Job shadow with doctors and other medical professionals. Admissions committees don't expect applicants to have real experience actually treating patients. After all, you're not a doctor yet. But they do want to know that you've spent time getting to know what your future job would be like. Job shadowing is a great way to get some medical experience but there are other non-shadowing opportunities that may be available to you.
"Med school admissions committees want students to have realistic expectations for what a career in medicine will be like. says Dr. Sarah Carlson, a vascular surgery resident at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, who has also served on a medical school admissions committee. As an undergraduate, she volunteered to file x-rays at the local hospital, then parlayed that into an opportunity to talk with the radiologist. He explained both how to read x-ray films, and why he chose his profession. "It's those types of interactions that are important to have under your belt," she says. "Quite frankly, medicine isn't for everyone, so it's best if you do some soul-searching and spend some time with the people who have the job you want. Most doctors are happy to sit down with students who are considering a career in medicine."
Other ways to get medical experience include becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), a volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT), or as a hospital scribe doing data entry. Some applicants are able to gain clinical experience by helping to care for family members.
Demonstrate your hands-on science knowledge. "Undergraduate research experience really shines through on medical school applications. Most medical schools want students who are interested in research, and the best way to show that interest is to come in having already gotten your feet wet" says Dr. Carlson. She did pipetting and ran assays for Dr. Pushpa Murthy's lab at Michigan Technological University. It was a small part of the research, but she conveyed the overall impact. "I had to explain at my interviews that the larger scope of the research was about inositol phosphate metabolism."
Medical student Carly Joseph did long-term research in engineered biomaterials. "Sticking with it gave me time to learn how to think critically and ignited my passion for science," she says. "I started off simply learning about biomaterials from older students in the lab, then gradually worked up to doing my own experiments and eventually presenting at conferences." By choosing to make research a main priority each semester she was able to form close relationships with faculty mentors and accomplish more during undergrad than she ever imagined.
In addition to college-based research programs, you can investigate summer offerings, including those through the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program or check out the AAMC database for summer undergrad research programs
Dr. Carlson volunteered with the Big Brothers-Big Sisters organization. So did Joseph. Rake leaves, build an accessibility ramp, clean the beach, walk a dog. There are lots of non-clinical options for volunteering that demonstrate your willingness to pay it forward and give back.
"They have many different programs and services." Joseph, accepted into Central Michigan University's College of Medicine, was part of the Forever Friends program, matched with an elderly woman she visited a few times each month. "I 've formed a great friendship with her, and hopefully, helped alleviate some loneliness. It 's a win-win!"
"Doctors are generally pretty altruistic people, and med schools want to see that you care about your community or have some drive to contribute to the greater good," says Dr. Carlson. "Community service comes in many forms, and really anything qualifies, from trash cleanup and mentorship programs to working the concession stand at a fund-raiser for a charity—anything that requires some unpaid time for a good cause."
Ask your pre-health professions advisor about volunteering opportunities on campus or in your community, which could include helping at local food banks or blood drives, local shelters for the homeless or those dealing with domestic violence. You could tutor, deliver good companionship and Meals on Wheels, or walk the dogs at a local animal shelter. Take an alternative spring break and work with Habitat for Humanity or on developing clean water sources for Third World countries. Check with your school for a list of community and global partners it works with who can use your time and talents. The mentors you develop will come in handy when it's time to gather recommendation letters—most schools ask for at least three—and the friendships you develop will last a lifetime.
Grades aren't everything, but they're extremely important. Choose a field of study that will yield a competitive GPA (grade point average). The recommended GPA for medical school applicants is 3.7 for MDs (medical doctors), 3.5 for DOs (doctors of osteopathy), and 3.4 for NDs (Doctor of Naturopathic). While many students who are planning careers in medicine decide to major in biology, Dr. Carlson earned her bachelor's in chemistry. Many of her colleagues majored in even more unexpected fields, including engineering, English, music, and classics.
"It 's OK if you 're not on the pre-med track right away when you start college; pursue experiences that genuinely interest you and rely on guidance from your faculty mentors to navigate your path"
There is no such thing as a pre-med major, says pre-health professions advisor Dr. Kemmy Taylor, who works with students preparing for medical careers at Michigan Technological University. "There are so many different programs students can apply to." You will still need to do well in both your cumulative and your science GPA, classes like biology, physics, chemistry, and math, that are required for medical school admission. If you are struggling in any classes, get help right away.
During her fourth year, Joseph had to take many of the medical school prerequisite classes that were not part of her engineering curriculum and build a Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) study plan into her schedule.
Improve your odds by not placing all your hopes on one school. Do individual research on each school, says Seigneurie; application requirements can vary from school to school and from year-to-year.
