BLOG: The $2 question .




October 14, 2020

2 min read


Biography: Aldasouqi is professor of medicine and chief of the endocrinology division at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in East Lansing.

Disclosures: Aldasouqi reports he is a consultant for public education on biotin interference with laboratory tests for Abbott Diagnostic Laboratories.

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I have a $2 bill that I have kept in my wallet and never spent. At one time, I thought the bill was an antique; perhaps it would be so rare that I could make a fortune if I sold it in an auction for rare bills or coins?

But then I learned that a $2 bill is not rare at all. It is available and you can get the bill from the bank if you request one. Still, I have kept it in my wallet for years.

Source: Adobe Stock

So what is the story behind the $2 question?

Saleh Aldasouqi

About 15 years ago, I started a new tradition in teaching at Michigan State University. As a teaching setting, we have fellows, residents and medical students. Every now and then, I would ask a question (a tough one) and put a dollar amount for the correct answer. The questions were not limited to endocrinology or medicine.

At the start, I asked the first question and offered $20 for the correct answer. I forget what the question was, but I was shocked that a medical resident knew the answer. I handed him a $20 bill. Of course, he hesitated to take it, but I insisted. That experiment was well received. My perspective is that to attract the attention of any audience in any setting, the preceptor or lecturer must use tools and techniques a little bit outside the routine. In lectures, using scattered animations, cartoons, personal pictures, jokes and stories can keep the audience awake. I have learned such techniques from the lectures I have attended over the years.

The same applies to teaching during rounds or in the clinic.

After I lost the $20 in the first experiment, I decided to lower the reward to $5. It was still too much, so I then settled on $1 or $2. Of course, I would never give out the $2 bill that I keep in my pocket, but rather two $1 bills or the equivalent in coins, or combination of a bill and coins depending on what I have in my pocket.

The other day, this was the question to the team of two fellows, two residents and a medical student, which I asked the fellows not to answer, because they know the answer:

We were discussing a case of hyperthyroidism and that the cause of hyperthyroidism is thyroid-stimulating immunoglobin (TSI). We emphasized that both thyroid-stimulating hormone and TSI are stimulators of the thyroid gland. The $2 question was: What is the third stimulator for the thyroid gland?

The medical student knew the answer: Human chorionic gonadotropic, or HCG. The student, Wei-Jen Chua Yankelevich, won the $2.

Nonmedical questions are quite variable and could be anything that crosses the mind about other sciences, news, history or geography.

I have given out numerous $2 awards to fellows, residents and students over the years. However, I kept the $2 just as often or perhaps more often.

So, a question for you: What is the image on the back of the $2 bill?

Answer: The famous painting of the Declaration of Independence, 1776.