February 2013 Updates


On Wednesday, February 6, SCOMSA held its second meeting of the spring semester in the Dean’s Conference room. The minutes from the meeting are included in the following link: February SCOMSA Meeting Minutes.


Student Group Activities:

Global Health Equity Program


Dr. Demet Güral is Pathfinder International’s Vice President of Technical and Program Strengthening and a physician and a public health specialist with more than 25 years of experience in sexual and reproductive health programs and primary health care management. She spoke at BUSM as part of the Global Health Equity Program’s Speaker Series, which seeks to bring innovative speakers to BUSM as a way to promote student interest and involvement in global health equity. Her well-attended talk focused on the provision of sexual and reproductive health in wide variety of international settings.

BUSM Historical Society


Dr. Brust’s talk, co-hosted by the BUSM Historical Society and Sullivan Academy, was a great success! Lots of students, faculty, deans, and alumni turned out to hear Dr. Brust talk about the history of BUSM, from its early days as the New England Female Medical College all the way through to the modern day. In case you missed the event, it was videotaped and the recording will be made available soon. As always, keep your eyes and ears open for more upcoming events from the Academies and from the BUSM Historical Society!

Family Medicine Interest Group


On February 6th, the Family Medicine Interest Group hosted a lunch talk on Homelessness and Addictions given by Dr. Jim O’Connell. Dr. O’Connell graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1982, and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1985. In 1985, Dr. O’Connell began fulltime clinical work with homeless individuals as the founding physician of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program. Dr. O’Connell is now President of the program, which serves over 11,000 homeless persons each year in two hospital-based clinics and over 75 shelters and other outreach sites in Boston. Working with the MGH Laboratory of Computer Science, Dr. O’Connell designed and implemented the nation’s first computerized medical record for a homeless program in 1995. 

Dr. O’Connell spoke to students about common barriers faced in caring for homeless patients and some strategies to think about when treating the most vulnerable individuals. The talk was attended by over 60 students and many raised thoughtful questions about how best to care for this population. The overwhelming interest in this subject shown by the student body serves as a testament to the fact that BMC’s mission of serving the underserved resonates with many students. Further programming in adovcacy and training on working with hard to reach populations is not only wanted, but very much needed in order to best care for our future patients.


Latino Medical Student Association


On 1/30/13, BUSM’s LMSA hosted a lunch talk on “Language Barriers and Medical Interpretation.” Our speaker was Dr. Eric Hardt, Associate Professor of Medicine and Board Director of the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters, who works in the Department of Geriatrics at BMC. Dr. Hardt discussed research outcomes that have shown the importance of facilitating medical interpretation for patients with limited English proficiency and how policy has changed in the last 25 years requiring health-care institutions to provide interpreter services. In addition, Dr. Hardt touched on how BMC deals with issues of language barriers through its Interpreter Services, and how students can feel more comfortable using medical interpretation in their future patient encounters as to minimize language-based disparities and deliver better care. 

Overall, LMSA was honored to have Dr. Hardt as a speaker and to have a wonderful turnout (~38 people) from our student body. Thanks to Dr. Ortega, our faculty advisor, we were able to raise the supplemental funds needed to make this event possible. Catering was provided by Grille 705.

To learn more about LMSA and learn about upcoming events, like our Facebook page: facebook.com/busmlatino.


Medicine and Business Association


Leadership in Medicine: Occupational Medicine as a Career Path combining Academics, Administration and ConsultingJanuary 23, 2013 

Dr. Stephanos Kales, Chief of Occupational & Environmental Medicine and Medical Director for Employee Health & Industrial Medicine at the Cambridge Health Alliance, presented the field of occupational health and the pathway leading to it to first and second year medical students. He described the advantages and disadvantages of going into the field and the various roles a physician can play within it. This is a topic that we are not very exposed to in medical school, making it a unique talk. Dr. Kales went on to describe his role as a medical director and the way that he obtained this position. He discussed his various responsibilities and the tasks of a leader in medicine. This was an amazing talk that numerous people enjoyed and we hope to have Dr. Kales come speak again. The Medicine and Business Association will be hosting more talks just like this one as well as workshops to expose medical students to the business and leadership side of medicine.




