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Pasta a la Francesca

July 19, 2020
by Mark David Siegel

Hi everyone,

If you come to our house for dinner, you may get to try Pasta a la Francesca, a delectable dish named after our youngest child. By definition and design, Pasta a la Francesca is a culinary adventure, a synthesis of whatever ingredients Heide finds behind the ketchup, pickles, and jam. It can be anything: prosciutto, shrimp, sausage, duck, Pecorino Romano, cherry tomatoes, chanterelles, peas, broccoli, onions, garlic, leeks. It’s always different and always delicious.

Today, in that spirit, I’m serving up a dish of random thoughts:

  1. Bringing us together: With Zoom, we have more people than ever attending Morning Report and Noon Conference. The teaching is phenomenal. I have just one request: turn on your video! I miss your smiling faces.
  2. The Second Wave: Don’t fool yourself; COVID is exploding in the South and West, so it’s going to come back. When it does, we’ll keep our commitment to exceptional medical care, research, and education, and we’ll do everything necessary to keep you safe and well.
  3. Safety first: Even if the numbers are low in Connecticut, the virus remains with us. Stay vigilant and follow the advice of our own Dr. Juthani: keep your distance, socialize outdoors, watch for symptoms, wash your hands, and wear your masks.
  4. Check in: Mid-summer is hard, especially for interns. This would be a great week for peer mentors to reach out to their interns. Check in.
  5. Feedback: Block 1 ends this week, so please give each other feedback. Be encouraging and specific. How are interns doing with their notes and presentations? How are the residents doing with their supervision and teaching? Master the art of thoughtful feedback.
  6. Studying: We learn at the bedside, on rounds, and in conferences, but it’s not enough. We have to study. Here’s my regimen: on rounds, I create a “to read” list. When I return to my office, I look up topics on Up-to-Date and PubMed. Every day, I read emails from NEJM Journal Watch and alerts from general medicine, PCCSM, and ethics journals. I also plan to challenge myself with MKSAP and Knowledge Plus so I can keep up with the senior residents.
  7. Work hours: To ensure humane work hours, we need you to log your hours every week in MedHub. If you go over 80 hours, please explain. Your reports help us fix broken structures and advocate for resources. But we can only fix problems we know about. Don’t hold back.
  8. Ombudspeople: Laura Glick floated an interesting idea at last week’s Executive Council, to create a group of Traditional Residents who’d be available to provide confidential support to peers. The GME Office has a similar program—“Phone a Friend”—which functions across residencies. Should we create our own internal group to focus on IM-specific issues? Tell us what you think.
  9. Self-sufficiency: Many of you have said you’d like to do more procedures, and I think the best way to do that would be to make our residency self-sufficient. For example, we could create a group of residents responsible for teaching core procedures such as paracenteses and ultrasound-guided IVs. The ultimate goal would be to make the residency fully self-sufficient. What do you think?
  10. In Memoriam: We lost two civil rights legends last week, Rep. John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian. Both challenged America’s conscience by putting their lives on the line in the fight for racial justice. Their heroism inspires us to continue their work. In the words of Rep. Lewis: “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

So there you have it- an assortment of ideas I’ve been meaning to share, coming together on a Sunday morning.

Have a restful day, everyone. It’s going to be hot.


Further reading:

The New Stability by Yale Neurology Resident (and former Preliminary Intern), Anna DeForest:

On John Lewis and C.T. Vivian:

More on Rep. Lewis:


Submitted by Mark David Siegel on July 19, 2020