I started this blog as a way to share the knowledge I gained working in public policy and advocacy and later in graduate school for public health with medical students. There was and remains a massive disconnect between what medical students understand about the health care landscape and what we need to know to best help our patients. I certainly don’t think every student needs a Master of Public Health to be a competent, caring physician, but as I’ve written before, it would be helpful if they had a basic understanding of health insurance and how public policy influences the practice of medicine and the lives of our patients. Not all medical students and physicians will want to engage in any type of advocacy even with this education – and that is OK – but it would at least ensure more holistic interactions with patients. That is why I started MollyMPHtoMD and continue to be active on Instagram, sharing health policy tidbits throughout the day and how it intersects with medicine. And over the last few years, I’ve posted here about everything from health care sharing ministries and ACA open enrollment to the basics of Medicare and Medicaid. But even though I have a long list of health policy related topics that I still want to write about, I just don’t feel like it.
Being in medical school during the pandemic has been a bit like being on a hamster wheel that I couldn’t get off even as the world was burning around me. There were still tests to study for, clinical and physical exams skills to learn, assignments to complete, and clinic to attend – plus two high stress national board exams to take and residency applications to submit. I climbed all of those hills and the burnout was/is REAL. And now, after all that hurry up (during which I learned an IMMENSE amount), I’m now waiting to hear about invitations to interview for residency. I’ve had some time off and a moment to breathe, to get excited about the fact that I will be a physician in just 7 short months(!), to do some (as safe as possible) travel, and finally feel restored (minus the anxiety of waiting for interviews…). It’s also given me some time to think about the blog and how I want to interact with it – and all of you – moving forward.
Sometimes this blog feels like a version of the journals I tried to keep when I was a kid – it happened in spurts with a lot of self-doubt about what I wrote, if it was boring, if it mattered. And while I was a studious kid, I wasn’t writing about the impacts of public policy in those notebooks. But I’ve always been insanely curious, with an insatiable thirst to learn more, read more, know more. So I guess it makes complete sense that by the time I graduate medical school, I’ll have three degrees (BA, MPH, MD) and a certificate from my post-bacc program. I am constantly sending articles, podcasts, shows, and products I come across to my friends and family, who (so graciously) put up with it. When I read my favorite blogs (like The Stripe, Hello Adams Family, Curiouser & Curiouser, and Wit & Whimsy), I always learn about or discover something new to me, but the best part is reading their personal posts and feeling just a little less alone in this increasingly disconnected and overwhelming world.
With all of that rambling in mind, I’m going to be pivoting what type of content I share here (and I’m really hoping that this will make me want to post more regularly as well). I was never able to create a journaling habit, likely because my life felt pretty mundane and boring and middle school sucked. But at this point in life and the internet, we’re used to reading the thoughts of strangers and feeling a sense of connection. I still plan to share Health Policy Happenings and about post-bacc programs – because I’m still Molly MPH to MD, after all – but my posts will no longer all be deep dives on insurance and health care access or medical school. I thought that carving out this little niche would be fun but it’s gotten draining over time, likely something to do with a pandemic that has forced us to reckon with social and racial injustice, the reality of our crumbling public health infrastructure, rampant misinformation and its disastrous consequences, and the crushing anxiety of it all.
I hope you’ll stick around or if you’re new, welcome! I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of this.