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INSIDE THE HEAD OF DR. ERIN QUINN, FORMER ASST. DEAN OF ADMISSIONS AT KECK CAMPUS | PG 8

CHINESE VS. WESTERN MEDICINE: ILLNESS AND MEDICINE ACROSS CULTURES

LIFESTYLE | PG 4

GENDER AND HEALTH

A GUIDE TO EXPLORING HOW GENDER NAVIGATING USC’S PLAYS INTO HEALTH AND THE PRE-HEALTH PRACTICE OF MEDICINE CLUBS CENTERSPREAD | PG 6-7

CAMPUS | PG 9

U N I V E R S I T Y O F S O U T H E R N C A L I FO R N I A’ S # 1 S O U R C E FO R P R E - H E A LT H N E W S

TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION www.trojanhealthconnection.com

Volume VI | Issue I

December 2, 2015

University addresses rise in mental health issues By ASHLEY MARTIN Associate Editor

ASHLEY MARTIN / TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION

Concerns about the mental health climate at USC were addressed at the Voices of USC: Mental Health Forum hosted by the Undergraduate Student Government.

Hip hop heals local kids By CAMERON QUON Video Manager It’s 10 p.m. on a Sunday night. Shouting and laughter echo across an empty parking lot. Music blasts from a small set of speakers. Harsh shadows dance wildly beneath the orange hue of lampposts. On the roof of a nearly empty seven-story parking structure, two to three dozen students dance. “This parking lot is this fun little escape from all our classes and work responsibilities,” Michael Lim, the creative co-director of Break Through, a hip-hop dance crew at USC, said. “It’s just this kind of way for us to get away for two and a half hours and practice and dance with each other and have fun.” Break Through started ten years ago and is traditionally a noncompetitive performance team. But this year, Lim wanted to make some changes.

“We’re a performance team, but it would be fun to share that passion that we have and do something with that in the community beyond USC’s campus borders,” Lim said. In April, Lim contacted Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and asked if there was a way the team could help the hospital. “Our relationship with Break Through began when one of the members reached out to us,” Alexandra Field, the manager of the Expressive Arts and Therapies department at CHLA, said. “Partnership formed and we decided that it would be great for them to come in and share their talents.” Field says art, music and dance movement therapy can be prescribed to the patients. “You can order it in the chart—a doctor, a nurse, a social worker— someone who sees that a patient needs extra support,” Field said. “We can be that creative type of [See “Hip hop” pg. 10]

One in four college students suffer from mental illness. The prevalence of mental illness among our peers and the increasing rates of mental illness among college students have spurred a necessary conversation about the mental health resources on campus and the improvement and diversification of existing mental health resources. The mental wellness of college students is a growing national concern, as college students are among the most susceptible groups to develop mental illness. Adults ages 18 to 25 are the most at risk for not only developing mental illness, but also handling their mental illness poorly. Specifically, students are more susceptible to mental health issues, yet have the lowest perception of risk and least access to care. Addressing mental health is seen as a way to promote success and wellness in college and in life. Just as individuals need physicals or check-ups, their minds and mental well-being need similar care — an idea that has gained increasing attention within the University’s student population. Recently, USC organizations have taken efforts to increase

the awareness and treatment of mental health among the student population. Academic Culture Assembly’s Mental Health Awareness Month aims to provide a space for students to discuss the complexity of mental illness as well as address the stigmas associated with mental health. Currently, the Engemann Student Health Center provides mental health treatment through counseling services, crisis intervention and wellness promotion programs. The Office of Wellness and Health Promotion offers weekly events aimed at improving mental health including “Pause for Paws” therapy dog visits, Stress Fitness Workshops, Postural Training and Student Stories Panels. Additionally, USC offers individual and group counseling as well as yoga and meditation classes. The USC chapter of the National Alliance of Mental Illness advocates for awareness, support and treatment of mental illness. Through community meeting, social campaigns and outreach programs, the organization is committed to confronting the stigmas around mental illness. Additionally, USC’s Health Sciences Education Program organized a slam poetry event, [See “Mental health” pg. 8]

Breaking down the new MCAT By RACHEL DONG Staff Writer As we approach the end of 2015, one of the greatest changes in the academic lives of pre-medical students is the new Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) that was first launched in April 2015. This new exam was offered from April to September, and the next new exam starts in January 2016. The MCAT changes were the first of revisions since 1991 to emphasize medical research, social determinants of health and other skills the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) test makers and designers deemed necessary in gauging a student’s competency and potential to become a physician. These changes are reflected through additional topics on the exam, including the new section “Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior.”

Additional topics to the exam include biochemistry as a component of the “Biological and Biochemical Foundations” and “Chemical and Physical Foundations.” MCAT 2015 also presents longer sections, up to 95 minutes per section, with many research or experiment-based passages. The total seated time for the exam is

COURTESY OF MEDSCHOOLCOACH

estimated to be up to 7.5 hours. There is also a new scoring system. A total of 528 points can be earned from the four sections of the exam, each section being 132 points. In many ways, the MCAT has drastically changed. Students studying for the new exam will have to adjust their coursework, [See “MCAT” pg. 10]

ONLINE EXCLUSIVES Video spotlight: Hip hop heals | Infographic: Will I get into medical school? | Cartoon series: Dr. Gesundt


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NEWS FALL 2015 STAFF TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION

DECEMBER 2, 2015 EDITORS-IN-CHIEF

EDITORS-IN-CHIEF:

ANA HILLEBOE BRITTNEY KUO

SENIOR EDITORS:

ABRAM ESTAFANOUS IZMA SHABBIR JACKIE KRUGLYAKOVA JEHAN BISTA OLIVIA PANCHAL

COPY EDITOR:S

PREEYAM ROY

ASSOCIATE EDITORS:

ARMAN ZADEH ASHLEY MARTIN DAVID SUTTER MARIE KAAKIJIAN RAHUL MASSON

CARTOONISTS:

DEENA BAUM LAURIE OKAMOTO LISA KAM

GRAPHIC DESIGNER:

SAMANTHA TSAI

PR/WEB MANAGER:

MATT URNESS

FUNDING MANAGER:

MEHAK KHAN

LAYOUT MANAGER:

NATALIE LI

VIDEO MANAGER:

CAMERON QUON

STAFF WRITERS:

ALEXIS HUNTER ALEXANDRA KOOPS ASHLEY YI DESMOND CHIN DIANA YU CHUN CHEN EMILY LIN MICHELLE NGAN RACHEL DONG SANYA KHAN SAYULI BHIDE

TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION | December 2, 2015

Navigating the Anti-Aging Stigma by ASHLEY YI Staff Writer Scientist Nir Barzilai is actively trying to delay the effects of aging with medical intervention. Barzilai is the head of a centenarian study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He, along with his colleagues, met with the Food and Drug Administration to propose a double-blind study of approximately 3,000 elderly individuals with a placebo and metformin, a common type II diabetes drug. Metformin’s success will be measured in an unprecedented way: its ability to delay the onset of “comorbidities,” or chronic diseases whose incidence increases with age. A small delay in aging can potentially increase average life expectancy by 2.2 years and save roughly $7.1 trillion in healthcare costs for the next 50 years, as estimated by Jay Olshansky, a biodemographer of aging from the University of Illinois, Chicago, in a 2013 paper in the journal Health Affairs. Barzilai chose metformin over other promising drugs tested on animals due to concern for human safety and affordability. Metformin is a drug that has been used since the 1960s and

traces its roots to the Middle Ages when herbalists used French lilac extracts to treat diabetics. Chemists isolated the active ingredient from these extracts and synthesized metformin. As a prediabetic, Barzilai can attest to metformin’s safety, a “critical” aspect of his proposed clinical trial. A 2014 observational study by C.A. Bannister and colleagues reports that adult type II diabetics who took metformin on average lived longer than healthy individuals of the same age. Although it is unclear by which exact mechanism metformin works, it is known that metformin acts on multiple molecular pathways that involve growth, inflammation and metabolism. Barzilai’s group insists that it does not need federal funding nor formal approval from the FDA to get started, but agrees that acknowledgment from the FDA would make aging a legitimate area of study and lessen its stigma. A successful trial would open the door for anti-aging drug development as more researchers recognize the value of a drug that has the potential to improve quality of life. “Aging is not a disease,” Barzilai said. “It’s, you know, humanity! You’re born, you die, you age in between.”

BY THE

NUMBERS

if aging were delayed:

7.1

how many trillions of dollars would be saved

the number of years for which healthcare costs will be saved

2.2

50

the number of years by which life expectancy increases

IZMA SHABBIR | SOURCE: GOLDMAN ET AL., HEALTH AFFAIRS

Artificial intelligence draws new connections by JACKIE KRUGLYAKOVA Senior Editor Artificial intelligence (AI) is defined as the study that applies computer software to developing machines capable of simulating intelligent behavior. Throughout the U.S., including at USC, artificial intelligence networks are being utilized to improve financial markets, identify symptoms of diseases and simplify daily tasks such as online shopping. One such application is in the synthesis of new drugs. According to PhRMA’s 2015 biopharmaceutical research industry profile, it takes on average $2.6 billion and

between 10 to 15 years to place a beneficial drug on the shelf of a pharmacy. Fortunately, companies such as Berg, a biotechnology company based in Boston, merge artificial intelligence with hard medical research to develop efficient and cheap treatments for specifically targeted diseases. In a medical approach called precision medicine, physicians can develop narratives around the clinical and biological histories of each patient, allowing for a personalized medical treatment. Artificial intelligence can also be used in the public health sector to improve patient care. USC’s most recently announced virtual

care clinic will utilize artificial intelligence in mobile apps and wearables to revolutionize the way in which our society uses technology, especially in regards to the medical industry. Dr. Leslie Saxon, a cardiologist and executive director of USC’s Center for Body Computing, believes in the importance of transforming traditional health care. “We can really provide patients around the globe with health care where there’s never been any,” Saxon said. “We can provide patients with the type of data they need and the information they need to be in command of their health care story.”

In many cities, artificial intelligence startup companies are using powerful technologies to improve consumer technology. Some of these new applications use dynamic coding software to interpret natural spoken language and respond to questions with startling accuracy. With the help of Google, Facebook and Microsoft, most emerging AI companies will have the resources needed to develop programs for applications in a wide variety of fields such as healthcare and retail. Thanks to these pervasive new technologies, some of our time-consuming daily tasks can be made simpler with the click of a button.

Dear readers, Our names are Ana Hilleboe and Brittney Kuo, and we are the new Editors-in-Chief of Trojan Health Connection for the 2015-2016 school year. We could not be more excited to share our very first issue with you this semester, and we hope that you enjoy reading our content as much as we enjoyed making it. In this issue, we wanted to highlight topics that we felt were particularly interesting or important for you to know, especially as individuals who are planning on (or hopefully very close to!) entering the dynamic world of health care. We also wanted to change the scope of our content here at Trojan Health Connection, and bring the focus back to USC and the amazing things that our fellow students and faculty are doing, from making breakthroughs in research to rocking the MCAT and participating in opportunities that broaden their worldview and perspective on health. Take a look at our Campus section for articles covering these topics and more. Additionally, check out this issue’s center spread for a feature on gender and health, in which we discuss breaking barriers in traditional health care occupations, transgender health and the discrepancies in body image among men and women. We would like to thank our staff for creating great content this semester; we don’t know what we’d do without our hard-working team of writers, editors, managers and creative staff. Finally, thank you for giving us your time and attention, as well as an audience with whom to share the work of our talented staff. Wishing you all the best of luck on your finals — we believe in you! Sincerely, Ana Hilleboe & Brittney Kuo 2015-2016 Editors-in-Chief


NEWS

December 2, 2015 | TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION

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Study links football injuries and brain disease By ALEXIS HUNTER Staff Writer

COURTESY OF MEDFRIENDLY

Football players are at risk of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease that can be caused by the repetitive head injuries common in the sport. Such smaller scale injuries may prove to be more deterimental to football players than the larger scale collisions associated with concussions.

The 2015 football season kicked off with some interesting news: a study from the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University identified chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease, in 96 percent of all football players tested. CTE is believed to stem from repetitive trauma to the head, and lead to conditions including memory loss, dementia and depression. The findings in this study support past research that points to the fact that regularly occurring, repeat but less severe trauma to the head may actually be more harmful to players than occasional violent collisions linked to concussions. The results of this research expand even beyond the professional arena. The study reported-

ly found evidence of CTE in the brain tissue of 131 out of the 165 individuals tested, who had previously played football professionally, semi-professionally, in college or in high school. With over 1 million athletes playing football at the high school level alone, there is need for further research. Yet there are several limitations to this study. Since the test can only be confirmed posthumously, most of the donated brains were from players who suspected that they might have had the disease while they were alive. This tendency meant that researchers were working with a skewed population and not necessarily a representative one. Nevertheless, the acknowledgement of the link between CTE and football is vital after years of denial by many. In light of the new research, sport authorities may further

increase safety precautions. In response to ongoing safety concerns in recent years, the National Football League has revised safety rules and also invested at least $1 million into research. USC has taken its own steps in recent years to address the concerns related to head injuries. The USC Head Injury Program and Concussion Management Plan is one such measure taken to address safety concerns. This annually updated plan outlines concussion awareness education, prevention and evaluation procedures. Head injuries account for a relatively low percentage of all NCAA injuries – approximately 8 percent. In fact, the USC football team has not reported any head injuries so far this season. As the Trojans wrap up their football season, many fans hope for as few head injuries as possible given the potential lifelong repercussions.

