Sunday, September 2, 2012


On Friday, the event that everyone had been waiting for finally arrived: AMWA held its first general meeting!

The officers walked down to the breezeway to pick up some refreshments. For some reason, no other club has ever gotten their meeting catered by Einstein. Like Einstein, AMWA ladies will now be known for their brilliance because we had two dozen cookies and two boxes of coffee cakes. We'll also be known for our strength, because the guys working at Einstein could not believe that we were going to carry these boxes back to school without some sort of cart. They legitimately asked to see our arm muscles before we left.

Who needs a cart when your organization exists to create strong women?! We also made sure to get some delicious coffee. Here is how beautiful a spread can look if women are paying attention to presentation details.

First things first though: we had to erase the evidence of the Fantasy Football meeting thing that remained on the board.

Much better. After we got rid of that, the line to get into the meeting wrapped around the hall! We were so excited to welcome all of our first year ladies!

As everyone walked in, Kathryn played a slideslow featuring last year's activities and our "girl power" playlist over the speakers.

Here's the turnout. Amazing!

Dr. Henson came by to talk about the benefits of joining AMWA. She discussed the mentoring, the support, and the sisterhood. How even though we may be more represented in medicine now than when she joined (our incoming class is 60% women), we still face unique challenges as women.

Her speech was so powerful that even the boys decided they wanted to be part of AMWA:

As well as course directors:

Kathryn gave a presentation going over all of the events put on by AMWA last year and detailing all of our plans for the year to come. Thank you to all of the first year ladies and our incredible advisor for creating such a strong foundation for AMWA--ifour first meeting was any indication, we're at the start of a very exciting second year.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The First Match

Tomorrow, the class of 2016 experiences a huge milestone: their first day of medical school lecture! As they enjoy their last day of blissful ignorance of how embryos develop, here's an update about how we've been preparing them for this moment.

Orientation week started early for our brave new classmates: a 7:30am breakfast with the faculty last Monday. Our day of orientation didn't start until 10:30, which was probably to ensure that the M2s didn't steal all of the food from the firsties with our finely tuned free-food radar. Thankfully, the M1s left us some coffee and pastries, an act of kindess that shall be repayed when we introduce them to the coffee and donuts that we steal from the interviewees who are too nervous to eat.

The student leadership of the Orientation Committee set an impressive precedent this year by planning a week of introductory activities among the M1s and M2s. As you no doubt read about last week, we had a pretty stellar Student Interest Group Fair to introduce the new class to all of the extracurriculars in which they can participate. Another great theme that progressed through the week was our new mentoring program, in which each M1 has been paired up with an M2 in their academic society. On Wednesday, each society held its own "Matching Ceremony," in which the new class was introduced to both the society and their M2 mentor.

I'm sure that we're just in the process of getting a sorting hat, so for now we have an envelope system much like the one we may see in a little under three years. Below, you can see Rachel explaining the process as she is cheered on by Dr. Servoss herself! Also featured in this photo is our new society crest, which is proudly displayed in our society lounge.

After opening our envelopes that contained the name of our mentor/mentee, we had a chance to get to know each other over lunch. The orientation committee had paired us up based on a survey that they'd sent to the M1s, and it was almost eerie how much most of the pairs had in common.

The most exciting part about the mentoring program (so far) happened on Friday, during the culmination of Orientation week: the White Coat Ceremony. It's hard to believe it's over a year ago now that our class received our white coats and recited the oath that we had written together. Just like last year, we had a little dress rehearsal the day before, during which the second year class tried desperately to regain the attention that was now being directed towards our little siblings:
In an attempt to make the ceremony as foolproof as possible, we were familiarized with our assigned seating:

As you can see, I had the most coveted seat neighbors.

The second annual White Coat Ceremony was very similar to the first, with one major distinction. The white coats that were hanging on stage for the first years were incomplete--they were missing the "Humanism in Medicine" pin that we all wear on our right lapel. During the ceremony, these pins were in the posession of our class. (Rica, mastermind of pinning logistics, made the (brilliant) executive decision that the M2s would not be receiving the first years' pins until the last possible second before the ceremony so that we couldn't practice our astounding ability to lose things). One by one, the M1s received their white coats and crossed over to the other side of the stage to be "pinned" by their mentors. This was definitely the highlight of the ceremony for the class of 2015, as it symbolized how we are welcoming the incoming class to both our medical school family and the field of medicine.

