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2013 ACM: Medical student perspective

Dr. Leslie K. Palacios-HelgesonLeslie K. Palacios-Helgeson, second-year medical student, University of Colorado, Denver

I was honored to represent Colorado at this year’s Annual Clinical Meeting in beautiful New Orleans. Having done research in ob-gyn for three years at the University of Colorado, pursuing ob-gyn as a career was definitely on my radar. I was initially apprehensive about attending the conference as a first-year medical student. Was it too early to attend clinical meetings? Would the student attendee benefits be lost on me? In fact, I cannot emphasize enough how beneficial the ACM was for me.

Attending the conference late in my first year was an advantage. Medical students at the University of Colorado complete Step 1 in April of their second year, so attending my second year was not an option. As someone seriously considering ob-gyn, attending right before my fourth year would have been late for me, personally. I now have an idea of how to frame my next three years, the types of programs to which I would actually be interested in applying, whether or not I will prioritize research, and the electives I would like to take to enhance my candidacy for residency.

The medical student activities at the ACM were well organized, relevant, and informative. I truly appreciate the people who put them together. Skills night was well received by every student I met, and it certainly brought a tangible excitement to those of us serious about ob-gyn. Panelists were honest, open, and answered questions thoroughly—especially those best answered by physicians working in different specialties and types of practice. I learned so much about practice options in general that I am now more self-reflective about the type of ob-gyn I want to be.

I also made a network of friends from other medical schools at the ACM. Many of us have already offered our couches to people we met at the meeting should we have the opportunity to interview in each other’s cities. The ACM served as the very beginning of a future of networking within the medical community.

Featured speakers at the general meeting were phenomenal. I enjoyed the talk “Sex, Ideology, and Religion: How Family Planning Frees Women and Changes the World” by Malcolm Potts, MD, so much that I purchased several of his books to read this summer. The lectures I attended were inspiring and empowering and have motivated me to become a patient advocate in addition to being a physician. My experience at the ACM has only strengthened my resolve to become an ob-gyn, and perhaps one day I may have a more active role in ACOG as well. I am grateful to the Colorado Section for the opportunity. 



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