Archive for June 2014

Summer Studying Before Your First Semester of Med School

So, several of y’all have emailed me asking, “Hey Joey, what can I study the summer before entering medical school to get the edge?” My standard answer is what most medical schools want me to say, including mine, which is, “Don’t study anything because once you get in there you will have so much information thrown at you that it’ll be like ‘trying to drink water from a fire hose/hydrant’ and blah, blah, blah.”

But, I’ll go ahead and give you the real scoop, you gunner you. See, I know what you’re doing, and I respect that. I certainly didn’t write 4 publications, become a peer-reviewer for Lippincott, keep my grades up, form my company’s LLC, do research, and clock in more than 100 volunteer hours during my first year of medical school by NOT staying ahead of the game and NOT getting the edge on!

Time is of the essence, and for those of you who know me, you also know that I’ve got a wife in nurse practitioner school who works full-time, plus an 8-year old. Believe it or not, we still have time to spend together as a family – often! I only say all of this because I ALWAYS question the credibility of someone suggesting something for me before I apply to my life – especially something as important and vital as a change of study habit. So, I feel ya, and I wouldn’t steer you wrong.

Keep in mind that eBooks will be available for download pretty soon detailing how to do all of this in medical school and keep your head on straight! Remember, the motto is to “work smart, not hard.” Working hard only gets you tired and your brain can’t retain when it’s tired.

Anyway, the following is a list of items that almost all medical students (this includes osteopathic) must learn during their first semester (typically). I will release a second semester list before Christmas break. Remember to check out my other page “Medical Student Study Page” for links on the best resources I know of for studying much of the material. You may want to bookmark that page for future reference during you first and second years of medical school, as I will update it with material you will need up to taking the USMLE and COMLEX. Here’s the list, and good luck studying!

Learn all of the Cranial Nerves and whether they are motor, sensory, or both

– suggested mnemonics for this:

On Ooccasion Our Trusty Truck Acts Funny, Very Good Vehicle Any How”

olfactory, optic, occulomotor, trochlear, trigeminal, abducens, facial, vestibulocochlear (AKA auditory), glossopharyngeal, vagus, accessory, hypoglossal

Some Say Marry Money, But My Brother Says it’s Bad Business to Marry Money”

“S” stands for Sensory, “M” stands for Motor, “B” stands for Both

Learn the foramina of the skull and what nerve(s) exit each

Learn all the sutures of the skull

Learn all the lobes, fissures of the brain

Brachial Plexus – Draw it Out (trust me on this!!!)

Forearm Muscles and their Innervations

Sacral Plexus

Origin and Insertion points of:

– Upper arm muscles

– Forearm muscles

The Gait Cycle

All the steps (including the enzymes involved) of:

– Glycolysis (including the electron transport chain components)



– lipolysis

Familiarize yourself with the following:

– Cahill Cycle

– Cori Cycle

Learn the 5 GLUT transporters and where they are located

Learn all of the products of the pituitary gland and their releasing hormones:

– example: adenohypophysis produces Mi FLAT PiG (the “i” is for ignore) and the releasing hormones are CRH, GnRH, TRH, GHRH

– example: what two products does the neurohypophysis release?

-Extra TidBit: know that the RHs act on the “trophs” which release the products

– example: the CRH acts on the melanotrophs and corticotrophs to release MSH and ACTH, respectively

This should get you good for now. If you need any assistance, email me at:

Letter to the Editor in TNP

The following is a letter to the Editor published in the recent 20th anniversary edition of The New Physician, a national peer-reviewed magazine by AMSA:

The Necessity of Culturally Competent Physicians

More cultural competency is needed amongst our physicians. As a first-year African-American medical student with limited knowledge, I still observe this deficit in our medical education. True, we are taught that certain predispositions exist within certain population groups; however, we are not educated about such causes in a way that produces true empathy and understanding.