Congratulations again to the class of 2016, and know that we're all wishing you the best on your first day!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


This week, we've been staying busy welcoming the First Second Class to our school. Our excitement over meeting our new class has (mostly) outweighed our oldest-child-syndrome anxiety about sharing all of the attention (#inauguralclassproblems), and our enthusiasm has probably crossed over to the point of being a little overwhelming to our newbies. (But that deserves it's own post).

AMWA hit the ground running this year. The officers have already met to schedule out our goals for the year, which started with recruiting new members from the class of 2016. At our Student Interest Group Fair today, we set up a table to provide information about AMWA (and chocolate) to the new class. Here are some photos from the event!

Rachel explains some of the many benefits of joining AMWA.

Word spread quickly amongst the ladies of the class of 2016!

...and, apparently, the men of the class of 2016.

We spoke about how AMWA enabled us to be surrounded by, and supported us in becoming, strong, empowered women. Our poster provided evidence.

Yours truly became an expert in button making. For those of you who were wondering, "flaming fuchsia" is the FAU Club House's name for "the brightest pink you guys have--no, brighter than that." Said buttons were almost as popular as the chocolate.

By the end of our lunch hour, our list of interested students contained 35 out of the 37 ladies of the class of 2016. And also one or two of the men. I'd say that's the sign of a successful start.


If our incoming class had any remaining dreams of "free time" after four days of orientation, the student health fair today has probably squashed them. Today during lunch, the M2s put on a Student Interest Group Fair to share with our newbies all of the opportunities that await them outside of the lecture hall. They bravely faced South Florida summer weather to spend an hour perusing the tables that we'd set up outside, finding out which organizations they were interested in joining (or at least which ones had the best candy). The M2s also had to float around quite a bit, since it appears that we all have pretty divided loyalties (or just a shared hatred of spare time):

Each of the organizations had a table set up. Many had posters, powerpoints, and other educational materials to provide to the first years:

The second year interest group members wore T-shirts indicating their interest group loyalties. Most of them also gave out candy. Team Peds got bonus points because they gave out candy while wearing T shirts that showed them giving out candy.
In an effort to limit how many of our classmates develop diabetes, Internal Medicine gave out candy only to the one person who could correctly guess how many M&Ms were in the jar.

Global Health displayed evidence that its members had the best summer experiences.

And Medical Spanish demonstrated that language ability is probably encoded pretty close to whatever gene controls button-making skill.

Meanwhile, HealthC.A.R.E. stirred up excitement for our upcoming Health Fair!

Of course, HUGE thanks are in order to those who made the Student Interest Group Fair (and student interest groups) possible:
In addition to providing our new class with information about the opportunities that await them, the fair gave our class a chance to appreciate what we've accomplished. We got to take a step back and appreciate how far our clubs had come in their first year of existence-- a year ago, these organizations existed only in our heads. With 64 enthusiastic new members of CESCOM, our second year is sure to be even more successful. Good thing we have people to document it:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

AMWA, minus the "American"

On our first day in the hospital in Kathmandu, we were greeted by the director, Dr. Samira Khan. During her introduction of the hospital, Katie leaned over to me and whispered, "we have to tell AMWA about her." Brilliant, determined, strong, and beautiful, the only thing setting Dr. Khan apart from the other equally inspirational AMWA members we know is the fact that she's not American. To read more about her take on the benefits and challenges of being a woman in medicine, head on over to  The Doctor Weighs In, where she is featured in an article for "XX in Healthcare Week," celebrating women in medicine. 
Dr. Khan takes time to tend to our own wounds in between patients. 

Jake was more worried about Dr. Samira dripping betadine on her beautiful clothes than he was about his wound. 

After an afternoon of seeing patients.

Dr. Samira arranged for us to go see the construction of the new teaching hospital, where she'll be directing the OB/Gyn department. 

