Graduate school is, for many, the first big dose of “failure is the mother of success.”

After my first grant application came back with a substantially worse score on the revision submission than on the initial submission (how is that possible?), and the paper I was working on was rejected for the third time, my well-intentioned-but-innocent friends from undergrad made the mistake of introducing me one evening at a happy-hour event as “This is Ashley—she’s curing cancer!” Begin the awkward pity party.

Understanding Acute Myeloid Leukemia
My Ph.D. work as part of the M.D./Ph.D. program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University began when I joined an ongoing project in the laboratory of Ulrich Steidl, M.D., Ph.D., studying the development of leukemia. Leukemia is an aggressive blood cancer in which stem cells fail to develop properly into mature cell types and, instead, multiply uncontrollably at an immature stage of differentiation. Patients lack healthy mature blood cells, and their bone marrow, blood and other tissues become crowded with cancer cells, resulting in symptoms such as infections, fatigue and bleeding. The type of leukemia we study—acute myeloid leukemia (AML)—has a particularly poor clinical outcome, with less than one third of patients achieving lasting remission after treatment.

Pipette

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When the media hysteria around the Ebola outbreak first hit its peak, I found it impossible to ignore. This story was unfolding in a way that rejected the values of empathy and social justice that had motivated me to begin medical school at Albert Einstein College of Medicine just a few months earlier.

In an effort to comprehend what I saw, heard and read about Ebola, I chose to write about it on my personal blog. To my surprise, several of my classmates approached me to express similar concerns. Their voices began to emerge and I was eager to listen.

Words associated with Ebola virus

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“Standard of care” research (also known as “comparative effectiveness” research) is a design that compares two therapies in routine use to determine which has greater benefits or fewer risks.

All institutions that perform this research, including Albert Einstein College of Medicine and its University Hospital, Montefiore Medical Center, face questions about how to handle patient consent. This blog post represents my opinions on the issues, not the official position of Einstein and/or Montefiore.

hand signing an informed consent document

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Editors’ Note: Malaria causes over 200 million new infections annually. Each year, more than 600,000 people die from the disease. The WHO estimates that an African child dies every minute from malaria. There has been progress, however. In April, the U.N. reported that malaria rates for children in Africa are down by half. Still, there is much to be done to prevent new outbreaks and provide better treatment options.

Dr. Johanna Daily - Albert Einstein College of MedicineAlbert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University’s Dr. Johanna Daily studies Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly of the five malaria species that cause human disease, and the molecular mechanisms responsible for the range of disease outcomes that occur during infection. Specifically, she and her team are trying to explain what causes cerebral malaria, a severe form of the disease that causes a deep and often deadly coma, particularly in children. Dr. Daily is associate professor of medicine and of microbiology & immunology.

The Doctor’s Tablet blog spoke with her about the disease and her research. Science media relations manager Kim Newman contributed to this piece. 
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Anna is an elderly, vibrant patient who doesn’t remember what brought her to the hospital this time, but she enjoys company, and an audience for her life’s stories. She tells me about growing up in the only Hispanic family in an Italian neighborhood, raising her children, becoming a widow, adopting a few too many stray animals over the years and becoming a widow for a second time. She tells me about her past illnesses and the doctors who have taken care of her.

This visit was facilitated by Project Kindness, a voluntary program and partnership between Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and Montefiore Medical Center’s Jack D. Weiler Hospital. Through the program, which began in full this year, medical students (including many first- and second-year students) spend personal time with patients, listening to their stories and validating their experiences.

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Michael Reichgott Albert Einstein College of MedicineDr. Michael Reichgott has been leading medical education efforts and influencing faculty and students throughout his 30-year career at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Now, his peers have recognized him with a top honor.

A member of the Einstein class of 1965, Dr. Reichgott is the 2014 recipient of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) Distinguished Service Award. This is the third time this award has been presented; it recognizes individuals whose work has had a concrete impact on the quality of medical education in North America. The LCME is the body that grants and reviews the accreditation status of medical schools in the United States and Canada. [click to continue…]

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Elementary school student receives nutrition advice while snacking on an apple

Students learning about nutrition during a BODY club event in 2014. 

When I was a child, one of my favorite sugary snacks was basically a small vat of frosting. It came with cookies for dunking. I won’t lie; some of that stuff is delicious, but with help from my family and what I learned in school, I came to appreciate healthier alternatives.

No question, it seems an uphill battle for many kids. Childhood obesity is epidemic, with more than one-third of U.S. kids and teens now classified as overweight or obese. And to make matters worse, kids in America watch, on average, between three and five fast-food ads every day. [click to continue…]

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