The path from clinical trainee to licensed physician may look daunting, but Kristina Liu, MD, MHS, and Arash Mostaghimi, MD, MPA, MPH, are here to help. These Brigham dermatologists have been using the power of podcasting to engage a much wider audience of trainees than traditional one-on-one mentorship allows.
Earlier this year, Liu and Mostaghimi launched Topical: The Dermatology Podcast, which features stories and advice for dermatology trainees. They have released 19 episodes and counting, sharing their tips and reflections on applying to residency programs, writing personal statements, avoiding burnout and more.
In this Q&A, originally published in BWH Clinical & Research News, Liu and Mostaghimi discuss their motivation for the podcast, their careers and their passion for educating the next generation of physicians.
When did you two start working together, and how was the podcast born?
KL: Arash and I have known each other for a long time. He interviewed me when I was applying for internships, and then we worked closely together on several research projects when I was a resident. We both had ideas about doing a podcast and would bounce ideas off each other all the time. One day I said, ‘Hey, I want to do a podcast,’ and it just formed organically from there.
What can listeners expect from the podcast?
KL: We’re pooling our knowledge and distilling it into sound bites as mentorship for medical students. We delve into aspects of the residency application and match process, which can be an overwhelming and confusing time. Some topics we’ve covered include personal statements, letters of recommendation and research, but we also address topics relevant to life in academia in general, including burnout, feedback and even personal finance.
AM: We’re beginning with educational content focused on trainees in dermatology, trying to pull back the curtain and address some of the myths and challenges. For example, many medical students think that the only way to get into a dermatology residency is to have a perfect, “one-size-fits-all” application. But we have a great diversity of applicants coming to dermatology from all different directions. We hope that the podcast will help people manage the demands of the job. We’ll start with that and hopefully, as our audience and skills expand, focus more broadly on academic medicine.
What has the reception to your podcast been so far?
KL: When we first started, it was a grassroots project. We told medical students and residents that we knew, and we were getting feedback from them. Since then, our listener base has grown. We seem to be reaching a wider audience; we had feedback from someone in Canada.
AM: And my mom likes it, so that must mean something, right?