On the weekend of September 16th-18th, I had the incredible opportunity to be a part of the Stanford Medicine X Student Leadership Program. Stanford Medicine X is a conference held at Stanford Medical School that explores how emerging technologies will advance the practice of medicine and empower patients to be active participants in their own care. MedX is a conference full of innovators, designers, physicians, students, patients, caretakers and many others that are inspired and practice “moon shot” thinking. It is a place where all minds in healthcare (and beyond) can intersect, collaborate and innovate. It was truly an Everybody Included experience.
The Student Leadership program offers scholarships for students around the world to attend MedX and actively participate in the conference. The SLP is for students who want to be forerunners in design-centered and patient-centered healthcare. We had the opportunity to connect with conference attendees, attend lectures, panels and workshops throughout the conference. Among the 9 of us, there were undergraduates, PharmD students and M.D. students. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to spend the weekend with. Thanks for all of the new friendships 🙂
As an undergraduate at MedX, I was wide-eyed and ready to soak in whatever I could. What I loved most about MedX was the emphasis on the patient experience and the patient story. There were tissues handed out at the front desk, and for good reason. Each of them had such impactful stories, some living with chronic illnesses that I had never heard of. Though I learned a great deal from talks from scientists and doctors, no one taught me more than the ePatients. Healthcare professionals must recognize that when a patient is living with a long-term illness, they are the expert because they are the ones living through every day. One of my favorite panels discussed mental health and mental health associated with living with a chronic illness. A standout quote from Mark Freeman on the panel was “If someone can’t swim and they’re thrown in a pool, they’re not diagnosed with a drowning disorder”. He mentioned that we need to start approaching mental health like we do physical fitness. When treating patients, mental health should always be asked on the Review of Systems. Sustaining mental health is an integral part of patient care and should be treated as any other condition. The patient stories I heard, both on and off the stage have changed the doctor I will be in the future and for that, I am forever thankful.
Another one of my favorite panels was the Design Thinking panel. A major focus was the importance of design-thinking in medical education. At the end of this one, I wanted to give a standing ovation. Dr. Bon Ku emphasized the fact that medical school widely hasn’t changed since 1910. The curriculum can exhaust students and can focus on regurgitation of information instead of critical thinking thinking. Medicine is changing fast, especially with emerging technologies; schools must shift their focus to ensuring that the next generation of doctors can be flexible with these changes by emphasizing design-thinking.
Hours after the conference ended (literally on my way to the airport), I already missed my new found family. Being surrounded by people who truly want to change healthcare for the benefit of the patient was inspiring. I loved witnessing the intersection of medicine, technology, academia, industry and patient voice. I owe a huge thank you and shout out to my friend and incredible patient advocate, Charlie Blotner who never stopped sending me the application link for the Student Leadership Program. I’m glad I finally gave it a shot 😉 MedX showed me that there are a lot of bad ass people ready to disrupt healthcare for the better. The minds and environment of collaboration and co-design at MedX were unlike anything I had experienced before. I can only hope that I can find people like this throughout my career. Thanks, MedX. Hopefully I’ll be seeing you next year.