…”and he had such a commanding (internet) presence!”

As you know I’ll, I seem to be perpetually  surrounded by great people.

Admittedly, it is a wonderful problem to have, as they are an endless source of wisdom and inspiration, as Meharry frequently accepts students who are described as  “nontraditional” they often lived relatively full lives prior to entering the exile of medical school. Some were engineers, others received their  MPH degree ( public health.) And others still were ( much to my benefit), models, and graphic designers. As such they have been an endless source of new ideas and suggestions for controlling one’s Internet presence, as well as suggestions for developing a well-defined persona for interviews, speaking engagements, conferences, startups, etc.

These are but a few of the systems I’m now employing. (those of you without degrees/jobs – feel free to benefit from the links…those of you who are established…feel free to give me your own recommendations)

Business Cards:

Moo Printing:

– It seems the times are changing, and some of the world’s expectations along with them. I was recently in a discussion with a rising 3rd-year med, who was convinced that within the
next 10 years, the use of programs like photoshop would be as commonplace and expected as Microsoft Word was not to long ago. In this world of video resume’s and expanding
digital presences, I decided to (finally) make a paper business card.

Moo printing has a modern approach to these cards, allowing for images, QR codes, and other materials to be added to the card, usually with a flare for modern design. (please, tell me what you think of the image side of my own.) One of my older family members felt that any business card with your picture on it was “tacky” – (He/she doesn’t use photoshop as you can imagine)


500 px:

Social Media:






Lights out.

Every so often, history repeats itself.

Mom and dad used to tell me stories about growing up in Ghana.(R.I.P. Pres – Atta-Mills) and like all good stories, they center around some universally applicable experience.

Apparently, at a certain late hour, the lights in campus would suddenly cut off (an event known fondly as “lights out”) would take place, the expectation being that students would sleep peacefully.

My parents, being the nerdy rebels they apparently were, hid candles under the bed, and would light them in order to study after the fact.

In modern twitter speak we might add #grindhard or #burntatbothends after this, they undoubtedly had some archaic phrasing like “Puhteeng Yore Noze to de Grindstohn” (you’ll have to imagine the Ghanaian accent).

Earlier in the summer, some classmates of mine were preparing for the Neuroscience Board exam (@ Meharry we take a national Step exam after every major course…”And there was much trembling and gnashing of teeth”) in the classic windowless study room; bright and clean during the day, but strewn with Doritos, Overpriced Headphones,  red bull and (despite this)  sleeping students on the floor.

While deep in the silence of study, the storm raging outside cut the power, and they were immersed in an inky darkness best experienced on the Iowa interstate.  Imagine if you will the lights cutting off, a two second pause , and (without a word uttered) the brilliant glow of 5 cell phones simultaneously piercing the darkness. No one left, no one complained. I call it, the modern Ghanaian candle.


Lights out.

Addendum: (07/27/12)

I just heard that one of the first year medical students was also working hard during that storm in the basement alongside the deceased of the Anatomy dissection lab. When the power went off, the poor kid was instantly submerged in a deeper black than you can imagine, without a cell phone…surrounded by the smell of formaldehyde and half dissected bodies.
I just thought you should know that he suffered honestly for his craft.

Why Apptly Chosen?

Today – Apple released yet another wonderful OS.

It’s fast, it’s sleek and hey – it’s 20 bucks. So if you haven’t downloaded it (and you own a mac…please do so now) because I am dictating not typing this message.

But I digress.

I have been T-A’ing in the Anatomy lab during these last few weeks of (the last ever) summer. It’s eerie to see the excitement, fear, insecurity, and hope of the incoming first-year class as they begin dissections on the lower limb. I was speaking to one who was experiencing the inevitable doubts of medical school, and explained to her that someone had taken the time to look at her application, including every one of her grades, extracurriculars, her personal recommendations etc. and decided our institution could make her great doctor. (She was weeping by the end of it…) Sometimes it’s incredible how quickly we forget our own struggles, and how often we doubted ourselves.

That’s why I started  this blog (and the emails that came before it). Our institution has the distinction of having trained many of the black physicians currently practicing in the US [would you like to know more?]. Despite frequent financial constraints (private institution with a predominantly indigent & poor patient base at its main teaching hospital) it continues this commitment to the underserved both as patients and physicians, our “diversity” statistics…measured inversely to the norm as you can imagine, consistently defy anyone who would call us a “Black only” institution…. and on and on I could go.

