PCM Summer Assignments

Patient-Centered Medicine (PCM) is a course that covers numerous topics central to the practice of medicine including caring for diverse patient populations, humanism, professionalism, ethics, health disparities, patient safety, quality improvement, interdisciplinary teamwork, community/population health, health systems science, and health policy. In the first year of PCM, you are introduced to components of history taking and physical examination skills, and you gain early clinical exposure through several continuity off-sites with a physician preceptor as well as interprofessional observerships and other community agency visits. In your second year, you will have more extensive clinical experiences in different health care settings and begin to master your skills in history taking, physical examination, clinical reasoning, and knowledge of pathophysiology in evaluating patients. To get in the medical school spirit and prepare for class discussions, all incoming students have a few summer assignments! We will continue to update the assignment information as it is finalized. The 2019 PCM Summer Assignment has been uploaded and can be found at the link below. PLEASE NOTE: We strongly encourage that you wait to purchase any IPad accessories, textbooks, or medical equipment until orientation. Thanks :)

UPDATE: For the AMA module, instead of selecting "Student, Medical School" from the dropdown menu for Profession, please select "Other" as the AMA only considers you a medical student once you officially begin classes. For the IHI modules, Please remember to select "2023" as you graduation year. Otherwise, Dr. Weber will not be able to see your completion certificate and you will need to bring printed copies to the first day of PCM on July 31st. This applies even if you are in a dual degree program. 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to preview the some items that you will be using throughout the year, please find them at the following links:

Summary of PCM Summer Assignments due on Wednesday, July 31st:

*Please carefully read the assignment document in the above link as well*

1. Medical School Embarkation Reflection

  • Read student reflections.

  • Read at least 1 book from the lists.

  • Watch at least 1 movie or graphic novel from the lists.

  • Write a reflection essay using the discussion points found in the assignment document.

2. American Medical Association (AMA) Online Learning Module

  • Please refer to the summer assignment documents for information concerning registration and completion of the modules.

3. Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Online Learning Modules

  • Register for IHI Open School

  • Complete module PFC 101, Introduction to Person- and Family-Centered Care.

  • Complete module L 101, Becoming a Leader in Healthcare.

  • Please refer to the summer assignment documents for information concerning registration and completion of the modules.

What books do I have to read?

You must read The First Year Experience: Reflections from Students of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in addition to one or more books of your choice from the lists. 

 

I have to watch movies too?

Yes, you are required to watch at least one movie or read at least one graphic novel from the list.

 

Besides the books and movies/graphic novel, is there anything else?

Yes! Throughout PCM you will write a series of reflections on your many different experiences. These reflections begin now. You need to write one reflection prior to the first day of PCM (July 31st), which will be handed in to your small group facilitator.

What should I write for my reflections?

For your reflection, please address all six of these bullets:

  • Describe a personal experience with the health care system. How were you/your friend/your family treated?

  • Is this the health care system you expected? Why or why not?

  • Describe your feelings in anticipation of seeing patients and working in teams with health care professionals from different disciplines.

  • Regarding the required/recommended readings and films:  Reflect on this book or film and its meaning, implications, and relevance.

  • Do you think that this book or film will impact the way you learn and practice medicine?

  • What do you hope to learn in the Patient Centered Medicine course?

How much should I write for the reflections?

The reflection should be at least 500 words. 

How do I hand in the reflections?

Print it out and bring it to the first day of PCM on July 31st, but save a copy on your computer as a Word document so you can load it into your student portfolio later.

 

Are these reflections graded?

Yes, your PCM facilitator will read these and give you feedback. This reflection, along with many of the other reflections you will write and assignments that you will have throughout the year, are compiled into your student portfolio and contribute to your Pass/Fail grade for PCM. You will get more information about the student portfolio and the grading policy during the first few weeks of school.

 

Will we discuss these books in class?

Yes, these books will help facilitate small group discussion in PCM.

 

How do I choose which book/film to read/watch from the recommended list?

We have listed a brief summary of each book to help make the decision easier for you; you can also click the button at the top of the page (PCM Summer Assignments) for a more printer friendly version. Excerpts of the book summaries were provided by Amazon and Barnes & Noble; click on the book titles for a link to buy each book or to read the full summary.

 

Required Book (PDF)

The First Year Experience: Reflections from Students of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

This reader is a compilation of reflections written by the most recent class of first year medical students at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. We created this collection with the hope of providing you with a lens into student experiences that define the first year at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Our reader will take you through the journey leading up to medical school, through the inner workings of the anatomy lab, to sudden realizations in the lecture hall, all the way to moments of understanding that can only occur at a patient’s bedside.