She also notes that you can reach out to admission committees with specific questions about the program and expectations. And, she says, don't be bummed if at first you don't succeed. Try again. "If you don 't get accepted into the school of your dreams, it 's OK! Schools have many applicants and can 't take everyone," says McKenzie, who was accepted into the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. "My dad, who has been a family physician for 29 years, often tells me, "An MD is an MD, it doesn't matter where you go to school."
"Don't take it personally when you get some rejections—they happen at every stage of the game. If you cast a wide net, you'll increase your likelihood of getting an acceptance."
Other ways to get noticed among the hundreds or even thousands of medical school applications submitted each year: send supplemental materials beyond your application. For example, "if you've published a paper, consider sending a copy of the publication with a handwritten note to the director of admissions, indicating you really hope to be considered for acceptance," she says.
MCAT scores range from 472-528. Accepted medical students average around 508. Recommended study time: 300-350 hours.
Take a course and buy books and study on your own. Find the method that works for you. Take practice questions many times and don't let your practice scores spook you, says McKenzie. "I used the Kaplan book series, and studied by reading, highlighting, and taking notes. The real MCAT was not as hard as the Kaplan test, in my opinion." The pre-health professions advisor can help you find the resources you need.
You can also join a pre-health professions club or association at your school, including Alpha Epsilon Delta, the national honor society for health pre-professionals. Members help each other get ready for tests, along with hosting speakers and events to help gain knowledge and experience.
"I speak Spanish almost every day at work," says Dr. Carlson. "It 's what I use the most from my premed education." Joseph spent a semester in Chile. "Focusing on language, culture, and people challenged me in a me in ways that technical classes couldn't and was critical in my preparation for medical school. If you 're thinking about studying abroad, do it. Communication and understanding different cultures are crucial skills for anyone entering the medical field, and medical schools look for applicants who make the effort to broaden their horizons culturally."
Medical volunteer programs abroad are another option to gain both life and health-care related experiences. Students are placed in hospitals and clinics in both rural and urban settings where staff is inadequate. Work, with professional guidance, can include giving vaccinations and other tasks interacting directly with patients, as well as helping to make facilities cleaner and more accessible. Programs are normally for people aged 18 and older
Show that you're interested in other things besides schoolwork. Dr. Carlson says having outside interests makes you stand out (she plays violin in an orchestra). "It's OK to indicate some of these personal interests on your med school applications—they give the interviewers something to relate to you with," she says. "I interviewed one applicant who only got a C in biochemistry, but he wrote lots of letters to the admissions committee highlighting his other strengths. We accepted him, and he turned out to be a star."
"Medical schools like to see commitment in their applicants, be it to sports, work, or extracurricular activities," says McKenzie. "It 's easier to not join clubs and just do homework and relax, but devoting time now to extracurricular commitments is worth it in the long run. These experiences also give you good opportunities to get to know people who can write the letters of recommendation."
Joseph says to choose activities based on what works best for you. Aim for quality rather than quantity.
"There 's a lot of pressure to have as many leadership roles as possible and be involved in tons of student organizations. For me though, having a few deep and lasting experiences was the way to go. I chose to invest my time in research, improving my Spanish, and volunteering," she says.
Research the schools you're interested in and look at mission statements, so you know something about the institution that you can share at the interview. Practice answering interview questions. When you arrive, be courteous to everyone you meet at the interview, including the receptionist.
"Schools are interested in learning what kind of student and person you are," says McKenzie. Schools invest in students and are looking for a good fit.
If you need help with effective body language, knowing how to dress professionally or for other tips, check out your school's Career Services office, which may offer mock interview opportunities and other techniques to help you present your best self.
Avoid generic answers like "I want to help people." There's no one right answer. Be specific. Tell your story.
McKenzie's dream centers on helping people close to home, in an underserved area that suffers from chronic physician shortages. "I have always wanted to return to the Houghton-Hancock area, where I grew up, and to serve my rural community."
For Joseph, the dream centers on combining a passion for science with helping others in a direct way.
Dr. Carlson 's dream started when she was five years old and her sister was born with cystic fibrosis. She reminds applicants to go beyond that initial inspiration during application interviews and explain how you've prepared for a grueling process that is not for everyone. "After medical school comes residency, and then—for some—fellowship, academic track positions, publications, and navigating an ever-evolving health care system," says Dr. Carlson.
Dr. Carlson has two more important suggestions to help you successfully apply to medical school:
"This is an unwritten rule that everyone does and nobody ever told me until I was several years into my training," says Dr. Carlson. "If you want to go to a particular school, find a way to have one of your mentors or advisors reach out to the admissions committee on your behalf."
