December 2013 Updates

On December 4th, SCOMSA held its fourth meeting of the 2013-2014 academic year. Please follow this link to view the meeting’s minutes: SCOMSA December 4th Meeting Minutes

Student Group Events

Dermatology Interest Group


Although we wanted to show a documentary on the truths about tanning we were unable to access the video. Instead we showed an MTV TrueLife documentary about severe acne. The documentary followed 3 teenagers who were battling with the physiological and psychological effects of severe acne. We debriefed after the documentary and people had positive reviews about the documentary and many were surprised to see just how debilitating acne can be to a young adult. We purposely timed this event for after the dermatology unit so that students would have a better and deeper understanding of the field of Dermatology. 

Student National Medical Association


The Student National Medical Association (SNMA) is an organization with the commitment to provide a supportive community for underrepresented minorities interested in or currently in the field of medicine. In addition, SNMA strives to perform community service in underserved communities and produce future doctors that embrace the importance of diversity. SNMA invited the Boston University School of Medicine students, faculty, and staff to engage in a conversation entitled “The Importance of Diversity,” led by Dr. John Polk, the Assistant Dean of the Office of Student Affairs and Dr. Samantha Kaplan, Assistant Dean of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. Dr. Hughes made a special appearance to engage in the conversation as well. After the discussion, some students expressed the desire for diversity talks to be held on a more regular basis. On behalf of ! the SNMA executive board we would like to thank everyone who participated! SNMA looks forwards to hosting future events!

Surgical Society


This was a Breakfast panel discussion conducted to illuminate interested students about the importance of conducting research in the Surgical specialty. Our panel consisted of attending physicians, residents, and medical students, who discussed the specifics of finding a research project to become a part of, the importance of productive work for attaining a competitive research position, and finally the costs and benefits of pursuing basic science research versus clinical research. 

Internal Medicine Interest Group


On Tuesday, December 10th, the Internal Medicine Interest Group hosted a panel of current fellows in internal medicine specialties, and invited them to discuss their career paths. Drs. Palermo (Endocrinology), Villalon (Cardiology), and Taunk (GI) spoke about their experiences as fellows in their respective fields and answered questions about training, student debt, balancing family life with medicine training, and how they got to where they are now.

Ophthalmology Interest Group & American Geriatrics Society


On Dec 10, 2013, Jennifer Kaldenberg, Clinical Assistant Professor and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, spoke to first and second year medical students about the complexities of legal blindness in the elderly, specifically in regards to falls prevention. Many students asked questions about what was being done currently to help low vision patients in Boston and understand how their activities of daily life are affected.This was an engaging and informative talk that was beneficial to BUSM students as they will all be working directly with this patient population in the future. 

Boston University Developmental Disabilities Group (BUDDs)


BUDDs Holiday PartyYoung adults with Down Syndrome from the greater Boston area were invited to the BU School of Medicine for a holiday party. Student volunteers were invited to interact with our guests. Activities included dinner, games, music and talking about the upcoming holiday season.

Orthopaedic Surgery Interest Group


Dr. Susanne Zimmermann, an orthopaedic surgeon who practices at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in NH, joined 35 students for a Chipotle dinner and discussion about her decision to pursue surgery, life as an orthopaedic surgeon, and what we should be doing as medical students to get into orthopaedics. Students kept the discussion active, and Dr. Zimmermann departed with “pearls of advice” and provided links for mentoring in orthopaedics. 



The purpose of the event was for students to learn more about the exciting ways in which acupuncture and other complementary therapies can be integrated into modern medicine. The speaker was Dr. Yen Loh, who is a physician in the family medicine department. In her talk, she discussed the use of acupuncture in her own practice and she also gave a demonstration! The event was attended by a mix of 1st and 2nd year students. 



On December 9th 2013, approximately 35 first and second year BUSM students attended a talk given by Dr Ralph Vetters, medical director of the Sidney Borum Jr Health Center, a program of Fenway Health. Dr Vetters shared stories about his work with at-risk, street-identified, and LGBT adolescents, providing a unique and enlightening perspective as to the breadth of the term pediatrician. SCOMSA provided part of the funding for the food for this talk, sourced from Anna’s Taqueria.

Ophthalmology Interest Group


Dr. Anand Devaiah discussed the field of otolaryngology — applying, what residency is like, and examples of the kinds of cases he deals with on a daily basis. He was also available afterwards to answer questions. -Adrian House

Emergency Medicine Interest Group


On 12/3/13, BMC Emergency Department resident (Casper Reske-Nielsen & Derek Wayman) and attending (Laura Nentwich) physicians taught a suture workshop to a group of 20 1st and 2nd-year medical students. Students made incisions on pigs feet and then stitched them up using expired suture supplies donated by the BMC ED. This workshop provided a hands-on opportunity in the first two years of medical school to learn and practice a very important clinical skill used in emergency medicine as well as a number of specialties.

Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG)


Title: Hospital Readmission
Speaker: Dr. Ramon Cancino (BMC family medicine)
Dr. Ramon Cancino, an academic fellow at BMC’s Family Medicine department, gave a talk on hospital readmission in light of the Affordable Care Act. This talk focused on what is a quality measure, how it is used, and the validity and reliability of readmission as a quality measure. It was a great opportunity to learn about the role that quality improvement plays within the ACA!Dr. Cancino talked about how BMC has a fairly high hospital readmission rate due to low patient literacy, language barriers, and many socioeconomic barriers that cause patients at BMC to present back at the hospital after initial treatment. The ACA has implemented a new guideline that reduces funding to hospitals, such as BMC, that have a high readmission rate. The new guidelines do not take into account “Case Mix”, the variety of patients or the fact that a 30-day readmission time frame may not be an accurate measure to reduce funding from CMS.Dr. Cancino helped us become aware of the many barriers and background stories that patients have that can be labeled as “non-compliant” on records. We were excited to learn about the new research, PCORI (patient centered outcome research) being done to find out why readmission occurs.

Student Presentations at National Conferences

The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual meeting is the world’s largest annual meeting, hosting an astounding 50,000 attendees each year. At the RSNA, I was presenting 2 research presentations. The first was an electronic presentation titled “Value of FDG PET/CT and MRI in management of Multiple Myeloma: An update” and the second was an oral presentation titled “Mentoring Students in Radiation Oncology: A Nine-year Retrospective Analysis of Students Participating in a
Radiation Oncology Mentorship Program.” Both presentations were well received with many audience members asking questions regarding mentorship in radiation oncology at Boston University. The second presentation won a “Certificate of Merit” award at the conference, which honors the most distinguished presentations each year.
Outside of these presentations, there were a variety of talks on advances in radiology and radiation oncology that were fascinating! Progress in PET/CT imaging using newer metabolic markers and the impact of many of these new advances on substantively improving patient care and patient outcomes was a focus of many talks. It was exciting to interact with physicians from around the world. – Ankit Agarwal
Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine