The Undifferentiated Medical Student

The Undifferentiated Medical Student (TUMS) podcast is about helping medical students to choose a medical specialty and plan a career in medicine. The list of career options available to medical students is long, but the time to explore them all is short. Moreover, mentorship in medical school is lacking, and many medical students tackle the task of career planning alone, most struggling and almost all clutching to the hope that 3rd year clinical rotations will definitively resolve their remaining uncertainties about how they want to specialize. However, having been distracted by the relentless pace of their pre-clinical curricula and the specter of Step 1, 3rd year medical students are eventually confronted with the reality that there are simply too many specialties to explore in one year and that they may not even get to finish their clinical rotations before important decisions about their careers need to be made (e.g., the planning of acting internships) if they are to be competitive applicants. Thus, mentorless and clinically unexposed, many medical students are forced to make wholly uninformed decisions about their futures. By interviewing at least one physician from each of the 120+ specialties listed on the AAMC's Careers in Medicine website 1) about their specialty, 2) how they decided this specialty was right for them, and 3) for advice about long-term career planning irrespective of the specialty they went into, this podcast aims to enumerate the details of every specialty and provide virtual mentorship on how best to go about moving past being an undifferentiated medical student.
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Now displaying: November, 2016
Nov 29, 2016

Dr. Brantley is a recently retired emergency medicine physician following a 32 year career.

Dr. Brantley completed his medical degree at Louisiana State University, School of Medicine in 1979; and a pediatrics residency at Louisiana State University Medical Center in 1982, after which he entered private practice as a solo-practitioner of pediatrics. However, while fulfilling a U. S. Army (Reserve) commitment he became interested in emergency medicine and eventually joined the American College of Emergency Physicians in 1985. Then, after becoming the medical director of the emergency department in his hometown of Rustin, Louisiana, he joined a multispecialty group practice in 1990 focusing full-time on emergency medicine.

Retiring from clinical practice in 2010, Dr. Brantley transitioned to a career in teaching, a lifelong goal of his, and followed a path that would earn him a Master of Science in Applied Anatomy from Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine in 2012. He now serves as an Assistant Professor of Pathology in the Division of Anatomic Pathology Education, with a secondary appointment to the Department of Anatomy. He is also the Course Director of Neurological Anatomy, Applied Neuroanatomy, and Imaging Anatomy.

Please enjoy with Dr. Thomas Brantley!

Nov 25, 2016

Dr. Armitage is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, as well as Program Director of the Department of Internal Medicine at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, OH.

Dr. Armitage completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Kansas in 1981; his medical degree at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1986; his internship, residency, chief resident year in Internal Medicine and then an infectious Diseases fellowship all at University Hospitals of Cleveland all by 1991, eventually joining the faculty at Case Western in 1992.

Dr. Armitage’s primary professional focus has been on postgraduate medical education.  Dr. Armitage currently serves as the Past President of the Council of the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine, and in 2002, received the Parker J. Palmer Courage to Teach Award bestowed by the ACGME in recognition of the fact that that program directors face many challenges in administering a residency program and that those directors who find innovative ways to teach residents alongside the demands of caring for their own patients should be celebrated.

Please enjoy with Dr. Keith Armitage.

Nov 22, 2016

Dr. Mann is an Associate Clinical Professor of Neurology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, OH, and although retired from clinical practice since 2007, remains board certified in neurology.

Dr. Mann attended the University of Pennsylvania; obtained his medical degree at Indiana University School of Medicine in 1968; and then completed his neurology residency in 1972 after splitting time between Bowman Gray School of Medicine Baptist Medical Center and Washington University School of Medicine-Barnes Hospital.

Following the completion of his medical training, Dr. Mann served for as an army neurologist in Japan until 1974, after which he moved to Cleveland to start his private practice which he would continue until 2007, as well as to assume many other educational and administrative roles at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case Western.

Please enjoy with Dr. Donald Mann!

Nov 18, 2016

Dr. Steele is the Chairman of Colorectal Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic (although at the time of recording this interview, he was the Division Chief of Colon & Rectal Surgery at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center) and Professor of Surgery at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, OH.

Dr. Steele completed his undergraduate degree at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1994; completed his medical degree at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine in 1998; completed a general surgery residency at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington in 2003; then completed a colon and rectal surgery fellowship in 2005. Following completion of his fellowship, Dr. Steele became the Chief of Colorectal Surgery at Madigan Army Medical Center through until 2015, a decade of service which saw him deployed as a staff surgeon to Iraq and Afghanistan four times and for which he received the Bronze Star among many other military awards. Then in late 2016, after a short tenure at UH Cleveland Medical Center, Dr. Steele accepted the position of Chairman of Colorectal Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic where he remains today. Of note, Dr. Steele is currently working toward his Executive MBA at Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management, which is right down the street from the hospital.

Dr. Steele is actively involved in the colorectal community. He serves on several editorial boards including that of the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, and is also the American College of Surgeons’ web porter for the colorectal community. His literary contributions include over 200 articles, reviews, chapters, and Clinical Practice Guidelines, as well as five complete Colorectal Surgery textbooks.

Lastly, Dr. Steele is also the co-founder of the podcast, Behind the Knife (at which discusses topics related to all things surgery and which boasts 20,000 downloads each month.


Part 1 - About the specialty [7:23]

Part 2 - How the specialty was the right choice [33:14]

Part 3 - Long-term career planning [53:57]

Nov 15, 2016

Dr. Sweet is a neurosurgeon in the Division of Functional & Stereostactic neurosurgery at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, as well as an assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, OH. 

Dr. Sweet completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan in 2001; her medical degree at Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2005; her neurosurgery residency at Georgetown University Hospital in 2012; and then a fellowship in stereotactic and function neurosurgery UH Case Medical Center in 2013, where she remains today as faculty.

Dr. Sweet is currently involved in an NIH funded research project exploring the use of Deep Brain Stimulation in bipolar disorder, as well as the principal investigator of a clinical trial exploring spinal stimulation, in addition to many other projects exploring the implantation of electrodes into the brain to aid in limb movement.

Dr. Sweet is also the author of more than 20-peer reviewed publications, as well as the author of at least 5 book chapters.


Nov 11, 2016

Dr. Hardacre is an Associate Professor of Surgery at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, OH, as well as the Surgical Director of the Digestive Health Institute and Division Head of Pancreatic Surgery at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center.

Dr. Hardacre earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his medical degree from Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. He completed his residency in general surgery in 2002 and then a fellowship in gastrointestinal surgery in 2003 both at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dr. Hardacre is an active researcher and principal investigator of a national study examining a novel immunotherapy used in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, as well as an investigator in many others studies. Dr. Hardacre has published more than 30 papers in leading professional journals, is the author of five book chapters in a variety of surgical textbooks, and serves as a reviewer of many of the surgical journals in his field.

Without further ado, Dr. Jeffery Hardacre.

Nov 11, 2016

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Show notes and links for this episode can be found here!

Fresh out of a chief resident year in internal medicine, Dr. Hambley is a critical care medicine fellow at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, OH.

Dr. Hambley received his undergraduate degree from the University of Norte Dame in 2007, and his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in 2012, where he also completed a Master’s of Public Health. He completed his residency as well as a chief resident year in Internal Medicine at University Hospitals in 2016, after which he began his fellowship in critical care medicine.

Dr. Hambley is also the recipient of the Arnold P Gold Foundation Humanism and Excellence in Teaching award for Outstanding Resident Role Model.

Please enjoy with Dr. Bryan Hambley!

Nov 11, 2016

Show notes can be found at

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