Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April 2017

April Hours:24
Habitat for Humanity:10
Power lifting Rehab: 4
Special Olympics: 10
Soil Collection:2
Semester Hours:34
Year Total:62

The year is OVER. It's been a whirl wind of a last couple of weeks. Every time I think my plate is getting empty, it fills right up again. I think trial by fire has made me very well accustomed to maximizing my days for productivity. I am even considering ordering premade meals and I LOVE to cook. Something this program has taught me is to set your goals and priorities then move to accomplish them with a vigorous passion. My intellectual curiosity will sometimes lead me down a rabbit hole of research or pursuit of a new skill. I have learned to manage this curiosity and apply it towards my goal.

This was my most productive and happiest month of volunteering. I love wood working so it was to no surprise that Habitat for Humanity builds were my favorite. We had a very small group the day I went, so I really enjoyed the one on one skill building they could provide. We even had the privilege to work with one of the families who would be receiving a home from habitat for humanity.  I also continued my annual tradition of working the Special Olympics with my Dad. The event is actually in May, but we are starting to plan right now. Every year the event grows and every year we seem to complete the event in record time. If you have never volunteered at the Special Olympics, It is worth a Saturday to make the trip down to Southeastern. Some of the athletes we work with move on to compete at the national and international levels and I would venture to say all of them show world class sportsmanship and camaraderie. This was the most meaningful year of school and volunteering that I have had. I am grateful for our committed professors and this wonderful year spent in New Orleans. I advocate this program to anyone looking to improve their knowledge of medicine and research while giving back to the community.

Friday, March 31, 2017

March 2017

The Shelf is OVER. If i could give any advice to next year's class when it comes to studying for the shelf exam it would be to make sure you know mechanisms of action and the characteristic side effects of each drug class. Knowing your drug classes and all the drugs from each classes individual mechanism of action was essential in differentiating answers on the shelf. It would seem like common knowledge , but i think it is definitely easy to gloss over the individual mechanism of action of a drug because you know what it treats. Knowing how drugs work is just as important as knowing what to use it for. We are on the home stretch for the program and the anticipation of graduation among my classmates is palpable. I think we all are coming out on the brighter side of things and i have only heard positive comments about the time we have spent in New Orleans and in this program. It is such an ease of mind that i actually possess practical medical skill set and have to tools to evaluate almost any medically oriented paper i pick up. Reading journals use to be a chore, now i enjoy delving into the details and conducting additional research to really let the message hit home.

This past month I was able to get some work in with my guys in Baton Rouge doing rehab work. They are really excelling ever since we were able to move the workouts from Baton Rouge Rehab to my families gym. We have been able to implement some explosive movement and tension training with rubber bands and chain work. The guys are training harder than ever for the upcoming Summer Endeavor games and i really look forward to seeing how they fair with another year of solid training under there belt.

Looking forward to our upcoming Crawfish boil in Audubon Park!

Service Hours: Power lifting Rehab work: 8

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

February 2017

I can finally the see the finish line!

February was a whirl wind of a month that involved taking 7 tests in 5 weeks and giving 2 presentations to boot. We started with our Psychology exam in the beginning of February and learned about treating schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and classifying the drugs of abuse. Studying for this test was very similar to studying for my neurobiology classes in college. Understanding the interplay between neural firing and neurotransmitter regulation was essential in learning to manage and treat the different symptoms and pathologies associated with each disease. While we have many treatment options available for a wide spectrum of mental illnesses, it was highly emphasized that each treatment has a larger variance in effectiveness and side effects then other drugs classes. Patients are to be started on low doses and carefully increased in dosage until the most effective and safest level is reached.

We recently just finished up our section on endocrinology and reproduction. Endocrinology was a fairly straightforward chapter that focused on the treatment of diabetes and diseases of the hypothalamic pituitary axis. Learning about the different pathologies and treatments involved in type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus was enlightening and helpful. I have multiple friends and family who are diabetic and having a better understanding of their disease really helps give me a different perspective on chronic diseases. The reproductive portion of the block included a PBL with Dr. Lindsey. She orchestrated a very informative discussion on the treatment of different patient types and their possible contraceptive treatments.

