Monthly Archives: April 2011

Define Your Goal

What is your mission?  What are your goals?  Many students enter medical school to earn the Medical Degree or a Doctor of Philosophy in one of the rigorous medical sciences, because Mom or Dad forced them.  Whatever your motivation, we welcome you to the field.  At this site we will arm you with the truth about the entire hierarchical experience.  Mom and Dad may or may not know that medicine in the clinic or classroom is all encompassing.

I meet so many bright-eyed students who have the zeal but are uninformed about the level of commitment required to succeed.  For some it is impossible to imagine a life with limited contact with the ones you love.  This suspension of life’s activities can last a decade or longer depending on your ambition.  Those who aspire to earn dual doctorate degrees or Master’s Degrees in public health or health care administration, can add a longer time of confinement.  However, it can be done and you will survive.  Through technology, many of us get our social needs met on Twitter or Facebook.  This year I will save a ton of money through Facebook travel.  I have seen the children and new home additions of everybody I know from second grade to professional school!

The world of medicine is incredibly competitive today, and the patients are benefiting.  This year I saw several 1st year medical students in the mid-30’s.  Some previously earned Master’s Degrees in the sciences while they waited to be accepted, while others worked in a variety of research settings.  I even saw one in the 40’s and one in the early 50’s.  This diversity in experience, educational level, and maturity is the type of variety my organization expects to create in the next set of doctors.  Defining a goal within your medical career can be a daunting task with so many roads available.  The popular ROAD to success is being met with competition.  (The ROAD to success is an inside joke for those desiring family life or just a normal existence.  R-Radiology; O-Ophthalmology, A-Anesthesiology; D – Dermatology.)  In the 1980’s everyone was advised to specialize, and we listened.  Hence, the shortage of primary care physicians. Choose an area in which you would work with no paycheck.  I will work to heal women even if blind-folded and my hands are tied.  Many mentors urge students not to choose surgery if there is an area that is equally as appealing.  This discussion would not be complete if I did not mention that many areas are still dominated by men.  Several boys’ clubs exist in medicine.  (Gender disparity in the delivery and receipt of care will be addressed in subsequent posts.)

The American Council of Women and Diversity in Medicine, Science, and Business holds the view that it is worth the financial investment to hire a medical school admission consultant.  This specialized medical professional may have graduated medical school, but decided to teach or mentor for a variety of reasons.  They possess an insider’s view of the process.  Other consultants have never attended medical school but were accepted; professors of medical science and others who have sat on selection committees and worked in admissions offices are also great choices for consultants.  The cost of these consultants may be expensive, but is worthwhile because the competition is stiff.  Parents may want to purchase these services for an aspiring medical student.  The time investment is too great to risk missing out on a seat because of a poorly written personal statement.  I read many reports, theses, and other communications written by clinicians and medical scientists.  The writing skilld can be lacking when a person is skilled in math and science.  The corpus callosum has clearly delineated the right and left brain.

Read every article and book you can read about careers in medicine, shadow a local physician or researcher, and begin to devise a plan.  List your likes and dislikes, and read your thoughts periodically.  New medical schools are applying for accreditation every year.  Allopathic medical schools have not seen a growth spurt like this in almost 40 years.  I am sure a seat exists for you.


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Meeting the Challenge

It is difficult to escape the incessant talk about health care.  The discourse ranges from the need to place the care back in health care to making health care affordable and accessible to all.  I am a weekly guest on a radio talk show in Texas, and we frequently discuss issues regarding the delivery of medical care.  I am tickled when I hear people say that the health care system is broken.  For those of us who deliver medical care and teach the next generation of providers and researchers, the allegations of a system wide break down insult our every effort.  I do not speak for the entire medical community, but the microcosm of providers with which I interact are equally as frustrated.  Budget cuts at the federal level have trickled down to the states, which provide funding for hospitals and academic medical centers.

