Ariana Witkin, MD Student, Class of 2015, reflects on her participation in the Interclerkship Ambulatory Care Track (InterACT). InterACT is a 13-week integrated clerkship which provides select third-year medical students with a longitudinal clinical experience grounded in the foundations of ambulatory medicine, chronic illness care and care for vulnerable persons.

Being involved in InterACT has been a formative experience in my time at medical school. Through this experience I was able to care for patients over an extended period of time. The relationships I made with my patients have not only been extremely rewarding, but have also helped shape the type of doctor I want to become.

It has at times both challenged and pushed my limits as a trainee, and also provided a supportive home base from which to grow. One of my patients in the Pediatrics Visiting Docs program died of a rare disease. I saw patients in my pediatrics clinic who dealt with complex medical problems and extreme social situations. During these times, I felt lucky to have such a strong, supportive team of mentors. My pediatric mentors, Dr. G and Dr. L, often made themselves available to me after work hours and by phone/e-mail. They taught me an impossible lesson-how to retain empathy and compassion towards a patient while maintaining professional boundaries and personal distance.

One patient and relationship that particularly stands out is my Visiting Docs patient, BG. BG was guarded and quiet when we first met. She wasn’t sure she wanted me involved in her care as she already had a doctor she knew and loved. Over time however, we were able to connect over her grandchildren and stories about her young life. This happened slowly. During my first few visits with BG she was always well put together. She wore brightly colored outfits, had her nails freshly painted and her wig on. After a few visits, she began to let me see her in her more natural state. She opened the door wearing her nightshirt; her nails chipped and her wig lay on the bedside table. Her apartment became more cluttered, with laundry piled high on the sofa and boxes of old photos and clothes strewn across the floor. During our last visit it was clear she had become attached to me. She was visibly sad to see me go but was excited about the doctor I was becoming. She was a proud mama bear and spoke as if she felt personally responsible for helping to shape my development as a doctor. Our visit ended with her calling me, “Dr. M junior”. This might not seem like a big deal, but coming from her it was a high compliment. Dr. M is her Visiting Docs doctor who she trusts to manage all aspects of her health. What BG doesn’t know is the large role she played in my learning about the doctor/patient relationship and the importance of establishing trust.

witkia01.11314Ariana Witkin is an MD Student, Class of 2015.

During its first 4 years (2010-2014) InterACT was fully funded with a grant from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation titled: Educating Future leaders in the Primary Care of Persons with Chronic Illnesses and the Medically Disenfranchised through Longitudinal Clinical Experiences.

Day in the Life: Alexandra on InterACT

Alexandra Bachorik, MD Student, Class of 2015, reflects on her participation in the Interclerkship Ambulatory Care Track (InterACT). InterACT is a 13-week integrated clerkship which provides select third-year medical students with a longitudinal clinical experience grounded in the foundations of ambulatory medicine, chronic illness care and care for vulnerable persons.
read more

Day in the Life: Chris on InterACT

Christopher Su, MD/MPH Student, Class of 2015, reflects on his participation in the Interclerkship Ambulatory Care Track (InterACT). InterACT is a 13-week integrated clerkship which provides select third-year medical students with a longitudinal clinical experience grounded in the foundations of ambulatory medicine, chronic illness care and care for vulnerable persons.
read more

Day in the Life: Hannah on InterACT – Part 2

Continued from Part 1. Hannah Takahashi Oakland, MD Student, Class of 2015, reflects on her participation in the Interclerkship Ambulatory Care Track (InterACT). InterACT is a 13-week integrated clerkship which provides select third-year medical students with a longitudinal clinical experience grounded in the foundations of ambulatory medicine, chronic illness care and care for vulnerable persons.
read more

Day in the Life: Hannah on InterACT – Part 1

Hannah Takahashi Oakland, MD Student, Class of 2015, reflects on her participation in the Interclerkship Ambulatory Care Track (InterACT). InterACT is a 13-week integrated clerkship which provides select third-year medical students with a longitudinal clinical experience grounded in the foundations of ambulatory medicine, chronic illness care and care for vulnerable persons.
read more

Day in the Life: Ariana on InterACT

Ariana Witkin, MD Student, Class of 2015, reflects on her participation in the Interclerkship Ambulatory Care Track (InterACT). InterACT is a 13-week integrated clerkship which provides select third-year medical students with a longitudinal clinical experience grounded in the foundations of ambulatory medicine, chronic illness care and care for vulnerable persons.
read more

Day in the Life: Lauren on InterACT

Lauren Feld, MD Student, Class of 2015, reflects on her participation in the Interclerkship Ambulatory Care Track (InterACT). InterACT is a 13-week integrated clerkship which provides select third-year medical students with a longitudinal clinical experience grounded in the foundations of ambulatory medicine, chronic illness care and care for vulnerable persons.
read more

Reflections on the White Coat

Every year, medical schools nationwide celebrate the incoming class of medical students during the White Coat Ceremony—the official start of their medical careers. Since its inception in the early 90s, the White Coat Ceremony has become a revered tradition that emphasizes the importance of both scientific excellence and compassionate care for patients. 
read more

Queer and Here: Leading Urban Youth with Pride

I was five years old when I knew for the first time that I was slightly... different. I had gotten into my mom’s closet, tried on her black strappy high heels, and found a beautiful dark red lipstick in her makeup bag. At the time, I thought that it was perfectly normally for any five year-old boy to strut up and down their parent’s bedroom in high heels, rocking the imaginary runway but alas— years later I discovered it wasn’t a shared experienced amongst my peers. 
read more

How to Save a Life: Confessions from the Front Line

As is the case with most medical schools, the institution at which I receive my medical education is home to a myriad of student interest groups for nearly every clinical specialty.There’s your standard fare of IMIG, PIG, and SIG (for internal medicine, pediatrics, and surgery respectively), but then there are a few that are a bit more esoteric, such as the Transplant Surgery Interest Group (TSIG).
read more

Race and Racism in Medicine: An Evening with Dr. Mary T. Bassett

When we invited Dr. Mary T. Bassett, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, to speak about racism in the health care system at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS), we knew that it would be a powerful conversation.
read more

Pitching Novel Ideas for Sustainable Solutions

Doctors do incredible things; they treat disease and improve the health of their patient populations.  Unfortunately, this has come at a price. Literally.
read more

A Modern Family of Medicine

Whenever anyone asks how many siblings I have, I just start laughing. It’s not a very straightforward story, but the direct answer is incredibly high; something like 27. 
read more