Steven's blog

Things I did to study for USMLE Step 2 CK, a 9-hour brain-frying exam

My crazy study schedule with business school and med school events at the same time @_@ Two weeks ago, I took the USMLE Step 2 CK, yet another “step” towards full medical licensure. Studying for this exam was challenging while I juggled final exams for business school (see above), med school graduation activities for my classmates, and preparation for my sub-internships in medical school, but I managed to do it! And now I eagerly await my exam results.

Here’s what I did to prepare for Step 2 CK, and the advice I would give to other med students who must suffer through this 9-hour ordeal:

Our team's Pinnacle AcuShape project made it to the Business Plan Competition finals!

The Pinnacle Therapeutics team!

Friday was one crazy day. Our team’s project, Pinnacle AcuShape, swept the People’s Choice Award and made it to the final 4 contestants after being chosen from a total of 40 teams.

Larry Kim, Ed Wu, Khoa Tu, Mohammed Elayan, and Cyrus Manuel — my teammates — did an amazing amount of work to make this a reality. I made sure all the visuals — including AcuShape’s business plan document and the slides — looked good using my graphic design and desktop publishing layout skills. My team was so well-organized that it was incredibly easy to work with them. It was especially amazing to see my friends’ research in ear-nose-throat surgery transform into a business that attracted many, many judges and venture capitalists. Ray Cohen, the CEO of Minnow Medical, and Dr. Joon You from the Beckman Laser Institute provided an amazing amount of coaching along with stories on their past venture capital deals.

The product, AcuShape, essentially makes cosmetic surgery on cartilage minimally-invasive. You basically stick electrodes into the cartilage, hold the nose/ear/etc with a “mold,” and run a low electric current through the cartilage. It’s much more preferable and affordable than the current treatment, which is surgery. It’s in pre-clinical trials with animal subjects, and already numerous papers have been published on this electroforming experiment.

Here’s a comparison of the two technologies:

Traditional surgery is invasive, has long recovery, is expensive, and requires general anesthesia with associated risks. AcuShape, on the other hand, exacts minimal to no trauma, has a 30-minute recovery period, is cost-effective with incremental corrections, and requires no general anesthesia.

Each box would come with a power supply, controller, and a starting set of disposable molds & electrode needles.

AcuShape’s revenue model could be a razor-blade like model where we could give away the power supply & controller for free, or we could charge for both razor and blade. Either way, since the parts are disposable, we would have a recurring revenue stream.

read more→

Vote for our business plan in the 2011 Business Plan Competition at the UC Irvine Merage School of Business

AcuShape introduction

I need your help!

Some of my classmates — Ed Wu, Larry Kim, Khoa Tu, and I — are trying to start a company, Pinnacle Therapeutics, that produces a medical device that will revolutionize plastic surgery. The device works by inserting thin needle electrodes delivering a small electrical current to painlessly reshape cartilage and tendon. This new device, known as “AcuShape,” will replace the torture of traditional surgery (cutting and bleeding) for reconstructive procedures, and will help prevent injury and risks associated with surgery.

Please vote for us so that we can have win funding needed to fund this project and move it to the next stage of development. You have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of countless people in the future.

Here’s how to vote:

  1. Go to Vator.TV’s Merage Business Plan Competition page .
  2. Scroll down click to vote for “PINNACLE THERAPEUTICS” (they will ask you to log in with a Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter account or register for a new account)
  3. Please feel free to share this event your friends and loved ones.


Thank you for your time and we appreciate your generous support. FOR THOSE THAT HAVE VOTED PLEASE FORGIVE US FOR THE SPAM.

Off to Hawaii for PsychSIGN & American Psychiatric Association conference

PsychSIGN image of a doctor's hands applying bandages to a brain

I’m off to Honolulu for the American Psychiatric Association conference! So exciting! I’ll be there from Wednesday through next Tuesday to help set up the PsychSIGN conference in Honolulu, and relax a little before studying for USMLE Step 2 CK. We’ve got a pretty exciting program, packed with lectures, breakout sessions, and residency panels. I’m especially excited to meet Bob Boland, MD, who works with technology in education & psychiatry, and Monique Yohanan, MD, MPH, who edits Epocrates. I’ve posted the program below. read more→

Singing bass as part of UC Irvine's MEDleys a cappella group

UC Irvine MEDleys a cappella group

I’m now a bass singer! One of my friends invited me to join her UC Irvine School of Medicine’s MEDleys a cappella group about a month or so ago, and it’s been such a thrill being able to sing (head’s up: the MEDleys site will crash your Google Chrome tab process, but if you’re okay with this, check out their site at I never knew music could be so much fun and surprisingly relaxing and therapeutic, especially when I get to sing with friends. They are so amazingly talented and I’m lucky I had a chance to be a part of it.

Jerry Ngo and Bill Winter sing the solos to these songs posted on YouTube. I’m the one with the funny hat. I’ll post others up when I get the chance. read more→

How should physicians maintain an online presence?

For the past 15 years, I’ve maintained a web presence online to showcase my computer arts, source code, and designs. It’s common for software engineers, artists, and web designers to maintain a strong online presence, their own domain, their own blog, with a portfolio and downloadables, and I thought nothing of it while I was at UC Berkeley and while working in Silicon Valley. We students even had web accounts on OCF (a student-run Open Computing Facility) where they gave away free webspace for our own websites.

But when I entered UC Irvine, I realized I was in a very tiny minority of students who had a website.

On the other hand, anyone can still have a web presence by maintaining Twitter feeds, Facebook pages and LinkedIn profiles. Having a web presence doesn’t necessarily equate to having one’s own dedicated domain name. If you include the aforementioned social networking services, then yes — nearly all of my med school classmates have an online presence. For starters, all but one or two students have Facebook accounts. Some of them have private Twitter accounts (mine is public). And all of my MBA classmates actively, aggressively use LinkedIn.

Should medical students have a web presence? And what kind of content should they post? Whom should they target? Friends? Family? Professional contacts? I’ve started realizing that next year, I’m graduating and finally getting the M.D. degree. Should I include patients as a target audience as well? read more→

Going into hiding to study

I'm realizing I still have lots more practice drills to do: a few hundred cases (from First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 Cases) 950 questions (from First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 Q&A) and 2,000 questions (from USMLEWorld) for my licensing exam, so I'm going into major hiding mode until May 21st. In other words, I'll be studying from 5am to 9pm each day (need at least 12 hours each day). And as a backup, I can push back my test date, but I don't want to do that because I dearly want a vacation and go see the Bay Area again before the 30-hour work days or whatever in 3rd year of med school starts.

I've got a freezer full of food, anti-anxiety techniques, a big goal, and a packed schedule. Wish me luck!

read more→

How to survive the transit cuts: Get a folding bicycle!

OCTA's severe transit cuts have made traveling by bus much more unpredictable, spontaneous affairs, and since I need a bicycle to get to places the bus doesn't, I often wait at the bus stop and wonder if the next bus's bicycle racks, like this photo on line 43, will be full. I've been refused to board at least twice within a month because of this unfortunate scenario, and unfortunately, one bus can only carry two bicycles at a time (unless the bus driver generously lets you take your bicycle on board). What to do about it (besides resorting to driving)?

Solution: folding bicycle! read more→

Syndicate content