For example, if you wanted to go to the University of Michigan ask your advisor or another mentor to call the director of admissions or any other person they know and advocate for you. Email can also be effective, she says. "It's a bonus if your mentor/advisor actually has a personal contact at the medical school you're interested in. "There is a culture of 'I can vouch for this person' that goes very far in the medical world. A phone call won't get you in if your application is terrible, but if you're on the cusp of acceptance and someone makes a call on your behalf, it can give you the push you need to be accepted."
"It's OK to highlight the accomplishments you're proud of; put these in your required personal statement or find a way to work them into conversation during interviews. The key is to do it humbly but confidently: 'I was fortunate enough to win a teaching award from my time as a chemistry lab TA, and that's something I'm really proud of.' It's OK to be proud of your own achievements! Selectively highlighting a few make your application stand out from the rest."
Medical students must be dedicated and focused. "A significant amount of personal sacrifice comes along with the training, and if you don't have a great motivation, you won't find the sacrifice worth the reward," says Dr. Carlson. If you can answer yes to these questions, or you're willing to find the resources to work to develop any of these vital skills you could improve, you increase your chances of being able to accomplish what it takes to be accepted into medical school.
Compassionate people are kind. They are aware of suffering in the self and other living things, and they want to help alleviate suffering. Mature people are able to accept responsibility. They are considerate of others, patient, and supportive of others, among other qualities. Emotionally intelligent people are aware of their emotions. They can harness and apply their emotions to problem-solving and other tasks and manage emotions—like being able to cheer up yourself, or other people, or to infuse calm into a situation.
Hard-working people are conscientious about correctly performing duties and tasks on time. They are willing to put in the hours necessary to achieve goals.
High-achieving people are motivated to set and complete ambitious goals. They have a passion to excel in the field they choose to work in and are not daunted by obstacles.
Socially conscious people strive to stay informed and aware about the world around them, including how people interact with the economy, education, and both physical and social environments.
People with quantitative skills can perform analyses and other concrete and measurable tasks. Two examples of quantitative skills are data interpretation and math. People with qualitative skills are able to perform broad skills. Resilience and creativity are two examples of qualitative skills.
Michigan Tech's placement rate into medical school is 60 to 70 percent (well above the national average) and is nearly 100 percent for physical therapy school. Choose a pre-health profession and prepare for your future today.
As a pioneer in the medical alert industry, Life Alert has a long track record of providing personal emergency medical assistance. “We’re not the cheapest, but we’re the best,” said a spokesperson for the company. Life Alert costs $69 to $89 per month, depending on the medical alert system you choose, and the company requires a 36-month membership. You can’t buy a system directly from Life Alert’s website. You’re required to call for a brochure with more information about products and pricing.
Competitors offer a more streamlined purchasing process, flexible payment models and other features. Here’s a rundown of three top contenders.
MobileHelp offers a range of products for the home and on the go use, including the MobileHelp Complete Protection System (DUO) Medical Alert system. This product features a cellular base station for your home, a mobile alert device with a lanyard to wear when you’re out, a charging station for the mobile device and a neck pendant or wrist pendant/fall button. This button can detect a fall and alert the emergency response center, even if you can’t push the help button.
Prices range from $19.95 to $54.95 per month, with discounts available for annual payment. A long-term contract isn’t required. MobileHelp’s website offers complete product and pricing information, without requiring you to call for more information.
The MobileHelp system doesn’t require a landline or a wireless service contract to operate. Just plug it into an outlet, and follow the setup process. MobileHelp’s service is only usable/available in areas of the U.S. with AT&T cellular service, which may make it inaccessible if you live in rural areas where AT&T cellular service is spotty or nonexistent.
MobileHelp offers patented fall and impact detection on its wearable help button pendant or wristband. Its fall detection technology offers patented motion sensor and impact sensor technology, with a built-in delay of 20 seconds, which helps eliminate false alarms. If movement doesn’t occur for 20 seconds of a detected fall, MobileHelp will contact emergency services for you.
One Call Alert is marketed through pharmacies and doctor’s offices. MobileHelp recently acquired the company to increase market share.
Although One Call Alert and MobileHelp have different websites, they are the same company, with the same products and pricing and the same fall detection and impact sensor technology in their wearable help button.
The GetSafe medical alert system is home-based, with emergency call button products available for homes of all sizes, based on the number of bedrooms. Upfront equipment costs vary from $79 (zero to one bedroom) to $279 (four to bedrooms), but the monthly cost is $24.95 per month no matter which system you choose.
All GetSafe systems include AT&T 4G LTE cellular coverage to operate; a landline isn’t required. To activate the system, users must say “Call 9-1-1” twice near a GetSafe call button that you place throughout your home.