Certainly, without training, we cannot truthfully expect a Caucasian male from a high socioeconomic background, hypothetically speaking. to identify with a Latin-American female who lives on government assistance or an Arabian woman who insists on her husband being her mouthpiece. Furthermore, some ethnic patients may believe that cancer can be contracted from contact with contaminated blood, among other misconceptions.[1] Many physicians are unfamiliar with this educational gap that exists between different cultures.[2],[3]

How can we bridge this disparity? We must teach physicians that it is their personal duty to take initiative and incorporate cultural competency into their practice.[4] African-American male physicians comprise less than three percent of the workforce.[5] Statistically, a young black male with personal issues will most likely see a Caucasian male physician. This young man may give vague answers to the physician to save embarrassment, but that will cost the culturally incompetent physician unnecessary time investigating the non-specific clues he was given. If, however, the physician is culturally competent, then rapport may be established, and the young man may give honest and direct answers. Cultural competency affords better medical practice.


A Gift from the Past

A Gift from the Past

This one day was my typical day working at the mental health facility. I went in, did my rounds, checked with the staff to document any pertinent changes in clients’ behaviors, and got to work. One particular client was in a good mood; however, this was peculiar. See, this client had been depressed for about a week now since the most recent anniversary of his mother’s passing. He was speaking harshly about his family and himself for the past week, but now he was grinning from ear to ear.

I asked him why he was so cheerful today. We are taught in the medical field to monitor sudden changes like this, as they could indicate that the client has now become happy because he has a plan to relieve his misery. In other words, he may be planning to take life into his own hands in an irreversible way by ending it. It would not be his first attempt; however, he told me he was happy simply because he had finally come to terms with his mother’s death. I believed him after further conversation without alarm because his demeanor seemed genuine. He also told me that he had found Jesus over the weekend through the local church group that comes there and preaches.

Now, this alerted me. As many of us know, new converts are in for a surprise at just how strong and persistent the enemy can be because our acceptance of the “Good News.”  While I could not do anything medically to put him on watch or alert, my spirit was telling me something different. I felt that his recent conversion was much more of a red flag than his recent change in behavior. I asked him if he would like to pray because I wanted to participate in his new conversion and ask blessings over him. He gladly accepted. When we were done, I told him to please be on the lookout for the same present wrapped in a different package. When I said this, I thought to myself, “What did I just say?” It sounded like some cheesy fortune cookie statement or something.

When dealing with someone who is mentally ill, you never want to plant a thought with them that could manifest negatively. Therefore, I was careful not to tell him what I was really thinking, but I never thought it would come out like that. Who knows what one will say impromptu? However, I went home in hopes that this statement was just strange enough to give him anticipation and recollection should that time of challenge ever come.

He was discharged some days later, and as with all my clients, I had wished that I could keep in touch with him. However, it is definitely against all rules and better judgment to give a client your outside contact information. So, I have to rely on my prayers for them and the hope that they are doing well.

The other night I was blogging about some new medical website that had impressed me, and I checked my messages before signing off as I usually do. In my blog messages, I noticed that someone had left me a message from an email I did not recognize. It was on my blog that I had written about a year ago that spoke about overcoming challenges and being on guard – mostly written for new Christian converts. The commenter’s message said this: “when old packages come in new, shiny wrappings…send it back to the sender. Only God gives freely with no strings attached, and only God is the author of life.”

That’s all it said, but those two lines meant everything to me. Perhaps he had been faced with the temptation to end his life again. Perhaps the enemy had presented him with some other lie with the false promise that it would make his life better. I have no idea what the statement meant to him, or what he had been faced with since our last conversation, but the fact that I know he is still alive and still in God’s hand is enough for me. We never know how what we say today may impact someone tomorrow…or years later for that matter. “Dear God, please allow me to always follow the path you have set for me. Please allow me to always remember that you have divine foreknowledge and know how to weave today’s actions in with those of tomorrow. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.”