Third-year medical student Arina Chesnokova recently served as editor of the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, where she was able to engage her longtime interest in health policy, while also learning important lessons that she can apply to the rest of her training.
The monthly journal contains original articles and commentary on a given theme, with a medical student or resident serving as editor of each issue. Chesnokova was the editor of the March issue with the theme Bed to Bench: Medicine and the Law. View the issue online.
“Because it is student and resident driven, the journal brings forth issues relevant to trainees at an approachable level,” she said. “The goal is to really engage trainees in the journal through the editorship.”
Chesnokova received her Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University, where her interest in medicine and the law sprung to life. While there, she worked with an instructor at the New York state insurance department at the time the Affordable Care Act was passed, focusing on reproductive law.
She decided on medical school, and at Baylor is in the ethics track through the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy. The track offers students the opportunity to develop a deeper knowledge and expertise in medical ethics and policy. It includes classroom-based courses, a clinical elective and a capstone scholarly project.
The editorship, for which she had to apply, offered her another avenue to explore her interest in health policy and law. She said the editorship experience was more challenging than expected, especially recruiting experts to write the articles and keeping them on task.
Fortunately, she was able to rely on her Baylor connections. The issue features articles by Dr. Joseph Kass, Dr. Laurence McCullough, Dr. John Coverdale and Dr. David Eagleman, all with Baylor.
The cases presented in the issue are fictional and based on her personal interests. For example, she solicited guest authors to write about how clinicians should treat patients who are undocumented, and another article focused on expedited partner therapy, a practice that is legal in many states that allows physicians to write a prescription for the partner of a patient with a sexually transmitted infection. She also authored an article introducing the issue.
In addition to exploring her interest in medical law, the editorship served as a reminder of the importance of communications and writing skills throughout your career. She also developed a better appreciation for the medical school environment that she feels is an ideal setting in which to have debates on issues that often are not talked about.
Chesnokova hopes to pursue a residency in obstetrics and gynecology and continue to be involved in health policy as a practicing physician.