Referring to its products as “medical alert systems you don’t have to wear,” GetSafe does not offer an on-the-go mobile lanyard or wristband option. Fall and impact sensor detection is not available.
Having done other at-home DNA tests, I was excited to try MyHeritage DNA and see how it compared.
The kit arrived over a week after placing the order. I immediately opened it and registered online. It asked for some information I wasn’t comfortable giving up, like names of grandparents. MyHeritage likely assumes most people are taking the test to try and find other relatives.
I, on the other hand, was more curious about my personal ethnicity, as I have a great-grandparent who was adopted. The most interesting info for me is knowing which ethnicities might be behind my features.
After registering my DNA kit, I set about swabbing both sides of my cheeks, as instructed. You receive two swabs, two vials with processing liquid inside, a plastic baggie and a pre-addressed envelope to put the sample in when you’re done. After swabbing, you’re instructed to insert the sample into one of the vials, breaking off the remainder of the stick before sealing the vial.
Once both vials are closed tightly, you place them in the plastic bag on a cotton pad, slide the plastic bag into the return envelope and head to the post office to mail it off. It cost me about $5 to send the test back to the lab (and I had to pay for postage to have the kit sent to me as well).
Throughout the process, I was alerted by MyHeritage DNA every step of the way. I appreciated that communication so I knew my sample had been received and was being processed. Though it said it could take about four weeks to get results, I received a notification in just over two weeks that my results were ready.
I was excited to go online and see what it said, only to find myself a little disappointed with the outcome. The ethnicity estimates felt very general compared to another DNA test I’d taken. For example, my results said I was nearly 76% North and West European. And that could include France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and part of Denmark.
While I know I have some relatives with German ancestry, with the broad-strokes results of this test, I felt like It didn’t tell me anything. Some of the other percentages also felt inaccurate with what I know of my family’s lineage—for example, it said I’m only 6% English, but most of my mom’s side of the family is of British origin and in another test, I was told I was 35% British which seemed way more probable. It was interesting to me to read in other online reviews that different users felt the way I did and questioned the veracity of their results.
The genetic groupings I received felt a little more specific as it correctly pinpointed that I had relatives in the Northeast and Midwest of the U.S., as well as the U.K. (and I know that’s correct from what I know of my family tree). Once again, it was just a broad categorization. My results had high confidence that I was part of a group that had some British, Irish and German settlers in the “Northeastern and Midwestern USA and Canada (Ontario) #2” genetic grouping, but they didn’t tell me who I was related to. There were 14,308 other people who also fell in this category.
The number of DNA matches presented felt big to me, and the experts I interviewed concurred. MyHeritage offered me 8,091 DNA matches, but with some of those people, I have as little as 0.1% common DNA.
Even though I thought I’d set my privacy settings fairly tight so I didn’t show up online, I also immediately got an email from a potential distant relative offering me more information about my family tree if I told them my grandparent’s names. This is not someone I’ve ever met and since that wasn’t really my goal, I was not interested.
I was trying to figure out how they found out I was now on the MyHeritage site. I assume they got an email saying they had a new DNA match. The match was only 3.8% shared DNA, which was the highest percentage match I got from my test result.
While making my privacy settings even stricter, I discovered that people who haven’t taken the MyHeritage DNA test can upload their genetic results from another site to MyHeritage for free if they’re trying to find relatives. It seems this site is geared towards those dedicated to finding new relatives or filling out their genealogy charts.
MyHeritage DNA offers other services including chromosomal matching, which felt complicated to me. Even after studying its blog post about it, I couldn’t figure out what I was looking at.
In my experience, this is a reasonably-priced at-home DNA test with quality science behind the methodology. However, the results are not as specific as I’d hoped when it comes to ethnicity. That being said, owing to its long history as a genealogy tracing service, it may help connect people who are trying to build out their family tree.
Amaze Yourself & Discover Your Origins
Uncover your ethnic origins and find new relatives with MyHeritage's simple DNA test.
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The patient had her scan three days later. When she emerged, the technician told her that her doctor would be in touch.
There was something on the M.R.I., Smith told her. A tumor. She was pretty sure it was not malignant, but to be certain, the patient would need a CT scan. Smith explained that she thought the young woman had something known as an osteoid osteoma — an inflammatory tumor that can be seen in people her age. It hadn’t been what she was looking for, and an M.R.I. was not the best way to diagnose it. The young woman looked up the M.R.I. report on her electronic medical record. What she saw scared her. It was, as Smith said, a small tumor, but the report listed other, scarier possibilities as well. Most prominent on that list: cancer. An infection in the bone was also possible. The benign tumor that Smith suspected wasn’t even mentioned.
