Q: Tell us about an educational opportunity you've pursued outside the classroom.
I am scheduled to complete a medical journalism elective for ABC News in New York City in October 2012.
This opportunity came after my program director received an inquiry from the managing editor of medical coverage at ABC, describing a program that gives resident physicians interested in medical journalism the chance to work directly with the ABC Medical Unit. The unit is responsible for evaluating current medical studies and developing stories for release to the general public. My job will be to work with various national and international experts to analyze the scientific merits and clinical implications of the research. The ABC Medical Unit producers and writers then decide which stories are to be presented on the evening "World News" or the following morning on "Good Morning America."
As a radiation oncology resident, I see many patients overwhelmed — not only by their cancer diagnosis but also by myriad medical articles on cancer. Patients often come in with pages of Internet research and headlines regarding the latest treatment or supposed cure. While residency provides the daily clinical interaction to hone my patient-communication skills, the ABC medical journalism elective presents a unique opportunity to understand how medical science is presented to the general public on a large scale. I will experience the point-of-view of the national press, who generate articles my patients bring to their appointments. It will help me to understand how those headlines are generated and to play a role in improving how oncologic news is communicated.
“As a radiation oncology resident, I see many patients overwhelmed — not only by their cancer diagnosis but also by myriad medical articles on cancer.” — Norleena P. Gullett, MD
It will be interesting to participate in the patient education process from the other side of those papers my patients hand to me, to understand how the headlines are generated and help improve how oncologic news is communicated to us all.
Norleena P. Gullett, MD
Department of Radiation Oncology
Indiana University School of Medicine