Friday, April 28, 2017

Well, this is it, the final blog post! April has sure flown by. We just had our final event with the pharmacology program this afternoon, which was our final seminar. This was a special lecture, given at the end of each year called the Schüeler Distinguished Lectureship in Pharmacology. It was given by Dr. Eric Olson of UT - Southwestern in Dallas, TX and it focused on correcting diseases through genome editing. Aside from that, I picked up my volunteering again this month after not doing much through the business of March. This month I first spent three hours volunteering at "Wednesday's at the Square." This is a weekly event put on by the Young Leadership Council of New Orleans with live music and food from local restaurants. I worked the ticket booth and helped people purchase tickets in order to participate in various activities at the event. My next volunteering opportunity came from two hours of soil collection. This was part of our class' efforts in detecting lead levels in the soil around New Orleans. It involved driving around the city and spending time exploring various locations where young children may frequent and digging up and cataloging the soil. We were required to make note of the location, the address, and the GPS coordinates. In addition to these two volunteering efforts, I spent seven hours doing park clean up in Audobon Park. This is a completely community driven effort taking place several times a month that involves members of the local Uptown community spending some time beautifying the park and keeping it clean for all members of the community to enjoy.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in this program this year and 100% endorse it to any one reading this and considering attending next year, or any time in the future. I feel more prepared for a possible career as a physician and this program has given me all the tools and experience to excel. I cannot speak enough about the relationships you will develop and the sincere way your professors will care about your success. Not to mention, living in one of the most incredible cities on earth is a major bonus, as well!

Signing off one final time,

Sami Khan

Volunteering Hours for April:
12 hrs

Volunteering Hours for Second Semester:
30 hrs

Cumulative Volunteering Hours for the Year:
61 hrs

Friday, March 31, 2017

March is over! This has been a very hectic month. We started the month with the end of Mardi Gras and a return to real life. After coming back to school we basically immediately started studying for our shelf exam. This exam is the same NBME board exam that second year medical students have to take. It covered basically everything we have learned in Med Pharm so it was over all the drugs covered on the various blocks we've done this year. We were tested over various drugs' indications, side effects, drug interactions, mechanisms, and pharmacokinetic properties. After the shelf exam, we got back in the groove of classes and just recently had our second exam in our cellular control class. This exam covered apoptosis and various information on the role of the mitochondria in the human body. I'll be finishing my volunteering in the coming weeks and my next blog post will be my last!

Volunteering hours for March: 0
Total volunteering hours: 18

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What a month! February sure has flown by, but it makes sense since there's only 28 days! My volunteering really took off this month, but not for the best of reasons. A very destructive tornado touched down in East New Orleans and caused massive amounts of damage. It was surreal because we would see a house completely fine, some looking clean even, and directly across the street a house would be destroyed to its foundations. My part of New Orleans, Uptown, was completely untouched so it was shocking to see the damage that had occurred only 45 minutes away from me. Several classmates and I joined with the Red Cross to walk around the disaster area and do damage assessment of people's homes. It was to help them determine how much financial assistance they might receive from the Red Cross. We spent an entire Thursday out there and then some time on Saturday morning as well. It felt great to help these people in terrible circumstances in our local community.

Volunteering hours for February: 18
Total volunteering hours: 18

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Back to school! After a much needed two week break during the December and January holidays, classes have resumed. We completed our first block of the semester, neurology, two Thursdays ago. We have our next block exam Monday, February 6 over psychology for Principles and Med-Pharm, and our first exam in our Cellular Control class next Monday, as well. The first block exam, over psychology, is one I enjoyed very much. I took great interest in learning about the many different psychological disorders of the brain. Many of the drugs that were covered were drugs of varying "fame" or "infamy," of classes including antipsychotics, opiates, and more. Learning about the painkillers was especially interesting because of the opioid epidemic currently occurring in our country. It really made me think about the alternative forms of pain management that may exist, or could exist in the future, that would treat patients for pain without creating the risk of life altering opiate addiction.

Our class schedule is busier this semester and it's affected my ability to volunteer at Kipp so far. Usually I volunteered at Kipp on Friday afternoons after the weekly guest speaker, but this semester I have a class on Friday afternoons. Now that these first few weeks of the semester have gone by and I have an idea on scheduling, I plan on starting to volunteer at Kipp again next week. We don't have any class the day after our exam so that should be a good starting point. I'm sad I haven't made it out yet this semester, the volunteering each Friday was always a great way to end the week. Hopefully next month I can report back with more good grades and double digit volunteering hours!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Well November has come and gone, and the semester is almost over. I'm going to need father time to take a chill pill or five because my time in New Orleans is flying by. Our two blocks this month were the renal block and the pulmonary block. I made it out to Kipp three times this month. My first two trips were comprised of the continued perfection of my filing abilities. Our group was placed upstairs in an administrative office (more like a large closet full of filing cabinets, though) and we were put to work. Every student at Kipp has a folder in that room and it was our job to place a sheet of paper with updated contact information, allergy information, and other fun facts in each students file. Not the most mentally stimulating task but it frees up time for the administrators and teachers to focus on more important things so we were happy to oblige.

