The Spark

UCSF School of Medicine

Presenting the people and stories behind medical education at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and our community of learners.

All Episodes

In this episode, Mihir Joshi interviews Dr. Lee Jones, then-Associate Dean for Students at the UCSF School of Medicine. Dr Jones will join Georgetown University’s School of Medicine as the Dean of Medical Education later this summer.   *Please excuse any background noises as our interviewers & interviewees are speaking remotely via video chat.  Music by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0. 

Jun 8

40 min 11 sec

(Recorded in Fall 2020) This episode is part 2 of 2 in our "Tale of Two Reopenings" miniseries. Dan Cummins first speaks with Drs. Alan Shindel, MD and Tami Rowen, MD, each faculty with UCSF, about what is has been like to be parents of young children and busy physicians during COVID-19, educational and broader inequalities underscored by the virus, and the prospect of returning to in-person schooling. Dan then speaks with Hyun "Honey" Kim, a teacher at East Side Union High School in San Jose, about the difficulties of remote education and the concerns many teachers have, both for remote education and returning to in-person classes. Music: "Sneaker Chase" and "Operatives" by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

Jan 6

28 min 22 sec

This episode is part 1 of 2 in our "Tale of Two Reopenings" mini-series. Dan Cummins speaks with Xavier 'Abe' Cortez, a third-year medical student reflecting on his experiences returning to the clinical wards after being removed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Then, Mihir Joshi speaks with Fiona Miller, a second-year medical student and mother of three, speaking on the process of stopping and starting school both for herself and her children. Music: "Sneaker Chase" and "Operatives" by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.  

Nov 2020

43 min 15 sec

For much of medicine’s history as a profession, it was a crime for women to be doctors. While women gained the right to study and practice medicine in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, by 1965 less than 10% of medical school graduates were women. That changed dramatically in the 1970s with the Equal Rights Amendment and Title IX. Today, more women than men are enrolled in medical school but have we reached equity? And how do other identities such as race intersect with gender? Host Tessnim Ahmad (resident) is joined by Dr. Urmimala Sarkar (Professor of Medicine) and Dr. LaMisha Hill (Director of the Multicultural Resource Center). Some of the data on leadership is from Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic's book, Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (And How to Fix It). Special thanks to Sarah Ahmad, neurology fellow at UCSF, whose research on microaggressions helped spur the creation of this episode. Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

May 2020

25 min 46 sec

Host Tessnim Ahmad (MS4) discusses the health and health-system impacts of climate change with Dr. Katherine Gundling, Clinical Professor Emerita and former practice chief for the Allergy/Immunology faculty practice; Dr. Seema Gandhi, Associate Clinical Professor in the department of anesthesia; and MS3s Colin Baylen and Nuzhat Islam, who helped found the Human Health and Climate Change student group.

Feb 2020

23 min 16 sec

Burnout is part of the American vernacular. It refers to the emotional exhaustion brought on by chronic work-related stress, and can manifest as cynicism and feeling like your work lacks meaning. The term was coined in the 1970s by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger. He volunteered in a free clinic for patients with drug addiction and he used “burnout” to describe the exhaustion suffered by workers in helping professions, such as medicine, which carry rigorous demands and high ideals. While the term has been applied to other professions, burnout is particularly high in healthcare: a report released last month from the National Academy of Medicine describes rampant burnout, with up to half of doctors feeling it. There are many causes such as demanding work schedules and little autonomy. System changes have also created burdensome administrative tasks and new care models, leading some to feel the emphasis is on documentation billing and performance metrics instead of patient care. Like clinicians, trainees also suffer burnout – an estimated 60%. The path to medical school and then residency and fellowship is long and challenging, and it's becoming more competitive. The average test scores at most medical schools are rising, even while medical advances mean there's much more to learn now to be a competent physician. Host Tessnim Ahmad (MS4) is joined by Nikhil Rajapuram (MS4) and Dr. Lee Jones, Associate Dean for Students. Get in touch with Nikhil: Nikhil.Rajapuram@ucsf.edu Burnout Survey: http://bit.ly/31U5qBj Transcript: http://tiny.ucsf.edu/uYNXk2 Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

