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Archive for December, 2010


Honors/accelerated medical programs

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Many patients have asked me about medical school advice for their nieces/nephews and grandchildren.

I highly recommend that if your relative has a strong interest in medicine as early as high school and if they are a top student that you have them look into accelerated medical programs. These programs give a high school senior guaranteed admission to medical school with conditions. Another strong consideration is to go to college outside of California which provides a competitive advantage.

I attended Northwestern University’s Honors Program in Medical Education and have not at all regretted my decision. It came down to going to Stanford or going to NU, and for me it was the right choice. I knew I hated worrying about grades and just wanted to focus on learning. I had diverse interests besides medicine and science, such as English literature and psychology, and had a dream of doing junior year abroad. I was able to fulfill all of these dreams by doing this and was able to have a more happy social life during college because of it. Of course, the inner drive in me still couldn’t let my GPA fall, but I was really blessed to have had the opportunity to let go a little in college and not worry that everything I did revolved around competitiveness.

We have a number of employees who want to go to med school who were top students in HS, but are just on the edge of competitiveness to enter med school. It is heartbreaking for them and for us to see them have to re-apply or give up on med school entirely.

Not all schools that have these programs are as liberal with grades and requirements as NU was. At the time I went (and I don’t know what the story is now), all that was required was to maintain a 2.0 GPA. Of course, one also has to look at the quality of the undergraduate experience as well as the quality of the med school. It was a fantastic experience for me and the location of NU’s med school cannot be beat. NU’s program is now even more competitive than when I applied. Apparently, according to Wikipedia, there are 5000 applicants for 1-200 interviews and 15-40 admitted. At least half will probably come from Illinois.

I found a list of schools with these programs

Good luck to them! If you have any other questions, please let me know.

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Actinic keratoses, time to treat?

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

January is prime time for Efudex treatment. No more excuses with the holidays being over! In my experience, Efudex (5-Fluorouracil) is the superior treatment for severe sun damage. It does require one to swallow one’s pride for several weeks, and yes, you will scare little children and potential mates, but the payoff is well worth it.

I recently had one patient who used it whose friends thought he had gotten an eye job after treatment. He looked about 10 years younger. There is downtime involved, but it does a great job.

I had another patient with multiple business enterprises who found the time to undergo treatment. His skin was miraculously smoother and healthier again.

There are other methods, but the most important thing is to remember that preventative maintenance is the key to preventing skin cancer. Actinic keratoses can lead to squamous cell cancer which has the potential to metastasize.

For inspiration, here is a re-posting of Dr. Bennett who finally gave in and used it.

Efudex poster child-taking it like a man

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