Kari Broder, OMS II at Midwestern University-AZCOM, Awarded $5,000 Founders' Scholarship

June 20, 2017

BroderWhat is your hometown?

I was born and raised in Scottsdale, AZ.

What do you love about Arizona?

Like most, Arizonians, I would have to say the weather. After moving around the country after high school, I realized just how much sunny skies affect my mood. I feel more productive, optimistic, and happier with the sun shining.

Where did you get your bachelor's degree (and in what)?

My bachelor's degree is in Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis. Within the Anthropology department, I was a part of a smaller program called "Medicine and Society" that focused on medical anthropology.

How did you discover you wanted a career in medicine?

I think the first time I really started to consider medicine as a career was when I volunteered in the medical tent at the Phoenix Rock n'Roll Marathon in 2007. I was 14, and since I had no medical expertise (obviously) I spent about 8 hours handing out ice packs, wrapping ankles, looking at blisters, and trying to avoid being thrown up on. And even though I felt disgusting and I was covered in other people's sweat (and vomit) by the end of the day, I was counting down the days until next year's race.

Which specialty do you plan to practice?

That's a tough question, especially since I don't start my rotations until next month. However, I've always been fascinated by forensic pathology. I interned at the Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner's office during a summer in college, and I gained an enormous amount of respect for the medicolegal professionals that fight to give a voice to the deceased. I would be honored to join their ranks.

What's your favorite part of the day as a medical student?

While OSCEs (observed standardized patient encounters) were nerve-wracking, I always looked forward to the session afterwards led by a faculty member. It's one thing to sit in a lecture hall and learn about diabetic ketoacidosis or pneumonia. It's completely different to sit around a table with a physician while they teach you how they would tackle a diagnosis.

Other than medicine, what do you have a passion for?

I love music. It makes me feel as though I am part of something larger than myself; that I am just a small part of something beautiful. I've played viola since elementary school, and I played in the Phoenix Youth Symphony and later in the Washington University Symphony. I also picked up some piano and guitar along the way. I'm so lucky because there are some incredibly talented musicians in my class and every so often we meet up in the music room to relax and play. We even have a casual trio that we've dubbed "N*Syncope".

What advice would you give to a student considering medicine as a career?

Don't rush into your decision. Some of the most confident medical students I know took time off before medical school. But whenever you make your decision to pursue medicine, be it at 18 years or 25, be prepared to commit. But remember to keep doing things that make you feel centered and fulfilled! Basically, keep a balanced life. It sounds impossible, I know. Let me know when you figure it out.

What is the most interesting thing you've discovered so far in your medical training?

I'm amazed at how far the field of medicine has come in the past 100 years, but also at how much more we have to learn. There are so many conditions that we call "idiopathic" and pharmacologic agents that we label "unknown mechanism", and I know that by the time I start practicing, those questions will be answered and new ones will have taken their place. For example, we don't know the mechanism of Tylenol! I was shocked when I learned that in pharmacology. And the burgeoning field of the gut microbiome is starting to yield some incredible insights into pathologies we didn't even know were connected to the GI system. If that isn't interesting, I don't know what is.

What unique qualities do you have that will help you become a successful physician?

Perhaps the most important thing I learned from my internship at the Medical Examiner's Office was how to be respectful of human life. The forensic pathologists treated their patients with the most deference and respect of any specialty I have worked with. I think, as medical students, we can't wait to feel jaded or apathetic because it makes us feel like a "real" member of the medical community. I really feel that my experience working with death has given me a unique respect for human life and for my future patients, and that is what I think will help me become a successful physician.

What excites you about becoming a physician?

I'll never know everything about medicine and people, and that excites me because it means I will never stop being surprised. I recognize that there is no "mastery" of medicine; but a good physician should never stop trying to inch closer and closer to it.

What do you think the future of medicine looks like?

I keep hearing about how technology is going to render physicians obsolete, and I disagree. I think the future of medicine is going to be a marriage of technology and physician knowledge and intuition. Personalized medicine will slowly become a part of everyday family practice medicine, and I think soon we will be calibrating patient's heart disease and diabetes medications based upon their genetic and epigenetic makeup. I think we will have to decide the role that genetics have in preventative medicine, and physicians (and patients) will have to struggle with how much information they want about their potential future health based on their genetics or gut microbiome. Those decisions are not something a machine can make; that human interaction between physician and patient will always prevail, no matter what technological advances are made.

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