The Medical Humanities

"To the real question, How does it feel to be a problem? I answer seldom a word."

Step 1 Hacks Nobody Tells You

Many of you will be taking your Step 1/Level 1 exams in the next 2 weeks. First off good luck to you, this whole process really sucks but keep working hard through the fatigue.

Secondly let me share some quick tips for test day that I wish someone had told me so I didn’t have to figure them out on my own. These aren’t tips for how to study or what resources to use, the are enough of those you can find including a post I did way back. This is under the radar help that will hopefully get you more points on test day.

1. This one is a low key test hack as long as you aren’t a stress ball. Once you are checked in to the testing center, have gone through the pleasure of showing your empty pockets and fingerprint, you get a scratch paper and something to write with. This is yours to do whatever you want with once you sit down and officially begin the test. My advice is before you enter the testing center, commit one last chart, table, equations to short term memory and hang on to it for 30 minutes or so. This should be anything you didn’t get a chance to learn properly or forgot from dedicated. Once you get to your seat, start the test, and could begin writing on your scratch paper copy down the table or whatever you chose and leave it there for the remainder of the day. I did this with a chart on hormone receptor types that got me an additional question right. Keep in mind for just about everyone there is more material than is posssible to master,  so it is ok to not know everything really well when you take this test, but doing this will hopefully help you get a few extra points.

2. Memorize normal values of common things that keep recurring. You might as well start on this while you’re doing u world. This is a timing test as much as anything else, so the 2-3 minutes you’ll save not constantly looking up lab values can be huge. I’d recommend at least knowing Na, K, Cl, bicarbonate, blood gases, and also highly recommend AST, ALT, Hgb, WBC, platelets, and bilirubin.

3. Have a gameplan for when to take breaks, fatigue is real on a test like this. You have 60 minutes total and you can add 15 minutes of you skip the tutorial (do this before test day if you really want to). Don’t forget you lose approximately 2-3 minutes for sign in/out every time you leave the. My recommendation is between block 1 and 2, stay in the room, close your eyes, let your mind relax for 3-5 minutes, then continue the test. You are most fresh at this time and doing this will help you space out the rest of the test. Then take 5-10 minute breaks the rest of the way with an 20 minute lunch break. Use this time to use the bathroom, recharge with food, and as Dwight Schrute would say replenish your fluids.

These tips will very likely get you an additional couple points on exam day, I hope these help and please share! Good luck.

Jerisch-Herxheimer vs. Reactivation of Herpes

Unfortunately as I’ve gotten deeper into medical school, I’ve lost some of my ability to critically think as well as I used to. On the bright side though, I’m now able to come up with creative medically related analogies to serious and complex sociopolitical issues. Here is one such example that has been floating through my mind for some time. I simply call it the Jerisch-Herxheimer Reaction vs. Reactivation of Latent Herpes Zoster conundrum. Specifically I present these two concepts to help think through current events over the last few weeks specifically, but it also easily applies to much more than that.

Let me first start by explaining Continue reading “Jerisch-Herxheimer vs. Reactivation of Herpes”

Tips and Advice for Taking Your First Medical School Board Exams

So a few people have requested it, and here it is! These are my tips and advice for board studying after taking USMLE Step 1/ COMLEX Level 1. Some background information that you are probably wondering, I had about 5 and a half weeks of dedicated study time that my school gave us. Continue reading “Tips and Advice for Taking Your First Medical School Board Exams”

It’s About That Time

It’s here. I have officially reached the last day of my summer internship on Islamic bioethics through the University of Chicago’s Initiative on Islam and Medicine. As I conclude, I want to share a few of the main reflections I had about the internship.

Continue reading “It’s About That Time”

In Vitro Fertilization: An Islamic Bioethical Perspective

IVF and Islamic Bioethics

Nasir Malim MPH and Aasim I. Padela MD MSc

The Initiative on Islam and Medicine, University of Chicago


In Vitro Fertilization, commonly referred to as IVF, is a medical procedure that was introduced in 1978 and joins a women’s egg and a man’s sperm outside the body in a manner where the sperm is able to enter and fertilize the egg. Continue reading “In Vitro Fertilization: An Islamic Bioethical Perspective”

My Trip to IMAN

Last week I finally got to see one of the places I always hoped to see in Chicago, the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) Center. Luckily it’s located in the south side and wasn’t too far from me. I heard about this center way back when I was an undergrad still in southern California because of all the important work they were involved in, and also because of their annual urban international street festival called Takin it to the Streets. Continue reading “My Trip to IMAN”

Here Comes the Real Work

So far during my time with the internship my main tasks have primarily been reading texts in order to develop a solid base and background in Islamic bioethics. This has been an informative process and I can say I have learned a lot. The next phase I will now be beginning will be more along the lines of production. Specifically I am tasked with creating an article meant for consumership by a general muslim masjid going audience, and writing a publishable paper for an academic journal. I will begin by describing the former. Continue reading “Here Comes the Real Work”

“Medicine, Not Bullets”

This past weekend I attended my first American Medical Association (AMA) Conference as part of a delegation representing my school TouroCOM Middletown. Today was by far the most memorable and significant portion of the weekend, primarily due to a student resolution that I was a part of getting passed to the next level. Continue reading ““Medicine, Not Bullets””

What is Islamic Bioethics?

For the unstated but ever present question that many of you have, I now present a somewhat detailed but not all encompassing answer. What exactly is Islamic bioethics? I’m sure the two words themselves make sense, it’s bioethics as it relates to Islam and Muslims. Cool. But what exactly does that even mean?

Let me start by saying that in this first week of the internship I underestimated how highly philosophical, theological and comparative literature based the concept of Islamic bioethics is. Although it makes sense that any conversation of bioethics would be characteristically philosophical, I still took for granted it’s centrality. Having said that, let me provide two definitions that help sum up the genre of Islamic bioethics in a simplified manner. Continue reading “What is Islamic Bioethics?”

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