Summer & September 2013 Updates


On September 4th, SCOMSA held its first meeting of the 2013-2014 academic year in the Dean’s Conference room. Please follow this link to view the meeting’s minutes: SCOMSA Sept 4th Meeting Minutes

Student Group Activities

Christian Medical and Dental Association


The Christian Medical and Dental Association teamed up with the Outreach Van Project and the Homeless Health Immersion Experience for a lunch-time screening of two short documentary films on homelessness to kick off our 5-part Embracing Homelessness series! The documentaries called “Human First” and “Starting Over with Nothing” were shown and served as a platform on which discussion about homeless were based. We broke up into small groups to discuss what we took away from the films, the impact that they had on us, factors that work against those who are trying to get off the streets, and so forth. The discussions were very enriching, and we can’t wait to continue with this series!

APAMSA (Asian Pacific American Medial Student Association)


Event Title: Asian-American Health Care Issues
Speaker: Dr. Teresa Cheng
Date: 9/24/2013
Attendees: 30 1st/2nd year students
Lunch Talk with Vietnamese Sandwiches 

At lunch on Tuesday 9/24, Dr. Teressa Cheng discussed cultural beliefs and health-care issues that affect the Asian-American community. She focused on what students need to consider when caring for Asian populations in the Boston Area. After the talk, attendees had the opportunity to practice their clinical interviewing skills during mock cases that centered around these important topics. Students reflected with the group after the mock cases about their feelings on handling these specific issues. Overall, attendees were able to appreciate the different factors involved in caring for these Asian-American populations.





American Geriatrics Society


On September 6, Dr. Thomas Perls, MD, MPH, spoke on his work with The New England Centenarian Study.
We learned that the ability to live into the 100s has a very strong genetic component. Additionally, there was some discussion of what lifestyle choices and health habits are important. Dr. Perls also spoke of the importance of eating less meat, exercising regularly, and a stress reducing support system(family). Lastly, he warned about the anti-aging gimmicks out there and how to effectively counsel patients on healthy aging. Ultimately, this talk was very important as the current population is living to longer ages and as physicians we’ll have to know how to treat their conditions.

Family Medicine Interest Group


The Family Medicine Interest Group held its first event of the year on Friday September 6th, a lunch time talk about the exciting field of Family Medicine! After a presentation to the first and second year attendees introducing the specialty, we were joined by a current family medicine resident and a fourth year medical student who is applying to family medicine residency programs. They shared their stories about why they chose to go into family medicine, taught us about the various things that a family physician can do, and answered lots of questions.

Ophthalmology Interest Group


Edward Feinberg MD, MPH gave a presentation to learn more about ophthalmology as a career. He also spoke about the different sub-specialties and what the process is like to apply to residency programs. Dr. Feinberg told students the options available to them to get involved in the ophthalmology department. 56 students attended the event.

BU Advocacy Training Program


Dr. Rob Chamberlin, a former BUSM and BUATP student, came to campus to share three tips on becoming a physician advocate. He was introduced by Dr. Witzburg, the original faculty sponsor of the Advocacy program, who also gave closing remarks. Students, residents and faculty enjoyed dinner prior to the talk.



So you know your LGBT (maybe), but how familiar are you with your LGBTQIA? Interested in learning the differences between sex, gender, sexuality, orientation, etc.? Then come to this week’s informative “LGBT Lingo” discussion hosted by MedGLO. Learn the terms that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people use to describe themselves as well as the appropriate ways to apply them in the clinic. All questions welcome and all discussions open and judgement free! A delicious pizza lunch will be provided!



SNAAC hosted Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN for her talk titled, “How to Win the Weight Loss Battle.” She is an expert in the field who has regularly appeared on the Fox TV Morning news nutrition segment with practical nutrition advice. She is also a Clinical Associate Professor from BU Sargent College and has authored several books, including “Nutrition and You, Core Concepts for Good Health”.This was an excellent talk that provided practical information in a very engaging way to help medical students with their personal eating habits as well as give some ideas on how to counsel their future patients.

Integrative Medicine Interest Group


This will be the first lunch talk for the Integrative Medicine Interest Group where Dr. Lisa Conboy will present her research regarding acupuncture therapy for Gulf War Veterans after Agent Orange exposure.

