Bright Ideas: TTUHSC Featured in Texas Medicine

In a commentary, third-year medical student Justin Berk encouraged his peers to look up from their textbooks and experience "pure medicine."

The Texas Medical Association (TMA) is considered one of the largest and most powerful state medical societies. This month in Texas Medicine, the TMA magazine, the School of Medicine is featured in the cover story as well as a commentary.

The TTUHSC Family Medicine Accelerated Track program along with Steven L. Berk, M.D., executive vice president, provost and dean of the School of Medicine, Keeley Ewing-Bramblett, M.D., and Clay Buchanan, M.D., both graduates of the first FMAT class, were interviewed for the cover feature, Bright Ideas, Revamping Medical Education.

The article focuses on how Texas medical schools are a part of a movement to adapt medical education to today’s evolving health care system. According to Texas Medicine, “they are trying to get ahead of the curve with innovative approaches to meeting the current physician workforce demands, such as reducing medical school from four to three years.”

Berk states in the article, “Medical schools are looking at their role in society and in the health care system and changing how they do medical education based on the needs of the health care system.”

Both Ewing-Bramblett and Buchanan are featured discussing why they became a part of the FMAT program at TTUHSC.

“Pure” medicine

Justin Berk, MPH, MBA, third-year medical student, feels strongly about volunteering at a student-run free clinic, calling his experience one of the most formative experiences of his medical education. His commentary, “Pure Medicine,” about student-run free clinics was featured.

“As a first-year medical student I fell in love with the culture of the clinic,” Justin Berk said. “For medical students, it's easy to get lost in dense textbooks. But at the clinic you can apply your knowledge, remind yourself of why you wanted to become a doctor, and see the impact you can have on your community.”

Justin Berk wanted to write something that shared this experience to encourage other medical students and physicians to seek out these kinds of opportunities.

“I feel that the medicine practiced at the clinic is the idealized form of medicine at it's best; it is not tainted with the constant talk of health care reform, reimbursement rates, or administration overhead. I hope others feel the same way.”

Justin Berk said the free clinic is a perfect model for students to pursue the medicine that helps people when they are most in need. He added the free clinic exists because of compassionate leaders, students, physicians, pharmacists, nurses, social workers and volunteers.

“The work that these people do week after week is a constant source of inspiration. Medical school is a perpetually humbling experience,” he said. “Seeing others' doing so much good for the community can always serve as a much-needed pick-me-up to encourage students to stay positive and continue working hard to fulfill the dream of a career dedicated to helping others.”

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