Additional Book List

(You must read at least one of these! Additional options in assignment document)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Rebeccal Skloot

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.

 

Body of Work

Christine Montross
This is a hauntingly moving memoir of the relationship between a cadaver named Eve and the first-year medical student who cuts her open. Christine Montross was a nervous first-year medical student, standing outside the anatomy lab on her first day of class, preparing herself for what was to come. Entering a room with stainless-steel tables topped by corpses in body bags is shocking no matter how long you've prepared yourself, but a strange thing happened when Montross met her cadaver. Instead of being disgusted by her, she was utterly intrigued—intrigued by the person the woman once was, humbled by the sacrifice she had made in donating her body to science, and fascinated by the strange, unsettling beauty of the human form. They called her Eve.

Arrowsmith

Sinclair Lewis
The Pulitzer Prize winning "Arrowsmith" (an award Lewis refused to accept) recounts the story of a doctor who is forced to give up his trade for reasons ranging from public ignorance to the publicity-mindedness of a great foundation, and becomes an isolated seeker of scientific truth. Introduction by E.L. Doctorow.

Kitchen Table Wisdom

Rachel Naomi Remen
Praised by everyone from Bernie Siegel to Daniel Goleman to Larry Dossey, Rachel Remen has a unique perspective on healing rooted in her background as a physician, a professor of medicine, a therapist, and a long-term survivor of chronic illness. In a deeply moving and down-to-earth collection of true stories, this prominent physician shows us life in all its power and mystery and reminds us that the things we cannot measure may be the things that ultimately sustain and enrich our lives.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

Ann Fadiman

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from Laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Lia’s parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia, but the lack of understanding between them led to tragedy. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest, and the Salon Book Award, Anne Fadiman’s compassionate account of this cultural impasse is literary journalism at its finest.

The Lonely Patient How We Experience Illness

Michael Stein
When someone is diagnosed with a serious illness, he or she is taking the first step on a challenging and confusing journey. For many, it is as if they are traveling alone to someplace entirely new, with only faded directions back to their old lives. Often, even their loved ones can only guess at what they must be experiencing. Michael Stein, M.D., uses the stories of his own patients to consider the personal narrative of sickness. Beautifully written and keenly insightful, The Lonely Patient is a valuable book for patients and their caregivers as well as a probing inquiry into this universal experience.

Seeing Patients: Unconscious Bias in Health Care

Augustus White

If you’re going to have a heart attack, an organ transplant, or a joint replacement, here’s the key to getting the very best medical care: be a white, straight, middle-class male. This book by a pioneering black surgeon takes on one of the few critically important topics that haven’t figured in the heated debate over health care reform—the largely hidden yet massive injustice of bias in medical treatment.
Growing up in Jim Crow–era Tennessee and training and teaching in overwhelmingly white medical institutions, Gus White witnessed firsthand how prejudice works in the world of medicine. And while race relations have changed dramatically, old ways of thinking die hard. 

The Emperor of all Maladies

Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence. Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years. The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception.

Crashing Through

Robert Kurson

Mike May spent his life crashing through. Blinded at age three, he defied expectations by breaking world records in downhill speed skiing, joining the CIA, and becoming a successful inventor, entrepreneur, and family man. He had never yearned for vision. Then, in 1999, a chance encounter brought startling news: a revolutionary stem cell transplant surgery could restore May’s vision. It would allow him to drive, to read, to see his children’s faces. But the procedure was filled with gambles, some of them deadly, others beyond May’s wildest dreams. Beautifully written and thrillingly told, Crashing Through is a journey of suspense, daring, romance, and insight into the mysteries of vision and the brain. Robert Kurson gives us a fascinating account of one man’s choice to explore what it means to see–and to truly live. 

As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl 

John Colapinto
In 1967, after a twin baby boy suffered a botched circumcision, his family agreed to a radical treatment that would alter his gender. The case would become one of the most famous in modern medicine—and a total failure. As Nature Made Him tells the extraordinary story of David Reimer, who, when finally informed of his medical history, made the decision to live as a male. A macabre tale of medical arrogance, it is first and foremost a human drama of one man's—and one family's—amazing survival in the face of terrible odds. 

