Supreme Court to Rule on Access to Abortion in Louisiana

Down in New Orleans in 2016

I would say “how has it been 6 months since I posted here?!” but then again, I know that happened – the last semester of my second year of medical school and Step 1 happened. So here I am, 6 months later, getting back on the horse. I’ve still been posting over on Instagram, but I’m also just getting back to posting there after a break for my dedicated Step 1 study period.

A while back, I posted on my Instagram stories about oral arguments at the Supreme Court for June Medical Services v. Russo and asked if folks wanted to learn more about the role of the judiciary in abortion care. After hearing a resounding yes, I’m finally getting around to it. This was initially intended to be a post on IG, but the judicial system and processes that go with it are *complicated* to say the least and resulted in a post that was far too long. So I’m going to share here instead.

At first I thought I’d work my way forward from Roe v. Wade to today, but it seems more relevant to start in the present and look back to see how we got here. This post is going to look at the specifics of June Medical (and I’ll update it as soon as there is a decision!) and then forthcoming posts will look at Roe, Casey, Whole Woman’s Health (in more detail than presented here), and others.

So let’s head down to the land of beignets and jambalaya and get to it.

The Supreme Court is due to hand down a decision any day now in June Medical Services. At issue in the case is this: does the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit’s to uphold Louisiana’s law requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital conflict with the Supreme Court’s 2016 ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

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Tap Dance Dreams & ACA Open Enrollment

Happy Monday!! I always enjoy the early morning sunshine after we “fall back” but boy do I hate the darkness at 6pm. I am usually an early morning studier but with an exam coming up on Wednesday, I was at it later than usual yesterday. As soon as I realized it was pitch black out, it felt like my brain turned off. So I watched the magnificent PBS broadcast of 42nd Street and did some light studying. I don’t know how I’ve never seen 42nd Street before but I AM OBSESSED.

I actually learned how to tap dance a few years ago and for one of our performances (yes, we had performances and no I won’t share the video!) we learned the opening to 42nd Street. But to see it done by professionals, holy smokes, the tapping in this show out of the stratosphere incredible! I was literally on the edge of my seat watching it. There’s a pretty good chance (like approaching 100%) that I will watch it again this week, but I’m going to do my *best* to wait until after my exam.

And since it is Monday, I think it’s time for a little MPH Monday lesson. It’s the perfect time to talk about open enrollment for 2020 ACA Marketplace health insurance, which began on Friday, November 1 and will end on Sunday, December 15th.

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This Week in Health Policy #8

This Week in Health Policy #8

There is nothing I love more than sitting in my bed with a steaming hot mug of coffee and reading the news. I usually put on some classical music from NPR’s WETA and lose track of time. It wasn’t in the cards for me this week to spend more than 30 minutes a day on the news (except for Sunday!) but I still think I’ve got a pretty diverse and interesting health policy round-up for you today!

The Annals of Internal Medicine published new guidelines indicating that there is not enough evidence to support cutting back on meat consumption, but there’s much more to the story.

Accountable care organizations (ACO’s) experience continued but slow growth after changes to the Medicare ACO program.

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Podcasts for All Your Health Policy & Medicine Needs

Podcasts for All Your Health Policy & Medicine Needs

I love Monday’s – time to make a new weekly to-do list and the possibilities for what I can accomplish during the week seem endless. (Although I don’t love Monday mornings with an exam as much as Monday’s without exams). Over on Instagram, I’ve been sharing about public health and health policy on Monday’s. I’m trying to make #MPHMonday happen! And I thought it was finally time to migrate some of that fun over to the blog!

I typically listen to podcasts for news or current affairs analysis but I also love them as an opportunity to learn about new topics or fun trends.

Fun fact about me: I actually used to edit two podcasts as part of my job in graduate school! One focused on innovations in emergency medicine and the other centered on improving the quality and value of health care.

I wanted to share some of my public health, health policy, and medicine favorites!

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I’m Still Here: Life & Photo Dump

Well, it’s been much longer than I anticipated since my last post! I’m still here, just decided to take some time off to enjoy my summer and then once school started again I felt like I’ve barely had a moment to breathe. And truth be told, I should be thinking about starting to study right now but here I am, about to give you a huge life update instead – and tons of pictures that will probably convince you to take a trip out West. Keep reading to see what I’ve been up to since May!

