Dr. Monica Kalra on Being an Osteopathic Physician, the Texas Medical School Experience, and Being a Lifelong Learner

In this episode, I talk to Dr. Monica Kalra, a DO practicing out of Texas. We talked a lot about what a DO is, what the skills are for a good resident, and how she became a doctor.

Dr. Monica Kalra’s Biography on Memorial Hermann Medical Group

Show notes

[0:20] What is a DO? What can they do in the United States?

  • Osteopathic medicine combines massage therapy, chiropractic techniques, and hands-on treatments in conjunction with standard prescriptions to treat ailments
  • She didn’t “choose” to go DO, she went through the Texas match and went through the process of matching into a program as a medical student. She didn’t know much about it beforehand and she gained a lot of respect for the treatment.

[3:30] What is the match program in Texas, and how does it work?
[4:36] What does it mean for the match that the residencies are merging for the ACGME and the AOA?

  • There is not a huge distinction between MDs and DOs. 95% of DOs don’t practice Osteopathic Medicine because of the trend towards specialization.
  • It is more of a practical solution because residencies don’t make a distinction between different applicants whether they are an MD or a DO.
  • USMLE scores are only 20% of the application, so it’s not required to have a good USMLE score.
  • If you want to apply for a residency, make sure that you do a visiting rotation there in order to make sure that they know who you are and you can prove your skills.

[7:36] What is the largest problem that you see in family medicine?
[9:17] Should medical school be shortened?

  • In order to learn the things that we need to learn, we can’t shorten medical school by 25%. Medical errors will definitely increase, and it might not increase the primary care providers in the United States.
  • There are loan forgiveness programs which may help alleviate the burden of debt.
  • Undergraduate portion of medical training can be shortened because it doesn’t integrate clinical knowledge which physicians use to treat patients.

[13:14] How can we get more meaningful, clinical encounters as undergraduate students?

Her Medical Journey

[15:17] Is there anything that you would pursue if you didn’t go into medicine?

  • She was a math major and didn’t know that she didn’t want to go into medicine
  • When you are late in high schools or early in college, find mentors who will point you in the right direction in the fields that you want to go into. By finding the mentors that you want, you can focus on the things that you want to do. She wished that she had a mentor, but with social media, it’s easy to find mentors.

[17:30] What advice would you give a smart, driven medical student?

  • Be prepared to work extremely hard (residency is the 3+ hardest years of your life). Learn all the time, get feedback from attendings.
  • Never forget what you’re there for-taking care of patients

[18:57] What role does clinical research play in a doctor’s career?

Her Mission

[20:18] What gets her out of bed every morning?

  • The things that motivate her are her family, the importance of helping others, and help her learners (residents)
  • [21:50] – tangent question – things that drive her in research – doesn’t have to be driven because they ask these questions every day, and it stems from their curiosity about their population (example: retinal scanner)

[23:46] How do you think patient education will develop in the next 10 years?
[27:31] Flipped Interview Question: Why did you start this podcast?

 

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