Han Kang, Pre-Departure

I am very excited to begin my work under Dr. Milena Weinstein and Dr. Youngwu Kim at the MGH urogynecology unit. My correspondence with Dr. Kim has been very positive so far, and I am excited to start our research. 

So far, most of my patient care experience was from the context as an EMT care provider. Most of my patient interactions were with patients with acute medical conditions, stable but in need of transfer between facilities, and chronically unwell. Most of my patients in the past were either headed to the emergency room or being shuffled between inpatient suites. I look forward to the outpatient experience at the urogyn department, which I imagine to be very distinct from the patients I have interacted with in the past.

In highschool, I had the opportunity to shadow laparoscopic sleeves and hernia repairs. I thoroughly enjoyed being in the operating room and I am excited to shadow different types of surgeries as well. In particular, I am excited at the prospect of viewing a gender affirming surgery, as they are a particularly new procedure.

I look forward to gaining a better insight on the structure of hospital care and how the various roles of care providers and departments play into creating treatment plans. I am eager to dive into research and parse out data, as well as forming meaningful connections with the medical team and patients alike. 

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Yifu Zhang, Final Thoughts

The summer ended too quickly. Brandeis Shadowing Program gave me a great opportunity to interact with patients and to learn about the life of a doctor or a nurse practitioner(NP). I enjoyed seeing the processes and difficulties that they faced on a daily basis. I learned a lot by shadowing physicians and NP on a daily basis over the summer, and I was able to really experience the general surgery departments in the hospital.

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Yifu Zhang, Midway Point

My Brandeis Shadowing Program is located at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). MGH is amazing, and everybody was professional and helpful. I got to review patient’s histories and help with a few clinical research in the general surgery department. I also got to observe and understand the daily lives of a surgeon.

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Yifu Zhang, Pre-Departure

Hi, my name is Yifu and I am an undergraduate student at Brandeis University. I am very passionate about the Health Profession and my goal is to pursue an M.D. after my time at Brandeis. Through the Brandeis Shadowing Program, I want to get a glimpse of the nature of a doctor’s typical day and become familiar with different medical and research settings.

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Sasha Gershman, Final Thoughts

I am very thankful to Dr. Sbayi and his OR throughput committee who gave me the opportunity to learn and participate in not only such a fascinating, but very important quality initiative project. This quality initiative project was one that truly merged and connected the various components of medicine from the clinical, technical, administrative, and hospitality sides to better serve the patient community. This quality initiative project, while benefiting the patient community, also helped to promote better work flow in the hospital’s internal system. While I am still working with Dr. Sbayi on this project, I am so thankful that this opportunity has given me such a new perspective on medicine. It has taught me that medicine is not just a product of providing the utmost level of patient treatment and care, but a multi-dimensional field that stresses the importance of coalescing patient care, hospitality, and an internal hospital system that works for both the patient and members of the patient care team.

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Sasha Gershman, Midway Point

Through my research rotation with Dr. Sbayi, I am very thankful for the opportunity to not only learn about all of the research components, but for the chance to be able to practice these skills first hand. Dr. Sbayi provided me with the opportunity to join in on a quality initiative project that served all the service lines throughout the hospital. I was first involved in learning how to conduct the IRB process. It was so interesting to see how in-depth and thorough the IRB process is. I learned how to conduct literature reviews in a calculated and methodical manner that helped to ensure that the literature review was comprehensive. As the literature review became more and more comprehensive, it was fascinating to see how the literature review could serve as the initial guide or blueprint for the potential structure of the research paper. Each week, I meet with Dr. Sbayi and we discuss how the paper currently is, next steps (in terms of writing or data), as well as what contacts within the hospital I can reach out to for more information to incorporate into the paper. I am so thankful for the opportunities to meet and talk with so many different people that compose the hospital’s team, from CRNAs, to anesthesiologists, to hospital administration, and to data analysts. I also get to participate in a weekly research meeting and listen in to all of the different projects that are occurring in the hospital. 

I am involved in the data aggregation process for the quality initiative research project. It is so interesting to see how telling and reflective the numbers are in presenting how successful the overall outcomes are. Going through the data aggregation process from start to finish and then being able to use those numbers to generate various graphs and figures to represent the outcomes has been very insightful.

I am also learning about the different platforms Stony Brook University Hospital uses to collect and store their data, as it relates to patient’s surgery cases. It is so interesting to learn about Stony Brook’s very own data mining service and how they also use a third party vendor tool to validate the data collected on surgery cases from their own service. 

I could not be more thankful for this opportunity to learn about the vital integration between treating patients clinically, as well as from the administrative and hospitality side.

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Sasha Gershman, Pre-departure


I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to shadow Dr. Sbayi at Stony Brook University Hospital this summer. I am very interested in learning more about general emergency surgery and specifically, how it manages to exist as such a diverse and multifaceted specialty, while also such a specialized service. I am also very excited for the opportunity to witness, learn, and participate in patient-centered research that integrates and merges both the clinical, technical, and business aspects of medicine. 

My exposure to medicine so far has strictly been from a volunteer and familial perspective, having seen my grandparents traverse through many different medical battles. And though I have experienced medicine from a volunteering facet and a familial aspect, all of these frontiers have only further persuaded me to experience medicine from a more clinical aspect. I am excited to have the opportunity to witness how good patient communication is an integral necessity in positively influencing patient diagnoses, treatments, and outlooks, as well as how vital communication is in prompting on-time starts for first cases in the hospital. From the Brandeis Summer Shadowing Program, I hope to further catalyze my love of medicine by gaining a clinical experience of medicine that will make my outlook on medicine more well-rounded, covering the clinical, personal, cultural diversity, and emotional aspects of medicine.