The Student Nutrition Action and Awareness Council (SNAAC) hosted a lunch talk given by Kathy Ireland, a clinical dietitian who works at the Nutrition for Life Clinic at BMC, on January 14th from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. There were approximately 30 people in attendance. Her talk focused on how to eat healthy while on a budget. She gave great tips on navigating grocery stores, how to read nutrition labels, and how to purchase cost effectively. SNAAC will be having two more lunch talks this semester, one of which will most likely be on the topic of maternal nutrition during breast feeding. Consider attending one of these exciting lunch talks hosted by SNAAC.

Student Interest Group in Neurology


On January 10, Dr. Anna Hohler of the Department of Neurology brought to the event a patient from her clinic to demonstrate a neurological exam. First and second year medical students attended and had the opportunity to hear from a patient about their experiences with their diagnosis and ask the patient questions. Dr. Hohler also described the cause and clinical presentation of Parkinson’s disease and demonstrated parts of the neurological exam.

Global Health Equity Program


The Global Health Equity Program is student-run group dedicated to facilitating the study and promotion of global health equity among the BUSM community. As a part of this mission, we have established a speaker series, which we hope will stimulate discussion and provide inspiration to get involved with global health. 

As part of this series, we hosted Dr. Rishi Rattan, a surgical resident at Tufts who works with Physicians for Haiti. Dr. Rattan collaborates with the Haitian government to strengthen their water infrastructure, and advises the United Nations on its responsibilities with respect to Haiti’s water security. His talk focused on the social justice perspective of physician activism in underprivileged areas.

About thirty people from throughout the BMC community attended this talk.




Student Research Presented at National Conferences:

Charles Gruver


The experience I had at the 8th Annual Academic Surgical Congress was phenomenal. General surgeons, researchers, and medical students traveled from across the country to present original research, test out new ideas, and engage in dialogue for the betterment of surgical practices. I had the opportunity to present research regarding the prevention of adhesions, which normally occur as inevitable sequelae of open abdominopelvic surgery. Specifically, I gave a PowerPoint podium presentation on how the histone deacetylase inhibitor sodium valproate modules the in-vitro expression of known adhesiogenic genes, and how these biochemical pathways may be promising therapeutic targets. The talk went smoothly, and the poignant questions that I received from established surgeons, all of whom displayed genuine interest in my research, highlighted the easily forgotten connection between bench research and clinical practice. Lastly, the suggestions I received from other researchers helped spawn new goals for the continuation of the research already. conducted.

Brian Currie


I attended the 8th Annual Academic Surgical Congress in New Orleans on February 5th 2013 to present my research on adhesiogenic pathways induced by open abdominopelvic surgeries. As a joint venture between the Association for Academic Surgery and the Society of University Surgeons, the conference is an opportunity to “hear and discuss the latest scientific advances in all disciplines pertinent to academic surgery.” These investigations were conducted in the laboratory of Dr. Arthur Stucchi in the Department of Surgery here at BUMC. 



Student Attendance at National Conferences:

Department of Molecular Medicine


I recently attended a Keystone symposium titled Mitochondria, Metabolism and Myocardial Function. This event allowed me to connect with internationally-renowned researchers in the field in order to further my research in cardiac lipid accumulation and mitochondrial dysfunction. Characteristic of a Keystone conference, unpublished results from basic science as well as clinical research were presented over the course of four days, which has afforded me some valuable insight into the field as I continue to forge collaborations and build my dissertation project. 

~Aly Elezaby

Student National Medical Association


The conference that I attended was this year’s third and final National Leadership Institute (NLI)– of
the administrative year, Friday, January 25 – Sunday, January 27, 2013 in Las Vegas, NV. The host
for this quarter’s meeting is the University of Nevada School of Medicine‐Las Vegas campus.
This training session is for all members including those currently holding or interested in SNMA
leadership positions at the Chapter, Regional and National levels. We do encourage those
considering national and regional leadership positions for the 2013‐2014 administrative year to

The January NLI will focus on providing attendees with the tools necessary to fulfill personal
goals of academic and personal success. Sessions include Board Development lead by the
SNMA Strategic Planning Council, residency panels, and a keynote speaker from our host
institution! The SNMA has an important mission focused on both the advancement of our
membership and the betterment of our community. It is only through the effective
development of future leaders of medicine that these goals will be met.

~Michael Harrell



The AMA/MMS held a policy update of the upcoming effects of Obama Care and its impacts on legislation. Ankit Agarwal, a second year, held a presentation that included the future trajectory of healthcare in Massachusetts. Forty students attended to engage this topic and join both the AMA national association and the MMS. 

~David Matherly

Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine