AAMC Learn, Serve, Lead 2014: A Weekend in the Windy City

Catey Harwell, MS2


The conference started out early Friday morning for Rudra and me with a day of OSR meetings – that is the Organization of Student Representatives, which is the student branch of the AAMC. The OSR is subdivided regionally into a Southern OSR, which ULSOM is a part of; Northern OSR; Western OSR; and Central OSR. These meetings are a great opportunity to meet students from other medical schools and learn about what things they do differently, what works well, and what things could be improved.

A few of the topics we discussed include similarities and differences of TBL at our respective medical schools, research during medical school, and methods of informing students on health care reform. We look forward to bringing the ideas we gathered from meeting and talking with students from other schools back to ULSOM. We are always on the lookout for cool and exciting projects to introduce back at home.

I also learned about “milestones”. For those of you not familiar with milestones as I was, the idea behind it is just the same as those used to evaluate developmental progress in children. They are being used primarily in residency to evaluate resident performance in the six ACGME Core Competencies. These are: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and systems-based practice. Duke University is exploring ways of integrating milestones into the clinical curriculum at their school. To learn more about milestones, information is available on the ACGME website.

Allison arrived in Chicago from Cleveland where she was doing an away rotation on Friday night. It was great to have the whole team together again! Saturday morning we all attended a terrific session during which Alan Alda, who starred in the TV show M*A*S*H, discussed his effort to improve communication skills of scientists and health professionals with the public through the creation of the Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University (more information here: http://www.centerforcommunicatingscience.org). He had some great stories to share about some not so great experiences that he has had with physicians. He even got the audience involved on more than one occasion! In one demonstration, he invited someone from the audience to come up on stage and tap out the rhythm to a well-known song. An astonishingly small percentage of the audience was able to recognize the song based on this woman tapping it out. His point was that even though something may be clear to us in our head (just as when the woman tapped out the rhythm to the song), the person we are explaining something to may think it just sounds like a bunch of words that don’t make any sense together and is totally unrecognizable.

Alan Alda presenting at AAMC Learn, Serve, Lead 2014


Saturday afternoon we ventured to “The Bean” in Millennium Park and met up with the OSR reps from University of Oklahoma. The Bean was crowded, but it made for a great photo op! Breakfast for lunch was also the order of the day so we packed it in at Wildberry Pancakes, a popular breakfast and brunch spot in the city.

From left to right: Allison Hunter, MS4; Catey Harwell, MS2; Rudra Pampati, MS3. In Chicago at “The Bean” (officially named Cloud Gate) in Millennium Park.


Sunday was finally our day to present our poster on updates to the College System. Despite the short 45-minute time slot and the poor resolution on the monitor (this was a new method of poster presenting for all of us I think!), we drew some great interest from representatives from other schools. Many schools seem to have implemented something similar, but few have extensively integrated aspects of clinical advising, vertical mentorship, community outreach, and student wellness initiatives.

We also had just enough time before returning to Louisville to stop by the Firecracker booth for some study tips and caricatures!

Caricatures courtesy Firecracker!



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