Medical education innovation for premed, medical students, physician assistants, and nursing. Mnemonics, memory palaces, speed reading, study hacks, mind maps for the MCAT, USMLE, COMLEX, NCLEX, and all of your healthcare board exam and classroom needs!
73 Game Learning for Clerkships and Residents with Michael Cosimini MD
Dr. Michael Cosimini discusses gamification and games for clinical education. Dr. Cosimini is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine at USC, and the author of Empiric, a card game for learning guidelines-based antibiotic selection.
[02:08] Challenges of Creating Games for a Clinical Setting [02:56] Gamification Versus Serious Games [07:22] How to Balance Between Entertainment and Education [08:09] Tabletop Games Versus Video Games [12:23] How Medical Students Can Apply Games to Their Learning [13:49] How Empiric Works [20:21] How to Find Out More About Michael & Empiric Gamification Versus Serious Games Many medical instructors already gamify their educational content, for example, by transforming a PowerPoint slide into a game of Jeopardy, giving out stickers for accomplishments, and having a leaderboard in class. An example of gamification in the literature is when surgical residents performing laparoscopic procedures were split into competing groups. The randomly selected students who trained in this gamified setting trained longer and performed better.
Dr. Cosimini does support gamification, but he more strongly promotes “serious games” which go beyond gamifying existing educational content, to creating a game for the purpose of education, rather than pure entertainment. For example, the game GridlockED, which resembles Clue, trains players to handle emergency room throughput. Michael’s card game, Empiric for learning antibiotic selection is also a serious game.
How to Balance Entertainment and Education in Games To help find the appropriate balance between entertainment and education, Dr. Cosimini emphasizes the importance of testing the outcome of a game, to see what students have actually learnt. As a rule of thumb, be respectful of the player’s time. Do not have a game that is long, unless there is evidence that shows that this contributes to the learning process.
Tabletop Games Versus Video Games Dr. Cosimini promotes tabletop games over digital or video games for medical education. He cites a study by Mary Flanagan of Tiltfactor, a game design company. The study compared the iPad and tabletop version of Pox: Save the People, a game about disease spread. With the tabletop version, people tended to interact and work together more, which is important for the social aspect of learning.
How Medical Students Can Apply Games to Their Education Creating their own card games might be too involved, and too time-consuming for a medical student. Students can instead use off-the-shelf card games from resources such as East Midlands Emergency Medicine Educational Media, #EM3, which provides games for learning about pediatric EKGs, pediatric dermatology, and pediatric and adult orthopedics. For instructors, Michael recommends MedEd. He of course also recommends his own game Empiric, for learning about antibiotic selection, and his upcoming game about emergency medicine. These games are more helpful for clinical education i.e. for medical students on their clinical rotations, or for residents, and less helpful for first and second year medical students.
How Empiric Works Empiric is based on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Red Book, 2018-2021. Dr. Cosimini includes visual cues — such as color coding — for facts such as the mechanism of delivery and the spectrum of activity, to enable students to memorize facts more quickly. It can be difficult to keep up with the changing facts around antibiotic resistance, and other antibiotic research. Currently, Dr. Cosimini does this by updating the printable card decks online, after the research is updated.
Check out Empiric’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and website. The website includes a list of medical and non-medical card games.
Sign up for a Free Coaching session with Chase DiMarco, sponsored by Prospective Doctor! You can
Memory Palaces Basics w/Mullen Memory's Alex Mullen & Cathy Chen (Ep.2 Rebroadcast)
Alex Mullen & Cathy Chen of Mullen Memory discuss memory palaces.
Chase DiMarco hosts The Medical Mnemonist podcast episode: Memory Palaces basics with Mullen Memory’s Alex Mullen & Cathy Chen.
Sign up for a Free Coaching session with Chase DiMarco, sponsored by Prospective Doctor!
You can also join the Med Mnemonist Mastermind FB Group today and learn more about study methods, memory techniques, and MORE! Do check out Read This Before Medical School.
72 Deep Learning and USMLE Success with Physeo’s Rhett Thomson
Rhett Thomson discusses the importance of understanding material vs rote memorization, the story method, and pre-made versus self-made mnemonics.
[00:43] Physeo’s Philosophy of Learning [05:29] PowerPoints Versus Physeo’s Content [12:05] Pre-Made and Self-Made Mnemonics [23:30] Questions to Ask When Studying or Learning [28:44] Rhett’s Thoughts on Step 1 Becoming Pass/Fail [32:10] Patterns of Learning Used By High-Scoring Step 1 Exam Participants [35:54] How to Find Out More About Physeo and Step 1 Success Stories Chase DiMarco talks to Rhett Thompson, a student at the University of Utah Medical School and Cofounder of Physeo, a learning resource which helps medical students to prepare for the USMLE board exams. They discuss the importance of understanding versus only memorizing, the story method, and pre-made versus self-made mnemonics.