My third trip to Kipp, on Friday the 18th, was definitely the most thrilling. This time a few of our group were tasked with cleaning out some nasty refrigerators that hadn't been cleaned all semester but luckily a few other and me got there early and were able to take charge of the arts and crafts directive. It was our responsibility to cut and assemble several large floor-to-ceiling length paper Christmas trees. Getting the proportions and dimensions right was actually more challenging than some might imagine but nevertheless we were able to accomplish our goal. We used green construction paper for the tree and brown construction paper for the trunk. This was the perfect task to have on the session before Thanksgiving break and really kicking off the holiday season. This is my final blog post of the semester but I will acquire a few more volunteering hours in December which I will update at the bottom of this blog post.

Volunteering Hours for November:
Kipp: 6 hrs

Volunteering Hours for December:
Kipp: 2 hrs

Cumulative Volunteering Hours:
31 hrs

Friday, October 28, 2016

October has been an eventful month! We had one of our biggest blocks yet covering the autonomic nervous system and the cardiovascular system, and we take our next exam over the renal block on November 1. The ANS/CV block was pretty extensive but one of the coolest features was our CV simulation lab. We gathered in a mock hospital room and "spoke and treated" an interactive dummy. We had to ask the dummy questions about his lifestyle, any drugs he was taking, etc. and then had to make therapeutic decisions based on his answers and the ECG reading. It was truly an interesting experience and was a great way to apply much of the knowledge we learned that block in a clinical setting.

I have been continuing my volunteering at Kipp on Fridays this month, although I only made it twice. I had to leave town one weekend to attend my aunt's wedding in Austin so I missed one session then and then another Friday this month Kipp had their fall break so the school was closed. On my first visit of the month we unboxed many, many, many large cardboard shipping boxes full of novels and literature. We then had to number the inside front cover of each set of novels sequentially so that the teachers would know how many copies of each novel they had and to help teachers keep track of the specific copies students were using. It was tedious but I understand that by taking care of these menial tasks we allow the teachers more time to actually teach.

My second trip to Kipp this month came today. Not many people could make it out today so Jared and I held down the fort and tackled some very challenging tasks. We spent three hours with scissors, glue, and construction paper creating life size slices of pizza. The staff managing us were quite busy and didn't explain what these giant paper pizza slices would be used for, but we were happy to oblige. After making the pizza slices we were then tasked with cutting out thousands of paper "Kipp dollars" from printed sheets of 12. They serve as a currency for the students in the school to use for prizes and students receive the dollars for various achievements.

Aside from school and volunteering, the weather is finally beautiful. It no longer feels like we are living inside of steam room, in fact the temperature has been in 70s with a light breeze lately. Some of my classmates and I have been taking advantage of the weather to play golf and a group of us just attended our first Pelicans game (New Orlean's NBA team). Unfortunately it was a loss.

That's it for October, see you in November!


Volunteering Hours for October:
KIPP: 5 hrs

Cumulative Volunteering Hours:
23 hrs

Friday, September 30, 2016

I can’t believe another month in New Orleans has gone by. Our recent block exam was challenging and the information it covered was quite in depth. Much of the focus was on arrhythmias of the heart and other cardiovascular issues, and it was challenging but rewarding. My volunteering at Kipp Leadership Academy has continued this month, as well. My first visit was spent preparing standardized test packets for each homeroom. This involved placing pencils, test booklets, and the answer sheet for each test in a box and delivering it to each homeroom. My second visit to Kipp involved passing out the monthly classroom supplies for October for each homeroom. We pushed a cart through the hallways and distributed paper towels, Kleenexes, Lysol wipes, pencils, glue sticks, and two paper easels to each class room. My volunteering at Kipp continues to be a rewarding experience. The school is focused on the elementary level but even at such a young age the school declares the goal to be college acceptance. I think the school’s mission is very noble and it has been an honor to help the teachers out in any fashion possible.

Until next time,


Volunteering Hours for September:
KIPP: 4 hrs

Cumulative Volunteering Hours:
18 hrs