Posts Tagged ‘meta’

HWR posted at InsureBlog | NWS begins hibernation

May 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Check out Hank Stern’s quality round-up of the fortnight’s best health policy bloggery here.

Of course, now that “spring hath sprung,” it is time for me to begin the hibernation alluded to earlier. Hopefully I will be able to write new posts beginning in late-June, and (fingers crossed) being able to focus on one thing at a time during third-year will allow me to have more frequent updates in the latter half of 2012.

Categories: Miscellany Tags: ,

Quick meta update

March 10, 2012 Leave a comment

As with last year’s convention I have been keeping detailed notes with which to inform you, my valued readers, as to what exactly happens when the largest organization of American medical students gets together.

Unlike last year, I won’t be able to post daily updates, at least not tonight. This is in part because of some special insider information that would be imprudent to blog about before Sunday. This may or may not also be because of certain social events featuring a mechanical bull.

Hey, even I have to have some fun at some point!

So updates will come… have no fear. For those who need updates in as close to real time as possible, this is your excuse to follow me on Twitter.

Categories: Miscellany Tags:

It’s an AMSA Rodeo, and you’re invited!

March 8, 2012 1 comment

Upon arriving to Houston for the 2012 AMSA convention and learning that there is, in fact, a straight-up rodeo in town, my first thoughts turned to the concept of rodeo clowns, and then to clowns more generally.

Harsh? Perhaps. This is, however, the organization of medical students that:


Sounds a bit clownish to me. That’s what makes it fun to watch. So for the second year in a row, your intrepid blogger will brave the ghastly Houston weather (and jet lag!) and suffer the slings and arrows of those conference attendees who can’t bear disagreement.

Follow my postings to this blog and to Twitter (under the #amsaconv12 hashtag) to get a bug’s-eye view of the goings-on at the 2012 annual convention of the country’s largest association of medical students.

Mea Culpa

May 5, 2011 Leave a comment

As exams and extra-curriculars piled up, a planned two-week hiatus became one month became a month and a half. I need to get better at predicting these long-ish term absences from blogging.

That said, rumours of my permanent e-demise (if they exist) have been greatly exaggerated. Nothing like upcoming finals to drive a medical student to blogging; what a better way to avoid studying?

And yes, to answer the question that inevitably arises with that last sentence, I will be a doctor one day.

More to come shortly.

Categories: Miscellany Tags:

AMSA Follies: Technical Difficulties

March 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Transportation delays, long flights, computer issues, and post-convention exams are conspiring to keep my Saturday updates off the internet for another day or so. Saturday was full of interesting health policy talks with speakers from the AAFP, Cato Institute, and PNHP, so I will definitely get those dispatches up post-haste.

The convention as a whole was intense and a lot of fun. It was definitely great to see a lot of people brought to this site by the AMSA coverage. I would encourage those first-time visitors to stick around for more. I can’t promise you’ll agree with everything you see here (I could probably promise the opposite for most of you), but I think you’ll find it thought-provoking and worthwhile.

Now… how long until AMSA 2012?


AMSA Follies: The Duck Pond

March 12, 2011 3 comments

Q: What’s bipedal, featherless, and quacks like a duck?

Quack! Quack! Quack!

A: The quacks representatives of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges.

That’s right… AMSA sold them a booth at the 2011 convention, to say nothing of the smattering of naturopathic students in attendance as participants.

AMSA won’t quite take pharm money (more on that tomorrow), but they have no problem selling out to pseudoscience (that term is far too generous).

I went up to the booth and feigned ignorance as to what naturopathy is. I was told that they are “primary care physicians” who treat the “whole patient in a holistic way.” I pushed harder and harder, and for the longest time they continued to maintain that they’re “just like MD physicians.” Finally, one of their reps cracked, and poured forth the litany of quackery to which they subscribe: homeopathy, herbalism, acupuncture, therapeutic touch, and all sorts of other nonsense.

Fortunately, their written materials were more straightforward about their quackishness, though there were also some materials to recruit MD students for “integrative medicine” training at Bastyr University in the Pacific Northwest (of course). Too bad they’re competing with AMSA’s own summer pseudoscience academy, whose flyers I also picked up.


For an organization that professes to support evidence-based medicine in other realms, and that ostensibly represents those students who are training to become applied scientists, this is really sad. The political gripes I might have with AMSA are one thing, but legitimizing quackery of this sort is truly beyond the pale. A poll of an unrepresentative convenience sample indicated that this is a non-partisan issue. “Open-mindedness” and “tolerance” are great, but when it comes to practices that don’t work, that mislead patients and that cast a pall on scientific medicine, organized medicine (AMSA included!) shouldn’t hesitate to take a stand.

If AMSA could be a forceful voice against pseudoscience much as they are a forceful voice for a variety of health policies with much less evidentiary support, they would be doing medicine, science, and patients a great service indeed.


I almost forgot, at the other end of the exhibition hall was the ayurvedic quack booth. I hope these pictures speak for themselves.






AMSA Follies: The (In)Famous Patch Adams

March 10, 2011 Leave a comment

The keynote speaker at AMSA 2011 was Patch Adams accompanied by a sidekick/collaborator of some sort, Susan Parenti. Only knowing of Patch Adams from the Robin Williams cinematic depiction so many years ago, I didn’t quite know what to expect. In lieu of extended [commentary], I present to you here the highlights:

Dr. Parenti:

  • The 3% of the country who own 97% of the assets think that health insurance is a market in which to make money. The horrors! [capitalism is morally repugnant? not the most nuanced argument]
  • The Gesundheit Institute [Patch Adams’ facility] has never carried malpractice insurance and has never been sued. [Am I alone in thinking that there might be a causal relationship].
  • The Gesundheit Institute is open to all sorts of “medicine:” homeopathy, naturopathy, ayurveda, reiki, and a few others I’ve never heard of.

Dr. Adams

  • “Depression is not a mental illness. It is a pharmaceutical company diagnosis. Depression is simply a symptom of loneliness.”
  • One of the scariest phrases in the world: “AMSA could lead the way on…”

Inspiration is easily muted by unrelated fringe beliefs. Would that the audience have been more critical.