we have chosen.

Nine Reasons why SDN is awesome

  1. Provides  information for  many healthcare professions, not just medicine and dentistry.
  2. It connects so many different people and ideas.
  3. It’s a repository of information, opinions and perspectives.  You can post a question there and in days people from all over the world will offer their best advice ( good or bad) about what you may be growing through.
  4. The premedical glossary (LINK IT)   For the newbies who might need a little help deciphering all some of the many unapproved abbreviations in medicine.
  5. There’s practical information for what students are facing.  Like this (Best practices for overcoming obstacles)
  6. It connects you with people privately ( because in medicine, its not always easy to admit that you feel less than confident) and so you are reminded that you are not alone.  There’s always someone to celebrate with you, or nothing like realizing that you aren’t the only one who has an occasional crappy day.
  7. The  interview feedback section. Although each individual experience is different, it can offer some insight into what to expect and what hurdles other people faced, so you don’t make those same mistakes or get caught off guard.
  8. The resources, information, and forums, don’t stop when you’re done with undergrad.  There are resources for medical students, residents, and professionals as well.
  9. Physician Profiles.  I am a big proponent of learning from the experiences of others who have gone before us and are doing something we aspire to do.

Summer Reading List

June 6, 2012

The summer is under way and I hope everyone has been enjoying time off from school.  Congratulations to all the 2012 graduates and best wishes to those who will be starting professional / graduate school in the fall.    Over the next two months, our posting schedule will be a bit more relaxed :), but we will be back to providing you with information to guide you on your journey come August.  During the summer  our med student bloggers, Keandrea and NaTacha will still be onboard letting us know of their adventures.   Be sure to look out for KiKi’s posts about her mission trip in Ethiopia, and I”m sure Tacha will continue to work hard and play hard over in the UK.

While you’re prepping for the  MCAT, DAT, or PCAT, conducting research and participating in enrichment / prep programs, take some time to do some light reading 🙂  Being well read will be a tremendous asset to you as your prepare for the passages on your preprofessional entrance exams, and will also be an asset on interviews, as you may get an interviewer who wants to know about the last, or best book you’ve ever read.   By no means is this list extensive, its just a place to start; and by no means, do we think that the only books worth reading are those related to medicine, however, within this subculture of which you are now a part, certain things are recommended.

Below is a good list to start choosing from. Happy reading!

First Do No Harm, Lisa Belkin Account of decisions made in the cases of several patients in the mid to late 1980’s by the hospital ethics committee at Hermann Hospital in Houston.

The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream. Sampson Davis. The story of three young boys who made a pact while growing up in crime ridden Newark, New Jersey that they would make something of themselves. Two became doctors and one a dentist.

The Intern Blues. Robert Marion, M.D. Stories of three interns who kept diaries of their internship

Finally…I’m a Doctor. Neil Shulman. A hilarious novel based on the author’s experiences as a young

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Anne Fadimar. Story of Lia Lee, a young Hmong immigrant who developed symptoms of epilepsy and was left brain-dead after a tragic cycle of misunderstanding, overmedication and culture clashes between the medical community and her family.

House of God. Samuel Sham. A hilarious novel about six interns who saw themselves as modern “saviors to be” making the adjustment from “top of their class in medical school to bottom of the hospital staff as interns”.

Mountains Beyond Mountains, Tracy Kidder. Story of Dr. Paul Farmer, MD/PhD and his work in Haiti treating infectious diseases.

Elders, Joycelyn. From Sharecropper’s Daughter to Surgeon General of the USA

Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance by Dr. Atul Gawande

Kill as Few Patients as Possible: and Fifty-Six Other Essays on How to be the World’s Best Doctor by Dr. Oscar London, MD, WBD

How Doctors Think by Dr. Jerome Groopman, M.D.

Love and Medicine – How to Make It Work

February 15, 2012

Every professional school student at some point in his / her academic career has considered the possibility of being in a  “Doctor – Doctor relationship/ marriage” (like recently feature alum Abdelle Ferdinand Cheres).   Like everything else, there are pros and cons and over the years, several different groups have done research and written articles  and books on this very topic.


– If you happen to attend the same  medical / dental school, you get to see each other all the time

– Someone who understands your crazy schedule

– Someone with similar ambition and committment to education

– Substantial combined salary

– Someone who understands the lingo when you come home and talk about work


–  If you happen to attend the same  medical / dental school, you get to see each other ALL the time

– Someone with a schedule as crazy and unpredictable as yours, and the two rarely coincide.

