Osmosis Contributor Spotlight: Silia DeFilippis, Weill Cornell Medical College, MS4

Thasin Jaigirdar
Published on Mar 4, 2015. Updated on Invalid date.

Silia DeFilippis is a fourth-year medical student at Weill Cornell Medical College. She is currently a contributor for our Robert Wood Johnson Open Education Resource initiative and serves as a medical scholar for Psychiatry. She is also involved with our Publish with Osmosis program. She is interested in internal medicine and the field of gastroenterology. Prior to medical school, Silia received her Bachelor of Arts from Yale University where she majored in Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies with a concentration in Women's Health.

How did you discover Osmosis, and why did you want to get involved with it?

An email was sent out to our medical school encouraging students to start contributing and getting involved with Osmosis. I've always loved learning and studying (full disclosure: I am a huge nerd). I also enjoy teaching and sharing knowledge with others through both formal and informal means. I felt that being a part of the Osmosis team would allow me to continue to learn new things, to stay sharp with my medical knowledge, and also to teach students through questions.

How did you get interested in medicine?

Ever since I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. My father is an internist and we always grew up talking about medicine and health around the dinner table. I knew how passionate my dad was about his patients, and it was contagious. Unfortunately, some of my close family members and friends also suffer from various illnesses. I hope that by choosing medicine as my vocation, I can both continue the tradition of healing that my father started and help other family members avoid the pain and suffering of illness and disease.

What has been your favorite block so far in medical school and why?

Honestly, I have had so many great experiences in medical school that it's hard to choose just one!  I have to say though that my medicine clerkship was the highlight of my third year rotations. I spent one month on the step-down unit with patients requiring acute care and one month on a cardiology service in the hospital. The patients were so interesting and I really enjoyed having the time to sit down with them in the morning, see how they were doing, and learn about the lives they lead. We had to have some difficult discussions at times about end-of-life care but I really loved every minute of those two months.

Do you have any specific things that you would like to do once you finish up your medical education?

I am currently applying to be an internal medicine resident. I have an interest in gastroenterology; however, I am open to various career paths. I like the breadth of knowledge involved in internal medicine and I am excited for the possibilities ahead of me.

What tips do you have for undergraduate students currently applying to medical school?

Medical school applications seem like so long ago now! For those of you interested in applying to medical school, I would first like to say congratulations for picking the best field!! I think it is important to focus on the camaraderie of the program and whether the students seem happy and collaborative. Your classmates will be your colleagues and you will be working with them in the hospital for long hours, so keep that in mind.

What advice do you have for incoming first-year medical students?

Enjoy it! In the first 1-2 years (depending on the structure of your curriculum), it is easy sometimes to become bogged down in the minor details from specific ion channels to the muscles of the hand. Always try to remember the bigger picture and keep the patient at the center. That's why we do all of this after all! It's much easier to learn when you can put things in the context of a specific patient - and you remember it better too! Also, see patients whenever you can. Getting involved with clinical care as early as you can will keep you grounded and also prepare you for your inpatient rotations.

What would you personally like to see changed with how medical education is currently run today?

Great question. I think that there is a trend in medical education towards getting students on the wards earlier and I strongly support this notion. Medicine is not just a science, but also an art. You can learn so much from your patients, from physiology to anatomy to pathology to sociology.

At the graduate medical education level, I think we need to advocate for more residency positions as the number of medical students continues to grow and we face an aging population. However, the limiting step is at the residency level and we are facing a physician shortage that is expected to only worsen with Medicaid expansion.