Denene was in Chicago this week, by invitation, to participate in a meeting of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners. The team was here to review questions submitted for the national medical boards. In other words, she and fellow experts (Denene is the microbiology expert of the team) were here to vet questions for the board exams. These exams are the tests medical students must pass to become physicians.

Denene’s portion of the questions make up a big part of the very first board exam, along with others in tests along the course of study. Prior to taking the tests, student doctors participate in classroom and lab for the first 2 yrs of medical school. Once they’ve successfully completed the exam they’re set to begin their first rotations at local hospitals and clinics.

Next are written exams followed by the practical portion (bedside consultation with actors who’re trained as professional patients). Very realistic. This practical portion takes place in a realistic doctor’s office exam room, which just happens to be a room fitted with equipment to record all audio and video. This all takes place with examiners looking on from behind a two-way mirror like those seen in police interrogation rooms.

Following the completion of all exams and practical sessions, each student doctor receives their medical degree. However, they must first select a residency in the field of medicine they want to practice—board scores often determine which path the new doctors must follow. Then they enter the residency, take more tests, and then they become full-fledged physicians. The field of medicine determines the length of residency. Some may be as quick as two years and some up to five years, or so.

Yep, I married a genius who also successfully developed drugs for cystic fibrosis and bacterial pneumonia (both are on the market), managed a biotech company that worked on top secret government bioterrorism projects, was senior director of a biotech company, traveled the world managing successful clinical trials and then she and her team presented her findings to the FDA for successful approval, and so much more.

Me, I’ve been a bit under the weather the entire stay. Almost cancelled the trip because I didn’t think I could make. But I did, and spent my time hanging out at the hotel, writing, observing, reading, and, as always, working on the Writers’ Police Academy. And let me tell you, we are working on some spectacular … oops, almost spilled the beans. 🙂

But I was able to pull it together long enough for Denene and me to join my buddy Doug Cummings for dinner one night.

Doug was nice enough to brave commute traffic to drop by and pick us up from the hotel. Doug’s a wonderful author who spent some time working as a deputy sheriff, but left to serve twenty-five years as a television and radio reporter covering crime, much of that time in Chicago and nearby suburbs.

Please do stop by Doug’s website to learn more about him and his writing. You’ll be glad you did.

Anyway, at this moment, I’m in Chicago at the airport with my wife, the genius. And we’re on the way home!