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OSA Insider Podcast

A podcast about medical student life and the journey to becoming a physician. Featuring survival tips, wellness strategies, the inside scoop on major milestones of med school, and interviews with inspirational faculty members, residents, and students. Join Dr. Neda Frayha and find out what doctors wish they knew when they were in medical school.

February 7, 2018

Episode 22: Work-Life Balance with Dr. Rana Malek

Work-life balance is a fuzzy concept and elusive goal for many medical students and doctors alike. How do we achieve our academic and professional goals while still having enough time for family, friends, and hobbies? Is this even possible? We ask Dr. Rana Malek, an incredibly productive and accomplished clinician educator and endocrinologist who is also a caring and devoted family member and friend, how she manages to do it all. Some of her tips include breaking up your day into shifts, building the right team around you, and letting go of the idea of perfection.

January 10, 2018

Episode 21: Rank Lists, SOAP, and Match Day

January is a time for new year’s resolutions, wintry weather, and creating rank lists. For fourth-year medical students around the country, it all comes down to this: submitting a rank-ordered list of residency programs where you hope to match. How do you craft a rank list? What’s the etiquette for communicating with program directors about your top choices? What if you’re in the couples match? And just what is SOAP? Deep breaths: in this episode, Dr. Donna Parker and Dr. Joe Martinez explain it all. Come along as they take us on a journey through rank lists, SOAP, and Match Day itself.

December 12, 2017

Episode 20: Picking a Specialty with Dr. Beth Lamos

One of the most requested topics for this podcast is how to pick a specialty. In this episode, our last of 2017, we begin a conversation about how to choose a career path. Our guest is Dr. Beth Lamos, an endocrinologist and future faculty member in the OSA! Also in this episode: a personal announcement from our host and producer, Dr. Frayha. Wishing all our listeners a happy holiday season and a joyful, healthy 2018!

‌November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving Bonus! Episode 19: Career Surprises with Dr. Nirav Shah

Dr. Nirav Shah wears many hats: course director, fellowship program director, pulmonologist, intensivist, and researcher, not to mention husband, father, and an active member of his community of friends and family. His path to medicine started off with a major setback, and his positive attitude and work ethic have propelled him forward ever since. In this episode, we’ll get to know Dr. Shah and learn about his career decisions, important mentors who’ve helped him, and how he finds meaning and joy in his life.

November 20, 2017

Episode 18: Health Care in the News with Dr. Norman Retener

Health care policy has been all over the news in 2017. Throughout the spring, summer, and fall of this year, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has been a major focus for President Trump and some members of the U.S. House and Senate. In this episode, Dr. Norman Retener explains current events in health care policy (think AHCA, BCRA, skinny repeal, and Graham-Cassidy) in a way that’s clear, understandable, and applicable to all of us as we care for patients. As usual, this conversation between Dr. Retener and Dr. Frayha reflects only their views and does not represent the School of Medicine or the University of Maryland at large.

‌November 1, 2017

Episode 17: Failures, Setbacks, and Mistakes - Part 2

“There are opportunities for failure around every corner.” That’s a quote from John Allen, one of our contributors and storytellers for this episode on disappointments, mistakes, and that awful feeling of failure. In this episode, we continue our conversation about setbacks in medical school and beyond, and how to move forward when you’ve failed at something. We'll hear from residents and faculty members about the moments that haunt them and the coping strategies that helped them.

October 12, 2017

Episode 16: Failures, Setbacks, and Mistakes - Part 1

The path of a physician is paved with mistakes and setbacks. Sometimes, the mistakes are small. Sometimes, they're major, even impacting the health of our patients. How can we deal with failures and mistakes throughout our career? How can we cope with feelings of guilt and disappointment? How do we keep moving forward? In this episode, we hear a StoryCorps-like conversation between Dr. Natalie O'Neill, a senior surgical resident at the University of Maryland Medical Center, and her husband, Brandon. Dr. O'Neill lets us in on all the micro-failures that feel miserable in the moment and eventually lead to learning and growth. In Part 2, we'll hear from many physicians about difficult setbacks in their own careers.