– Someone as type A as you are

– Substantial combined debt

– Talking with your spouse about how their day went, makes you feels like you’re still at work.

Regardless of which side of the fence you fall in with regards to a doctor-doctor marriage, the bottomline is, this marriage like any other, takes work to stay happy and healthy. There are articles and research about the pros and cons, but not so much about how to keep those marriages healthy.  The list below was taken from “Doctor-doctor marriages: What makes them work?” Medical Economics 1999;24:54  .

How to keep a two-doctor marriage healthy and happy

Donald E. Rosen of Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland offers these pointers on how to avoid and handle conflict in medical marriages:

  • Define and clarify problems. Know what you want to change. Remember, some people have a heavy investment in suffering.
  • Accept that no solution will be perfect. It’s impossible to balance work and family life in a way that pleases everyone all the time, so be prepared to lower your expectations.
  • Make time to talk, even if it’s just for 15 minutes a day. Couples who talk more need marital therapy less. Some people need to learn, or relearn, how to talk. Don’t rely on mind reading. Carve out time for the two of you, away from the kids, to pursue a common interest, and don’t feel guilty taking time for yourselves.
  • In a traditional marriage, it’s important for the woman to establish her own identity. In a two-profession marriage, the partners should have a clear and explicit discussion and negotiate shared responsibilities for home and children.
  • Make time for a sexual relationship. If there’s no time for sex, it’s symptomatic of more basic problems. Avoiding sex must be discussed before it becomes chronic.

Articles about the “Doctor – doctor marriage”

1. Doctor-doctor marriages: What makes them work? Medical Economics 1999;24:54

2. When Doctors marry doctors. Annals of Internal Medicine. February 16, 1999. vol. 130 no. 4 Part 1 312-313 

3. Doctor Marries Doctor: Good Medicine.

Books dedicated to the “doctor-doctor relationship”

1. Doctors Marriages: a look at the problems and their solutions

2.  The Medical Marriage: A Couple’s Survival Guide

3. The Medical Marriage:  Sustaining Healthy Relationships for Physicians and Their Families

Motivation Through Music

December 5, 2011

As finals week gets underway, you may have to put in some long hours and late nights to ensure that all assignments are taken care of and that you are prepared to ace your finals. Like you, I”ve been there, and during my toughest days, one of the things that helped me get by was music.

Music is one of the most powerful agents  in the world.  It has the power to evoke intense emotions, both positive or negative. During medical school, music definitely came in handy in lifting my mood, especially during late night study sessions. I can’t remember studying for a pathology or pharmacology test without getting a little bit of a boost from Yolanda Adam’s : Victory, blasting from the laptop of one of  my three study partners.  He would always seem to put that song on at the right time too – like at 2:30 am when I couldn’t bear to memorize  one more drug card or look another slide. The words of that song  “I’ve got / got the victory/ I’ve got the sweet sweet victory in Jesus /, would remind me that God would see my through.   Then on test day, as I drove in to campus, Mary Mary’s : “I just Can’t Give Up Now”  would resonate in my head for my 20 minute commute.  During our Match Day ceremony, when your name is called to come down and find out where you’re doing your residency, they play a little snippett of a song as you walk down.  People often choose something funny, or pick out a song with lyrics that represent them. My snippett came from  It Ain’t Over by Maurette Brown Clark, as a testimony to the God’s leading in my journey to that point.

I encourage you to have  mental  / actual playlist of motivational tunes for tough days, when you feel like your strength is spent and you just can’t make it.   Music is in no way a replacement for the promises in God’s word, but simply a reminder that points us back to God and His abiliy to specialize in things impossible.

What are your favorite songs for when your academic spirit needs a little boost?   Check out three of my personal favorites below.


HealthOU > AIDS

December 1, 2011

In recognition of World AIDS Day, we had the privilege of talking to Michael Knight, fourth year medical student, Oakwood alum, and current President of the Student National Medical Association about SNMA’s Greater than AIDS campaign.  

HealthOU:  Is the Greater than AIDS campaign an SNMA initiative, or is it a nationwide project that SNMA is now a part of?

MK: The SNMA>AIDS Campaign represents the community empowerment component of this year’s national programmatic agenda for the SNMA. It builds upon our well established Sexual Health Awareness Protocol, in a unique partnership with the Greater Than AIDS Campaign: a movement responding to the AIDS crisis in the United States, and the severe and disproportionate epidemic in the minority community. Under the direction of the Kaiser Family Foundation and Black AIDS Institute, and in support of Act Against AIDS, a multi-year effort by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Greater Than AIDS seeks to increase knowledge and confront the stigma surrounding the disease.

