Friday School 11/20/20! – Hematology/Oncology!

Today during Friday School, we had several sessions combining both oncology- and hematology-related topics!

For the residents, our first session was given by Dr. Aaron Simon, radiation-oncology chief resident at UCSD. Dr. Simon focused on rad-onc terminology and modalities of treatment. He covered radiation side effects in various organ systems and their management in the inpatient and outpatient setting. We then discussed specific cases centered on common inpatient rad-onc consultations, including spinal cord compression and brain mets.

Our second resident session was led by Dr. Lisa Madlensky certified genetic counselor and the director of the Family Cancer Genetics Program at UCSD. She discussed the importance of taking a detailed family history in determining possible familial cancer risk. We then discussed common cancer syndromes (BRCA, HNPCC) and finished with some guidance on the role and details of genetic testing, familial testing, and interpreting results.

Our combined resident/intern session started with an interactive AHEAD curriculum exercise entitled “The Power of Words” run by CRQS chief DJ Gaines. The activity was based on a study by Goddu et al (2017). entitled “Do Words Matter? Stigmatizing Language and the Transmission of Bias in the Medical Record” published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Our residents read a clinical vignette in written in “stigmatizing” language, answered management questions based on the vignette, and read the same vignette written in neutral language before readdressing the same management questions. The exercise sought to highlight the importance of neutral language in patient charts to reduce bias and ultimately access to care.

The final resident/intern session was lead by Dr. Srila Gopal, the director of UCSD’s Adult Sickle Cell Disease program. She taught us about the origins of sickle cell disease, its pathogenesis, genetic variants and their phenotypic differences, and traditional and emerging treatments for SCD. Our Friday School session concluded with a conversation with one of her patients, Ms. Williams, who graciously offered her time this afternoon to speak to our residents. Our poignant conversation with her highlighted the inequities, biases, and barriers to equal treatment that exist for many patients with Sickle Cell disease.

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