WHO declares red and processed meat carcinogenic By NATALIE LI Layout Manager The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that the consumption of processed and red meats causes cancer. A group of 22 experts from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the WHO, reviewed more than 800 studies based on various countries and populations with different diets. According to the WHO report, 50 or more grams of processed meat consumed per day increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent, and 100 grams of red meat consumed per day increases the risk by 17 percent. Processed meat is produced by using different methods of preservation or flavor-enhancers to transform the meat. Through salting or curing, the meat will then become meat

product staples such as ham, sausages, jerky and hot dogs. On the other hand, red meat refers to all common muscle meat such as beef, pork, mutton and veal. It is speculated that some methods of cooking meat can increase the risk of developing cancer. For instance, cooking at extremely high temperatures such as barbecuing and frying may increase the risk of cancer due to the production of carcinogenic chemicals such as heterocyclic aromatic amines. More research is needed for determining this correlation. Both processed and red meats are associated with colorectal cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the United States. Based on 2010-2012 data, approximately 4.5 percent of the population is predicted to be diagnosed with

colorectal cancer at some point in their lifetime. Prevention methods include regular colonoscopies and screenings. In addition, red meat is associated with both pancreatic and prostate cancer. The review was first initiated in 2014 when the international advisory committee recommended research on both red and processed meats as an investigation of high priority. This was due to much speculation about these meats being risk factors for several cancers, and the IARC initiated an investigation into determining scientific evidence on the subject. In response to this conclusion, some meat-loving citizens declared that they plan to continue their consumption of these foods, but the majority of public health workers will be revising standard health guides in order to lower the risk of these cancers.

COURTESY OF BBC

A medical base tent stands in the shadow of Everest’s peak.

Everest ER saves climbers in extreme conditions By ABRAM ESTAFANOUS Senior Editor

COURTESY OF APEX TRIBUNE

Hot dogs are on the list of processed meat products that can increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Universal Pictures’s 2015 film Everest has brought the famed mountain into the spotlight. With a peak height of 29,029 feet, Mount Everest is the highest point on Earth. An average of 700 climbers attempt to ascend Everest every year, and 250 climbers have died since 1977. With these statistics in mind, Dr. Luanne Freer established the Everest ER Himalayan Rescue Association. Everest ER is a medical clinic that has operated at Everest’s base camp since 2003. The clinic is run by volunteer physicians and treats about 500 people during the climbing season that runs from early April to late May. Volunteer physicians treat climbers for altitude-related illness and injury, working to stabilize their injuries before the climbers are evacuated from the mountain for

further treatment. The health risks for a climber attempting to ascend Everest abound. The clinic itself is situated at an altitude with 50 percent less oxygen, and hypoxia is a common ailment that impairs both physiology and decision-making. Daytime temperatures of 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the reflective properties of snow increase the potential for sunburn. In addition, trash and human waste from previous climbs creates a bacterial environment in the mountain snow that climbers often melt to drink. The Everest ER medical clinic treats these conditions and much more, from sprained ankles to pulmonary edema and frostbite. “If we have significantly impacted 30 lives, if we helped return 30 people to their families, that is an amazing bit of work,” Freer said. “Even one [life saved] makes it worth all the effort.”


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LIFESTYLE

TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION | December 2, 2015

Exploring the scientific world through different career options By MARIE KAAKIJIAN Senior Editor

COURTESY OF DRJAMESODELL.COM

Acupuncture is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat various problem areas in the body.

An insight into Eastern approaches to medicine By MICHELLE NGAN Staff Writer Western approaches to medicine are more prevalent within our society; our hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and even healthcare system are all testaments to such an approach. However, other approaches of medicine are less well-known, particularly traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Western medicine uses a deductive approach to treating disease, forming a hypothesis following general observation, according to an article written by Julia Tsuei for the Western Journal of Medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine takes a different approach than its western counterpart, but has been often disregarded by scientists and Western doctors, who say that there is no scientific basis for the treatments. While the effects of Chinese medicine have not been extensively documented, according to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey nearly 3.6 million Americans used acupuncture during the previous year, and about 14.5 million Americans have ever used acupuncture. With the prevalence of non-Western approaches to medicine extending beyond Asian populations, one would have to ask: what exactly is TCM, and how does it differ from Western approaches? TCM has several categories, including Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture and tai chi. The methodology behind its practices centers around several Taoism ideas. One of the most important ideas is the idea of yin and yang. Everything in the universe can be considered in terms of yin and yang; in the body, yin represents the weak, inactive portions of the body, whereas yang represents the strong and active portions of the body. People can be either primarily yin or yang; in this case, they would either have primarily “cold” energy or “hot” energy, respectively. This doesn’t necessarily refer to body temperature — it’s more internal. There are foods that have hot or cold en-

ergy. For example, foods that are yang include beef, chicken, mushrooms, grapes and ginger. Foods that are yin include watermelon, pear, salads and green tea. People with “cold” energy are advised to eat foods that are “hot,” and vice versa. In addition, there is the idea that everything in the body is connected. There are five organs — the heart, liver, spleen, lung and kidney — in the body that compose the core, and all parts of the body are related to this core. If something is wrong with one of these organs, then there is the possibility that another organ in the body will be affected. There

techniques, acupuncture or herbal medicine. Acupuncture functions by inserting needles in “meridians” — pathways along which your qi can flow — and therefore bringing balance back to the energy flow. Increasing numbers of doctors have been advising their patients to go to acupuncturists for pain relief; Dr. Lin Hong, who owns a acupuncture center near Washington D.C., said in a 2015 China Central Television article that the majority of her patients were actually recommended by their primary physicians. At the Engemann Student Health Center, USC offers acupuncture as a specialty service, in

While the effects of Chinese medicine have not been extensively documented, according

to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey nearly 3.6 million Americans used acupuncture during the previous year, and about 14.5 million Americans have ever used acupuncture. is also the qi (energy), blood and bodily fluids, all of which help to connect the body together. To heal a particular organ, a physician may treat other seemingly irrelevant organs to bring harmony back to the body. While in Western medicine, a physician would complete laboratory tests and other techniques to diagnose the patient, a physician practicing TCM would use less modern forms of diagnosis, relying more on qualitative observations. One of the most important tools for diagnosis is the tongue. It is believed that different parts of the tongue represent different organs, and the appearance can determine which part of the body is suffering. Another important diagnostic tool is pulse-taking. Taking the pulse at different areas along the wrist represents different areas in the body, and can help the physician to determine the problem area. To treat any problems, TCM physicians can use, among other

addition to primary care. Working in conjunction with Dongguk University of Los Angeles, the partnership began in 2003 to provide students with therapeutic treatments that also include cupping and massages. In addition to acupuncture, physicians can use herbal medicine to treat diseases. Often times, a physician will create a specific herbal formula for a patient’s ailments, which can be brewed into a tea or taken as a pill and adjusted as the patient’s health changes. There are opportunities to learn about alternative methods of medicine within the USC campus. Students have the opportunity to learn more about these methods in their classes. HP 450, “Traditional Eastern Medicine and Modern Health,” taught by Dr. Julia Borovay, is an elective course that introduces students to alternative methods of medicine. “[The class] focuses on traditional Eastern and alternative medical views of health and [See “Eastern medicine” pg. 5]

