A Philmont Experience

John Price, M4, Class of 2020

The night was young when the radio crackled to life.  We couldn’t believe our luck. They told us the search and rescue missions wouldn’t start for another week, but here we had someone that couldn’t continue their hike. Eager to test our skills, we quickly gathered our supplies into the truck ambulance.  When I look back on all my clinical experiences, the Philmont rotation outside of Cimarron, New Mexico, is certainly my favorite. Established in 1938 as Philturn Rocky Mountain Scout Camp, Philmont Scout Ranch has become a center for high adventure and training.1  For emergency medical technician students and medical students like me, this site offers a unique clinical training in wilderness and prehospital medicine high up in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of the Rockies.1  Below the peaks in basecamp, the Philmont Infirmary is the central hub for this medical four-week sub-internship rotation, and it all began on my first night.

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R.I.P. White Coat

Miranda Machacek, M4, Class of 2020

I laid my original white coat to rest at a beach in Auckland, New Zealand after my final day of an international clinical rotation.  White coat disposal ceremonies are a tradition I must confess I have greatly anticipated. I had grown to resent that coat and what it meant.  Its characteristic short length was an immediate signal to any healthcare professional in the hospital that I was a student – perhaps to some savvy patients as well.  I frequently felt the weight of the “student” label while walking through the hospital. The real or imagined looks of patients, nurses, residents, and attendings that said I was a temporary time-waster at best and utterly incompetent at worst.  

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Lessons From Huck Finn: Reliable Narration in Medicine

Nate Cameron, M1, Class of 2023

“and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth. That is nothing. I never seen anybody but lied one time or another…”

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

The first time I discovered books could lie to me was the summer before seventh grade, laboring through Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Twain’s novel opens in an almost confessional tone, explaining to me— the dedicated reader— that another novel couldn’t be trusted to fully tell the truth. In this way, I stumbled upon what literary people call “unreliable narrators.” The experience was one of my first storytelling revelations— characters possessed the capacity to withhold, modify, or even forget information in the stories I was reading. Huck Finn planted seeds of awareness, if not distrust, for future narrators I would encounter.

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A Respectful Pro-Life View


So many of us read opinion pieces about abortion for one of two reasons: to get fired up because we agree, or to get fired up because we disagree. I wish we could have this talk in person, because I don’t want it to be that way. Reading someone else’s writing on a screen can seem impersonal, one-sided. It feels like the writer of the piece gets to continue on with their opinion, that you don’t get a chance to have your say in between each line. I wish we could have this talk in person so we could spend the majority of our time discussing how much we agree on. Instead, it often seems we already have our minds made up, and this unfortunately leaves so little room for discussion, so little room for loving one another. So, I want to start by saying I think we agree on much more than we disagree on. Continue reading

The Past, Present, and Future of Abortion Legislation in the US

 Kate Dixon, M1, Class of 2023

Kate has worked in Washington D.C. for the past two years in policy.

We forthwith acknowledge our awareness of the sensitive and emotional nature of the abortion controversy, of the vigorous opposing views, even among physicians, and of the deep and seemingly absolute convictions that the subject inspires. One’s philosophy, one’s experiences, one’s exposure to the raw edges of human existence, one’s religious training, one’s attitudes toward life and family and their values, and the moral standards one establishes and seeks to observe, are all likely to influence and to color one’s thinking and conclusions about abortion.

  • Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)


The topic has never been an easy one. In the last few months, abortion has taken over the news (and social media feeds) as some states across the nation have passed new laws that greatly restrict abortion access. Alternatively, states such as Maine, New York, Illinois, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Nevada have passed laws to expand abortion access in various ways. Continue reading

Female Sterilization: A Dark History, A Bleak Future

Fatima Rahman, MPH, M1, Class of 2023

‘Female sterilization’ refers to a procedure that permanently prevents women from becoming pregnant. Historically, sterilization has been used by females and on females to prevent pregnancies, as a form of both female empowerment and a form of oppression. The history of sterilization in America built the foundation for one of the most controversial topics in public health today: reproductive rights. Continue reading

A Guide to a Gene-Editing Philosophy

Nathan Stacy, M2, Class of 2022

Super Humans. Eradication of genetic diseases. Rich people boosting their kids’ traits, poor people left in the dust. Playing God.

These themes are hashed and rehashed in the great gene editing debate. And they all must be taken into account in what I will attempt to do next, which is to lay out a (beginners version of) a moral framework in which to understand and judge gene editing.

My thesis is this: Continue reading