Every one of my professors/elementary-highschool teachers could tell you I have at times struggled academically. (Although no fault of my stellar DNA…) This made me a perfect fit for Meharry, a place with an understanding of the term “struggle.” On Match day, earlier this year, I listened to an MD PhD detail the last decade (yes. Ten American Years) she’d spent getting her combined degrees…I believe she’s at Harvard now..(Internal medicine or something.)


Another student, before opening his letter and informing the world that he’d be an otolaryngologist (10x fast!) at some Massachusetts hospital took a moment to thank every professor who had come in after school to explain medical concepts to him. (Did I mention Meharry was the only school that accepted him?)


One of my own classmates, having attempted three times prior to get into medical school received a call from our school, days before the Post Baccalaureate program was scheduled to begin. (it’s essentially a brutal $40,000 opportunity to study for a year, followed by the MCAT and a reentry into the medical school application pool. (some don’t make it)  He quit his job, kissed his mom, and got on a plane for a chance. You can find him on the front cover of “The Tennessean” in between TA’ing and teaching me graphic design. (P.S – if he becomes surgeon general within the next 40 years. I called it here first.)


Stories like these were the inspiration for a blog that will hopefully entertain, inform, and inspire students like the one I spoke earlier, students that doubt if they are aptly chosen, or if their institution can get them where they’d like to go.

Pt. 2

Yes Mrs. **** I know, Aptly only has one P. Your years spent teaching me grammar have not gone to waste. However, as I pushed toward my own lofty medical goals. I became a techie. (I know right?) I dream of marrying technology with medicine in ways that have been yet unheard of…or better…yet unsuccessfully implemented. I opened the email discussing apple computing as their model has yielded the single greatest personal computing line in the world. (don’t believe me…understandable…but you should know, I’m dictating this message while looking at a TV screen, (not my actual computer) as the image is mirrored across the room. All for less than the cost of one Mac Pro. ) There is an efficiency and grace that apple brought to computing that I hope to see in Medicine.

Congress seems to think that Electronic health records won’t have 90% adoption until 2020. We’ll see about that.




Old Dog, New Tricks

I never cease to be amazed at the capacity for technology to change the way we work.

If you were with this blog during the pre-natal period, (when it was nothing more than a stream of emails sent to numerous people) you may remember my professor, A. J. PhD, the stern faced individual who initially struck fear, and subsequently terror into my heart while teaching me anatomy.

You may not know that he’s been at this Little Southern Medical School for 33 (34?) years….and suffice it to say, has a pretty standardized way of teaching.

It usually goes something like this:

-Dr. A. J. strolls into class, 2-3 min. late, usually from some prior (clearly stressful) meeting, thumbs through some papers and says in the classing booming voice, ” Alright class, we’ve got a lot to do and not much time to do it”

-Dr. A.J. Paces the classroom, gesturing to a HD monitor, (probably 1080p?) and an identical projected image (probably 54p?) until a student bravely says  “Dr, A.J. What are you pointing at?”

At this point, Dr. A.J. will take out the laser pointer, and aim at either the HD monitor (alienating all those past row 10 / with poor vision)  or the projector (with the inverse effect) and begin describing some aspect of the human body. 

Lest I fail to stress this appropriately, these images are hardly up-to-date, but are often the drawings our illustrious professor created himself 40 years earlier. They’ve been scanned, and re-scanned…until they resemble rorschach blots.

Combine old school lecturing with poorly rendered images displayed in a dark room, and you have a recipe for the best nap of your life….and an F in anatomy.


Thankfully, one of our more forward thinking administrators decided to purchase him an iPad not too long ago, and much to my surprise, he’s taken to it like a…well, like an anatomy professor to a body. Last week, he walked into out Neuro lecture, plugged it up to the projector/HD monitor, and gave the crispiest lecture I’ve ever had in Med school. The Brain was rendered in HD….with regions isolated effectively. (Wernicke’s area was in color (purple too!) against a sea of beige,) Dr. A.J. was resting comfortably, looking at his lectern/ipad instead of arching his back to see the projector….and everyone was just-that-much happier.

Tomorrow, I teach him how to draw on PDFs, and attempt to explain why  he needs to update to iOS 5 (iOS 6 comes out in a week…)

(That one should suffer so that many might proposer)