The CT scan was mercifully quick, and Smith called right away with the answer: It was an osteoid osteoma. Although these poorly understood tumors will resolve on their own after several years, most people who have them end up having them removed. The tumors are quite painful, and the treatment is simple and safe. Under CT guidance, a tiny catheter is introduced through the skin to the tumor, and a probe blasts the tumor with heat. Because the procedure is painful, it is usually done under general anesthesia.
Smith told me that she had seen three patients who had osteoid osteomas. Each time, she discovered it while looking for something else. The tumor is called the great mimicker because it looks like so many other possibilities that are more common or more dangerous.
The patient chose to defer the procedure until after her semester abroad. Then, just at the start of Hanukkah, she went to the operating room. Once the pain medicine she received at the hospital wore off, her hip hurt as it had never hurt before. Her parents discouraged her from using the opiates the surgeon had prescribed, and she survived on ibuprofen and acetaminophen for her first week at home. By the second week, she was fine. “I was lucky,” she told me. Her parents were doctors. They knew how to get her the certified and tests she needed. Still, it took two years to figure this out. It must, she said, be so much harder for those without these advantages.
Lisa Sanders, M.D., is a contributing writer for the magazine. Her latest book is “Diagnosis: Solving the Most Baffling Medical Mysteries.” If you have a solved case to share, write her at Lisa.Sandersmdnyt@gmail.com.
FIRST ON FOX: The baffling death of 22-year-old Lily Ledbetter in the U.S. Virgin Islands remains a mystery after an autopsy revealed little information, according to the medical examiner.
It was basically a negative autopsy," Dr. Francisco Landron told Fox News Digital. "There is no injury, nothing to explain the cause of the death."
The former Auburn University student had been living on the popular tourist island of St. John in the town of Cruz Bay and working at a local animal shelter when she died suddenly.
Local police have come under fire in accurate years for their handling of suspicious deaths amid concerns about the rate of violent crime in the tropical paradise.
JEFFREY EPSTEIN WAS ASKED TO HELP CRAFT VIRGIN ISLANDS SEX OFFENDER LAW BY FIRST LADY
Police received a 911 call at 12:33 p.m. on June 6 from a "citizen" reporting that Ledbetter was unresponsive at her home in the Enighed neighborhood, according to a news release from the Virgin Islands Police Department.
Officers and emergency medical technicians arrived at the home, but Ledbetter had no signs of life, and she was declared dead at 12:53 p.m., the news release says.
Landron, the medical examiner for the U.S. Virgin Islands based in St. Thomas, said they are still awaiting toxicology results.
VIRGIN ISLANDS DEATHS: AMERICANS FACE CRIME, VIOLENCE AMID RISING CONCERNS OVER US TERRITORY'S POLICING
"It could be alcohol. It could be opiates," said Landron, who added that foul play is not suspected.
If the toxicology report doesn't reveal a cause of death, Landron said the next step would be "microscopic studies on tissues such as the heart."
The young woman from Alabama had been working part-time for about two months at the Animal Care Center of St. John, a co-worker told Fox News Digital.
"She was a good person. It’s really sad," said the staffer, who declined to give his name. "She was a wonderful young person, who really liked spending time with the cats and dogs."
BOYFRIEND OF US SWIM CHAMP FOUND DEAD IN VIRGIN ISLANDS CONVICTED IN PENNSYLVANIA TOURIST'S 2007 BEATING DEATH
It wasn't clear if she graduated from the university, which didn't immediately return a request for comment, but her name did not appear on a list of alumni. Her obituary says that she competed with the university's Women's Rowing Club.
"Her sparkling smile, contagious laugh and spice for life inspired everyone she met," her obituary says. "Knowing Lily, loving Lily and being loved by Lily were transforming."
She graduated with honors from Opelika High School in 2019, where she was a member of the dance team, show choir and band.
"To see Lily dance was awe-inspiring," the obituary says. "She was absolutely captivating, and her passion illuminated the stage." She is survived by her parents and two brothers.
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In February, retired U.S. swimming champion Jamie Cali, 42, died after her boyfriend found her unresponsive in her home on St. John.
Local police were criticized for refusing to release the New Hampshire native's cause of death but said they had launched a criminal investigation.
Ashley Papa and Haley Chi-Sing contributed to this report.
Out of context, Three Rivers Ambulance Authority’s wish to provide $1 million in loyalty bonuses sounds outlandish. However, the authority’s executive director has a very narrow range of fiscal incentives to retain employees in a competitive market for first responders.