AIDS Doctors: Voices from the Epidemic: An Oral History

Ronald Bayer and Gerald M. Oppenheimer

Today Aids Permeates Public: Consiousness. Yet It Was Less Than Twenty Years Ago That Doctors confronted a sudden avalanche of strange, inexplicable, seemingly untreatable conditions that signaled the arrival of 'a devastating new disease. Bewildered, unprepared, and pushed to the limit of their diagnostic abilities, a select group of courageous physicians nevertheless persevered. This unique collective memoir tells their story. 

I'm a title

Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness

Rita Charon

Narrative medicine has emerged in response to a commodified health care system that places corporate and bureaucratic concerns over the needs of the patient. Generated from a confluence of sources including humanities and medicine, primary care medicine, narratology, and the study of doctor-patient relationships, narrative medicine is medicine practiced with the competence to recognize, absorb, interpret, and be moved by the stories of illness. By placing events in temporal order, with beginnings, middles, and ends, and by establishing connections among things using metaphor and figural language, narrative medicine helps doctors to recognize patients and diseases, convey knowledge, accompany patients through the ordeals of illness.

I'm a title

What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine

Danielle Ofri

Physicians are assumed to be objective, rational beings, easily able to detach as they guide patients and families through some of life’s most challenging moments. But doctors’ emotional responses to the life-and-death dramas of everyday practice have a profound impact on medical care. And while much has been written about the minds and methods of the medical professionals who save our lives, precious little has been said about their emotions. In What Doctors Feel, Dr. Danielle Ofri has taken on the task of dissecting the hidden emotional responses of doctors, and how these directly influence patients. 

 

I'm a title

Middlemarch

George Eliot

Middlemarch explores a fictional nineteenth-century Midlands town in the midst of modern changes. The proposed Reform Bill promises political change; the building of railroads alters both the physical and cultural landscape; new scientific approaches to medicine incite public division; and scandal lurks behind respectability. The quiet drama of ordinary lives and flawed choices are played out in the complexly portrayed central characters of the novel—the idealistic Dorothea Brooke; the ambitious Dr. Lydgate; the spendthrift Fred Vincy; and the steadfast Mary Garth. The appearance of two outsiders further disrupts the town’s equilibrium—Will Ladislaw, the spirited nephew of Dorothea’s husband, the Rev. Edward Casaubon, and the sinister John Raffles, who threatens to expose the hidden past of one of the town’s elite.

I'm a title

Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much

Maggie Mahar

Why is medical care in the United States so expensive? For decades, Americans have taken it as a matter of faith that we spend more because we have the best health care system in the world. But as costs levitate, that argument becomes more difficult to make. Today, we spend twice as much as Japan on health care—yet few would argue that our health care system is twice as good.

Instead, startling new evidence suggests that one out of every three of our health care dollars is squandered on unnecessary or redundant tests; unproven, sometimes unwanted procedures; and overpriced drugs and devices that, too often, are no better than the less expensive products they have replaced.

I'm a title

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Atul Gawande

Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. 

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Atul Gawande

Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. 

Laughing at my Nightmare

Shane Burcaw

With acerbic wit and a hilarious voice, Shane Burcaw's Laughing at My Nightmare describes the challenges he faces as a twenty-one-year-old with spinal muscular atrophy. From awkward handshakes to having a girlfriend and everything in between, Shane handles his situation with humor and a "you-only-live-once" perspective on life. While he does talk about everyday issues that are relatable to teens, he also offers an eye-opening perspective on what it is like to have a life threatening disease.

Losing My Mind: An Intimate Look at Life with Alzheimer's

Thomas DeBaggio

"We are foolish, those of us who think we can escape the traps of aging," writes Tom DeBaggio. "I was one of them, dreaming of a perfect and healthy old age....Now, at fifty-eight, I realize the foolishness of my dreams as I watch my brain self-destruct from Alzheimer's." Losing My Mind is DeBaggio's extraordinary account of his early onset Alzheimer's, a disease that "silently hollows the brain" and slowly "gobbles memory and destroys life." But with DeBaggio's curse came an unexpected blessing: the ability to chart the mechanics and musings of his failing mind.

Medical Apartheid

Harriet A. Washington

From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment.
Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections.

Black Man in a White Coat

Damon Tweedy

Black Man in a White Coat examines the complex ways in which both black doctors and patients must navigate the difficult and often contradictory terrain of race and medicine. As Tweedy transforms from student to practicing physician, he discovers how often race influences his encounters with patients. Through their stories, he illustrates the complex social, cultural, and economic factors at the root of many health problems in the black community. These issues take on greater meaning when Tweedy is himself diagnosed with a chronic disease far more common among black people. In this powerful, moving, and deeply empathic book, Tweedy explores the challenges confronting black doctors, and the disproportionate health burdens faced by black patients, ultimately seeking a way forward to better treatment and more compassionate care.

