Class of 2009 Students Share Their Summer Experiences

This document is composed of vignettes written by Class of 2009 B.U. medical students about their summer 2006 experiences. Feel free to contact any of the students with questions; they have volunteered to help!

List of Experiences:


Camp Counselor for Pediatric Oncology Camp by Lauren Fiechtner (laurengf@bu.edu)

I volunteered at Camp Mak-A-Dream in Gold Creek, Montana. This is truly a unique experience – one that reminds you why you came to medical school in the first place. You can volunteer for one week or work there for the entire summer. I have volunteered there for the past three summers; each time for one week. If you get a position for the entire summer you are paid on top of free room and board. As a volunteer you get free room and board and discounted airfare. The camp is situated on an 80,000 acre ranch in Montana and opens its doors each summer to kids who have had cancer or who are currently fighting it. The camp is unique because it attracts kids from all over the country and only allows 40 kids per session – making the camp community a very close knit one.

Clinical Research at University of California-San Francisco by Anna Volerman (volerman@bu.edu)

I participated in clinical research in the Department of Pediatric Nephrology at University of California-San Francisco. This was not a previously organized program. To find the experience, I visited websites of hospitals in the San Francisco Bay area (where I wanted to be for the summer) and e-mailed various physicians and professors (whose contact info I found on the websites) to find out about departments looking for assistance, and then I applied for funding opportunities. Throughout the summer, I worked on a project related to chronic kidney disease in children, shadowed at clinic and in the hospital, and attended grand rounds and various seminars. I gained a better understanding of working with children in a subspecialty setting and learned a lot more about renal function while also being able to explore a city new to me and meet some great people.

Coler-Goldwater Externship, Roosevelt Island, New York City by Matthew Grierson

I really enjoyed my experience in New York City on Roosevelt Island. We had such a beautiful view of Manhattan on “my island,” as I affectionately came to refer to it. The Color-Goldwater Hospital is a very large, but very different hospital from what many of us are used to, and it was interesting to interact with the patients who are treated there. Our experiences varied from day to day, but in general we worked from about 9 or 10 AM until 3 or 4 PM seeing patients and shadowing doctors. We did get to see a couple of procedures: central line placement, PT treatment, OT therapy, gastric tube placement, and many, many tracheostomies; where we were actually able to change a trach tube or two. The living facilities were minimal, and be prepared for a summer full of deli sandwiches from Subway, but considering the expense of living in NYC, it really was a great opportunity (you get free room and board). If you are looking for an experience that will allow you to dabble in medicine (and practice those ICM skills) while experiencing big city life, then this externship is for you. It may not be the best option if you are looking for an ultra-structured learning environment. Some tips, tho: (1) pay attention to the F line schedule, as they tend to really throw you for a loop on the weekends; (2) let each doctor you shadow know exactly what you are interested in learning about, as many of the doctors received international training and don’t exactly understand the dynamics of medical education in America; and (3) make sure you see at least one dance performance at The Joyce Theatre in Chelsea. :) So — go, spend your summer playing around in NYC, and learn a little bit about pulmonary, cardiac, and physical rehab along the way. (Believe it or not, I’m actually using many of the skills I learned there right now in ICM 2!)

Family Medicine Externship in California by Jamie Hoffman (jhoffman@bu.edu)

I completed a Family Medicine Externship at the medical offices of Kaiser Permanente (private group practice), Santa Clarita (Los Angeles), California with Stephen DeVita, M.D. I started by shadowing and getting histories and presenting. I learned exam techniques and saw patients and examined them. It was a great learning experience and great hands-on experience applying my knowledge from the first year of medical school. I got more experience than from ICM.

Medical Students for Choice Reproductive Health Externship by Derek Andelloux (dereka@bu.edu)

The primary goal of the Medical Students for Choice Reproductive Health Externship Program is to fund students’ efforts to obtain clinical exposure to abortion care. I spent 40 hours at the”Four Women” clinic in Attleboro, MA following women as they came in for abortions and reproductive health services, from counseling, to ultrasound/testing, to procedures. Emphasis is placed on following individual patients as they navigate the system, in order to get a better appreciation for the procedure from their point of view.

Medical Student Summer Research Program by Bimal Chaudhari (bimalc@bu.edu)

I undertook research under the preceptorship of V.K. Chetty, Ph.D. and John Wiecha, MD in the Department of Family Medicine at BUMC. The title of my project was: “Development of Improved Diabetes Screening Criteria from a Large National Health Information Database.” I am an MD/MPH candidate and used this project as my MPH practicum for the Epidemiology Department, SPH. I spent the first part of my summer learning a new statistical computing language and writing a basic program to measure the effect of blood pressure in improving screening for type II diabetes. I spent the last couple of weeks beginning work on a manuscript. Students interested in either diabetes screening or epidemiological/biostatistical methods should contact me as there is a good chance similar projects will be available this summer.

Translational Research in Department of Biomedical Engineering at BU by Kevin Luk (khluk@bu.edu)

I undertook research under the preceptorship of Professor Maxim Frank-Kamenetskii, Center for Advanced Biotechnology, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University (Charles River Campus). The title of my project was “in situ amplification/identification of bacterial nosocomial pathogens.” This is a project involved in the development of a rapid in vitro diagnostic kit that can be used to identify blood borne bacterial pathogens. It is a translational research project that does not involve any basic science research. The purpose of the project is to apply the binding characteristics of protein nucleic acid (PNA) in the detection of bacterial pathogens. The bacterium that I worked on was Staphylococcus aureus and a kit that can differentiate between methicillin sensitive and methicllin resistant strains is being developed right now. If you are interested in this experience, contact Dr. Frank-Kamenetskii directly at mfk@bu.edu or me via e-mail.