The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

Leadership & Coaching in Medicine with Dr. Pamela Ludmer

Dr. Pamela Ludmer shares tips for developing leadership skills as a med student, med-peds vs. family medicine, & the benefits of coaching in medicine.

  • [02:06] Family Medicine Versus Med-Peds
  • [03:46] Why Adolescent Medicine
  • [06:38] How to Integrate Classroom and Clinical Knowledge
  • [10:56] How a Medical Student Can Develop Leadership Skills
  • [17:24] Dr. Ludmer’s Journey as a Coach
  • [21:34] Pearls of Wisdom for Medical Students

Dr. Pamela Ludmer is a medicine-pediatrics physician who completed a fellowship in adolescent medicine. She currently serves as the Associate Dean of Curriculum Integration at New York Medical College.

Family Medicine Vs. Medicine-Pediatrics

Medical students often struggle to choose between family medicine and medicine-pediatrics. Both fields allow you to practice medicine on both children and adults. Dr. Ludmer’s decision to pursue med-peds stemmed from watching a med-peds physician who she greatly admired for his academic and social strengths. In addition, Dr. Ludmer immensely enjoyed her family medicine clinical rotation, but it was largely outpatient. As a resident, she wanted more inpatient experience, which was offered by med-peds. She also wanted to focus on medicine and pediatrics, over things like surgery, OBGYN, and pediatrics, which would also be covered by family medicine.

Why Adolescent Medicine

Dr. Ludmer enjoyed working with inner city teenagers, especially younger women, who would come in without their parents. She enjoyed watching them grow up, and navigate medical experiences independently for the first time. Furthermore, practicing adolescent medicine allowed her some variety in her everyday work, dealing with issues such gynecology and behavioral health. Lastly, with her med-peds qualifications, Dr. Ludmer did not have to let go of her adolescent patients once they reached adulthood.

Integrating Classroom & Clinical Knowledge

Dr. Ludmer encourages medical students to prioritize learning their basic sciences. Often, medical students feel that the basic sciences are irrelevant to clinical experiences and treating a patient. However, Dr. Ludmer asserts that what differentiates a doctor from other clinical careers, is this vast and deep knowledge of the workings of the human body. For example, with regards to COVID-19, no doctor has had the clinical experience of treating such a disease before this year. However, the basic sciences can still be applied to the treatment of COVID-19. A doctor can use their basic sciences knowledge to hypothesize appropriate treatments, and to intentionally test these treatments.

Developing Leadership Skills as a Medical Student

This episode discusses three key tips for developing leadership skills as a medical student:

  1. Put your foot out there. Dr. Ludmer describes running for the student senate for the first time and winning. You do not have to wait for something as major as a student senate to practice your leadership skills. Even a four-person lab group is a good place to practice leadership.
  2. Find a mentor. The mentor does not have to be a person with very high seniority, and can be someone just a little ahead of you — a fourth year medical student perhaps.
  3. Develop self-awareness. leadership is not about asserting your own opinion, but rather about listening to members of the group, mitigating conflict, and helping to reach consensus. You need to be aware of your skills & ability to play such a role, and be aware of areas where you can improve.

Coaching Versus Mentorship

Dr. Ludmer distinguishes coaching a medical student or physician from mentoring them. While you emulate aspects of your mentor’s journey, coaching is about having someone who can help you to figure out your own medical career, and how to make decisions that are right for your particular situation.

Three Pearls of Wisdom for Medical Students

The episode ends with three pearls of wisdom that Dr. Ludmer has for medical students:

  1. Do what you love.
  2. Do not forget life outside medicine.
  3. Do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help.

Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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