Nov 2019

20 min 14 sec

Burnout is part of the American vernacular. It refers to the emotional exhaustion brought on by chronic work-related stress, and can manifest as cynicism and feeling like your work lacks meaning. The term was coined in the 1970s by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger. He volunteered in a free clinic for patients with drug addiction and he used “burnout” to describe the exhaustion suffered by workers in helping professions, such as medicine, which carry rigorous demands and high ideals. While the term has been applied to other professions, burnout is particularly high in healthcare: a report released last month from the National Academy of Medicine describes rampant burnout, with up to half of doctors feeling it. There are many causes such as demanding work schedules and little autonomy. System changes have also created burdensome administrative tasks and new care models, leading some to feel the emphasis is on documentation billing and performance metrics instead of patient care. Like clinicians, trainees also suffer burnout – an estimated 60%. The path to medical school and then residency and fellowship is long and challenging, and it's becoming more competitive. The average test scores at most medical schools are rising, even while medical advances mean there's much more to learn now to be a competent physician. Host Tessnim Ahmad (MS4) is joined by Nikhil Rajapuram (MS4) and Dr. Lee Jones, Associate Dean for Students. Get in touch with Nikhil: Nikhil.Rajapuram@ucsf.edu Burnout Survey: http://bit.ly/31U5qBj Transcript: http://tiny.ucsf.edu/uYNXk2 Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

Nov 2019

24 min 48 sec

Host Tessnim Ahmad (MS4) discusses opiate prescribing and related research with Dr. Wen Shen, Professor in the UCSF Department of Surgery, and his former mentee, Stephanie Kwan.. Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

Sep 2019

21 min 28 sec

Gun violence is one of the biggest Health & policy epidemics gripping the country right now. In 2017, nearly 40,000 people in the United States died from guns. Perhaps more surprising, in the United States of America firearms are the second leading cause of death for children. Suicide accounts for the majority of gun deaths, followed by homicides including mass shooting. While Suicide is complex and a product of a myriad of psychosocial and biological factors, access to firearms is associated with higher suicide completion rate, and studies have shown that the presence of a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide for all members of that household. In terms of mass shootings, they've become more common and deadlier in recent years. The shooting in Las Vegas in 2017 was the deadliest mass shooting in US history, killing 58, and last year was the worst on record for school shootings. Children in the US are 36 times more likely to be killed by guns compared to kids in other high-income countries, and there are substantial disparities by race and socioeconomic status with African-Americans especially likely to be affected by gun violence. Join your host Tessnim Ahmad (MS4) as she discusses the role of medical professionals in the firearm policy debate with Dr. Jahan Fahimi, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Board Member of SAFE: Scrubs Addressing the Firearm Epidemic, and fellow students Daniela Cordero and Mary Turocy. Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

Aug 2019

21 min 41 sec

In this episode, we showcase the latest research and patient care initiatives at UCSF and its School of Medicine focused on treating people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementias, including student work in this area. Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

Jan 2019

16 min 58 sec

In this episode, we showcase the latest research and patient care initiatives at UCSF and its School of Medicine focused on treating people with chronic pain, including student work in this area. We’ll hear from Dr. Mark Schumacher, MD, PhD, Professor and Chief of the Division of Pain Medicine in the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, as well as third-year medical student Emma Levine. Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

Nov 2018

19 min 54 sec

In this episode, we feature initiatives in the School of Medicine focused on diversity, equity and inclusion – both in approaches to patient care and research, as well as in medical education via the Bridges Curriculum. We’ll hear from Dr. Michelle Guy, a professor of medicine and a dean’s diversity leader in the Differences Matter Initiative, as well as second year medical student Daniella Cordero, who has been instrumental in activism around gun violence prevention, White Coats for Black Lives, as well as gender and health equity. Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

