Future Doctors of America Club simulates professional medical diagnoses

September 21, 2020 — by Samantha Yee

The case: a veteran who experiences memory loss but refuses to be questioned by doctors until his wife forces him to visit the doctor’s office.

Members of Future Doctors of America were asked during a recent meeting whether he was suffering from a mental or physical illness. Seeking answers, they asked questions about his medication and history with forgetfulness in an effort to reveal he was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The club was founded this year by senior Adithya Nair and junior Viraaj Reddi, who aim to prepare students for the world of medicine by simulating disease diagnosis and using real-world science in specific medical instances.

While the Global Health Club educates students on various health-related topics like pandemics and niches of medical service, aspiring medical workers in Future Doctors of America will gain firsthand experience applying what they learned about treating patients.

“From attending this club, I hope students will learn about what it actually means to become a doctor and what becoming a medical professional entails,” said sophomore Isha Jagadish, the club’s secretary and treasurer.

Meeting on Zoom, members work together in breakout rooms to diagnose ill patients, who are role-played by a club officer.

“One memorable simulation was when one of the patients seemed very stubborn and kind of aggressive,” junior Glenn Liang said. “He didn’t want to tell us that much information so we kind of had to convince him to talk. It was a really interesting and unique experience.”

Some of the illnesses that the club officers have been role-playing are schizophrenia, lung cancer, Parkinsons and arthritis. To make the simulation more realistic and the illnesses harder to diagnose, they give their patients personality traits like shy or chatty.

The simulations then require club members to behave professionally and collaboratively ask their patient questions about their condition to provide a diagnosis.

Club officers also plan to bring in doctors from various medical fields to discuss their journeys in medicine.

The first guest speaker event on Sept. 14 was co-hosted by the Global Health Club and featured a chemical dependence doctor. The club also plans to invite a radiologist, an epidemiologist and a pediatrician.

“We hope members have the chance to explore more about the field of medicine and to develop different skills that doctors use on a day-to-day basis,” Nair said.

 

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