Most premedical students have a long journey to achieving their goals of becoming a physician. A primary step in this journey is declaring a major. Most students choose to declare desirable majors in the sciences, including biology, chemistry and physics. Although these are the three most common pre-medical majors, it is important to note that many paths exist for a college student. There exist a variety of career options outside of medicine for many of the science-related majors. Biology in itself is an extremely diverse field. Many subspecialties are available for students to choose from. Evolutionary biology, for instance, primarily focuses on the study of the diversity of life on Earth and how this diversity came to fruition over time. These biologists spend a majority of time in the field trying to identify species’ characteristics by examining them up-close. Chemistry also has a significant number of subfields, notably including the branch of biochemistry. For example, biochemists often deal with the chemical reactions and processes that occur inside the bodies of living organisms, and interpret genomic databases to understand the specific nature of reactions being studied. The field of physics also pres-

ents immense opportunities for a post-graduate career. For example, a particle physicist is responsible for exploring the most minute particles on the planet and understanding their interactions with other particles. Many people in this branch of physics are conducting research regarding the future of dark matter, a hypothetical kind of matter that accounts for almost all of the matter in the universe. Common to all of the aforementioned scientific career paths is the heavy emphasis on post-undergraduate education. After obtaining an undergraduate degree, graduate school is necessary to pursue teaching and research possibilities. A master’s degree or fieldwork in the areas of interest will help the student gain experience and familiarity in the field. Ultimately, a PhD degree is often required for the more preeminent positions in the field. With a PhD, a student in these fields is more likely to obtain jobs in both the public and private sectors, join or establish a research lab and also teach at the university level. Others can work in biotechnology, pharmaceutical companies and aerospace industries. Ultimately, declaring a major in biology, chemistry or physics results in an expanded array of future job opportunities, whether those opportunities are medically related or not.

COURTESY OF DR. DAVID CARON’S LAB

The environmental studies program focuses on developing essential skills for students hoping to pursue a degree in the environmental sciences. The Environmental Studies department offers various courses around the world to enhance the students’ understanding of environmental topics through field experiences and through summers of Maymester periods spent in various locations.


LIFESTYLE

December 2, 2015 | TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION

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3 fascinating science books to read this winter break by DIANA YU CHUN CHEN Staff Writer The Martian - Andy Weir A science fiction thriller novel strongly rooted in actual scientific concepts and current space travel technologies, The Martian is a definite must read. Set half in the stark desert environment of Mars and half in the tense NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, the novel (now a motion picture blockbuster starring Matt Damon) is not only exhilarating, but also clever and funny. The survival struggle of astronaut Mark Watney, who is left to die on Mars by his crewmates after an aborted mission, is a story that keeps readers on the edges of their seats, page after page and chapter after chapter. Author Andy Weir, otherwise a software engineer, wrote the book to be as scientifically accurate as possible, incorporating extensive research on orbital mechanics, the geographical conditions on Mars, the

history of manned spaceflight and botany. This stellar novel is a surefire hit for anyone who prefers fast-paced, well-written stories steeped in reality. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer - Siddhartha Mukherjee If you choose to read one nonfiction book this winter break, make this your choice. This Pulitzer Prize winner, which has recently been adapted into a PBS documentary, explores the long and convoluted history of everything cancer-related. Cellular biologist and physician Siddhartha Mukherjee weaves together an engrossing tale full of centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories and heartbreaks. Not only is this book fascinating for any science major looking to increase their knowledge regarding current conditions of cancer research, it will also appeal to anyone interested in the admirable human ingenuity and resilience through

the last thousands of years. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers - Mary Roach Stiff, with its unusual subject matter (yes, it is an entire book on the strange and captivating journey our bodies can take postmortem), is undoubtedly one of the funniest popular science books ever written. Chock-full of little known tidbits regarding the scientific process of the decomposing human body, Stiff recounts the underappreciated roles of human cadavers in everything from automobile safety research and forensic investigation techniques to organ transplant research and plastic surgeon training. While the topic of the dearly departed is certainly a delicate one, popular science writer Mary Roach manages to be sensitive, reverent and, perhaps unexpectedly, wildly hilarious. Both bizarre and remarkably engaging, this is a science book that even laymen will without a doubt end up loving.

Key Quotes: A preview of our top book choices for this winter. “The screen went black before I was out of the airlock. Turns out the ‘L’ in ‘LCD’ stands for ‘Liquid.’ I guess it either froze or boiled off. Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. ‘Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.’”

-Andy Weir

COURTESY OF SPACE.COM

“Resilience, inventiveness and survivorship -- qualities often ascribed to great physicians -- are reflected qualities, emanating first from those who struggle with illness and only then mirrored by those who treat them.”

-Siddhartha Mukherjee

COURTESY OF NPR.ORG

“The way I see it, being dead is not terribly far off from being on a cruise ship. Most of your time is spent lying on your back. The brain has shut down. The flesh begins to soften. Nothing much new happens, and nothing is expected of you.”

-Mary Roach

COURTESY OF GOODREADS.COM

SAMANTHA TSAI / TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION

[“Eastern medicine” from pg. 4] illness and their relationship to Western biomedical practices,” said Dr. Borovay. “The perspective is biomedical; most of the students are planning on medical school.” In addition, MEDS 526, “Alternative and Eastern Medicine: A Biomedical Approach,” is a course that students in the Masters in Global Medicine can take to learn more about alternative and eastern methods of medicine. Integrative medicine has also found its way to the USC campus with the USC Institute for Integrative Health. Founded in 2012, the center seeks to combine conventional medicine and complementary alternative medicine by developing programs focusing on mindfulness meditation and care programs specializing in oncology and pediatrics, among others.

Currently, methods are being tested to create the optimal fusion of Eastern and Western approaches to medicine. Integrative medicine is being used for chronic diseases, such as cancer. Integrative medicine could also potentially lead to an updated health care system, according to Dr. Ka Kit Hui, the founder of University of California, Los Angeles’s Center for East-West Medicine in an interview with Total Wellness magazine. “By rebalancing the focus of the health care system between treatment of disease and maintenance of health, the future paradigm will bring us closer to the achievement of the goals of medicine: to promote health and wellness, prevent diseases, ease human suffering, and improve quality of life in a cost-effective and timely manner,” said Hui.