Oct 2018

16 min 23 sec

In this episode, we feature UCSF initiatives and research aimed at caring for people with sleep disorders. We’ll hear from Dr. David Claman, a sleep disorders specialist who directs the UCSF Sleep Disorders Center. We also talk to fourth-year medical student Daniel Schwartz, who completed a research project in this area as part of his learning in the Bridges Curriculum. Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

Aug 2018

16 min 59 sec

Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

May 2018

18 min 7 sec

In this episode, we’ll hear from Dr. Scott Steiger, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, and Deputy Medical Director of the Opiate Treatment Outpatient Program at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG). Dr. Steiger will discuss his research and patient care initiatives in treating people with substance use disorders in some of the city’s most vulnerable communities. We also talk to a first-year medical student who shadowed Dr. Steiger at ZSFG, and who will be pursuing a summer research experience in addiction medicine for adolescents. Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

Apr 2018

19 min 23 sec

This episode focuses on faculty excellence and professionalism in medical education. We’ll hear from Associate Professor of Medicine Dr. Stephanie Rennke, a recipient of this year’s Maxine Papadakis Awards for Professionalism and Respect. We also talk to a fourth-year medical student who nominated faculty for this year’s teaching excellence awards which were presented in October. Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

Dec 2017

15 min 8 sec

This episode is part 2 of a special edition to welcome this year’s incoming class of first-year UCSF medical students. We’ll hear from the School of Medicine Dean Dr. Talmadge King, as he reflects on medical career highlights, inspirations, and mentors such as Alvin Poussaint, MD. We also talk to first-year medical student Ryan Badiee with his thoughts on what’s most exciting embarking on medical school at UCSF. Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

Nov 2017

12 min 20 sec

This month’s episode is devoted to breast cancer awareness month. We talk to second-year medical student April Liang about her research project on breast mammography data and her goal to help improve breast cancer screening. We also interview Dr. Hope Rugo, a UCSF medical oncology and hematologist, who directs the UCSF Breast Oncology Clinical Trials program. Dr. Rugo gives perspectives on the latest advances in breast cancer research and patient care at UCSF. Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

Oct 2017

17 min 38 sec

In this episode, we’re celebrating the 11-year anniversary of PRIME, the Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved. PRIME-US is a five-year track at the UCSF School of Medicine and the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program for students committed to working with urban underserved communities. Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

Sep 2017

22 min 15 sec

This episode is a special edition devoted to back-to-school week, and a welcome to this year’s incoming class of first-year medical students. We’ll hear from three School of Medicine education deans as they reflect on their medical career highlights, plus their medical school mentors and inspirations. Listen to interviews with Vice Dean for Medical Education and Executive Vice Dean for the School of Medicine​ Dr. Catherine Lucey, Associate Dean for Students Dr. Lee Jones, and Associate Dean for Competency Assessment and Professional Standards, Dr. Karen Hauer. Find out what topped their list of medical school memories and motivators. Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

Aug 2017

22 min 30 sec

In this episode, we talk to fourth-year medical student Christine Zachek, who explains her research on Chagas disease, a tropical parasitic illness, plus her upcoming research project in Brazil. We also talk to Professor of Medicine Dr. Peter Chin-Hong about his research into the detection and treatment of infectious diseases caused by the Zika virus, yellow fever, and dengue, how a continually curious scientific mind keeps pace with the rapid advances in this field. Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

Jul 2017

18 min 8 sec

In this episode we talk with medical student Ogonna Nnamani about spiral learning and retiring Associate Dean Dr. Susan Masters about the innovations that inspired the Bridges curriculum at UCSF. Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

Jun 2017

16 min 9 sec

Our first episode features an interview with new Associate Dean for Curriculum John Davis, MD, PhD, as well as a general introduction to our podcast series.    Music: Sneaker Chase by Podington Bear. Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0.

May 2017

15 min 50 sec