September 28, 2017

Episode 15: Interviewing for Residency

The residency interview process can be a wild ride. Whether it's the mad dash to respond to interview offers, saving money on cross-country travel, shining brightly on the interview day itself, or figuring out how to rank all those programs afterward, we've got you covered. Last winter we sat down with (now Dr.) Hillary Hosier, president of the class of 2017 and current Ob/Gyn resident at Yale. She is full of concrete, funny, practical tips to survive and even thrive on the interview trail.

‌‌September 12, 2017

Episode 14: Andrea Avery: A Patient's Perspective

So far, our podcast has focused on student experiences along the path to becoming a physician. In this episode, we'll begin to explore what it's like to be a patient. Andrea Avery is an English teacher and writer who lives in Phoenix, AZ. She and our host became friends in high school, where Andrea was a phenomenal piano player learning to deal with her diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Andrea is super smart, funny, and full of sparkling light. She tells us about the pitfalls of being a good patient, being "bi-abled," and an orthopedic surgeon who changed her life with a game of tic-tac-toe. Through her stories, she sheds light on what it's like to be a patient, and how med students and physicians can be their best selves as care providers.

August 28, 2017

Episode 13: Art Cohen

For 45 years, Art Cohen has been an alcohol and drug abuse counselor at the University of Maryland Medical Center, helping our sickest and most complex patients through the darkest times in their lives. If you walk around the hospital with him, you'll feel like you're with a celebrity. Patients, nurses, custodial staff, doctors, the person who sells you your cup of coffee in the morning - they all come up to Art, hug him, laugh about life. That's because he makes every person feel valued and important. In this episode, we learn about Art's life, why he was a "bad kid," how his own life changed after a difficult few years, and how he knew that helping people with addictions was his passion. He also shares his approach to interviewing and caring for patients, as well as a few memorable patient stories. Art's retiring, and he tells us it's not easy to say goodbye to a place after 45 years. For everyone who knows Art, it's definitely not easy to say goodbye to him.

August 14, 2017

Episode 12: Getting to Know Your OSA

What exactly IS the OSA? And who are the OSA deans? In this episode, we introduce you to... us! Drs. Parker, Martinez, and Frayha answer student questions, dive into the role of the Office of Student Affairs, and share some stories about our own lives. Think family, hobbies, regrets from residency, our favorite parts of working in the OSA, and how we landed in academics in the first place. Get to know us better, so we can get to know you better.

August 3, 2017

Episode 11: Starting Medical School

We love to cover transitions in this podcast. Transitions like the leap to third-year clerkships, or from med school to internship. Today, we are taking it back to the very beginning of the journey. Our new first years are starting soon, and the entire world of medical school will be new to them. To help welcome them to the family, today’s episode has advice, tips, and happy memories from Class of 2020 president Brigit Baglien as well as our OSA deans. This is where it all begins.

July 18, 2017

BONUS! Episode 10: Finding Your Passion with Dr. Devang Patel

The road to fulfillment – personal and professional – is filled with surprises. Dr. Devang Patel, an Infectious Diseases physician and preclinical course director at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, had many unexpected a-ha moments along his career path. At each twist and turn, he was open to the possibility. He embraced new adventures and learned as much as possible from different mentors. He shares with us how he made major life decisions and followed his passion along the way.

June 26, 2017

Episode 9: Transition to Third Year: Student Perspectives

Going from the second to third year of medical school can feel like one of life’s biggest transitions. All of a sudden, you’re taking care of real patients, working on clinical teams, putting in long hours at the hospital, and still studying at night. Two medical students, Ida Ahmadizadeh and Stefano Muscatelli, who just finished their third year – and did incredibly well throughout all of their clerkships – share words of wisdom, what surprised them the most about their new roles, and how to cope with difficult moments.