I still cannot believe that my first year of medical school is over already! It really is true what they say – the days are long but the years are short. And that’s true thus far into second year as well. Once I finished up with my last neurology exam in May, I had to do my clinical competency assessment to ensure that I’ve learned how to take a full history and physical this year. It was a lot – you never realize how much doctors think about until you’re the one trying to think like a doctor!

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The Real Reason I Became a Beautycounter Consultant

I’ve been sitting on this post for a few months now and wasn’t sure I wanted to publish it. If you follow me on social media, you’ve seen me talk about Beautycounter and my side hustle as a consultant. I was unsure about posting it here because I try to keep this space focused on health policy and medical school. But then I realized that those parts of my life are exactly WHY I joined Beautycounter in the first place. So today, I’m going to let you in on why I really became a Beautycounter consultant and why I love it!

In all honestly, I never gave much thought to my skincare or makeup — I didn’t learn how to wear makeup until college and my idea of skincare until recently was taking off my makeup with a remover wipe at night. But as I’m approaching the big 3-0 this year, I decided it was time to be more proactive and take care of my, admittedly, pretty great skin (#thanksgenetics). I want it to look this good years down the road!

I had no idea what products I needed and I’ve always felt overwhelmed by the department store counters and Sephora. I start sneezing thanks to the perfume and then have no idea if something is good quality or worth the cost. So when a blogger I’d been reading for years mentioned that she was a Beautycounter consultant, I was intrigued. She shared a lot of concerning facts about the personal care product industry that spoke to my public health and almost-a-medical-student heart.

The Alarming Truth about the Personal Care Product Industry

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Engaging in Advocacy as a Medical Student

I wanted to write this post last week, but I had to play some serious catch-up with school work instead. I shared a little bit about the conference I attended in D.C. and the amazing celebs I met (!!) but I wanted to let you in about why I attended in the first place and why I think more medical students should be engaged in advocacy.

Prior to medical school, I worked at a policy non-profit in D.C. for three years. Part of my job included meeting with Congressional staff and legislators and running workshops to give high schoolers and adults the skills to be an advocate at the local, state, and federal level. I loved teaching about the basics of government, a little bit about a policy issue, and giving some tips for effective advocacy. [I’ll be back soon with my tips for effective advocacy!]

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This Week in Health Policy #3

This Week in Health Policy #3

Welcome to the third edition of “This Week in Health Policy!”

I loved sending a weekly roundup of health policy and public health news to one of my student interest groups in graduate school, so I thought it would be a great way to share the interesting articles, research papers, podcasts, and more that I come across each week with all of you! I hope you find something interesting and engaging!

Death By 1,000 Clicks: Where Electronic Health Records Went Wrong

“The U.S. government claimed that turning American medical charts into electronic records would make health care better, safer, and cheaper. Ten years and $36 billion later, the system is an unholy mess. Inside a digital revolution that took a bad turn.”

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I Miss My 45-Minute Walking Commute

This past week has been a whirlwind — it started with an exam and ended with my official induction into the medical profession at my medical school pinning ceremony. It’s been wonderful to have my whole family in town to celebrate and it’s kept me from staring at a screen all weekend. It has been a very welcome break from technology.

I’ll be back later this week to share about the pinning ceremony, but I wanted to make sure you had some podcast recommendations for your morning and evening commutes this week!

When I was in graduate school, I used to listen to at least two podcasts episodes a day — I walked the nearly 45 minutes from my apartment to work/school each morning and evening to get fresh air, but also it was faster than any public transportation option. Honestly, I actually really miss that walking commute. It was so good for my mental health to be outside each day, rain or shine. To say my podcast habits have shifted would be an understatement; if I get through two podcast episodes in one week, it’s a success. But, I still have some great recommendations for you!

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On a Scale of Pass to Fail, Many Medical Schools Fail Students on Health Policy

The U.S. Capitol is a site of health policy discussion and legislative action.

We are in a time when physicians are increasingly speaking the language of health policy and public health — “value-based care,” “co-payment,” “social determinants of health,” “accountable care organization” — and are increasingly asked by patients to ensure that a particular treatment or procedure is covered by their insurance before moving forward. This dizzying list of health policy terms (and the responsibility of a physician to understand the lingo) just keeps growing. And there is no better time to introduce students to this world than in medical school, when they are primed for learning and not yet overwhelmed with patient care.

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