Students & Residents

Here you will find blog posts by medical students, residents and their advisors exploring a career in hospital medicine. To learn more about what SHM offers students and residents, visit: or

Yes, Yes, Yes!

by Dr. Anna Arroyo Plasencia, SFHM
by Anna Arroyo Plasencia, MD, SFHM You have probably already seen SHM's Action Alert, Crisis in the Mental Health System.  I would have missed this item if a colleague hadn't mentioned it, though, this could not have come at a better time. America's mental health system is broken! As hospitalists, we are constantly asked to care for patients whose medical illnesses are complicated by their mental ones. This could not be truer than for addiction.  A colleague recently asked me to provide a curbside consult for a psychiatric boarder she was treating for alcohol and opioid withdrawal. Interestingly, I was also this patient's admitting hospitalist the week before. In addition to my day job in hospital medicine, I am a medical toxicologist and an addiction medicine specialist. My background provides a unique opportunity for me to become involved in patient care through management of the consequences of overdose. I am also…
Dr. Anna Arroyo Plasencia, SFHM is a hospitalist and medical toxicologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. In addition to Internal Medicine and Medical Toxicology, she is board certified in Pediatrics and Addiction Medicine and serves as co-director of a toxicology and addiction medicine clinic. Dr. Arroyo Plasencia completed her residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and fellowship in Medical Toxicology at Indiana University School of Medicine. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with family.

Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air

by Christopher Moriates, MD
by Chris Moriates, MD Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon and writer. He was not a neurosurgeon who just so happened to write. And he was certainly not a writer who just so happened to perform craniotomies. He spent a life devoted to developing both sides of his brain – exercising them rigorously, never letting one side atrophy from the other, like one may perform an even number of arm curls in the gym – resulting in a remarkable mastery of both the literary and the scientific. What a rare and precious gift. You could easily turn to his many impressive credentials, degrees, and awards that prove this dual mastery, or you could simply just read the first few pages of his book, When Breath Becomes Air (Random House, January 2016). In case you don’t know, the past tense is because Kalanithi died this past year. At the age of 37.…
Christopher Moriates, MD is a hospitalist and assistant professor at the University of California at San Francisco, Director of the Caring Wisely program for the UCSF Center for Healthcare Value and Director of Implementation Initiatives at Costs of Care. He co-authored the book Understanding Value-Based Healthcare (McGraw-Hill, 2015), which Atul Gawande has called “a masterful primer for all clinicians,” and Bob Wachter said is “essential reading for everyone who care about making our system better.” This post is part of a series for The Hospitalist highlighting topics or lessons from this book.

Health Hack: Time for Your Clinical Expertise

by Mark Mallozzi
By Mark Mallozzi Hospital-based physicians are no strangers to teamwork. Almost every department is made up of diverse individuals with varying levels of training and specialties in collaboration with one another to deliver quality care to their patients. But this diversity extends only as far as the hospital walls, and includes only the healthcare workers who make up these teams. How often is an experience designer part of this groups? An engineer? A business professional? While they may not know the first thing about treating a sick patient, these types of professionals have skills that are applicable to the delivery of healthcare. Healthcare hackathons, based on the model proven successful through MIT’s Hacking Medicine, have shown the value of cooperation across these diverse fields. For hospital-based physicians, this type of collaboration is both enhanced by their expertise and invaluable to their continued practice. In a single weekend, the Independence/Jefferson Health…
Mark Mallozzi is a second year medical student attending Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. He is a member of the College within the College in Design. This fall, he was a student co-director of the 2015 Independence/Jefferson Health Hack hosted on Jefferson's campus. Mark has his B.S. in Exercise Science from George Washington University. You can follow Mark on Twitter @markmallozzi.

Leadership Training for the Future, Now

by Ryan Gamlin
by Ryan Gamlin US Health care is in desperate need of leadership from within. And while there is certainly a notable and growing group of physician leaders (think of the Donald Berwicks, Eric Topols, and Bob Watchers of the world), doctors leading systemic change beyond the realm of clinical medicine is a relatively recent phenomenon. Health policy remains principally the domain of policy analysts, health and hospital administration is comprised largely of non-clinicians, and the design of our care delivery systems is often inefficient for patients and providers. Yet with an intimate understanding of the delivery of inpatient care (where the bulk of health care dollars are spent), training in the analysis and solution of complex problems, and a vested interest in the efficient provision and administration of care, there is no group better suited -- yet paradoxically under-equipped -- to drive many of these efforts than hospitalists. The underlying…
Ryan Gamlin is a second year medical student at the University of Cincinnati and alumnus of the University of Colorado Health Innovations Scholars Program. He believes that the challenges facing health are are best solved by those who deliver care. His research interests include efficiency of healthcare administration, composition of the healthcare workforce, and medical education. Before going back to medical school, Ryan was a healthcare management consultant.

A Better Understanding of Hospital Medicine

By: Monica Shah As I wrap up my research as an SHM student hospitalist scholar, I look back and think of all that I’ve learned. I am starting my second year of medical school with a whole new perspective on how hospital conditions affect patient outcomes. I know that, as a medical student and future physician, I will always be mindful of patient concerns. Now I have a better understanding of how maintaining good living conditions during hospitalization is an important part of treatment plans for patients for better overall functional recovery. Most importantly, I feel inspired by the numerous hospitalists I’ve encountered and the positive impact they make every day. I still remember the first day I started my project at the beginning of the summer. I recall being unsure of what to expect with hospital medicine research. One thing I learned throughout the summer is that hospital medicine…