Close-up of a person holding a syringeEvery day we learn of new suspected cases of Ebola infection in the United States, causing worries among the population and renewed efforts by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to contain the epidemic.

A student in the postgraduate course in research ethics that I teach at Einstein recently asked whether we could discuss the Ebola epidemic in class. Because I had prepared the syllabus for the course months ago, I hadn’t thought of including a discussion of ethics in research on Ebola. But the time was ripe, and I gratefully accepted the student’s suggestion. [click to continue…]

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Patient telling symptoms to doctorHow we think about emotion affects not only the meanings we ascribe to situations, events or people but also our possible future actions.

In medicine, emotion is central to the work carried out by health professionals daily. Understanding, reflecting on, engaging with and expressing emotion are important aspects of practice. [click to continue…]

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Caregiver reading a bookEvery month I walk up to Pelham Parkway in the Bronx and ride the Bx12 select bus to the Fordham section to visit my patient. She is a warm-hearted, middle-aged woman who has multiple chronic medical conditions and no longer works as a result. She spends her time watching her neighbor’s children and involving herself heavily in her church community.

During our visits, I spend time listening to her—developing a patient-based narrative history of her life that is revealed though stories about how she manages her chronic medical conditions, and about her involvement in the local church. I’ve really gotten to know what’s important to her as a patient and as a person. [click to continue…]

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Aurelia Minuti, head of reference & educational services at D. Samuel Gottesman Library at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, assists a student.

Aurelia Minuti, head of reference & educational services at the D. Samuel Gottesman Library at Einstein, assists a student seeking information.

A recent Viewpoint column by Melissa L. Rethlefsen et al. in the Journal of the American Medical Association,Engaging Medical Librarians to Improve the Quality of Review Articles,” examined the value medical librarians bring to the research process. Librarians’ expertise includes selecting databases, employing advanced search skills, refining topics, developing search strategies and managing results. Disappointingly, these skills are sometimes underused by medical students and established researchers; they either don’t understand the value of these tasks or believe they are already expert at searching.

The article caused me to reflect on the evolving relationship between librarians and researchers that I’ve experienced throughout my library career. [click to continue…]

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It was the fall of 1984 when I interviewed at Einstein to become a medical student. I can still remember the jitters I felt. I was the first person in my Puerto Rican family who was born in the U.S., the first to pursue a graduate degree, the first to attempt to become a physician. Talk about a challenge.

Prior to my interview, I knew that Einstein had a strong commitment to diversity and considered it critical to the education of its student body. I was still a bundle of nerves. [click to continue…]

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Example of small high-powered magnetic balls

Magnetic balls marketed to adults but easily swallowed by children

As practicing pediatric gastroenterologists at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, my colleagues and I remove a fair number of esophageal and intestinal foreign bodies (i.e., things kids accidentally swallow).

A couple of years ago, several physicians across the country began noticing serious injuries in children who swallowed high-powered magnets. The issue was raised in an email forum for pediatric gastroenterologists and the response was overwhelming. There were hundreds of cases—throughout the world, as we later learned—that many of us had thought were isolated incidents. An avalanche of emails quickly convinced us otherwise. [click to continue…]

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