Tutor Roundtable: What’s Your Favorite Medical Topic?

  • /Reviewed by: Amy Rontal, MD
  • One thing students often ask us here at Med School Tutors is what our favorite medical topic is. To all of you out there, good question! As we’re comprised of many doctors from different specialties and backgrounds, rather than just say, “We like all kinds of stuff,” we decided to go straight to the source. Below is a conversation with our Tutor Development Team  doctors Mike Coords, Nicholas Rowan, Chris Carrubba, Eli Freiman and Dan Maselli  as well as MD/PhD M4 student Corynn Kasap about what topics got them the most excited.

    Their responses were enlightening, and while they tended to be very specific to each individual, a few things actually came up more than once! Check out what they said in our tutor roundtable:

    Dan Maselli:

    Favorite medical topic…  Hmm, I think mine would be inherited cancer syndromes, particularly Lynch syndrome, and particularly in the context of Lynch syndrome-related gynecologic cancers.

    Chris Carrubba:

    Mine would be:

    1. Healthcare quality improvement and maximizing profits in the bundled care environment
    2. Sepsis recognition and management
    3. The Affordable Care Act

    Nick Rowan:

    Quality improvement and quality metrics are #sohotrightnow

    Mike Coords:

    Coronary artery disease

    1. Misuse/overuse of labs and diagnostic imaging
    2. Healthcare expenditures with focus on surplus on admin and less on physicians
    3. Healthcare insurance coverage

    Corynn Kasap:

    Bwahaha! I’m currently on PMR. The most frequent question patients ask is, “how long do I have to exercise?”

    Attending answers: “Forever. Exercise is forever.”

    Mike Coords:

    Oh… thats good!  

    I forgot my real favorite! Obesity and how it effects morbidity related to procedures! I had a patient who was overweight two days ago whose hip I was injecting. I had to use foam tape on her pannus to get it out of the way and she is like, “why are you doing that?!”

    I said, “Well ma’am, I need to use this tape in order to make sure my needle reaches your hip.”      

    Her reply:  “Are you saying I’M FAT?!!”

    “Ma’am, I didn’t say that, but we don’t have needles long enough that would allow me not to use tape in this fashion…”

    Yeah… she complained about me…

    Anyway, obesity increases morbidity with respect to increasing the technical complexity of the surgical procedure. Delays healing time. More tissue to heal. Poor diagnostic visualization. Increases radiation dose. Hardware failure. Infection.

    Corynn Kasap:

    To answer sincerely:

    1. Immunotherapy such as checkpoint inhibitors, CAR T cells
    2. Cancer genomics/epigenomics
    3. End of life/palliative care — we don’t prepare for it nearly as well in our society as we prepare for birth.

    Dan Maselli:

    It’s all about the liver for me! Alcoholic hepatitis and the eventual cirrhosis, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

    Eli Freiman:

    Hmmmmm….developing “low risk” criteria to expand pediatric ED populations who need less blood work or imaging to be discharged home, and care integration and medical homes to reduce cost and systems utilization for the 5-10% of pediatric Medicaid patients that represent more than 50% of expenditures.

    Also, how many chocolate ice cream cups a junior resident can eat on one night shift without developing diabetes. So far, my empiric data suggest “5” is a safe amount. More testing is in progress.

    Chris Carrubba:

    Are we going to be doing anything with these?

    Oh Chris, if only you knew

    Suffice to say, we’re all unique snowflakes when it comes to our favorite topics. Some tutors take particular interest in the non-scientific topics that impact patient care, such as health insurance, healthcare policy, and hospitals’ administrative policies. Some tutors love specific organs. Some tutors love thinking about certain diseases, or how lifestyle choices can impact patient care and experience.

    Something we can all agree on, though, is that there is a lot to explore in the field of medicine, from patient care to specific organ systems. We’re lucky to have an opportunity to participate in the constant expansion of knowledge among medical professionals and groupies like us, the devoted non-medical MST staff. But all this begs the question: what are YOUR favorite medical topics? Sound off in the comments below!