I'm a title

Cutting for Stone

Abraham Verghese
Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.
Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, Cutting for Stone is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles—and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined.

I'm a title

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

Karen Armstrong

In this important and thought-provoking work, Karen Armstrong—one of the most original thinkers on the role of religion in the modern world—provides an impassioned and practical guide to helping us make the world a more compassionate place. The twelve steps she suggests begin with “Learn About Compassion,” and close with “Love Your Enemies.” In between, she takes up self-love, mindfulness, suffering, sympathetic joy, the limits of our knowledge of others, and “concern for everybody.” She shares concrete methods to help us cultivate and expand our capacity for compassion, and provides a reading list to encourage us to “hear one another’s narratives.” Armstrong teaches us that becoming a compassionate human being is a lifelong project and a journey filled with rewards.

I'm a title

Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance

Atul Gawande

The struggle to perform well is universal: each of us faces fatigue, limited resources, and imperfect abilities in whatever we do. But nowhere is this drive to do better more important than in medicine, where lives may be on the line with any decision. Atul Gawande, the New York Times bestselling author of Complications, examines, in riveting accounts of medical failure and triumph, how success is achieved in this complex and risk-filled profession. At once unflinching and compassionate, Better is an exhilarating journey, narrated by "arguably the best nonfiction doctor-writer around" (Salon.com).

Mountains Beyond Mountains

Tracy Kidder
At the center of Mountains Beyond Mountains stands Paul Farmer. Doctor, Harvard Professor, renowned infectious-disease specialist, anthropologist, the recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant, world-class Robin Hood, Farmer was brought up in a bus and on a boat, and in medical school found his life's calling: to diagnose and cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. This book shows how radical change can be fostered in situations that seem insurmountable, and it also shows how a meaningful life can be created, as Farmer - brilliant, charismatic, charming, both a leader in international health and a doctor who finds time to make house calls in Boston and the mountains of Haiti - blasts through convention to get results.

Complications

Atul Gawande
In gripping accounts of true cases, surgeon Atul Gawande explores the power and the limits of medicine, offering an unflinching view from the scalpel’s edge. Complications lays bare a science not in its idealized form but as it actually is— uncertain, perplexing, and profoundly human.

Checklist Manifesto

Atul Gawande

The modern world has given us stupendous know-how. Yet avoidable failures continue to plague us in health care, government, the law, the financial industry—in almost every realm of organized activity. And the reason is simple: the volume and complexity of knowledge today has exceeded our ability as individuals to properly deliver it to people— consistently, correctly, safely. We train longer, specialize more, use ever-advancing technologies, and still we fail. Atul Gawande makes a compelling argument that we can do better, using the simplest of methods: the checklist. In riveting stories, he reveals what checklists can do, what they can’t, and how they could bring about striking improvements in a variety of fields, from medicine and disaster recovery to professions and businesses of all kinds.

Death of Ivan Ilyich

Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy’s most famous novella is an intense and moving examination of death and the possibilities of redemption, here in a powerful translation by the award-winning Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
Ivan Ilyich is a middle-aged man who has spent his life focused on his career as a bureaucrat and emotionally detached from his wife and children. After an accident he finds himself on the brink of an untimely death, which he sees as a terrible injustice. Face to face with his mortality, Ivan begins to question everything he has believed about the meaning of life. The Death of Ivan Ilyich is a masterpiece of psychological realism and philosophical profundity that has inspired generations of readers. 

The Great Influenza

John Barry

At the height of WWI, history’s most lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, moved east with American troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. It killed more people in twenty-four months than AIDS killed in twenty-four years, more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century. But this was not the Middle Ages, and 1918 marked the first collision of science and epidemic disease. Magisterial in its breadth of perspective and depth of research and now revised to reflect the growing danger of the avian flu, The Great Influenza is ultimately a tale of triumph amid tragedy, which provides us with a precise and sobering model as we confront the epidemics looming on our own horizon.

 

Forgive and Remember: Managing Medical Failure

Charles L. Bosk
On its initial publication, Forgive and Remember emerged as the definitive study of the training and lives of young surgeons. Now with an extensive new preface, epilogue, and appendix by the author, reflecting on the changes that have taken place since the book's original publication, this updated second edition of Charles L. Bosk's classic study is as timely as ever. 