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CENTER FEATURE: GEN

TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION | December 2, 2015

The interplay of gender and health is one of many key topics necessary to fully understand before entering the world of health care, especially with the advent of new ideas in regard to the role of sex and gender in modern day society. There is a growing awareness toward ideas like feminism, transgender rights and the shedding of traditional gender norms among the population. In this issue’s feature, we wanted to shed light on transgender individuals and the unique issues that they may face in terms of their physical and emotional health. Additionally, we examine the role of men in fields that may be traditionally seen as female-dominated, such as obstetrics or gynecology. Lastly, we explore body image and how it can specifically have a negative impact on women within society. While society is still taking strides toward breaking the status quo and granting greater rights to certain individuals, increasing the public awareness of such topics is one step toward implementing those changes and further improving the knowledge and quality of health care given to individuals of specific genders. At right: In addition to identifying disparities between women and men in health care, we look further into the growing trend of male doctors entering traditionally female-dominated fields like obstetrics and gynecology, and how patient preferences and gender roles factor into those fields. Introduction by BRITTNEY KUO Infographic by NATALIE LI & ANA HILLEBOE

FEATURE

Fixing fitness standards for wom By SANYA KHAN Staff Writer

When it comes to hitting the gym, people are motivated for all sorts of different reasons. However, there seems to be a stark difference between the motivations of males and females. Young girls are always taught to be strong, confident and not let meaningless words bring them down. Unfortunately, the classic

Unfortunately, the classic “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” approach seems

to be null and void in today’s social world. Body shaming has become increasingly prevalent.

“sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” approach seems to be null and void in today’s social world. Body shaming has become increasingly prevalent and has had fairly negative effects. The disturbing cases of suicide

and eating disorders fill the timelines and newsfeeds of women around the world. Students at USC are definitely aware of this ever-present issue. Between classes, extracurriculars, jobs, internships and so much more, it is seemingly becoming more and more difficult to look and feel good. Architecture student Ana Claramunt said that she felt pressure to work out by “her mother and the media that promotes super sexy bodies.” She said she’s not too proud of what she looks like but realizes that she “needs to work out more so she [I] can be more fit.” Freshman Laila Khoury had a slightly different approach. She works out because she has “seen family get sick over health issues” and she feels the need to as a preventative measure. Working out for her was fun and something that she did in order to “look good.” However, when the same questions were asked to men, there was a stark difference in responses. Freshman Rick Keaton was extremely confident. He said that he “didn’t really work out” and felt no pressure at all. Other men lived in the gym and felt no pressure, but just loved to look good. The responses toward working out and body image varied, but

there is a trend that can be seen among young women and their attitudes toward the subject. Living in a world run by social media, it is almost impossible to escape the expectations and standards that are set forth. More often than men, women feel scrutinized by the status quo and take a negative tumble, resorting to extreme measures to feel better about themselves. On the other hand, there’s been a movement. A movement to encourage women, help one another and inspire one another to be

strong, bold and embrace their bodies. More women are beginning to grow stronger and more self-assured than ever, embracing their bodies and choosing to live healthier lifestyles not for other people, but simply for themselves. There has been a call among young women to come together and support one another instead of tearing others down. There is strength in numbers, and together, the “perfect body” can become a realistic one.

HIGHLIGHTS: “ THE STATUS

Medical Practice

66%

66% of overall physicians and s in the US in 2012 are men.

Gender Pay Gap

79% COURTESY OF TEAMGREYFITNESS.COM

Differing standards of beauty and fitness often cause disparate motivations for getting fit between men and women. Young women in particular tend to feel more pressure to work out in order to reach current body image standards. Oftentimes, these may not be very realistic.

Women physicians and surgeo only 79% of what men earn.

SOU


GENDER AND HEALTH

December 2, 2015 | TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION

7

Further insight necessary for transgender health inequalities in healthcare By JEHAN BISTA Senior Editor

omen

ILLUSTRATION BY LAURIE OKAMOTO

e

91%

ns and surgeons men.

91% of overall registered nurses in the US in 2011 are women.

p

Medical Academia

9%

surgeons make earn.

It is important to note that a transgender person’s gender is

based upon how he or she identifies himself or herself, not how he or she appears to other people. often used to describe non-trans individuals. It is important to note that a transgender person’s gender is based upon how he or she identifies himself or herself, not how he or she appears to other people. Due to their biological differences, there are a number of health-related disparities between transgender people and other members of the population. Transgender women (MTFs), for example, have an increased risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.

Furthermore, transgender people are more prone to being in situations involving violence. One study in particular found that roughly 27 percent of transgender men and women were victims of violence. Suicidal ideation, as well as suicidal attempts in general, is typically more commonly found in transgender populations. A number of studies in particular have found that suicide attempts for transgender men and women range anywhere from 16 to 37 percent. In addition to these problems, the transgender population is more prone to substance abuse, has difficulties acquiring health insurance or health care coverage and typically falls below the poverty line due to low-wage jobs and unemployment. Such issues can be attributed to a number of sociological, socio-economic and health-related factors. The lack of knowledge in the general public regarding transgender individuals, the cultural insensitivity towards transgender people, the discrimination that transgender men and women face during their lifetime and the identity crises that these people face during their transitions between genders are but a few of the reasons for these widespread problems. Further awareness is needed.

Strangers in a woman’s world

TS: “MEDICAL PROFESSIONS: TUS OF WOMEN AND MEN”

6%

The term “transgender” is often widely misunderstood both in general and in the greater context of health care. Generally, it is a broad term that encompasses a variety of titles including (but not limited to) cross-dressers, who wear clothing belonging to the opposite sex; genderqueer people, who think they belong either to both genders or to none at all and transsexuals, who take hormones and undergo surgery in order to transition from one sex to the other. Today, “transgender” simply refers to individuals who have transitioned from one gender to the other during their lifetimes and feel comfortable categorizing themselves as such. Despite the types of medical treatments they receive or the severity of their symptoms, any given person can still be “trans” (one is not more “trans” than another based on past medical history). Generally speaking, transgender people can be categorized one of two ways based upon their gender. Individuals who have transitioned to female during the course of their lifetime are classified as MTF (male to female), whereas those who have become male over their

lifetimes are known as FTM (female to male). A transgender man, therefore, is FTM, whereas a transgender woman is MTF. In studies in which transgender people are compared to other members of the population, terms such as “bio-male,” “bio-female,” “natal male” and “natal female” are

Only 1 in 5 of medical school professors are women.