“I don’t want to lose people,” Joel Benz told The Journal Gazette last Friday afternoon. “I can’t raise the wages enough to be competitive with fire districts, so this is a way to offset that.”
Benz believes several employees will leave Three Rivers to work for the county’s new fire districts, which could offer higher salaries. He said Allen County Fire Department’s plans to hire paramedics starting at $70,000 – about $20,000 more than the ambulance authority’s salary.
Three Rivers can be described as the Oakland A’s situation in the book and film “Moneyball” – a teetering entity perpetually gutted by wealthier teams.
Benz would like to end that, and the bonus structure agreed to by the board is his start. The cash incentive provides paramedics a one-time $25,000 bonus, an $8,000 windfall for EMTs and a $4,000 bump to technicians. Benz says details are still being worked through, but the authority should ensure its plan has strict employment conditions so someone isn’t given a substantial reward only to bolt for a higher- wage job.
Benz wants to tap the $3.5 million fund approved for TRAA earlier this year by Fort Wayne City Council. His proposal does meet one of the conditions set by council that funds could be used to attract and retain staff sufficient to sustain and Improve ambulance services.
Three Rivers is running with 65 full-time employees, he said, though 82 full-timers would be optimal. He’d be OK with 72. Again, this highlights the problem with a quasi-governmental nonprofit, with 70% of its funding from Medicare and Medicaid runs – revenue sources controlled by federal and state money and guidelines.
Three Rivers is better off today than last September when the board scrapped its contract with the ironically named PatientCare EMS Solutions – a company that rarely met expectations or offered innovation.
Despite low pay and low morale, Three Rivers has been the training ground for early-career emergency medical technicians and paramedics. When the ambulance authority’s techs and paramedics gain experience, they become sought-after commodities.
Benz said he has a two-year problem as surrounding fire districts and departments recruit personnel. Those jobs will get filled, and people may stay in those positions for decades. Attrition will decrease naturally. Benz believes the ambulance authority can’t hope to retain people based solely on the tangible benefit of pay but rather on changing the authority’s culture.
“If you talk to a leadership guru, people don’t always jump for salary,” Benz said a few hours before starting an evening shift.
A bonus helps. But there are other factors that suggest why TRAA’s future looks brighter and why retention should improve.
Three Rivers has turned itself from an organization in constant crisis with dangerous response times to a stable team of professionals. As reported on July 22, TRAA met its 81/2-minute response mark on 89.5% of its ambulance runs, up from just 64% the previous year.
Maybe this bonus will avert a personnel crisis, but that doesn’t solve the more significant long-term funding problem for TRAA. How is it that the city’s ambulance service isn’t treated as critical rather than an under-supported player among first responders?
What could bring down costs is if county fire and Three Rivers find ways to use their combined scale to buy supplies or share resources, something Benz believes could provide both financial benefit and camaraderie. He’s even open to sharing software if such an arrangement provides actionable analytics that benefit Allen County.
That’s the kind of community-first thinking we need in public service. It’s also a sign that Benz is serious about culture change at the ambulance authority.
There are a few Apple Vision Pro headsets out in the wild, and recently we got a chance to use one of them. Here's what we thought.
I've known this day was coming for a long time. Rumors have been floating around about this headset for about five years. ARKit was a clear herald that something like the Apple Vision Pro was imminent.
We got a brief demo of the Apple Vision Pro at WWDC. Thanks to a fan of AppleInsider, I recently got an opportunity to spend about two hours with a unit.
If I was allowed to take pictures — and I wasn't — it would be obvious with whom and where I used the headset. So, regretfully, words will have to suffice.
I've used both the Valve Index and HTC Vive a great deal as I own both. I have experience with every Oculus headset that Facebook/Meta has released, and spent some time with Microsoft's now mostly-defunct HoloLens.
Apple's headset is closest to HoloLens in intent, pricing, and use cases, as far as I can tell right now — but developers will ultimately get the final say.
Apple's design ethos is clear in the headset. It's using fabric not dissimilar in feel to AirPods Max ear pads, blended with modern iPhone design. The curved glass is a marvel, and engineered precisely for the cameras and infrared projectors that live underneath it.
Setup was easy. The iPhone does most of the on-boarding in a manner similar to an initial setup of Face ID. A separate step with a vertical head-move scans your ears to tailor spatial audio.
I don't wear glasses or contacts, nor were there lenses available to me to test-fit inside the headset. Looking inside the headset, it's clear where the lenses will magnetically attach.
It's very early, but I would very much like Apple to discuss now how much this will cost. I would also like to know if there will be special lenses available for users with vision cuts from a stroke, hemianopsia, or more dramatic vision issues than just not having 20/20 vision.