Death of the Good Doctor ‐ Lessons from the Heart of the AIDS Epidemic

Dr. Kate Scannell

Doctor Kate Scannell abandoned her academic career in 1985 expecting to enter an "ordinary" medical practice in Northern California. Instead, the thirty-two-year-old physician found herself assigned to a county hospital AIDS ward where much of the medicine she has studied over many difficult years was rendered irrelevant.
Working with AIDS patients, nearly all of whom are dying, Scannell discovers the inadequacy of the "good doctor" who battles illness to keep patients alive regardless of their suffering. By embracing her patients' unique needs and stories, Scannell reaches an expanded understanding of her patients and of herself as a physician. 

Stations, by Winfried Weiss

In conjunction with film: We Were Here, directed by David Weissman
In a powerful testimony to two men’s struggle with AIDS, Weiss writes of caring for his dying lover in a posthumous publication that coincides with the twentieth anniversary of the emergence of AIDS. Written in the form of a short novel in which the names are changed (but presumably the events and the emotions are from life), the book charts the decline of Weiss’s lover (dubbed Alexander in the memoir) from the first signs of the syndrome to his death in 1984 and the scattering of his ashes. Weiss, who died of AIDS in 1991, writes with unapologetic directness that can startle with its simplicity and pain. 

I'm a title

Patients and Doctors: Life-Changing Stories from Primary Care

Edited by Jeffrey M. Borkan, Shmuel Reis, Jack H. Medalie, and Dov Steinmetz
    In settings as diverse as Slovenia and Sweden, Cambodia and New Jersey, we learn what makes the healer feel graced with insight or scarred with misadventure. In Washington State, we anguish with patient and doctor alike when a young resident removes a screw from a little boy’s foot; on the Israeli–Jordanian border, a woman goes into labor just as the air-raid sirens signal the beginning of the Gulf War. These compelling accounts remind us what is at stake in doctoring, reinforcing the value of stories in the teaching and practice of medicine: to calm, to validate, and to illuminate the human experience.

I'm a title

Re-humnizing Medicine: A Holistic Framework for Transforming Your Self, Your Practice and the Culture of Medicine

David R. Kopacz

What starts as personal dissatisfaction in the workplace can become personal transformation that changes clinical practice and ultimately changes the culture of medicine. Physicians and professionals train extensively to relieve suffering. Yet the systems they train and practice in create suffering for both themselves and their clients through the neglect of basic human needs. True healthcare reform requires addressing dehumanization in medicine by caring for the whole person of the professional and the patient. Re-humanizing Medicine provides a holistic framework to support human connection and the expression of full human being of doctors, professionals and patients.

I'm a title

When Breath Becomes Air

Paul Kalanithi

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Airchronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.
What makes life worth living in the face of death?

I'm a title

Achieving STEEEP Health Care: Baylor Health Care System's Quality Improvement Journey

David J. Ballard

Reaching America’s true potential to deliver and receive exceptional health care will require not only an immense and concerted effort, but a fundamental change of perspective from medical providers, government officials, industry leaders, and patients alike. The Institute of Medicine set forth six primary "aims" to which every participant in the American healthcare system must contribute: health care must be safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-centered. Presented as the acronym STEEEP, the collective realization of these goals is to reduce the burden of illness, injury, and disability in our nation. Baylor Health Care System is committed to doing its part and has adopted these six aims as its own. 

The Soul of a Doctor: Harvard Medical Students Face Life and Death

Susan Pories, Sachin Jain, & Gordon Harper

By the time most of us meet our doctors, they’ve been in practice for a number of years. Often they seem aloof, uncaring, and hurried. Of course, they’re not all like that, and most didn’t start out that way. Here are voices of third-year students just as they begin to take on clinical responsibilities. Their words focus on the odd transition students face when they must deal with real people in real time and in real crises and when they must learn to put aside their emotions to make quick, accurate, and sensitive decisions. Their decisions aren’t always right, and the consequences can be life-altering—for all involved. Moving, disturbing, and candid, their true stories show us a side of the profession that few ever see, or could even imagine. They show, often painfully, how medical students grow up, right at the bedside.

The Shock of the Fall

Nathan Filer

While on vacation with their parents, Matthew Homes and his older brother sneak out in the middle of the night. Only Matthew comes home safely. Ten years later, Matthew tells us, he has found a way to bring his brother back...