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Jenna Ye, Final Thoughts

On the last day of my shadowing experience with Dr. Sher and his PA’s, I had the opportunity to visit the OR personally to experience two types of surgeries, open inguinal hernia repairs and cholecystectomies (which is otherwise known as gallbladder removal surgery). It was an eye opening experience that had also clued into the extensive administrative work associated with the medical field. 

Hernia repairs generally fall under the two categories of open repair and minimally invasive (laparoscopic). In open repair, the surgeon cuts open the area, pushes the bulge back in, and sews up the weakened muscle, sometimes with synthetic mesh for reinforcement (which is known as hernioplasty). Minimally invasive repair, on the other hand, is usually done with a laparoscope where one incision is made. Seeing an open repair in person, along with shadowing the doctor through pre and post consultations really clarified the entire process that a patient goes through! It was also fascinating to learn about the different types of hernias, the reasoning behind causation and why it could be dangerous to leave it alone. 

For the second procedure, I noted that patients that had cholecystectomies were mostly pushed under the circumstances caused by gallstones, which are these stone and sediment like deposits that form from bile. It was quite interesting to see the removal in person and to feel the gallbladder full of stones, which in the two procedures I got to witness, ranged from tiny granules to one the size of a quail egg. I remembered how amazed I was to see the doctors differentiate the different areas of muscles, ducts, and arteries so quickly in order to ensure that they do not incise the wrong area during removal. 

One particular administrative event that I noted was the first few minutes before surgery in which the RN would hold up the color-coded sign to the security camera in the room whilst reading out the associated information of the patient, the legality/oath, and procedure that was to be completed. Which made me wonder if this was to ensure that the correct procedure was performed on the correct patient.

Overall, the entire experience had definitely solidified my goal of heading into the medical field, and opened up the specialization of surgery, which is something I had never really considered to be something that I would enjoy. The shadowing experience has also taught me alot of life lessons in planning preparation and decision making which I will definitely hold onto moving forward.

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Jenna Ye, Midpoint

Over the past two weeks, the shadowing experience with Dr. Sher and his PA’s (Maggie and Jonathan) have been very enlightening in regards to the differences in patient interaction and procedure undertakings between the two fields. Physician assistants typically approach the patients first in the clinical office, taking down holistic patient histories (i.e. asking relevant questions in regards to the patient’s visitation, symptoms, previous medical visits, etc.), assisting in the associated medical paperwork (i.e prescriptions, past files), and aiding in medical procedures such as anastomosis and sphincterotomies. Doctors, on the other hand, have a much more intensive hands-on approach during the operations, pre-op, and post-op. On average, the doctor spends approximately double the time that a PA does with a patient. Certain procedures, such as colonoscopies, do not require a PA and are completed with the aid of a nurse and an anesthesiologist. 

Viewing a colonoscopy firsthand has been very educational from both a technical and anatomical perspective. During the procedure, I was able to view how the doctor operates a scope. The flexibility of the scope, along with the four directional motion control dials, CO2 pump (blows up the colon), water pump, and suction all aid the process of navigating through a patient’s colon to reach the cecum. It was noted that the doctor spends a minimum of six minutes navigating back out of the colon after reaching the cecum to check for polyps and other potential anomalies such as diverticulosis (common formation of pouches in older people) and hemorrhoids. 

Typical medical information and procedures outside his specialty as a colorectal surgeon have come up well in regards to genetic relationships to diseases (i.e Lynch syndrome) and cardiovascular conditions (i.e. valve replacement). I was able to witness an EKG, learn technical terms (A-Fib, V-Fib, heart echoes), and how the team of medical professionals act and react depending on the patient’s reaction and vitals. It was surprising to see how hyperaware everyone was of their surroundings and their quick

decision-making skills. This is a life lesson to hold onto since I am usually quite an indecisive person, which is something I may need to change as I continue down this path. I also found that I was more excited to dive into discussions regarding genetics and things relating to the heart, which may be quite helpful in narrowing down my specific interests in this diverse field.

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Jenna Ye, Pre-departure 

 This summer shadowing experience with Dr. Marc Sher at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center will take place in two main areas of the hospital, the OR and the doctor’s office. I will be able to experience, from a first-hand perspective, what the daily activities are for a doctor. For instance, how one interacts with a patient to ensure their current and future health, and how a colonoscopy procedure works. In the past week of preparation for my first day, there were several documents that I had to complete to gain access to the OR. With COVID restrictions in mind, one thing that caught my eye was the physical examination, specifically in regards to vaccinations and TB testing. I was quite curious as to why this particular test was a necessity, which led to a line of inquiry that was satiated by several discussions and online readings. What surprised me was how easily this infection could spread (particularly in how similar it was to COVID-19), as well as the procedures implemented by both private and public institutions alike, such as universities and hospitals, to ensure that a TB epidemic, also known as “the white death/plague,” does not occur. This little experience taught me to always keep an open mind about the processes and reasoning behind implemented mechanisms. I believe this can be a useful mindset when it comes to exploring and educating myself on new topics. I would be curious to learn more about how universal precautions in hospitals and clinics can be linked to past epidemics or other historical events. Adapting to the ever-changing present has always been the key to survival and I am quite interested to see its applications in the medical field.

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