The Apple Vision Pro has a wider vertical field of view than anything else I've used. There's no good way to scientifically measure this at the moment, but it feels like there's almost twice the vertical field of vision on Apple Vision Pro, versus HoloLens
The horizontal field of view isn't edge-to-edge. There is an area of black nothingness at the edges of peripheral vision. This is about the same as the other headsets I've used — but also not quite what Apple is trying to demonstrate in materials about the headset.
In the enterprise cases that Apple has put forth, this allows for more natural eye movement to look up just a little, versus moving your entire head and keeping your eyes fixed forward which is more or less what HoloLens required.
The part I've been most skeptical about is how well the Apple Vision Pro passes through the surroundings to the user. The short version is that it does it very well, with crisp and clear images most of the time.
It falls down a little, and some clarity is lost when objects pass through a shadow, or the lighting situation suddenly changes. However, it takes some conscious thought to "see" that there's missing information if the subject is an object or person you know well as your brain fills in some of the gaps.
In that latter scenario where the lighting changes, it adapts quickly to the change.
Interestingly, when in use in room lighting, the internal screens are about the same brightness as the environment. When you take the headset off, there's almost no pupil adjustment time required.
However, when a room is brightly lit, the screens are dimmer, and there's a brief period of pupillary adjustment when you go outside into direct sun.
It's not clear if this will change as the software matures. We'll see in the fullness of time.
The inverse of this, EyeSight, where your eyes are projected on the outside of the device was not available for me to test.
The main interface of Apple's Vision Pro headset is based on navigating using eye tracking and gestures, with the system needing to determine what the user is looking at specifically as quickly as possible. It does this with infrared projection, with technology similar to the dot projector in Face ID.
And, the company appears to have stuck the landing on this. Vision tracking accuracy is very good, without some of the fidgeting that we've seen in the past, in other systems that do the same.
In the future, we feel like this opens the door for more accessibility across a wide range of impairments and disabilities — but more on that as time goes on. There's a reason why I know what vision cuts from a stroke and hemianopsia are, after all.
So, in short, if you can use gestures on your iPhone, migrating to the Apple Vision Pro will be easy. That is, easy as long as you can adjust to doing the gestures in the air.
Thanks to my host, I got to use the one of the apps that they're developing. This particular app trains the users on an industrial process that demands absolute procedural compliance.
Failure in any step can result in damage to a multi-million dollar piece of equipment that could result in failure of other pieces of equipment, or injury to the operator or technicians nearby.
The system in question is already simulated in entirety on the Apple Vision Pro. The pass-through cameras are detailed enough that in a room-light situation, the procedural steps can still be read looking down at a book.
In this simple demonstration, the Apple Vision Pro directs you to the next step, be it a control panel operation or valve manipulation, and shows you where the next step must take place. At present, it doesn't watch for the action, or require a simulated action by the user, but I've been told that they believe that they can use the Apple Vision Pro cameras to watch for proper operation.
At present, there aren't any QR codes in the manual or any way to take longer than the tutorial allows between steps. The developers of the app I spoke to say that they will see if that can be implemented, or live text-reading from the book using the Apple Vision Pro cameras can be done in the future.
So, in summary, the headset allows the wearer to train without fear on a process that if not followed properly can result in damage to the machinery, or injury to the user. And it does it all without harm to either, even if things go terribly wrong.
Early testers already got to use Safari in a limited fashion. I can confirm that it works, as long as nearly every single web standard is followed.
Some narrow type styles don't read well on the headset. Some design elements just don't work on the headset very well. Infinitely scrolling websites including Apple's product pages also don't read well, and some avant garde designs with custom user interface elements just aren't navigable.
I don't think that this is going to cause a revolution or devolution in web design, for no other reason than Apple Vision Pro won't be a major player in browser share. It is something that web developers might want to keep in the back of their heads, though, and assess as the platform evolves.
As part of my testing, I used a few of my favorite iPad apps. The virtual keyboard works fine, but takes some getting used to. I've struggled here to describe how it takes some getting used to, but words fail — suffice it to say that you won't be typing as fast on Apple Vision Pro as you do on your iPad, MacBook Pro, or external keyboard.
Every productivity app we tested works fine. In most cases, though, you should consider if the Apple Vision Pro is the best place to use the app. For instance, PDF readers work fine, but the iPad is a better platform for most to read on, versus on a floating window on your Apple Vision Pro.
Games are still rough, and Game Center is effectively illegible — but I expect this will clear up with time. Touch actions aren't always being captured, and this is fine for strategy games for the most part, but terrible for timing-sensitive ones.
Unfortunately, the environment I was testing in didn't allow for use of the Mac Virtual Display — but I've been told it works well.