May 14, 2017

Episode 8: Transition to Residency, Part 2

It’s that time of year when fourth-year students graduate from medical school and get ready to begin their new lives as interns. To help ease the anxiety of this scary time, we bring you part two of our series on transitioning to residency. Dr. Barathi Sivasailam, a UMSOM grad and Internal Medicine resident at the University of Maryland Medical Center, shares her tips for surviving internship and staying sane. Find out why she thinks event planners would make really good interns.

May 2, 2017

Episode 7: Step 1 - A Student Perspective

Back in episode 4, we broke down the USMLE Step 1 exam and discussed resources and test-taking strategies with Ms. Llewellyn, our school’s Academic Support Coordinator. For this episode, we sit down with Katie Mistretta, a current student who did wonderfully on the test. Her advice is positive and bright and funny, and also very real. Find out how to stay sane and healthy throughout the weeks leading up to the exam, and some helpful strategies for game day itself.

April 18, 2017

Episode 6: Burnout

At times, medical school can be an incredibly difficult experience. The constant studying, stress, and pressure to perform can feel endless, and turn students into people they no longer recognize. In this episode, we begin a conversation about burnout: how to manage it, where to go for help, and strategies to maintain a healthy outlook when times are hard. Featuring thoughts from the OSA as well as voices of recent graduates who share their own stories and advice.


“To fight physician burnout, I’m making a binder of medical successes.”

 “Medical school burnout: How to take care of yourself.”

 “Medical student wellness: Blueprints for the curriculum of the future.” 

April 6, 2017

Episode 5: Transition to Residency

The leap from medical school to internship can be one of the most frightening, stressful, exhilarating times of a young doctor’s life. As part of our series on transitioning to residency, we sit down with Dr. Nubia Seyoum, a UMSOM grad and Emergency Medicine resident at the University of Maryland Medical Center. She shares her approach to managing fear, staying organized, and becoming familiar with totally new surroundings. .

March 21, 2017

Episode 4: Preparing for Step 1

Studying for (and taking) Step 1 can be one of the most stressful times in a medical student's life. Plus, there is so much information out there on how to prepare for this major exam. Sometimes, it's hard to know where to begin. In this episode, we break down the test and how to conquer it with Ms. Jennifer Llewellyn, Academic Support Coordinator at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She shares resources, tips, and strategies to make this chapter of med school a successful one.

March 10, 2017

Episode 3: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Life as a med student and then physician is full of big decisions. Should you stay where you are? Or should you go someplace different? We’re starting a new series about this special fork in the road, where we’ll learn how physicians make these choices in their own lives. The first person we’ll hear from is Dr. Bob Shin, a neuroophthalmologist and MS expert who just went through a major career change himself. His advice about decision-making is funny, wise, and down-to-earth. Find out why he doesn't recommend following in his footsteps.

February 21, 2017

Episode 2: Intro to the ACA

The Affordable Care Act - and what might happen to it - has been all over the news lately. In this episode, we explain the basics of the ACA, some of its successes and challenges, and what the future might hold for health care coverage in the United States. This is part 1 of an ongoing health policy conversation featuring Dr. Norman Retener, a hospitalist, teacher, and ICM-1 course director. 


Affordable Care Act Glossary of Terms

Kaiser Family Foundation

Urban Institute Health Policy Center

“Judge says Aetna dropped out of some Obamacare markets to help win its merger fight”

Fresh Air episode on possible ACA replacement plans 

February 6, 2017

Episode 1: Wellness

Our first episode is on a topic that applies to all of us: wellness. How to thrive. Not just in medicine, but as a human being. Dr. Delia Chiaramonte, a faculty member in Family Medicine and the Center for Integrative Medicine, teaches us about the perils of black and white thinking, the benefits of gratitude rituals, and how taking a shower can be an act of meditation.


Health Journeys - Guided Imagery and Visualization
Health Journeys is a leading producer and distributor of guided meditation and mind-body products. Learn how guided imagery by Belleruth Naparstek can help you.

Wellness Panel

January‌ 9, 2017

OSA Insider Preview

Want to know what The OSA Insider is all about? Join host Dr. Neda Frayha for a preview of this new podcast about medical student life and the journey to becoming a physician.