What begins as the story of a lost boy turns into a story of a brave man yearning to understand what happened that night, in the years since, and to his very person. Unafraid to look at the shadows of our hearts, Nathan Filer's rare and brilliant debut The Shock of the Fall shows us the strength that is rooted in resilience and love.

When It Gets Dark: An Enlightened Reflection on Life with Alzheimer's

Thomas DeBaggio

In this second extraordinary narrative, he confronts the ultimate loss: that of life. And as only DeBaggio could, he treats death as something to honor, to marvel at, to learn from.
Charting the progression of his disease with breathtaking honesty, DeBaggio deftly describes the frustration, grief, and terror of grappling with his deteriorating intellectual faculties. Even more affecting, the prose itself masterfully represents the mental vicissitudes of his disease—DeBaggio's fragments of memory, observation, and rumination surface and subside in the reader's experience much as they might in his own mind. His frank, lilting voice and abundant sense of wonder bind these fragments into a fluid and poetic portrait of life and loss.

Small Great Things

Jodi Picoult

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

The New Jim Crow

Michelle Alexander

Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as "brave and bold," this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a "call to action."

Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care

Dayna Bowen Matthew

Over 84,000 black and brown lives are needlessly lost each year due to health disparities, the unfair, unjust, and avoidable differences between the quality and quantity of health care provided to Americans who are members of racial and ethnic minorities and care provided to whites. Health disparities have remained stubbornly entrenched in the American health care system—and in Just Medicine, Dayna Bowen Matthew finds that they principally arise from unconscious racial and ethnic biases held by physicians, institutional providers, and their patients.

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts

Gabor Mate

Based on Gabor Maté’s two decades of experience as a medical doctor and his groundbreaking work with the severely addicted on Vancouver’s skid row, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts radically reenvisions this much misunderstood field by taking a holistic approach. Dr. Maté presents addiction not as a discrete phenomenon confined to an unfortunate or weak-willed few, but as a continuum that runs throughout (and perhaps underpins) our society; not a medical "condition" distinct from the lives it affects, rather the result of a complex interplay among personal history, emotional, and neurological development, brain chemistry, and the drugs (and behaviors) of addiction.

Chasing the Scream

Johann Hari

It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned in the United States. On the eve of this centenary, journalist Johann Hari set off on an epic three-year, thirty-thousand-mile journey into the war on drugs. What he found is that more and more people all over the world have begun to recognize three startling truths: Drugs are not what we think they are. Addiction is not what we think it is. And the drug war has very different motives to the ones we have seen on our TV screens for so long.

High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society

Carl Hart

High Price is the harrowing and inspiring memoir of neuroscientist Carl Hart, a man who grew up in one of Miami’s toughest neighborhoods and, determined to make a difference as an adult, tirelessly applies his scientific training to help save real lives.
In this provocative and eye-opening memoir, Dr. Carl Hart recalls his journey of self-discovery, how he escaped a life of crime and drugs and avoided becoming one of the crack addicts he now studies. Interweaving past and present, Hart goes beyond the hype as he examines the relationship between drugs and pleasure, choice, and motivation, both in the brain and in society. His findings shed new light on common ideas about race, poverty, and drugs, and explain why current policies are failing.

Syndemic Suffering: Social Distress, Depression, and Diabetes among Mexican Immigrant Women

Emily Mendenhall

In a major contribution to the study of diabetes, this book is the first to analyze the disease through a syndemic framework. An innovative, mixed-methods study, Emily Mendenhall shows how adverse social conditions, such as poverty and oppressive relationships, disproportionately stress certain populations and expose them to disease clusters. She goes beyond epidemiological research that has linked diabetes and depression, revealing how broad structural inequalities play out in the life histories of individuals, families, and communities, and lead to higher rates of mortality and morbidity.

Why Hospitals Should Fly

John J. Nance

"This book is a tour de force, and no one but John Nance could have written it. He, alone, masters in one mind the fields of aviation, health care safety, medical malpractice law, organizational sociology, media communication, and, as if that were not enough, the art of fine writing. Only he could have made sophisticated, scientifically disciplined instruction about the nature and roots of safety into a page-turner. Medical care has a ton yet to learn from the decades of progress that have brought aviation to unprecedented levels of safety, and, in instructing us all about those lessons, John Nance is not just a bridge-builder - he is the bridge. This book should be required reading for anyone willing to face the facts about what it will take for health care to be as safe as it truly can be." Donald M. Berwick, MD

Created by your 2019 Orientation Team