SOURCE: CENTER FOR RESEARCH ON GENDER IN THE PROFESSIONS, UC SAN DIEGO, 2013

By RAHUL MASSON Staff Writer “No way!” is typically thought of as the expected response from a group of male doctors asked about specializing in obstetrics or gynecology. Nonetheless, in recent years the diversity and excitement in the field of obstetrics and gynecology has made for a growing number of “non-traditional” male medical students who opt to go into a specialty historically dominated by female doctors. According to the findings of researchers Johnson, Schnatz, Kelsey and Ohannessian that were published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association in 2005, the gender distribution of providers in private practices was nearly balanced. The fight for gender equality has certainly made its way into the world of healthcare. As a result, new norms are being created. For example, the number of male nurses has increased by 7 percent, as reported by Physician’s Weekly, and in the UK, according to the British Medical Association, the rate of new female surgeons is growing faster than that of men. Though these advances have been commendable, there still remains a stigma among females

about using males as their primary gynecologists. “Unrelatable,” “creepy” and “indifferent” are just some of the words used by females to describe the idea of seeing a male gynecologist. Although progress has been made towards gender equality, professional and personal interests still conflict very frequently within the field of health care. In a study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, OB/GYN patients were surveyed on provider preference. In a survey of postpartum pa-

tients, of those who had a preference of male or female obstetricians, the majority preferred female. In a world where we are progressing towards egalitarianism, remaining open to new ideas and changes while remaining respectful of cultural differences is recommended. Change in the healthcare field as well as in numerous other arenas can be possible if individuals attempt to step out of their comfort zones and experience the changes that the world is attempting to bring.

GRAPHIC COURTESY OF CHINAWHISPER.COM

In a study by the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 66.6% of patients had no gender bias when selecting an OB-GYN, and 80.8% felt that physician gender does not influence quality of care.


8 [“Mental health” from pg. 1] Slammin’ Down the Stigma, to raise awareness about mental health and debunk the stigma associated with mental illness. Students with personal experience or interest in mental illness were able to convey their feelings through HSEP’s slam poetry showcase, which was held Monday, Nov. 16. Despite these on-campus efforts, some say that USC still does not do enough to address mental health. Students have complained about the ineffectuality of the counseling services, citing their wait times and long term treatment options as unacceptable. At a program hosted by the USG Wellness Affairs and External Relations committees and the Academic Culture Assembly, one student expressed his opinion on the need for transparency and early outreach. “Outreach should begin as early as freshman orientation,” said the student. “When you have that first meeting with your advisor, counseling services and mental health should be mentioned and stressed.” The division of resources for mental health and physical health

CAMPUS was also brought up. “Mental health advocacy should be integrated into other aspects of the University,” said another attendee at the event. “The burden should not only fall upon the Student Health Center and the Office of Wellness and Health Promotion.” The stigmas associated with mental health prevent a formation of a dialogue in other aspects of campus life. “Mental health has a place in residential life, jobs on campus and in the classroom,” said an individual at the event. One attendee suggested that a peer crisis line, operated by students trained in basic crisis intervention, should be established. The conversation about mental health is seen by many as both necessary and incomplete. While mental health has become an increasingly relevant issue on campus, the stigma often attached to the subject makes it difficult for many individuals to address. To students, addressing mental health on campus means recognizing its importance and introducing a more collective approach.

COURTESY OF HUFFINGTON POST

Yoga is an exercise that promotes mental wellness. The University offers yoga classes for those struggling with their mental health.

TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION | December 2, 2015

PREEYAM ROY / TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION

Dr. Erin Quinn created and helped institute the new changes in the pre-health curriculum.

New pre-health curriculum By PREEYAM ROY Copy Editor Many students at USC may be unaware of the changes that occurred in the pre-health program beginning in 2014 thanks to Dr. Erin Quinn, the former Dean of Admissions at the Keck School of Medicine and member of the MR5 Advisory Committee that developed the new MCAT. One of Quinn’s first courses of action at USC was to create classes specifically to prepare students for the new MCAT. “Dr. [Kenneth] Geller, director of the pre-health advising office [and I] worked with faculty in biology, chemistry, psychology and sociology to develop the new courses designed so that students are prepared for the kinds of questions they’re going to ask on the MCAT,” said Quinn. According to Quinn, these new classes focus on looking at social

determinants of health, reading journal articles and understanding how to look at data and developing critical thinking. In addition to changing the pre-health curriculum to reflect a more interdisciplinary approach, Quinn is also trying to change the culture and mindsets of pre-health students to promote a more multifaceted approach to learning. In order to accomplish this, Quinn created a new interdisciplinary major called “Health and Human Sciences.” “[I] wanted to have a major for students who really wanted to have a really broad education, where they could also have a semester abroad, and they could be pre-med or be pre-physical therapy or be pre-whatever, but actually look at how the whole world works in the human interaction within the healthcare system,” Quinn said. For students who apply to the

major as freshmen, the curriculum only requires a single science course in the fall in order to allow students time to adjust to college. In fact, Quinn is a big advocate for using time for self-development and she emphasizes the importance of pacing yourself, especially for students struggling to reconcile with the idea of slowing down. “My advice would be to really think of your four years of college as your time when you’re taking the classes to prepare for the MCAT and spreading things out and taking a semester abroad,” Quinn said. She suggests taking the MCAT at the end of senior year and taking time off to contribute to the work force as a means of self-development before applying to med school. “Everybody who does that will get into med school,” said Quinn. “Time is in your favor.”

USC professor advances ultrasound technology By ALEXANDRA KOOPS Staff Writer To Dr. Jesse Yen, pursuing ultrasound imaging just “clicked” during his undergraduate years at Duke University. Now a biomedical engineering professor at USC, Yen researches ways to improve ultrasound imaging as well as different applications for ultrasound systems. Yen was originally drawn toward ultrasound techniques because of the strong engineering program at Duke and his background in music. “Growing up I had a lot of musical training; I played piano and violin,” Yen said. “[In ultrasound] there are notions of acoustics and frequencies and all these things just sort of resonate with me.” Yen found interest in how the tones and decibels that he learned about in music apply to ultrasound, and started pursuing research opportunities related to ultrasound. He enjoyed the hands-on aspect of working in the lab and building things with his hands.

Through his research, Yen hopes to improve the cost and quality of ultrasound imaging. One idea he is exploring is the use of readily available electronic devices, such as tablets and smartphones, to take ultrasound images. This could lower the cost of ultrasound tests significantly and could make the tests available to a larger group of patients that need them. Furthermore, Yen has an idea for a portable ultrasound that could take images continuously. By placing a patch on the patient’s chest, this “EKG meets ultrasound” could provide images immediately after a surgery – a time when doctors are constantly in need of an ultrasound to monitor a patient’s cardiac health. This device could also solve a common clinical problem – providing the doctor with critical information at times when ultrasound technicians are not available. To improve the quality of the ultrasound images, Yen works on signal processing techniques. He takes the echo and processes it

digitally to see if he can clean up the images without losing anything that might be diagnostically useful. Another project Yen is looking into is using ultrasound as therapy. “We’re looking at interesting ways of using neuro-stimulation to affect various neural systems in the body,” Yen said. By changing the intensity of the ultrasound, one can actually stimulate, or inhibit, neurons from firing. Ultrasounds can heat and relax tissues, reduce swelling and administer medications. This research could lead to a new form of therapy that has the potential to improve the lives of future patients. Like many students and faculty at USC, Yen ultimately wants to make an impact. “My hope is that some of these technologies end up getting used in some way,” Yen said. “To walk in an ICU and see that a device that I developed or helped develop is being used – that would be the ultimate goal.”