Our medical pharmacology course is finally coming to a close with the upcoming shelf exam. I have already started my preparation for the exam and look forward to the challenge that awaits.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

December 2016 - January 2017

It's been quite the busy last 2 months, but i'll do my best to be brief and just mention the highlights. The start of December and January was a battle of perseverance to say the least. I've been oscillating in and out of an upper respiratory infection most of this year and finally seem to be getting a reprieve now in late January (cross my fingers). I've never had to deal with illness and balancing commitments on the level I have this semester, but it’s been a great test of character that I’m proud to have gone through. Also, I'm very thankful to have such a supportive faculty in this program to help along the way.
The GI block in December and Neurology Block in January were two of my favorite blocks because of how interactive components integrated into the course work. The GI Block included a simulation where we prescribed opiates in an emergency room situation to a patient with varying comorbidities. The Neurology Block graced us with the presence of a local psychiatrist and her patient. It was an eye-opening experience to have such a candid conversation with a woman so keenly aware of her mental illness. I will remember the conversation she had with us for years to come and it gave me a much better perspective on mental illness. During the interview, the patient mentioned the importance of validating emotions when speaking with not just a patient with mental illness, but any person suffering an emotional episode. It seems like common sense, but I feel like this point is not emphasized enough in my experiences in healthcare.
We are currently on the psychopharmacology block and preparing for the upcoming exam next week. I think this program has really sparked my enthusiasm for learning and creating good study habits. There are points during the semester that I have felt over whelmed, but I’ve learned that working diligently every day makes the most impossible goals attainable.
I am looking forward to the coming weeks and experiencing what a New Orleans Mardi Gras has to offer!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 2016

The months have been flying by and the Christmas season is now in full swing. November was action packed and ended in some well needed family time back in Baton Rouge after we completed what was seemingly the last full workload before the Christmas break. We completed our Renal Physiology Block at the beginning of November and wrapped up the Pulmonary block before the Thanksgiving break. Medical Pharmacology is all but done at this point, except for our GI block, and I can say it has been my favorite course thus far. The clinical relevance intertwined with the physiology and drug history has really helped provide a firm foundation of each drug class and their clinical applications. Currently we are knees deep into the Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology course, which provides great background on understanding the foundations of laboratory techniques. 
This month I took a deviation from my typical service opportunities and was brought back to my old roots. While on Thanksgiving break, I was able to meet up with disabled athletes I use to work with and help with some workouts. It was great to come back and see their progress since the summer and give a helping hand. Both athletes we are training are over 60 years old and its incredible the determination these men have in their day to day lives, not just in the weight room. John is an auto-enthusiast, wood and metal worker and essentially a Jack of All trades.  Wayne is a straight-shooting auto mechanic who seems to always have a smile on his face despite any circumstance. The resilience these two men have shown throughout their lives, pre and post-accident, have provided a great point of reflection and perspective for myself. I am very thankful for the support and encouragement the pharmacology program provides when it comes to service opportunities. The day to day hustle that embodies a career in medicine can be overwhelming at some points and sometimes key components of who we are can get thrown to the way side without even realizing it. The encouragement from Tulane and the incorporation of service into our curriculum has been able to keep me connected to the roots of who I am while still broadening my academic horizons. I also had the opportunity to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity at their Restore center. It was a great opportunity to see a different side of New Orleans and make a new experience.

November Hours-10
Total Hours- 30

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

October 2016

Phewwww. Glad that one's over! It has been a long arduous month of balancing school and other commitments, but all the hard work seems to be paying off. The beginning of October entailed tackling the cardiovascular block exam. I was a bit under the weather for the exam, but I have learned that the necessity to trudge on and persevere makes all the difference. It's very difficult when faced with adversity to stay focused and strong willed when the easiest solution is to take the path of least resistance. As an advancing medical professional, I am learning the fortitude, dedication and skills that are becoming necessary to excel in this field. The close of October marked the end of our study on Renal Pharmacology.  This block exam coincided with the Halloween festivities in New Orleans, so I opted to not partake in the New Orleans "tradition" of VooDoo Fest. The Renal Block provided a great supplemental knowledge about the cardiovascular system and showed how uniquely intertwined the two systems are. I now have a much greater appreciation for the collaboration between Cardiologist's and Nephrologist's in coordinating patient care. There is a delicate balance one must strike when coordinating care between these very important organs and their care can be antagonistic at times.

The service component of this program is helping me discover new passions of mine. While I have not been able to make much progress in terms of starting the power-lifting program, I have been finding success in volunteering at Sci High. I have been to several class sessions at Sci High thus far and even was a judge at their annual science fair. All my time has been spent helping the students in the Physical Science classroom prepare for the science fair and it was a fortunate opportunity I was able to judge the student’s projects I assisted with. Overall, I was very impressed with the projects and research these students did. Many of the students were asking questions well beyond their current grade level and most of them were seeking outside sources to fill the knowledge gaps where their curriculum was lacking. November brings a welcomes chill to Louisiana and another exciting month lays ahead!

Community Service- 20 Hours 

Friday, September 30, 2016

September 2016

The end of September signifies the ushering in of the Fall season and the start of the cardiovascular system block.  Like the beginning of the Fall, the CV Block brings a breath of fresh air to the curriculum and is a nice chance of pace from the preceding block on Neoplasia/Hematology. Through my experiences as an EKG Technician, I have become well acquainted with the cardiovascular system and it has earned a special place in my heart (pun intended). Tulane has always been known as a place of intense CV research, and  our professors have done well to translate their enthusiasm and expertise into our lectures. We recently completed our first TBL, Team-Based-Learning, exercise and are now preparing for our first CV Simulation. I really enjoy these collaborative exercises not only because they give practical, working use and knowledge of the material, but also because they give experience in what It would be like to work as a team in a medical setting. The team based approach to medicine is being highly emphasized as the optimal way to care for a patient and the hands on experience we gain from these exercises is translatable to our future careers. My performance on the block exams has been great thus far and my study habits are improving as we go along in the course work. Each new block brings on its own challenges and I am quickly learning to read for context and understanding through mainly focusing on the high yield material. Like most of my peers, I am inherently curious and delving too far into any subject matter will quickly send you down the rabbit hole. I have learned that it is best to build a very strong foundation in the block before going into the complex details of the human biology.

In regards to my community service, I have finally had the opportunity to meet with my Sci High teacher to discuss a tutoring schedule. I am excited to be assisting Mrs. Thomas in the physical science department. We talked at length about the curriculum the students will be covering and some of the other science classes that she suggests I tutor in. To me, practical application of knowledge has always been the best way to learn the material. The physical science class will allow me to help these students learn the sciences in a practical and functional way, instead of just reading theories and doing calculations. Sci High offers a “Maker” class where they do 3D printing and some woodworking. I will try to cross tutor in that classroom because working with computer and woodworking are two hobbies of mine that I feel I could lend a hand in.
Flood update: I have been making biweekly trips back to BR to help out where I am needed. I was mainly focusing on helping people in my neighborhood who needed drywall, insulation and cabinets ripped out. Most of my neighborhood looks back to normal and people are beginning to piece back together their lives. It is amazing what you can learn about building a house by just ripping it apart. I’ve learned so much through this experience about disaster management and the impact it can have on a community. I am continuing to learn more and more about what it takes to build a community and what it truly means to see a city and state working together to rebuild.

Powerlifting program update: Now that my recovery efforts in Baton Rouge are beginning to slow down and I have set a comfortable pace in our curriculum, I will be able to pursue setting up the powerlifting program for disabled athletes. I have reached out to my contact at the Baton Rouge Rehab facility who will be getting in touch with some local organizations on my behalf. We think we will be able work with the Paralympic Sport Club of New Orleans to recruit athletes and begin the process of starting up a new program there.

Community Service- 14 hours, Baton Rouge Flood Relief