Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Organs Block, Lungs - Is that a Miro?

Electron Micrograph of Pulmonary Surfactant
Today begins our next Organs Block: the lungs! Class began with the anatomy of the airways and the lungs, then we had an introduction to gas exchange and a histology lecture on different parts of the respiratory system. The image above was breath-taking in lecture...the black rose shapes are pulmonary surfactant...a phospholipid-rich secretion that reduces the surface tension in alveoli. Science and art intersect in divine ways -- the results are elegant, beautiful, effortless. It really does look like an artistic museum piece to me...or maybe something my brother could draw on an Etch-a-Sketch.
Later in the day, we had our Foundations of Patient Care session in small groups of six students. We discussed our assignment completed over break concerning our family histories, our backgrounds and cultural influences that have shaped our development and views on medicine. We had to draw a family tree and write a 3-4 page essay on our personal histories. I am continually impressed with the personal stories shared by my classmates -- the struggles that they have overcome, the experiences that they have gathered, and the achievements that they are too humble to discuss. Although it's a hideous cliche -- the best part of UCSF truly is the quality of its students. How the heck did I get here?

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