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UB medical students get a look at the 'Future of Medicine'

Avery Schneider

First and second year medical students at the University at Buffalo were part of a panel discussion on the future of their industry on Wednesday, and the outlook is positive.

Local leaders in the medical field were part of a panel discussion on Wednesday centered on a report called “The Future of Medicine.” They spoke to a room of more than 160 first and second year medical students in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The report, published by the Jacobs Institute, details 26 forces that are expected to shape the medical field and its specialties over the next quarter century. Futurist Josh McHugh was the report’s editor and says when research on the topic first began, the outlook on subjects like obesity, artificial intelligence, and physician morale was grim.

“But then as we learned more about the technology that was being developed in all these different areas, the straight lines into those negative scenarios were sort of overtaken by curves that were curving up, powered by exponential technology where we could see much, much, more positive things,” said McHugh.

In the panel discussion, education and the intersection of multiple disciplines, analytics, and engineering were among a slew of topics covered in a short time.

Jacobs Institute CEO Bill Maggio said future physicians have an opportunity if they can think outside the structure of what’s taught in school.

“If you can get them to think about the other things that are important in the industry of healthcare, and providing healthcare, not only here regionally, but globally, I think we’ve accomplished something,” said Maggio.

Jacobs Institute Founder Dr. Nick Hopkins said the two keys to the future of medicine are infrastructure and people. In contrast to a decade ago, he said Buffalo now has them both.

Second year medical student Emily Slominski is from the city, and aims to make it the place she builds her future as a physician. She said the discussion gave her a good snapshot of what that future will look like. Smolinski is particularly interested in learning more about interconnectivity between physicians and providers in other fields.

“A lot of our experiences right now can almost be frustrating at times because you have patients that have problems that are kind of outside the realm of what you can help with. So it’s nice to see that they’re bringing in other fields, and connecting, and trying to get at the root of the problems.”

Maggio said students have numerous opportunities to become engaged as volunteers in research and other projects that will drive the future of medicine in the Buffalo area. He said the region’s medical community has developed so much, that the kind of discussion had on Wednesday wouldn’t have happened ten years ago.

A link to the report can be found here.

Avery began his broadcasting career as a disc jockey for WRUB, the University at Buffalo’s student-run radio station.
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