ALEXANDRA KOOPS / TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION

Dr. Jesse Yen poses next to one of his ultrasound imaging machines.


CAMPUS

December 2, 2015 | TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION

9

USC offers new interdisciplinary health minor By SAYULI BHIDE Writer

COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

The University of Oxford will host USC pre-health students studying abroad during the summer.

Students take a global perspective on health care By IZMA SHABBIR Senior Editor While many pre-health students have found it difficult to plan a semester to study abroad, BISC 428 is a course traditionally offered at USC that allows students to study abroad in Oxford, England for the summer through their Problems Without Passports program. Previously, the class was called “The Biology of Tropical Diseases” and addressed the prevention and treatment of tropical diseases, both infectious and chronic. For the upcoming summer session, the class has been renamed “The Biology of Health from a Global Perspective” and will focus more on topics such as health policy, vaccination use and the implications of international development on health. The course is broken up into five themes: global health, health

policy and public health, tropical medicine, vaccinology and international development and health. During the three-week trip, tentatively scheduled from July 10 to August 4, students will be taught completely by the faculty at Oxford University. “There are so many great things about this trip, from the new friendships to exploring everything the beautiful and historic town of Oxford has to offer to the fascinating lectures from amazing health professionals,” Alexis Hunter, a student who studied abroad and took the course last summer, said. BISC-428 is a part of the USC Dornsife Problems Without Passports curriculum, which emphasizes problem-based learning and inquiry research coupled with study abroad opportunities. Attendees are chosen through a competitive application process, with a base requirement of being

a pre-health student with a cumulative 3.0 GPA at USC. The deadline for the upcoming summer 2016 course is not yet finalized, and those who want an application or are interested in the program should contact Judy Haw at judyhaw@usc.edu. Former BISC 428 students found the trip rewarding and insightful, and recommend it to any pre-health student interested in gaining a new outlook on healthcare. “The best part about this trip is that it doesn’t end when you come back to the states,” Hunter said. “When you return from Oxford, you return with a whole new group of people to talk to, whether it be about classes, med school or just what’s going on in the world. You’ll also return with a new perspective on the health industry in general; once you begin to examine it from a global perspective, there’s no going back!”

For pre-health undergraduates at USC, there are multiple health-related majors and minors to choose from, which can imply that health care is not a field that can thoroughly be understood through only one discipline. In order to further address this issue, the USC Dornsife Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics has created a new international health, development and social justice minor. The minor is geared toward helping students understand health and health care in an interdisciplinary context. Students interested in health will not only have the opportunity to study it from a clinical perspective, but also have the chance to see how it relates to other relevant topics such as politics, economics, law and ethics. This interdisciplinary mode of learning will encourage students to bring together coursework that spans various disciplines including anthropology, sociology, international relations and philosophy. “The minor was created with the millennium development goals in mind that were adopted by the UN in 2000 that look at various development-related issues around the world and how to improve them – like poverty,

hunger, health and environmen tal sustainability,” Elise Welch, Assistant Director of USC Dornsife Admissions, said. “The idea is, through several different academic fields in Dornsife, to explore these issues so that students are better prepared to make positive change in those areas in the future.” The minor requires 24 units of coursework in a variety of academic departments, including anthropology, biology, economics, sociology and international relations. Students who intend to add the minor must take courses from two or more different departments.

“The idea is... to explore these issues so that students are better prepared to make positive change”

-Elise Welsh, USC Dornsife Admissions

Since the minor was first introduced and offered in the 20142015 school year, only 12 students have added it thus far. However, the number is likely to grow as Dornsife continues its efforts to promote the minor and encourage students to approach the challenges of health care in a new cross-cultural way.

SAMANTHA TSAI WITH DESMOND CHIN / TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION


10

CAMPUS

TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION | December 2, 2015

NBA considers wearable sensors to track players’ health By OLIVIA PANCHAL Senior Editor

CAMERON QUON / TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION

Damaris Eison (right), a dancer on Break Through, plays the xylophone with a patient at Children’s Hospital in the Creative Oasis. [“Hip hop” from pg. 1] support that can help alleviate anxiety, depression, increase positive compliance with their treatment—the list goes on.” One way the hospital collaborates with the community is through a small colorful room tucked away in the hospital called the Creative Oasis. Every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., the room is open to inpatients throughout the hospital. Break Through members volunteer their time there to share their talents with hospital patients. “It was just an awesome environment to be able to be doing things for these kids that they wouldn’t regularly be able to do if they’re at a hospital,” Break

Through co-director Kenya Collins said. “We showed them a dance we had learned at Break Through and immediately all the children got up and started dancing and they kept saying, ‘Do it again! Do it again!’” In addition to volunteering, Lim and Collins are trying to raise funds for the hospital. Through a series of benefit workshops they’re calling “Hip Hop Heals”, they collaborated with local professional dancers to teach choreography at a dance studio. “These are open to everyone in the L.A. environment—all students and all dancers who want to come out and support the cause,” Collins said. “So it’s actually dual action. You’re dancing and learn-

ing, but you’re also supporting a greater community.” This year, the group has set out to reach a $2000 goal. They started a support page on the hospital’s website. Through word of email, social media blasts and word of mouth, they hope to hit that goal and continue supporting CHLA. “Finding this program was amazing because we can offer these kids this exact same experience that we have twice a week at dance practice to them twice a week at their little Creative Oasis,” Lim said. “I see us supporting the hospital for a bunch of semesters to come. How often do you get the chance to do something that you really love and help people at the same time?”

There’s more at trojanhealthconnection.com... Visit our website to watch Cameron’s exclusive video, “Hip Hop Heals,” about Break Through’s work with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Recently, the National Basketball Association decided to invest in a Mayo Clinic study on the effectiveness of wearable sensors developed by Catapult and STATSports – two leaders in the wearable tech industry. According to an article from Grantland, the sensors can not only track where players move, but also how players move. The sensors use GPS technology to track basic movement data, but more importantly health and fatigue-related information. The sensors are able to track the impact of force when players jump or land. Using this data, experts can determine whether the player is favoring one of their legs, which could be an indication of injury. However, the NBA is not the only association that realizes the importance of such information. Kristamarie Pratt, a USC PhD candidate in Biokinesiology, is working with USC’s Human Performance Lab (HPL) to develop an objective method for quantifying knee loading asymmetries (differences in the weight a patient puts on their injured knee versus their uninjured knee). Though Pratt’s research focuses primarily on asymmetries in patients who have had post-anterior

cruciate ligament (ACL) repair, Pratt says that similar application can be made to many different lower extremity movement impairments. At HPL, researchers use a 3-D motion capture system to measure knee loading asymmetries. Pratt’s goal is to take the information gathered from this high tech set-up and translate it to wearable inertial sensors that can be used in any clinic or on any field. “Using inertial sensors, we can identify in a person subtle changes in movement and if a person is not using their knee properly,” Pratt said. This is similar to what the NBA is hoping to accomplish with Catapult’s wearable sensors. Pratt cautions of relying completely on sensor output, as they are gross measures of movement and the human body makes more intricate maneuvers that the sensors may not be able to collect. That being said, there is a strong need for this type of research, as serious sports injuries and the looming risk of reinjury can negatively affect a player’s ability to return to the same high-level of play after injury. Pratt says she chose this research because she finds this fact heartbreaking and hopes her research can prevent bad movement patterns and reinjuries to athletes invested in their sport.