In the early days of the iPad, most of the apps available were iPhone apps, upscaled for the iPad. This doesn't feel much different. Apps that use the key features of the new platform will fare better, and be better user experiences.
Ultimately, hammering those apps into shape is the main reason why we think that the Apple Vision Pro has been announced when it has, in the given form-factor and price. More on that thought in a bit, though.
The Apple Vision Pro speakers are small, and it's clear that Apple has moved what it has learned from AirPods and even MacBook speakers to the headset. Audio is clear and crisp, and sufficiently loud for media consumption.
What it is not, is all-encompassing. Apple has made a conscious decision to keep the audio off-ear, like in the Valve Index, to keep the wearer grounded in the space.
This makes the audio experience more like when you're listening to media on your computer, versus on AirPods Max or the like.
This is fine, and by design. Apple has made it clear that it doesn't want to isolate Apple Vision Pro users from other people or surroundings, and this is about the best way you can do that with a headset.
It's not clear if there's a way to use AirPods in conjunction with the Apple Vision Pro, and I'm not sure if Apple wants you to anyway.
Whatever the Apple Vision Pro battery ends up being called, it's relatively unobtrusive in a pocket or on a desk. Battery life is still a little rough probably because of device analytics at the moment, with us getting a bit over a hour of use without external charge. We're expecting this to radically Improve as the software evolves.
The USB-C port works as a pass-through like the MagSafe Battery Pack does with Lightning and the iPhone — it will charge the battery and power the headset simultaneously, with a 60W USB-C PD charger. A 30W USB-C charger will power the device fully or charge the battery, and less than that will supply some power, but not enough to keep the battery topped off.
And again, this is something that developers will ultimately decide, but most use cases we've seen so far are mostly stationary. I don't think it's going to be a major crisis to keep the headset attached to a USB-C power source near constantly.
The headset in use weighs a hair over a pound on the head. It's balanced well with just the back-strap especially after you crank on the knob to get the tightness right. Over the course of the hour and a half or so I got to use the headset after setup, some light neck fatigue set in. Other headsets like the Valve Index are worse, though.
Given the use of other headsets, at this point, I was expecting some mild eyestrain to set in. Semi-surprisingly, I didn't get any, but that may be attributable to the display tech that Apple is using, or some other undocumented Apple tech shenanigans.
We've seen images of a top-strap, but I didn't have one available to use. I think that this is more for bigger hair or differently-shaped heads than mine, more than for limiting fatigue.
And, it's a little warm in practical use. Inside the headset, it's a bit warmer than the exterior air, and that becomes obvious after about an hour — but not uncomfortable.
Cool air is drawn in to cool the electronics through vents on the bottom of the headset and exhausted through the top vents. This appears to be done with a very small fan, with Apple engineering keeping the fan quieter than ambient noise.
As it did with the iPhone, there are other products (mostly) in the same category as the Apple Vision Pro. Apple has never needed to be first to something. It's always taken the time, and iterated on a concept internally, before releasing a genre-defining product.
The Apple Vision Pro defines the genre for sure — at the very-high end. This time, intentionally, they aimed too high on cost for the consumer.
Instead, the company has decided to make aspirational technology. The Apple Vision Pro, as it stands, I feel is what Apple wants the market to be shooting for, going forward.
It will immediately be adopted in enterprise. It will take more time and convincing for the general public.
There's still a lot of work to do on the operating system and presentation, and understandably so. The headset is a phenomenal piece of engineering, and to completely exercise that technology, the operating system and development tools are going to need a lot of iteration not just before launch, but for years afterwards.
Just like the iPhone did, and does.
Apple won't be the ones who say who and what the Apple Vision Pro is for, nor will it for what we expect we'll see in about two years in an Apple Vision non-Pro headset.
Developers are the one who are ultimately going to tell the true tale of what to use the Apple Vision Pro for. And, it's good that they have the hardware now, and not five days before launch.
And like with the iPhone and iPad, Apple Vision Pro won't be the best tool for everything, and everybody. I still feel studying and surfing are better on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, for instance, and other apps will require a more conventional interface.
But, like I got the incredible privilege to test, things like industrial training could be spectacular when fully implemented on Apple Vision Pro. It's easy to see medical implementations coming to the Apple Vision Pro to learn and perform treatments, perhaps guided by a professional, and other tasks being ported to the Apple Vision Pro.
And, I'm very excited to see how 3D video recording and playback work, when they're eventually available. Full FaceTime Persona generation looks like it will be impressive, but we'll see with time.
Apple says the Apple Vision Pro will become available in early 2024. Let's be patient and see what pops out, even if they don't make that date, because what's already been delivered to a select few is impressive enough.