And just in time for the brunt of the summer season, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has recommended 13 books perfect for doctors and medical students alike. 

AAMC recommends 13 summer reads for med students, doctors
A person reading a book on a beach

A recent study suggests reading can help fight stress, support better sleep, and even increase an individual’s longevity.

Yet another study suggests spending time by water is good for a person’s well-being.

Between the studies, one could reasonably argue that combining the two – reading by the water/on a beach – can be nothing but good for us.

“One of the top benefits of reading is its ability to reduce stress and promote a calming, warming environment,” wrote Christine Ruggeri, in “The Many Benefits of Reading for Adults and Children.”

“Like meditation, yoga and walks outdoors, reading is an impactful way to manage stress, and it’s one of the best ways to be happy,” she continued.

We’re sold.

And just in time for the brunt of the summer season, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has recommended 13 books perfect for doctors and medical students alike.

From climate change to Southern history to finding identity, AAMC provides a wide range of important reads in the list below:

Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America's Heartland by Jonathan Metzl, M.D., Ph.D.

Metzl examines how in the midst of Donald Trump’s presidency, some of those who support the pledge to “Make America Great Again” end up sacrificing their own health and safety.

He further looks at the racist tendencies and beliefs of some Americans that have affected the demise of the nation. He takes a deep dive at the racist intents by looking at increasing deaths by gun suicide and risign dropout rates as a result of progun laws in Missouri and cuts to schools in Kansas.

Mind, Heart, and Soul: Intellectuals and the Path to Rome by Robert George, J.D.

For those interested in a book about people’s religious reawakening, George and co-author R.J. Snell hopes to inspire the next generation of Catholics. The book talks of people who once lost their faith and their stories on how they were converted back into faith.

From bishops to professors from Harvard to journalists, “Mind, Heart, and Soul” has different looks of people’s faith and how they found their way back to the Church.

The Power of Us: Harnessing Our Shared Identities to Improve Performance, Increase Cooperation, and Promote Social Harmony by Jay Van Bavel, Ph.D.

In “The Power of Us” Bavel, alongside Dominic Packer, explains how one’s identity truly works through their psychology and neuroscience research. With finding one’s identity, they can boost cooperation and productivity, lead effectively, overcome bias and more.

They take time to look at other seemingly random occurrences like why even disproven beliefs tend to stay persistent in people’s minds. With a goal of understanding how identity works, Bavel wants people to begin thinking about who they want to be.

Race Matters by Cornel West, Ph.D.

Originally published in 1993, “Race Matters” examines issues of concern to Black Americans by looking at things and people like Malcom X and the LA riots after the Rodney King Verdict. Now in its 25 anniversary, West explains how these issues are still prevalent in different ways as they were in 1993.

West believes that hope has almost run out for change, and provides an insightful and powerful look into factors holding down African-Americans and what must be done.

Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation by Linda Villarosa

Following her 2018 New York Times article about maternal and infant mortality among Black mothers and babies, Villarosa exposes the American healthcare system and the American society for their treatment of Black people.

She reveals how current medical text’s and instruments carry the false assumptions that Black bodies are different from white bodies. “Under the Skin” looks at how coping with racism ages Black people prematurely, while receiving worse treatment and living in worse neighborhoods with neglect from the government.

Lab Girl and The Story of More by Hope Jahren, Ph.D.

In Jahren’s first book, “Lab Girl” tells the story of her childhood and how her love for her work studying trees, flowers, seeds and soil came to fruition. It also tells the story of her friendship with her lab partner Bill and the adventures that presented themselves on the course of their research.

Three years later, Lahren published “The Story of More” to help people understand the current state of the world and how we got to climate change and the next steps. She describes the inventions that have caused the most impact, but also talks of the tools to fight back with urgency against our habits.

Healing: Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health by Thomas Insel, M.D.

Leaving his position as director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Insel set off to find how the United States and the world can help treat mental health. He finds that we do have treatments and approaches that work, but more than medical cures are needed.

He analyzes the treatment, or lack thereof, of those dealing with mental illnesses with care often being unavailable and unaffordable. “Healing” seeks to provide hope in a time of mental health crisis.

Every Deep-Drawn Breath by Wes Ely, M.D., MPH

Ely seeks to help prevent patients from being harmed by the same devices that are set in place to help them, such as the ICU. He goes through self-reflection and describes how he changed his practices in order to better help his patients, and even convinced others to follow suit.

Ely tells his own personal stories of ICU care he has been a part of as well as his research in hopes to make the ICU a more humane place with “technology plus touch” being the future of healthcare.

The Soul of America, His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and The Power of Hope, and Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music That Made a Nation by Jon Meacham

In his first book recommended by AAMC, “The Soul of America” takes a look at what went on in the background during presidencies like Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. He also explores people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks and their important role in history.

“His Truth Is Marching On” is a review of former Congressman John Lewis’ life and fight for civil rights. The life of Lewis is one filled with faith and willfulness, and his legacy carries on with help of Meacham telling his story.

Lastly, Meacham looks at the songs that have built America like battle hymns of the revolution and songs from events like the Great Depression with the help of singer Tim McGraw. Both perspectives as a journalist and singer combine to tell the history of these songs and how they helped unite America.

South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation by Imani Perry, Ph.D., J.D.

In this memoir of returning to the South, Perry describes her journey with Southernerners and also provides insight to the history of the South. “South to America” tells of how the history and culture of the South is intertwined with the understanding of America.

With the stories of her own ancestors, enslaved people, immigrant communities and more, Perry states that to build a better world and better future of America, the focus must be beyond the Mason-Dixon Line.

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