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

Monday, August 29, 2016

August 2016

"A Society Grows Great 
When Old Men Plant Trees
Whose Shade They Know 
They Shall Never Sit In"
Greek Proverb

The closing of August 2016 signifies the starting of a new chapter and continuation of others, in my blossoming medical career. 

As of today, we are 2 block exams and 7 weeks into our Masters in Pharmacology curriculum. The curriculum has been challenging, but very feasible. Dr. Clarkson, along with our other professors, have provided ample resources that are as essential as they are easily accessible. The enthusiastic deliverance of the didactic lectures, the thoughtful consideration of the lecture schedule and the abundant resources available on the “PharmWiki” and from the professors provide the right amount of motivation and ease of use needed to handle the work load. I most enjoy the foundational approach used in presenting the information, which emphasizes conceptual understanding accompanied by a clinical/practical context, and using this to lead into more complex material.

This may be a new beginning in some ways, but in others it is just an extension along the same journey in medicine that began 6 years ago. New Orleans and its natives have welcomed me with open arms, and in so many ways it feels like home. My time here at Tulane has been nothing but a pleasurable experience. Every day I walk down the hallways to the Matas library and I feel like I am walking in the footsteps of giants. It is inspiring and motivating to be involved in a school with such a rich history in medicine and is such staple in its community. From the first day here, it has been overwhelmingly evident of the altruistic intentions of all of my colleagues. I cannot help but marvel and be appreciative of the contribution of everyone to the nurturing of such a healthy, collaborative environment. It is such a blessing to be surrounded by characteristically unique, but like minded, academically oriented and altruistically intentioned colleagues. I have always believed that contribution, even in the smallest amount, can make a difference. Here at Tulane, I feel like this idea has been reciprocated ten-fold. Engrained into our curriculum, and this institution, is community service and I look forward to continuing to provide support to my community representing Tulane. In Baton Rouge, I was fortunate enough to be involved with a group of disabled athletes who’s drive to compete and better themselves inspired me to continue doing service work within the disabled community. Currently I am working to get a Powerlifting program started in New Orleans, similar to our program in Baton Rouge, that would provide disabled athletes a way to rehab and compete. I had hoped to start the program a bit sooner, but “life happens” and we have had to do a lot of recovery work in my hometown to mitigate damage from the historical flooding that occurs just 2 weeks ago. In the coming weeks to months, once more of the flood related damage has been mitigated and my friends and family are no longer needing my weekends for demolition and repair work, I hope to get the program off the ground.

The days remain busy and the weeks are always productive, so I know my next update on this medical journey will come sooner then I expect.

The "Cajun Crushers" Powerlifter's in Baton Rouge. A great team of guys who are collaborating with me to help get a New Orleans based disabled powerlifting team started. Great things to come!

Only positive things can happen when a community comes together.
My Dad sent me this picture as they launched Jet Ski's into the road behind our house in Baton Rouge to go rescue people as the flood water began to rise.

Baton Rouge Post-Flood Recovery Work