Future delivery rooms where Dr. Samira will be practicing.
One challenge she mentioned specifically? Lack of equipment. To find out how to help Dr. Khan and the other physicians at Manmohan memorial, contact Sara Teichholtz at sarateichholtz AT gmail DOT com. The OB/Gyn department is most in need of an ultrasound machine, a doppler, and a colposcope. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

I'd Like to Thank the Academy (for this blog header)

During the last module of our first year of medical school, while some of us were simply trying to wrap our minds around this whole bilirubin/jaundice thing (although I do understand the jaundice/carotenemia distinction), several dedicated members of our student leadership were hard at work preparing our first annual student banquet. This banquet was held the night of our last exam as first year medical students, following our faculty/staff awards ceremony. I'm not sure if we were just looking really haggard during those last couple of weeks, but during the faculty/student awards ceremony, our professors just could not stop raving about how good we looked. After presenting awards to outstanding members of our faculty, staff, and classmates (and reminding them what we look like without white coats and coffee), we were sent off to enjoy our banquet.

Our banquet was, first and foremost, our own. No faculty, no significant others. Just the members of the little family that our class has slowly become over this year. Oh, and the bartender and police officer whose presence was required in order to have alcohol at the event. [These were deemed acceptable intrusions].
We'd really been looking forward to banquet. As evidence of this enthusiasm, I'd like to let it be known that the three ladies of our women's early morning weight lifting group (more on that in another post) were discussing what to wear to banquet during our ab exercises when we still had two more weeks of class to go.
The amount of planning to pull off this banquet was immense. But of course, nothing that our student leadership couldn't handle. Committees were formed and mobilized. Venues were found. Catering was obtained--and here, I make a special shout out to our class president (who also happens to be my life hero), for specifically seeking me out one day and telling me that she had personally ensured that there would be vegetables for me and my fellow class vegetarians (hey, Ashley!) to eat. Kosher meals were also obtained. If I hadn't spent the better part of this last year being continually amazed by the organizational and planning abililties of my classmates, I'd be pretty sure that witchcraft was involved in creating this event. Come Friday night, everything went off flawlessly, even more beautifully than could have been imagined. Mingling amongst ourselves free of exam stress, reliving moments flashing by on the slideshow, and taking non-sleeping pictures of our classmates, one could never have guessed that the best part of the evening was still to come.
The Schmidty awards.

A few weeks earlier, a committee had been formed to create tongue-in-cheek awards for the class. Categories had been drafted and made into a survey that was distributed to the class for voting. This committee had then nominated Louis to act as MC for the ceremony. Having had Louis in my GI PBL group, I was well aware of two things: his love of PBL snacks and his on-point presentation skills. If someone can make a really interesting talk about how how MELD formulas are used by UNOS, you know you that person's pretty gifted. Louis did not disappoint. Over the course of the evening, he introduced each award, listed the nominees, and then, with the perfect amount of suspense, presented each winner with a Schmidty.

Oh, the Schmidties. Words can't even come close to doing these guys justice, so please see the photo below. Or the banner of this blog. Susie labored tirelessly to envision and create these awards. What other girl could take a vision and combine it with Ken dolls, spray paint, tiny doll-sized suits, and bulk-order gas filters to create THESE?

They were perfect. The detail went down to their little ties, which Susie had had painstakingly decorated checker by checker. Each Schmidty had then been mounted on what we later learned was a spray-painted gas filter (brilliant!) with gold pen lettering the award name. Word of these awards spread so quickly that first thing Monday morning, our curriculum started off our "Orientation to Competency Week" with a request for "one of those little dolls!" Susie, you done good.

The titles being awarded by the Schmidties showed equal creativity and covered a wide range of qualities deserving recogntion. For a full list, you'll have to enroll in our school. But here are some highlights:

The Prozac Award: given to the student with the unique ability to brighten one's mood as well as SSRIs without the month-long lag time.

The Paula Deene Award: given to the student most likely to induce diabetes with baking skills.

The Anna Nicole Smith Award: given, in a shocking turn of events, to yours truly, for being most likely to marry a wealthy elderly gentleman. This is most likely going to happen, but probably just because I won't get around to dating until I'm retired.

The Owlsley Award: given to the student having the most school spirit. Please note the recipient of this award was the only one who noticed that we'd spelled "Owlsley" wrong, thus proving how much she truly deserved the award in the first place.

Congratulations to the winners of these, and all other Schmidties. And to our indescribable curriculum director: I'm not sure that it's possible to express with a Schmidty how grateful we are for your endless support, dedication, sheer curriculum brilliance, and genuine passion for transforming us into successful physicians. But at least it'll be a start. :)

A huge thanks again to all of those who worked so hard to make banquet such a success.

Some more photos from the evening!

Now that I think about it, we really did look pretty good!