A Daring Journey Into Medical Anthropology

A few weeks ago, I recommended reading This is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes, and today I want to highlight another must-read for the physician or doctor-to-be. The Spirit Catches you and You Fall Down was published in 1997 and promptly won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, among other accolades.

The book chronicles the U.S. medical experience of a Hmong family, showcasing the twisted miscommunications between the two groups. It’s an excellent story and strong reminder to all medical caregivers as to how – although everyone may be aiming for the patient’s best – cultural differences can spoil the doctor-patient relationship.

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Dr. Michelle Finkel, a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Medical School, founded Insider Medical Admissions as a way of leveling the playing field for applicants to selective medical programs. As the former Assistant Residency Director for the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency, Dr. Finkel repeatedly observed candidates who undermined their chances of success with poorly compiled application materials, underdeveloped personal statements and inadequate interview skills.


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About Dr. Michelle Finkel
Dr. Michelle FinkelDr. Finkel is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Medical School. On completing her residency at Harvard, she was asked to stay on as faculty at Harvard Medical School and spent five years teaching at the world-renowned Massachusetts General Hospital. She was appointed to the Assistant Residency Director position for the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency where she reviewed countless applications, personal statements and resumes. Read more

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