Stanford Medicine X – Student Voices


Let me start off by saying I’m learning so much at this conference. Dr. Larry Chu has done a fabulous job organizing and orchestrating, a true class act of knowledge, technology, and passion.

Everything about this conference has me nodding my head and saying, “Yes! THAT is why I’m involved in social media & health technology.” Med X has maintained a human side by giving a loud voice to patients, something I think is incredibly important to maintaining compassion in healthcare, and still managed to be on top of medical information by including a great mix of emerging health technology.

We’ve heard from patients, investors, lawyers, doctors, professors, engineers, computer scientists…all kinds of people.

So, what’s missing? The voice of students.

I’m so disappointed in the lack of involvement given to those of us in the throws of medical education. We are here. We are watching. Many are even help organize and offer ideas to the planning of the conference. But, we have no voice…

This is not a new thing at medical conferences, medical students and young physicians (residents, newly practicing docs) are often left out of speaking positions and panels. Perhaps it’s due to time and money constraints. Or maybe the reason is that we don’t have the expertise that many of these wonderfully seasoned docs have and we aren’t a traditionally valued opinion group. I don’t think those are great reasons, though. In fact, I think that lack of experience is a great reason we should have a voice.

Why do we deserve a voice?

We are in a unique place in our lives – not quite general population, but not quite healthcare provider. We still have the idealism that not fully understanding the medical system allows, but we have enough insight into the medicine to express ideas that are consistent with medical practice.

Why are we valuable in the ePatient realm?

One of the biggest echoings I’ve heard from the amazing patients here is that their stories aren’t being heard by their providers. I talk a little in this post about our role as medical students allowing us to be more present with patients. We have time to listen to patients. We are afforded an opportunity to hear their stories, because we don’t have 25 patients to round on – we have 2. We can offer an infantile medical perspective mixed with a healthy naivety of knowing patient stories.

We deserve a voice at these conferences, because we have a lot to offer. We deserve a voice, because we are the future. We deserve a voice, because sometimes being an expert isn’t always the best way to develop new and innovative ideas. Steve Jobs could’ve told you that.

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  1. Luke

    I’m a 4th year med student at the University of Kentucky doing a family medicine rotation at O’Connor hospital in San Jose, CA this month because as a serial entrepreneur (started an internet company in college and started a tech business incubator in med school) I want very badly to end up in this part of the country during residency and beyond. I would have loved to attend this conference because these are the types of ideas that I am likely to espouse, these are the kinds of companies I might want to join upon finishing residency, or perhaps this is where I may clarify the ideas or make the connections necessary to found the company I want to start once my training is over.

    I’m less than 20 miles away, but couldn’t afford the conference (on top of the associated expenses of doing three months worth of externship rotations in the area to ENSURE that I end up out here). I would have liked to have seen a more reasonable ‘student rate’ a ‘scholarship’ or something (“only” $500 if you were an early bird?).

    I am glad to see that they have the global access program so you can at least see the lectures, but I read enough about these kinds of companies on my own. So while it’s nice to see a talk by them, I’m much more interested in asking them questions myself, and meeting the types of people that care about this enough (and have the time and money) to attend.

    I realize that this is a particularly negatively toned comment, but it’s not meant to be a knock on Dr. Chu or the event as a whole. I’m super pumped that it exists and I’m not surprised to hear that it went so well…I guess I’ve just been bummed for awhile that I wouldn’t be able to go and this post articulated my disappointment.


  2. Stanford Medicine X

    Danielle, this year we awarded over 15 student scholarships to attend MedX and 31 more took discounted student rates = 46 (students outnumbered our epatients). For some reason, many registered students didn’t show up to the conference. We’re not sure why. Perhaps academic responsibilities such as exams prevented them from attending despite previous registration.

    We extend our student programs to all students: premedical students, medical students, graduate students, dental students, nursing students, and pharmacy students. This is consistent with our mission to be “an academic conference designed for everyone”.

    We will continue our special discounts for students next year. Please note students have always been able to apply to present at Medicine X, including speaking and presenting poster presentations. The closing keynote of our self-tracking forum was by Ernesto Ramirez, a graduate student.

    We look forward to continuing our student-inclusive initiatives next year. Thanks so much for your insightful blog post and we hope this encourages more students to attend and engage with us next year.


  3. A Brief Note on Stanford’s Medicine X « Health as a Human Right

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  4. Thabang S Nkoana

    I am a second year student from South Africa, also recently started blogging (when i say started i mean the site is up but no posts as yet) because I am afraid that no one will be interested in anything i have to share, anyway we don’t have conferences here that I’ve heard of open to students. Great blog you have running.
    keep it up.


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