The podcast Short White Coat Syndrome finds its voice

April 06, 2022

Logo of the Short White Coat Syndrome Podcast

Healthcare students can be isolated in their studies, but a new podcast is connecting prospective physician assistants to members from all levels of the PA community.

The Short White Coat Syndrome Podcast debuted in February under the advisement of Shahana Lee Theriault, clinical assistant professor of physician assistant studies. It took about a year to develop the idea, identify the mission of the project, the genre, the target audience, the content and its purpose.

“We focused on creating a framework, how often the show would be, choosing topics, if we’d have guests and who they’d be and how topics would flow from season to season,” said Theriault.

Once the Department of Community Programming approved the project, Theriault met with PA students to field their interest.

“My hope is that the podcast gives students the opportunity to dive into topics that are centered around healthcare that might be uncomfortable but necessary to discuss,” she said. “As I grew this idea, my goal was it to be a student-run experience, to give them the chance to develop leadership skills in a more modern way.”

Six episodes in, the Short White Coat Syndrome Podcast is becoming a distinct voice in the medical podcast space. The program is downloaded across the country, and there are a few international downloads as well, said Theriault.

“Our audience includes students, alumni and preceptors in the community. Listeners span from the undergrad level to colleagues of ours. Students on rotations are sharing the podcast as well,” she said.

Our mission is to give insight to prospective and current PA students as well as practicing PAs in the field.

“From a day in the life of a PA to what a PA is, we seek to engage our audience and have healthy conversations to foster a better understanding of our profession, as well as improve the practice of current PAs and PA students,” said David Cooper ’22, one of the podcast’s hosts.

Providing clarity around the PA field is particularly important to the podcast’s staff, and preliminary episodes explored the process of getting into PA school and what happens next.

“Our first season has been built around the process of going from a pre-PA student to the didactic year PA student and concluding with the clinical year PA student. A lot of our upcoming episodes will be focused on PA specialties and other niche areas of PA care,” said Brett Barnes ’22.

Viewers are appreciative of this content, and frequently reach out to the podcast’s Instagram profile with messages of gratitude, said Theriault.

“One of the hardest aspects of knowing what area you want to work in is not knowing the specifics of the day-to-day work, so our hope is to provide PA students and pre-PAs with education on various work environments,” said Amelia Maurer ’22.

Upcoming episodes will focus on PA specialties and niches in the field.

“The vision for our podcast is to foster a conversation, not an interview, which is what makes the episodes a pleasure to record,” said Cooper. “We have already had a couple of episodes where we didn't use our drafted script and brought out a lot of passion from our interviewees who provided great insight and content for us.”

Current podcasters will soon reach out to the Class of 2023 to recruit and train the next generation of Short White Coat Syndrome’s crew.

“From a faculty perspective, the podcast showcases the quality of our program, and how involved and invested our students are. From a university perspective, I hope it can help new develop relations with PAs and other medically minded people across the country,” said Theriault. “The podcast gives students a way to identify how they can bridge gaps in healthcare, and how their experience can translate into the clinical world.”

The Short White Coat Syndrome Podcast is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts and can be found on Instagram @shortwhitecoatsyndrome.

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