Maimonides Society


Dr. Grodin was the faculty speaker at the “History of the Maimonides Society” lunch. As faculty advisor for the Maimonides Society for more than 30 years, he began by discussing all the different activities and lectures that have occurred in the Maimonides Society in the past. He also discussed Maimonides and how he was both a physician and a Jewish religiousleader. We then spoke about the events that some of the students may be interested in organizing and attending this year. We discussed the possibility of having Jewish Medical Ethics talks in combination with the law school and the exchange program and option of an away rotation fourth year in Israel at Hadassah Hospital.

Clinical Neuroscience Society


The Clinical Neuroscience Society, in collaboration with SCOMSA, welcomed back George Saterial and Dr. Peter Bergethon for their presentation on “The Neurobiology of Magic and the Magic of Neurobiology.” Mr. Saterial opened the show with exciting illusions for the audience of first- and second-year students, followed by a demonstration of how magicians can misdirect our attention to create a successful illusion. Dr. Bergethon then closed the evening by presenting the neuroscience behind perception and illusions, followed by engaging demonstrations of how audience members’ brains could be tricked with proprioceptive or visual inputs.

Student Presentations at National Conferences

American Academy of Otolaryngology-HNS Annual Conference and Expo


Event: American Academy of Otolaryngology-HNS Annual Conference and Expo, Vancouver, CA, Sept 2013
Date: September 28 – October 2, 2013
Attendees: Christopher Tonn 

The AAO-HNS Annual meeting is the largest international annual meeting in the field of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery. This year it was held in Vancouver, CA at the Vancouver Conference Center overlooking the banks of the Vancouver harbor. For five days, the mornings were filled with seminars ranging from how to run a successful private clinic to recent advancements in trauma care and research oral presentations. The afternoons included a variety of lectures, workshops and seminars. In addition to this, the expo center featured a large hall of research posters and vendors catering to the field.
My place in all of this was to set up and present my research poster, entitled “Reduction Chondrolaryngoplasty: No disruption of the suspensory ligaments of the anterior commissure and no sequelae from reduction of the thyroepiglottic ligament” with senior author, Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel, best known for his work in facial feminization operations. My poster focused on the effects of the procedure entitled above, also known as a tracheal shave, designed to reduce the aesthetic appearance of the Adam’s apple. The danger lies in disrupting the anterior connection of the vocal cords to the thyroid cartilage as well as the epiglottic connection the thyroid cartilage. We had not reported any long-term post-operative symptoms suggesting that these connections were disrupted to the point of dysfunction.
It was my first international conference and I did all I could to soak it in. I also spent time touring the city and surrounding area. I was able to steal away for an afternoon and hike up Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver during a cold rainy day. All in all, the experience was great, and I can’t wait to go to AAO next year in Orlando!

– Christopher Tonn

christopher tonn

American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO)


Hi, I’m a 4th year medical student at BUSM, and I gave an oral presentation at the 2013 American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting held in Atlanta, GA, September 22-25, 2013. ASTRO’s Annual Meeting is the premier radiation oncology scientific event in the world and draws more than 11,000 attendees each year. During the 2013 Annual Meeting, focus was held on patient-centered care and the importance of the physician’s role in helping with patient reported outcomes and the quality and safety of patient care.My talk was on the topic of secondary uterine corpus cancer following prior pelvic radiation therapy. My study showed that receiving radiation to a prior pelvic cancer, other than uterine, is not associated with an increased risk of secondary uterine cancer. However, we found that these patients had greater than expected incidence of secondary uterine cancer greater than 5 years out from the initial pelvic radiation treatment, developed more aggressive tumors, and had worse prognosis when compared with those who had pelvic cancers and did not receive pelvic radiation.Overall, I had a great time presenting at my first national conference, and I hope that it is a sign of things to come. 

– Jacob Shin



Poster presentation titled : ” Early Volumetric Response to preoperative chemoradiation for rectal cancer predicts for pathologic complete response”
This poster was presented at the American Society of Radiation Oncology in Atlanta on Sept 24, 2013. The project defined gross tumor volumes by following weekly cone beam CT scans during preoperative chemoradiation and the objective was to look at how it could predict for pathologic complete response at time of surgery. The significant conclusion of this project was the rate of change (RoC) of gross tumor volume at week 4 preoperative chemoradiation was much higher in those who were going to achieve pathologic complete response. Therefore assessment of gross tumor volumes by cone beam CTs during preoperative chemoradiation can perhaps influence radiation therapy and help achieve pathological complete response at time of surgery for rectal cancer patients.

