In January of 2018, then-M1s James Haggerty-Skeans and I escaped the cold Michigan winter for Austin, Texas as part of a new US Medical School initiative — Choosing Wisely STARS. Having already taken Canada by storm, Dell Medical School spearheaded the US campaign, inviting two M1s from 20 medical schools across the country to discuss the importance of value and resource stewardship in medicine.
After surviving an unnecessarily eventful evening of travel that involved an unexpected detour to Chicago, a pair of lost shoes, and a minor run-in with security who tried to confiscate my tuning forks, James and I were ready to meet our cohort and get to work.
Throughout the following two days we uncovered the history of the Choosing Wisely Campaign, which was initially launched in 2012 by the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation. Based on a 2010 article in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Howard Brody, the campaign focuses on encouraging medical sub-specialties to identify five tests or treatments from their specific field that are overused and offer limited benefit to the patient. Since the initial nine publications, more than 80 societies have joined the initiative and published their recommendations.
James and I were subsequently tasked with bringing this national campaign to UMMS. Although perhaps more challenging than our other options, we were excited by the idea of systemic curricular change and sought the help of our faculty adviser, Dr. Michael Heung, to lead us in our endeavor. In our quest for space within the curriculum to emphasize this topic, we quickly found an ally in Dr. Jennifer N. Stojan, director of the Doctoring course. Over the past several months, our team has worked to construct an M4 Doctoring Session, which will launch in March of 2019, and will cover US health care expenditures, the impact of cost on patients, and how they will be able to reduce waste in their own practice.
As James and I transition into our lives as newly minted clinical students, we are lucky to have added two M1s to our team as they prepare to fly to Austin for what we hope will be the second of many Choosing Wisely cohorts from UMMS. While resource stewardship was not a passion of mine prior to medical school, I look back on the impact it made throughout my first year and am confident this experience will influence my clinical decision making, patient interactions and research interests both in the remainder of my education and in my future practice.