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We are a coalition of students at UCLA striving to improve the quality of the healthcare system and promote social justice. Learn more at thinq.med.ucla.edu.

By Vardaan Bal and Gabriel Salazar

Operating room at the Queen Fabiola Children’s University Hospital in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash)

Globally, approximately three hundred and ten million people undergo surgery every year. A study performed by the International Surgical Outcomes Study Group in the United Kingdom found that poor surgical health outcomes are present universally across both rich and poor nations. These outcomes included 16.8% of patients having further health complications post-surgery, and 2.8% of those patients dying from those complications. Extending these findings globally showed that around 50 million patients have complications postoperative (post-op) and over 1.5 million people die from those complications.

These complications are caused by a plethora of factors, including…

By Dylan Mai and Vivien Moritz

Mask lying on the ground between autumn leaves. (Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash)

What words come to mind when hearing about healthcare? Healing, cures, medicine, expenses, or even death may come to mind. However, a topic that often goes unmentioned is the environmental impacts of the American healthcare system and how it affects not only the health of patients, but also the world that they live in.

Hospitals are open and operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They require constant use of lights, air conditioning and heating units, and the various technologies for diagnoses and treatments. To keep patients safe…

By Nikoo Dalili and Bianca Nguyen

(Graphic obtained from The Scientist Magazine)

If you have ever taken a genetics class, read an article about the future of healthcare, or seen an advertisement for a new drug therapy, you may have come across terms such as individualized medicine, personalized medicine, and precision medicine. You may have even seen them used interchangeably.

What do these terms really mean and is there a difference between them? This is a good question: there does not appear to be any standardization in the language employed by various research and publications in describing the specifics of genomic research and medicine. …

By Dorothy Nguyen

Most people rarely think about dialysis. But for those who rely on it, it can be nearly all they think about. This was the case for many during this past election when California voted on Proposition 23 — a proposition requiring a physician on-site at all times, mandated infection reporting, and prohibition of discrimination based on insurance [1].

(Graphic obtained from CareerStep)

Dialysis does the work of filtering blood when the kidneys are no longer sufficiently functional. Of the two types of dialysis—hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis—hemodialysis is colloquially recognized as dialysis. Patients undergoing this treatment go to dialysis centers three times…

By Damola Thomas and Pearl Omo-sowho

The mortality rate of both women of color and their unborn children is an unfortunate statistic that continues to rise. A woman of color is two or three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than a white woman. [2] For the last fifty years, Black women who have given birth in the United States have been approximately four times more likely to die than white women. [3]

The answer to the disparity in death rates has everything to do with the lived experience of being a black woman in America.” [Black and white picture of a pregnant stomach] (Photo by LaToya Ruby Frazier for The New York Times)

The medical racism that women of color in underserved communities face is a driving factor of the increasing mortality rate of both mothers and their…

By Caitlin Chen and Seerat Chawla

*In this article, we refer to “women,” “female,” “male,” and “men” in reference to either the female/male sex or the general social categorization of women/men as a group. The focus on cis-gendered individuals is not to be exclusive of gender nonconforming, gender non-binary, or transgender people.

Gender discrimination in the medical field is a pervasive systematic issue that has persisted throughout history. The lack of deviation from the cisgender medical model results in gendered expectations such that the men are the practicing physicians and the women are the nurses in a health care setting…

By Nicole Yee and Monica Gonzalez

(Graphic by The Commonwealth Fund)

Terms

Transgender: Most commonly used as an umbrella term for individuals whose gender identity and/or expression is different from the gender assigned to them at birth. Trans people include individuals who are transsexual, genderqueer, agender, androgyne, demigender, genderfluid, individuals who cross-dress or dress androgynously, and other individuals who cross or go beyond traditional gender categories.

Gender dysphoria: The American Psychiatric Association defines gender dysphoria as “persistent discomfort about one’s assigned sex or a sense of belonging to the other sex…[and]…a desire to be…of the other sex.” …

By Damola Thomas, Gabriel Salazar, Neha Divi, and Kevin Chen

Major Decisions is a multimedia series about why THINQ at UCLA clinical fellows chose their respective majors, their experience with the major as a pre-health student, what tips they have to succeed, and more.
Watch the interview here!

Featured Fellows

Damola Thomas: Second-year Psychobiology major, Applied Developmental Psychology minor
Gabriel Salazar: Fourth-year Psychobiology major
Neha Divi: Fourth-year Psychobiology Major
Kevin Chen: Fourth-year Psychobiology major

Why did you choose this major over the other majors? Were there any important factors that stood out to you?

Damola: I chose Psychobiology because when I was a senior in high school, I really wanted to get into UCLA, but all of the biology majors seemed super impacted, so I originally applied undeclared. During orientation, someone told me Biology was mostly about plants and stuff. I was like, yeah, no, that’s not for me. …

By Neha Divi and Sidhant Umbrajkar

Every year, surgeons from all over the United States perform millions of surgeries, and 2020 was no exception.

“Despite COVID-19 surgery statistics, we grew over 30% in surgery volume.” –Dr. Mike Blaney [1]

(Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash)

Interestingly, among the broad varieties of surgeries in 2020, one of the most common was gastric bypass. [1] Despite the vast amount of surgical procedures, complications and high failure rates continue to rise. Some of the most common surgical procedures with high failure rates include: hiatal hernia, where the stomach protrudes out of the diaphragm space, hip and knee joint surgeries…

By Brittney Le and Aishwarya Atmakuri

(Photo by Michael Longmire on Unsplash)

In 2017, more people died from an opioid related overdose [1] than from HIV at the peak of the AIDS epidemic. Between 1999 and 2017, the number of Americans who died from an opioid overdose increased sixfold from 16,849 to 70,237.

The opioid epidemic began from well-intentioned pain management efforts. Opioids are medications such as codeine, fentanyl, and hydrocodone that are used for controlling pain. In the 1990s, pain management efforts were not well studied by physicians. Around this time, Purdue Pharma released OxyContin, a variation of the opioid drug oxycodone, and marketed it…

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