Alice Ma, MD

    Alice Ma, MD

    Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill
    • Summertime Blues Saturday, September 1st, 2018

      At the time of writing this column, the calendar has just turned to August and another July has come and gone. There’s plenty of lore about the “July effect” in a teaching hospital. The staff and faculty are a little more on edge. The newbies are anxious, and – well – new. Some of the [...]

    • Not What I Signed up For Thursday, March 1st, 2018

      Last month, while at a mandatory conference at our hospital and idly checking my email, a note from my nurse caught my attention: “Dr. Ma, can you call me now or let me know where you are?” I replied, “In a meeting – I’ll let you know when the session lets out.” My nurse’s next [...]

    • With a Little Help From My Friends Sunday, October 1st, 2017

      “Do you have a second to talk about a case?” It’s a line heard on phones and in offices the world over. A colleague, stumped by a patient outside his or her experience, reaches out to phone a friend. As a coagulation specialist secure in my ivory (or Tar Heel blue) tower, when the inquiry [...]

    • Making a Hematology Wishlist, and Checking it Twice Sunday, January 1st, 2017

      Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s 2017 already? Another holiday season passed, another calendar page flipped, another year gone by. I thought that I was pretty good this year, earning a spot on the “nice” list, but Santa still didn’t leave all the presents I wanted under the tree. Here’s a sampling of gifts [...]

    • Choosing Between Treatment Strategies for Patients With Acquired Hemophilia A Saturday, October 1st, 2016

      Acquired hemophilia A (AHA) is a rare bleeding disorder in which patients develop inhibitors against clotting factors – most often factor VIII (FVIII). For nearly 10 years, the standard of care for the treatment of AHA was either recombinant factor VIIa (rFVIIa) or FVIII inhibitor bypass activity (FEIBA), known as a “bypassing agent” because it [...]

    • Magical Thinking Friday, July 1st, 2016

      Okay, I confess. I exhibit magical thinking. I believe in jinxes, in woo woo, and in all of the medical lore and superstitions I learned as a resident. My superstitions are limited to the realm of medicine, though. I don’t care when Friday the 13th rolls around, or when black cats cross my path, or [...]

    • How I Teach the Coagulation Cascade Friday, April 1st, 2016

      In this issue, Alice Ma, MD, shares her advice for teaching the coagulation cascade – to hematologists and non-hematologists, medical students, and attendings. Why is the coagulation cascade such a pain to teach – and to learn? The first and most obvious problem: Coagulation is written in Roman numerals. Right off the bat, we Arabic [...]

    • Replenishing the Ranks: We Need Some New Hematologists … Friday, January 1st, 2016

      One of my attendings once mourned that we – non-neoplastic hematologists, that is – were the dinosaurs in the last days before the asteroid hit. I was flattered that I, as a mere fellow, was included in the select soon-to-be extinct group. I was, and am still, excited to pursue a career path that relatively [...]

    • Benign Hematology Isn’t So Benign Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

      As a benign hematologist, I get a lot of questions about what I do and the kind of medicine I practice. When my parents want to tell their friends what type of doctor I am, they’re usually met with confused questions. My parents: “She’s a hematologist – you know, a blood doctor.” Friend: “So she [...]

    • Work-Life Balance: Something’s Gotta Give Friday, May 1st, 2015

      Today, the term “work-life balance” is ubiquitous in discussions about our working lives, and everyone has an opinion about its validity, how we can better achieve it, and why it’s so good for us. For all the advice and conversation about this topic, though, we still face the same problem: There are only 24 hours [...]

    • A New Year, A New Set of Resolutions Thursday, January 1st, 2015

      It's the dawn of a new year, and I’m sure this is one of many columns in many different publications you will read in which the author details his or her goals for the coming year. Personally, I always try to come up with a list of resolutions, with the hope that completing them will [...]

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