HealthOU: What specific activities and events does SNMA have planned  in honor of World AIDS Day?

MK: SNMA chapters across the United States and Caribbean have been encouraged to plan HIV/AIDS awareness related community outreach programs, or incorporate HIV/AIDS education into existing community programs throughout the year. Many have chosen to implement HIV/AIDS awareness events around World AIDS day. These events include community HIV testing, the distribution of educational materials, community meetings, and educational talks to inform and empower the minority community.

HealthOU: Today is World AIDS Day, but people live with the disease 365 days a year.  What can we do as young professionals to demonstrate that we are greater than AIDs and assist in fighting against and increasing awarenessabout the disease?

 MK: As young professionals, especially in the minority community, we first must realize that this is our issue. This disease is no longer uniquely effecting remote and homogenous communities; HIV/AIDS is at our front door. We must take the initiative to educate ourselves first, and then share this information with our colleagues, friends, and families. Let’s start the conversation! That is the first step in decreasing the stigma surrounding the disease, and opening the door to open communication in our communities.

HealthOU:  What was the driving force behind collaborating with this project specifically, that targets HIV and AIDS ?

MK:  For over 47 years, the Student National Medical Association has worked to address the needs of underserved communities. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is affecting these communities in such a disproportionate way that we cannot be silent in this area. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, blacks make up just 13% of the total U.S. population, yet represent almost half of those living with HIV and about half of those with AIDS who die each year. This disparity is also present in other ethnic minority groups such as Hispanics, who have new HIV infection rates two and four times higher than whites for men and women, respectively. By partnering with the Greater Than AIDS campaign, our members, future minority physicians, will work to become the leaders and change agents that our patients, neighbors and families can depend on to address this vital issue.

It’s American Pharmacist Month

October 13, 2011

One of the goals of HealthOU is to bring awareness to the variety of professions within healthcare outside of medicine and dentistry and the diverse uses of a strong background in the sciences.  One such profession is Pharmacy.  Like medicine and dentistry a career in pharmacy provides the opportunity to work in a hospital or private, or government setting all while helping to serve others.   This month, we’ll hear from two Oakwood graduates who went on to pursue a career in pharmacy.

Nadeje (front row, second from left) at her residency graduation

Nadeje Aurubin is  originally from Miami, FL, where she attended Greater Miami Academy. She is a 2004 graduate of Oakwood College.  She completed her  Doctor of Pharmacy Degree at Mercer University (Atlanta, Ga) in 2009 and went on to complete  pharmacy practice residency at Mayo Clinic.  She is currently a pharmacist at  the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Miami, FL. Outside of work, she likes to read, go shopping and participate in cultural arts.

HEALTHOU: How did you decide to go into pharmacy?
N.A.  I really had an interest in both chemistry and biology and noticed at the time that there was going to be a great demand for pharmacist in the foreseeable future and that pharmacists worked in a variety of settings with a competitive salary.

HEALTHOU: What do you love the most about what you do?  

N.A. I work for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and it’s such an honor to serve our nations veterans. They risk it all to fight for life as we know it in the U.S. Everyday I have the opportunity to give back to someone who has fought for our country and thank them for their service.

HEALTHOU: What are some of the perks of your job / pharmacy in general

N.A.   The workplace setting varies from a board room to the operating room. The various areas of pharmacy include: 
Academic pharmacy
Community Pharmacy
Government Agencies
Hospital & Institutional Practice
Independent Ownership
Consulting Pharmacy
Managed Care Pharmacy
Pharmaceutical Industry
Uniformed (Public Health) Service

In addition, I get to work one-on-one with patients. I am the pain management pharmacy specialist, so I manage patients pain medications ranging from Ibuprofen to Fentanyl. I work alongside the MD’s and ARNP’s in the pain clinic at the VA to provide the best pain management to our veterans. Hospital pharmacists also specialize in areas such as cardiology, oncology, infectious disease, internal medicine and so much more

HEALTHOU: What is one of the biggest misconceptions about your profession?

N.A: Pill counting!! I cannot tell the last time I touched a counting tray and spatula. Pharmacy technicians do most of the counting. The profession of pharmacy has much more of a clinical aspect then most people realize. As a PharmD, it is our reprehensibility to know the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, drug interactions, adverse effects and pahrmacothearpy of most prescription and over the counter medication. We are trained to be the drug experts and clinicians rely on us to provide that support to the interdisciplinary team of health care professionals.

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  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,