– Arvind Reddy Devanabanda


ASTRO’s Annual Meeting is the premier radiation oncology scientific event in the world and draws more than 11,000 attendees each year. This year it was held in Atlanta, GA. At the meeting, I presented a poster entitled, “The Evaluation of Chemoradiotherapy Toxicity and Outcome in Head and Neck Cancer.” My research dealt with the use of induction chemotherapy prior to concurrent chemotherapy and radiation therapy, for the treatment of head and neck cancers. Our results showed that head and neck cancer patients who received induction chemotherapy prior to concurrent treatment suffered from more acute toxicity compared to patients receiving concurrent treatment alone. The greater toxicity in the induction patients was attributed to more hematologic and gastrointestinal toxicities. Yet, no major differences were noted in treatment outcome or survival between the two patient! groups. We hope to publish our research soon. 

– Jennifer Logue



I attended the ASTRO (American Society for Radiation Oncology) 2013 conference in Atlanta, GA from Saturday, September 21st to the Monday, September 23rd with my classmate and fellow radiation oncology researcher, Rani Chudasama. At the conference, I presented my poster, Demographic Determinants of Mortality in Prostate Cancer Patients at a Diverse Academic Medical Center. I also attended meetings, including the conference’s Presidential Symposium, saw other posters, and spoke to other medical students as well as BUSM alumni. From the event, I gained knowledge and connections in the field of radiation oncology that I hope to use to pursue further research and ultimately residency. 

– Alexander Rand

alex astro


I recently attended the ASTRO 55th annual conference to present my research on breast cancer treatment disparities and how this affects mortality rate for our BMC patient population. The conference was very well organized and I was able to meet with residents and other medical students to discuss their research within the field of Radiation Oncology.  

– Rani Chudasama

rani astro

Student Attendance at National Conferences

New England American Urological Association


The New England Section of the American Urological Association held its annual meeting this year in Hartford, CT from September 25th until September 28th, 2013. The Section consists of private practice urologists and academic urologists from the states of Conneticut, Maine, Massachussetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Boston University School of Medicine and its Urology Department were well-represented by its Urologic residents Ashley Brandon, Elizabeth Phillips, Nannan Thirumavalavan, Urology Department Faculty Dr. Babayan (Chairman), Dr. David Wang, Dr. Linda Ng, and Dr. Lori Lerner, as well as medical student Arun Rai. Conference topics included Endourology, Uro-oncology, Incontinence, Sexual Medicine as well as a Video Session regarding surgical techniques.  

-Arun Rai

American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)

I had the opportunity to attend the American Academy of Family Physicians Scientific Assembly in San Diego, California, where I was selected to give a poster presentation on my work with Dr. Ramon Cancino titled “Finding Meaning in Meaningful Use: Can Health IT change provider behavior and improve patient outcomes?” I was an honored to present my research and even more so when I was awarded the second place prize for medical student posters at this national conference. I was pleased to be able to also attend multiple lectures on a variety of family medicine topics from leaders in the field, and network with military family medicine members as part of the USAFP chapter reception. 

– Kirsten Lyman


Student National Medical Association


The conference that I attended was this year’s second National Leadership Institute (NLI)– of the administrative year, Friday, September 6th – Sunday, September 8th in Rochester, MN. The host for this quarter’s meeting is the Mayo Clinic. 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 2014‐2015 administrative year toattend.
The September NLI focused 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

American Diabetes Association


I had the opportunity to attend the American Diabetes Association 73rd Scientific Sessions in Chicago, Illinois, where I was selected to give an oral presentation on my work with Dr. Sayon Roy titled “Connexin 43 Downregulation Promotes the Development of Vascular Lesions in the Diabetic Retina.” My abstract was one of eight presented in the oral session on June 23 entitled “Advances in the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy.” It was an honor to present my research to some of the brightest and distinguished scientists in the field.  

– Thomas Tien

ADA graphic


Leadership & Education Program for Students in Integrative Medicine


At LEAPS into Integrative Medicine, I was one of thirty medical students from across North America to participate in an intensive week-long retreat led by the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine in collaboration with the American Medical Student Association Foundation and the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. I attended lectures, discussions, and workshops that enhanced my understanding of health, disease, and Integrative Medicine. Additionally, I enhanced my leadership skills in order to advance Integrative Medicine at BUSM. Furthermore, I developed a project with the support from the LEAPS Core Faculty. This project is focused on building upon and further developing the MEDYoga group that I helped to lead this year at BUSM. 

– Rachel Goldstein

Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine