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Date: Nov 07, 2016
Hofstra Northwell Students Showcase Summer Studies at Scholarship Day 2016
The Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine hosted its fifth annual Scholarship Day on Nov. 2, 2016, featuring the investigative work of nearly 70 students, a group that includes both MD and MD/PhD candidates.
Scholarship Day serves as a forum for new knowledge contributed by medical students in their second year of medical training and beyond. Students can work both individually and collectively on projects. All investigations are guided from start to finish by School of Medicine faculty mentors.
"Mentoring is important in shaping the intellectual and professional development of the next generation of physicians and scientists," said Joel N.H. Stern, PhD, (photo below, standing left) associate professor of science education and neurology at the School of Medicine as well as chair of the Student Research Advisory Committee. "Our faculty has many responsibilities—mentoring students is central to our mission."
School of Medicine students who choose to pursue research studies are invited to submit an abstract and present a poster on their work. A committee made up of School of Medicine faculty reviews all submitted abstracts. On Scholarship Day, students present their work in poster presentations while also verbalizing the basis for their investigations to event participants and attendees comprised of School of Medicine faculty-mentors, students, staff, and guests.
Research is not only about pipettes, test tubes, and microscopes. It is deeply connected to critical and independent thinking, creativity, and most importantly, discovery. This year’s Scholarship Day covered a vast array of topics in basic science, clinical research, community health, medical education, medical humanities, and quality improvement. Medical students took advantage of opportunities to work with leading clinician-scientists in a variety of research settings and institutions, including our vital partners, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL)—the medical school’s newest base for student explorations.
“I looked closely at the research projects at Cold Spring Harbor and found many that evaluated diagnostic strategies and approaches to combatting cancer, an area of interest for me,” said Michael Wotman, a second-year student who examined the effectiveness of drug typically used for alcoholism in treating pancreatic cancer. “I had the chance to work side by side with major contributors to the field; the experience was invaluable."
Classmate Adam Quellete, whose topic was drug discovery related to breast cancer, was impressed by how easy it was to be immersed in the scientific culture associated with the laboratory at CSHL. Alexis Eleni Tchaconas, also a second-year student who conducted a genetics study in autism at CSHL, agreed.
"There is so much history at CSHL, for instance, Dr. James Watson, who helped discover DNA, has served as the lab's director for many years and he still lives on the lab grounds,” said Ms. Tchaconas. “The facility also offers a variety of biological research conferences and courses that bring leaders to the lab to share their latest work—it’s such an exciting environment.”
In addition to bench research, Hofstra Northwell students explored ways to improve medical education, streamline healthcare practice, and enhance the patient experience. These inquiries ranged from assessing leadership traits in first-year students, to using technology to manage and measure treatment compliance in HIV patients, to helping healthcare professionals to connect better and communicate with patients through interactive programs like Tell Me More®.
“With patient consent, the goal of Tell Me More is for healthcare providers to get to know the patient on a more personal level through questions and conversation,” said Kristin Reese, one of a three-member team of second-year students that evaluated the program’s impact in select Northwell Health hospitals. “It is about eliminating depersonalization in medical care and encouraging providers to see the patient as a unique individual.”
Scholarship Day also featured the ongoing studies of Hofstra Northwell student Michael Funaro (photo right with Dr. Stern), the first scholarship recipient of The Cheryl Manne Foundation. The Foundation supports Mr. Funaro's research pursuits in multiple sclerosis, a potentially disabling disease of the central nervous system.
From Pupil to Professional
Whatever the chosen topic or approach, educators at the School of Medicine agree that medical students engaged in research have the ability to take an active role in their prospective field of study, learn about working as part of a healthcare team to achieve best possible outcomes, and hone competencies in critical reasoning—all while also helping to address a growing range of health issues.
"Scholarship Day is an event that reinforces the importance of collaborative and experiential learning," said Dr. Stern. "Research participation can help students gain a better understanding of how treatments are developed, how to evaluate information in a more objective manner, and foster important problem-solving skills that will guide them successfully throughout their careers."
The Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine would like to extend appreciation to The Chasnoff Famly, Meadowbrook Women's Initiative, The Ellis Family, The Cheryl Manne Foundation, The Arnold P. Gold Foundation, and Mr. Dale Zand for their generous support of student summer research. Thanks also to Advantage Testing of Long Island for event sponsorship.
For more information about medical student research activities and faculty mentoring at the School of Medicine, contact Dr. Stern at Joel.N.Stern@hofstra.edu.