Today’s podcast is with Shailin Thomas (@shailinthomas), who is a fifth-year student (and third year medical student) in a joint MD/JD program between Harvard Law School and the New York University School of Medicine. He received his B.S. from Yale University where he stuied cognitive neuroscience—exploring the anatomy and hysiology behind social phenomena. His interests lie at the intersection of clinical medicine and the legal forces that shape it. Prior to graduate school, Shailin worked on both the administrative and clinical sides of health care, and as a research associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

While in graduate school, he has served as a Student Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, and as an Admissions Ambassador with the NYU School of Medicine Office of Admissions — helping to recruit the next generation of physician leaders. His writing has been published in a number of outlets, including the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Podcast Episode Summary

  • 1:16 – How he’s every Asian-American immigrant’s dream for their son (going to Harvard, becoming a doctor and a lawyer…need I say more?)
  • 2:12 – Why he decided to go into an eternity of schooling (and is deciding to go through with residency)
  • 8:36 – How he took his gap years and why he worked at Harvard before he became a medical student
  • 10:16 – How he reasons through topics in health law and how he finds topics to write about
  • 22:54 – The origins of health law and how we can design a better liability penalties and design framework for the healthcare system
  • 31:00 – How to balance deregulation in the healthcare industry with a legal solace for patients to get the right treatment
  • 34:51 – His opinions on healthcare coverage and how they impact patient care; how he addresses my devil’s advocate comments about shielding cost from consumers and the implications of moral hazard
  • and more!


Shailin’s Twitter


“If you’re trying to get in to someone’s, to a patient’s record that’s on your floor or whatever, and that patient has some connection to the hospital, it makes you put in your password like four times and like it just prolongs the process, to looking at this patient’s chart by like, five minutes, which, you know, yes, doesn’t seem like it’s that big of a deal. But it’s a huge frustration to the clinician. And I think a lot of them sort of understand in theory, why that exists. But the frustration is certainly real.”

“But whenever I read something, and think, and get like mad about it, I’m like, That’s not right. Like, that’s crazy. Those are sort of the things that really spur me to, to want to look into them more to want to write about them. Almost all of the pieces that I’ve written, over the years, were spurred by finding out about something and thinking like, that’s crazy, that shouldn’t be the case.”

“So I actually took that advice. And I did probably 75% of my pr- med requirements in college, but I didn’t do all of them. And that allowed me to take a wide array of other things like I took intro economics micro macro, I took intro to ethics in the philosophy of philosophy department, I was able to sort of sample a ton of things, which actually, I think, made for a much more robust educational experience.”

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