Loyola medical school student and faculty take prominent roles in AMA bioethics journal

News Archive February 01, 2015

Loyola medical school student and faculty take prominent roles in AMA bioethics journal

MAYWOOD, Ill. – Marta Michalska-Smith, 2nd year medical student at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, serves as theme editor for the February issue of the American Medical Association’s online Journal of Ethics. The issue delves into the culture of medicine, taking an inside look at medical education that goes beyond anatomy and how to give patient exams.

The publication is student- and resident-driven. It encourages doctors-in-training to deepen their education by considering ethical issues that physicians face now and into the future. Student editors are chosen by the AMA editorial staff and meet together to discuss topics they feel are vital and relevant. The February issue is called “Describing a Culture from Within.” Seeing a void, Michalska-Smith chose to focus on the importance of understanding the medical profession’s own culture and its impact on doctors as well as those around them.

“Since beginning medical school, I have been intrigued by the culture I have noticed around me and its apparent invisibility to those immersed in it. In class, we learned about the culture of our patients, but little time was spent considering the culture into which we were assimilating,” Michalska-Smith said. “Working on this issue was an opportunity for me to explore this topic further both for my own edification and as a way to raise awareness about some of the issues present in the medical community today.”

“The profession of medicine has a distinct culture that evokes responses ranging from respect and trust to allegations of elitism and paternalism,” said Philip Perry, assistant editor of the journal. “Contributors attempt a difficult task when they undertake the culture of medicine from within, often through the lens of medical education and training, focal points for admission to the profession and transmission of its values and attitudes to the upcoming generation of physicians.”

As editor, Michalska-Smith researched the topic, wrote ethics cases to be discussed and lined up contributing authors that included several Stritch faculty members. Authors include Linda Brubaker, MD; Mark Kuczewski, PhD; Katherine Wasson, PhD; Amy Blair, MD; Nathan Derhammer, MD; Amy Buchanan, MD and Aaron Michelfelder, MD. Topics address issues such as paternity leave for residents, balancing supervision and independence in residency training, professionalism and appropriate expression of empathy when breaking bad news, and equity for “DREAMers” in medical school admissions.

“I believe it is important to be aware of our own culture and the ways in which it shapes us. By being cognizant of the way we form and sustain our culture and the way it, in turn, forms us, we can better ensure that it is a culture by which we wish to define our profession,” said Michalska-Smith.

With media inquiries, contact Evie Polsley at epolsley@lumc.edu or call 708.216.5313 or 708.417-5100.

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