CAMERON QUON / TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION

Dancers from Break Through practice twice a week at night on the roof of a USC parking structure. [“MCAT” from pg. 1] method of approach and possibly even their research involvement. Andrew Wang, a senior majoring in Neuroscience who excelled on his MCAT 2015 exam, studied for both the older MCAT exam in January and the new MCAT 2015 in August. According to Wang, many of the passages are now more interdisciplinary and relevant to medicine. Application of knowledge to analyze medical devices such as pacemakers is one example. “A lot of passages with new research components require a familiarity with molecular biology and biochemistry, which were previously not emphasized,” Wang said. Wang has also found that his

involvement in a research lab and experience interpreting and analyzing data helped him quickly realize the main points of each research passage. Additionally, Wang found the Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior section to be highly detail-oriented. “While it was probably introduced in an effort to make future doctors more cognizant of the socioeconomic, cultural and racial differences and to foster compassion among future physicians by highlighting differences in human development and thinking, it falls short with applying this knowledge in the context of medicine and the treatment of patients,” said Wang. As the AAMC is still testing

the waters with this section, it is possible that this section and its presentation may change. Wang’s advice for success with tackling the new length of the exam is to get comfortable with the MCAT testing style. He recommends doing a lot of practice problems and simulating practice tests similar to the actual test day schedule. Studying for this extensive exam may seem daunting to some. Thankfully, there are many resources, such as USC’s Pre-Health Office, preparation courses and the AAMC online study materials. As the next pool of medical school applicants approaches the next round of MCAT 2016 exams, they must wait to see what the AAMC has to offer next.

OLIVIA PANCHAL / TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION

Ideen Saiedian, senior, a test subject in an HPL study, wears the sensors used by the 3-D motion capture system.


CARTOON

11

The Adventures of Dr. Gesundt Part 5

December 2, 2015 | TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION

DEENA BAUM / TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION

LISA KAM / TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION


12

MEDICAL SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT

TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION | December 2, 2015

UC San Francisco strives to help heal the world By EMILY LIN Staff Writer The University of California, San Francisco is unique among all UC campuses in that it is the only university in the UC system dedicated solely to graduate education and biomedical research. The university, consistently ranked among the top medical schools in the United States, is known for its outstanding faculty members, innovative medical research, public service and patient care. The medical curriculum at UCSF is centered on the mastery of six domains of competency: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism and systems-based practice. The MD program includes a two year “pre-clerkship” phase followed by two years of a clinical studies phase. During the pre-clerkship phase, students complete the essential core curriculum and during the clinical studies phase, students gain inpatient and ambulatory clinical experience at a variety of sites in the San Francisco Bay area. Moreover, volunteering opportunities with a number of UCSF-affiliated projects provide additional ways for students to explore the community and gain clinical experiences. Dual Degree Programs UCSF offers a number of dual degree programs. In particular, the Medical Scientist Training Program allows students to

Another unique program is the Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved, also known as PRIME-US. This program allows students to work directly with underserved communities on both an individual and at the community level. Other opportunities include an MD/PhD in History of Health Sciences, an MD/MPH Program and a Pathways to Discovery program that provides students with experiences in clinical and translational research, global health, health and society, health professions education and molecular medicine. Residency Matches In 2015, 105 of the UCSF graduates matched to specialty programs, with 18 to ob-gyn, 17 to emergency medicine and 10 to surgery. The remaining 72 students matched to primary care tracks, including family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics. In terms of region, 108 students matched to programs in California, 47 of which will stay at UCSF. The rest of the students will take up residencies in other states, notably New York, Massachusetts and Washington.

earn MD and PhD degrees and prepares students for careers as physician-investigators. In addition, students of this program receive full tuition support and a stipend funded by the U.S. National Institute of Health. The University also offers a

Class of 2019 Profile #3 Best Research #3 Best Primary Care Total Enrollment: 664 Faculty-student ratio 3.3:1

Applications Accepted: June 1 Deadline: October 13 Application Fee: $80 Acceptances: 12/15 - 5/1

Top Specialties Chosen by Students

AIDS Drug/Alcohol Abuse Emergency Medicine Family Medicine

Gereatrics Internal Medicine Pediatrics Women’s Health

Accepted Applicants Median Overall GPA: 3.75 Average Science GPA: 3.72 Verbal Reasoning: 11 Physical Sciences: 12 Biological Sciences: 12 Average MCAT Total Numeric Score: 35 Matriculant Demographics Gender Distribution (Men/Women): 54%/46% California Residents/Out-of-State: 71%/29% Financial Statistics Tuition (California Resident): $32,365 / year Tuition (National/International Resident): $44,610 / year

7,393 Verified Applications 437 Interviewed (MMI) 149 Matriculated 1.9% Acceptance Rate

Joint Medical Program in collaboration with UC Berkeley. This is a unique five-year program that allows students to get a dual MD/ MS degree. During the first three years, students receive medical curriculum and rigorous research training at the UC Berkeley cam-

COURTESY OF UC SAN FRANCISCO

pus. During the last two years of the program, students complete the clinical curriculum at the UCSF campus. This program gives students the opportunity to take graduate work in a broad array of subject areas on the UC Berkeley campus.

Hospital Affiliations UCSF is affiliated with San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, NCIRE – the Veterans HealthResearch Institute, the Gladstone Institutes, the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Rsearch Center and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


CARTOON

11

MediSin

by Lisa Kam

Check out trojanhealthconnection.com for more installments of this series

April 26, 2016 | TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION

LISA KAM / TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION

Interested in joining Trojan Health Connection? Apply to be a writer, photographer, or editor! Email trojanhealthconnection@gmail.com for more information and look for applications in the Fall. DEENA BAUM / TROJAN HEALTH CONNECTION

Trojan Health Connection Fall 2015 Edition  

Our Fall 2015 Edition of Trojan Health connection Newspaper. Enjoy!

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