Physeo’s Philosophy of Learning
Physeo was born when Rhett and his friends were approaching their USMLE Step 1 Exam. They realized that they had relied on memorizing facts, without sufficiently understanding how these facts fit into deep and meaningful conceptual frameworks. The original intention was to build a conceptual framework around physiology, which is foundational to medicine. But at the moment, Physeo comprises not only 72 videos on physiology, but 79 videos in total covering other Step 1 topics as well.
PowerPoints have been the standard method of information dissemination, within medicine but also more broadly. There are several benefits to PowerPoints — they enable a student to follow along with a lecturer, and they enable notes to be accessible to students after the lecture, reducing anxiety around notetaking. However, PowerPoints are insufficient with regards to helping students to understand and lock in the information that they are given.
Physeo focuses on creating a large framework which makes learning and memorization intuitive and effortless. The core of Physeo’s philosophy is that understanding is key. Physeo’s videos walk students through complicated topics tested in the USMLE Step 1 Exam, reimagining them as stories, and using mnemonic devices which are logically coherent and intuitive, rather than a bunch of facts thrown together.
Pre-Made and Self-Made Medical Mnemonics Medical students can use various pre-made mnemonics provided by companies like Physeo. However, some argue that self-made mnemonic devices are more effective than those created by someone else. While Rhett agrees that self-made medical mnemonics may stick better, it is difficult to create stories as complex, and yet intuitive as the pre-made ones created by Physeo if you do not have a team of people doing thorough research and refining the mnemonics together. Medicine involves many complex topics, and a mnemonic that is roughly thrown together by an individual person may not stick.
Questions to Ask When Learning Although the quality and breadth of Physeo’s visual mnemonics are not achievable by an individual, Rhett provides key questions that students can ask in their own study time, as an effective learning technique. Firstly, ask why or how. To illustrate, in acute inflammation, prostaglandins can cause swelling. Instead of just memorizing this, ask yourself why/how prostaglandins cause swelling. You can then make a connection that is more logical. For example, prostaglandins cause postcapillary venules to become more permeable. This permeability can cause leaking of fluid, which results in edema in the interstitial tissue.
You have made a bit of a framework by making this logical connection — taking us to the next question: how does this fit into a bigger framework? Having studied prostaglandins, you might relate this to the larger framework of acute inflammation. So you have connected prostaglandins to swelling and acute inflammation.
Taking this further, in a clinical
71 What They Didn't Teach You About Racism in Med School With Jill Wener MD
Dr. Jill Wener discusses systemic racism, anti-racism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the concept of reverse racism. Dr. Wener is the host of the Conscious Anti-Racism podcast.
[01:48] Dr. Wener’s Journey into Anti-racism [08:39] White Supremacy Culture and Systemic Racism [15:27] Racism in Medicine [19:26] Why Reverse Racism Cannot Exist [27:40] Why Black Lives Matter exists [31:16] Internal Versus External Work to Combat Racism [37:19] Resources on Anti-racism
Dr. Jill Wener is the host of the Conscious Anti-Racism podcast and creator of a curriculum with the same name.
But I am Not Racist! Dr. Wener began leaning into her discomfort around race after a friend admonished her on the racially privileged perspective of her blog post on the 2016 election. Initially defensive, she knew that if she did implicitly have harmful views on race, she needed to correct them.
Just like Dr. Wener, many white people are sometimes defensive about race, and reluctant to agree that they are racist and that they benefit from white supremacy and white privilege. They often cite the hard work that they have invested to achieve success, and how they never use their racial privilege. However, Dr. Wener describes the systemic racism in the US as a “toxic fume soup” in which we are all immersed. White people inevitably benefit from their race, even if they do not intend to do so.
To illustrate one of the many ways in which white people unintentionally benefit from the color of their skin, Dr. Wener shares her story of being ticketed for using her cell phone in the car. She describes exiting her vehicle to stretch while waiting, and trying to explain to the officer that she had only taken out her phone to take a picture of an advertisement for a farmer’s market. Once the officer gauged that she was a doctor, he explained that he would not have ticketed her. At the time, Dr. Wener did not count this as an incident of her white privilege. But in hindsight, she knows that if she had acted similarly as a black person, she would have been shot or arrested. She knows a black friend who drives with a stethoscope and his medical ID hanging on his rearview mirror to protect himself from harm. White people can go through life without considering their race very much, whilst black people must always be aware and take precautions to protect themselves.
Why Reverse Racism Cannot Exist Young adult author Kimberly Jones, encourages us to consider a game of Monopoly where the game has been fixed against some players i.e. black people. For four hundred rounds, black people have been working for no pay under slavery, not being able to own land or anything. Then, for another fifty rounds, money that black people earned was taken from them (consider Tulsa). Now, imagine that after four hundred and fifty rounds, suddenly, black people are told to just start playing the game as “equals.” The hundreds of rounds of damage has not been undone. Therefore, when special spaces are created for black people, or when special opportunities are given to them, it cannot be considered racism on white people, rather, it is taking the first steps towards equality.