I propose that we meet the challenge, as did Dr. Robert M. D´Allesandri, MD, who is the founding dean of The Commonwealth Medical College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  Satellite campuses are located in Williamsport and Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Dr. D´Allessandri designed a medical school, which opened in 2009 and is currently recruiting a third group of students.  During this school´s brief existence, the founder has achieved a few major goals.  He has set the college´s priorities and institutional direction, recruited faculty, staff, and students, initiated the research agenda, and developed a creative, community based medical education.  The innovators at TCMC are not complaining about the shortage of physicians; this pioneering group of professionals has accepted the challenge and is developing the next generation of physicians and biomedical researchers.

This boom in new allopathic medical schools is the first since the 1970´s, while osteopathic medical schools have grown at a steady rate.  Allopathic medical schools produce Medical Doctors and osteopathic medical schools produce DO´s or Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine.  Both disciplines are qualified to apply for residency and fellowship training.  We will discuss the difference in philosophies in a future post.

One does not have to build a new medical school to recognize a problem and solve it.  Everyone can play a part.  Find a need in your community and devise a plan to meet that need.  If you are an awesome letter writer or a diligent telephone campaigner, offer that talent to a health related organization in your area.  I hear the grumbling in the hospitals, medical schools and practices.  A colleague who has operated a successful practice for over 25 years is considering early retirement due to cash flow issues.  She has begun to perform upgrades in the practice from her family´s personal finances.  The electric bill has become overwhelming and insurance company reimbursement is quite sluggish.  She plans to parlay her years of experience into a new career traveling, speaking, and writing about the so-called reform.

I was blessed with some skills and spent many years in school developing others.  As the founding chairperson of The American Council of Women and Diversity in Medicine, Science, and Business (ACWD-MSB), I am meeting the challenge.  Although I love the academic medical center with all of the hierarchy and bureaucracy, I am skilled at the grass roots level.  I am passionate about diversity and you will soon understand the reason.  Our experiences and backgrounds impact the way we view problems.  I have witnessed many churches on the East Coast start with 14 members in the minister´s living room, and blossom into a 2000-member mega-church within 20 years.  The proceeds from bake sales and Friday night fish dinners, complete with collard greens and potato salad, have financed many padded pews.  I will not debate whether selling plate lunches is in accordance with various dogmatic views.  I am simply sharing one technique for growth.  As a spin-off from the old country church fundraisers, the professionals of ACWD-MSB, have embarked upon a 5-year capital improvement plan that will place dollars into the businesses of our members.

We cannot afford to see practices closing because of policy changes.  Some groups have never benefited from government rules and regulations.  You may call us naive if you choose, but we choose success irrespective of evolving government policies.  We still vote and write to our representatives, but we subscribe to the philosophy of the late Godfather of Soul, James Brown.  We ‘Open doors for ourselves’.  Self’-sufficiency was practiced by my ancestors in America.  My grandfather and great grandfather were successful farmers.  They always encouraged our family members to be visionaries by providing jobs for themselves and someone else.

The members of our organization work tirelessly to advance women and other disadvantaged entrepreneurs.  We work our 12- and 16-hour shifts teaching, practicing and performing cutting edge research; meet the needs of our families and raise funds through creative means.  We are changing the face of medicine and medical education.  We have accepted the challenge and hope you will join us.

Danna McKellar, Ph.D, MBA

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2011 Spring Fundraiser

The American Council of Women and Diversity
Medicine, Science, and Business
invites you to indulge yourself in a sweet treat!
“Chocolate Cures Everything”
is our chocolate lovers’ anthem and the theme of our
2011 Spring Fundraiser.

Order your pan today! Call 267.263.4829

Our “Chocolate Turtle Brownie” serves 8 people a delectable slice of pure chocolate satisfaction. Contains toffee chips , walnuts and is drizzled with caramel. (May also be ordered with almonds or NO nuts at all.)

Donation: $12.00 Please add $8.00 for shipping.

To be delivered by Saturday April 23, 2011 .

Proceeds will assist featured entrepreneurs /honorees perform business upgrades. Thank you in advance for your support.

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