Racism is the systemic oppression of the weak by the powerful. Systemically, white people have the power, therefore they cannot be the victims of racism. Relatedly, Black Lives Matter does not imply that other lives do not matter. Rather, the name demonstrates that previously, black lives have not been treated as if they matter, and now we acknowledge that they matter just as much as white lives.
Racism in Medicine The boards of most hospitals and the dean’s office of schools, in other words people in power, often lack representation from people of color. In patient care, research has demonstrated that med students think that black people feel less pain. Differential diagnosis methods, whi
The Six Strategies of Effective Learning With Learning Scientist, Dr. Megan Sumeracki (Ep.7 Rebroadcast)
Dr. Megan Sumeracki teaches us about Spacing, Retrieval, Interleaving, Elaboration, Dual-coding, and Concrete Examples.
[2:16] The Learning Scientists Podcast & Bi-directional Communication [4:13] The Importance of Learning Research as open-access [5:27] The Six Strategies of Effective Learning from the Institute for Education Sciences (2007?) & The National Council for Teaching Quality Report (2016?) [7:45] A Brief History of Spacing and Retrieval Practice, Ebbinghaus, and Memory Accessibility [9:57] What is Spacing and How do We Use it? [12:17] The Ins and Outs of Retrieval Practice [4:47] Interleaving Your Study Practice (19:10 Taylor and Rore? 2010 blocking v. interleaving) [21:20] Elaborative Interrogation: The How, When, Why, and Where of Your Study Material [24:40] Dual Coding: Combining Visual information with your Learning! [28:05] Concrete Examples: The More the Merrier [32:54] Closing Advice from Dr. Sumeracki: Use These Strategies!!!
Also, you can find Dr. Sumeracki’s books on Amazon, research articles, and some great podcasts by the Learning Scientists on Retrieval for medical residents, and an interview with her sister, Dr. Alyssa Smith.
70 Boost Your MCAT/USMLE with Joel Ramirez MD
Dr. Joel Ramirez talks about how tutoring can be a valuable resource for medical students studying for the USMLE exams. As someone who personally benefited from tutoring, Dr. Ramirez has a passion for educating and tutoring. MedSchoolCoach provides tutoring for both USMLE board exams (shelf and step), as well as the MCAT.
[02:38] Tutoring for the MCATs Versus Board Exams [04:06] How to Determine if You Need a Tutor [06:37] Pinpointing Weaknesses in a Medical Student [10:00] What to Expect from a Medical School Tutor [13:37] Weighing the Financial Costs of Tutoring [16:46] The Focus of a MedSchoolCoach Tutoring Session [20:54] How Much Tutoring It Takes for a Student to Get a Passing Score
As someone who personally benefited from tutoring, Dr. Ramirez has a passion for educating and tutoring. MedSchoolCoach provides tutoring for both USMLE board exams (shelf and step), as well as the MCAT. Funnily enough, medical students tend to enjoy sitting for board exams more than they did the MCAT, because board exams are more relevant to the medical sciences, as opposed to the MCATs, which involves topics like physics, language and literature.
There are two major groups of students who benefit from coaching — students who just want to pass their MCATs or board exams, and students who need a very high score because they want to get into a competitive specialty — for example neurosurgery, or want to go to medical school in a competitive geographical location — for example New York or California. And there are two broad categories of problems that students face:
A knowledge or content gap. Insufficient strategy for answering questions. The tutors at MedSchoolCoach will design a personalized coaching/tutoring program for each student to prepare them for their MCATs or board exams. All tutoring is conducted in 1-on-1 sessions.
When a medical student or a potential medical student expresses an interest in hiring a tutor through MedSchoolCoach, they must fill out an intake form in which they talk about their academic experiences, learning style, exam schedule etc. Based on this information, they are matched with a tutor. If a student is unsure that they want to commit to long-term tutoring, they can sign up for a package of five to ten hours first, or they can talk to the enrolment team, who can help them to decide if tutoring is the right option. Although Dr. Ramirez works for MedSchoolCoach, he emphasizes that when consulting with potential students, he always tries to share the best option for the student, which may not be tutoring.
Many students might be put off by the financial costs of tutoring. Dr. Ramirez argues that if going to medical school in a specific geographical location, or having a specific specialty is paramount to a student’s happiness, then the investment is worth it.
When asked about how long it would take for a failing student to reach the passing mark, Dr. Ramirez explains that this really depends on the student’s story. A high-performing medical student who simply has not begun board exam preparation yet, will have a much easier time reaching a passing mark than another medical student who has been studying for the board exam for three months, and is still failing.
Check out MedSchoolCoach for more information, or have a chat with the enrollment team. Sign up for a Free Coaching session with Chase DiMarco, sponsored by Prospective Doctor! You can also join the Med Mnemonist Mastermind FB Group today and learn more about study methods, memory techniques, and MORE! Do check out Read This Before Medical School.