February 2014 Updates

To view SCOMSA  minutes from February’s meeting, click here.


Student Group Events

BUSM Historical Society


BUSM historical society hosted a lunch talk by Joe Blansfield, MS, RN, ANP-BC. For the last 20+ years Joe has been the Trauma Program Manager for the Department of Surgery at BMC responsible for all the requirements of maintaining a Level I Trauma Center. He is also an avid history buff with a keen interest in medical history and Boston City Hospital.
In this lunch talk, Joe talked about the Cocoanut Grove Fire, the biggest nightclub fire in history (492 deaths). He described how the fire started, how its spread through the venue, and all the chaos that ensued. Joe also discussed the aftermath of the fire, how Boston City Hospital managed burn victims, how the victims were reunited with their families, the safety reforms that were established, and the many lessons we were able to learn about this incident. For example, Joe explained how the Cocoanut Grove Fire led to the establishment of burn wards, discoveries regarding inhalation deaths, safety regulations requiring that exit signs have a separate power source and that emergency exits open outwards, and a number of other things. This was an amazing lecture with a lot of attendance.



SNAAC hosted Kathy Ireland, a registered dietitian, from the BMC Nutrition and Fitness for Life Clinic. Kathy gave a talk on eating healthy on a budget and how to navigate the grocery store in a healthy manner. 

Student Oncology Society


The Student Oncology Society was pleased to host an event for students interested in a future career in oncology or surgery or radiation medicine. The diverse panel included fourth years at BUSM interested in gynecologic oncology and radiation oncology, as well as residents applying for fellowships in heme/onc and surgical oncology.
Our panelists included:
Shannon Kokolus, BUSM IV for Gynecologic Oncology
Nick DeNunzio, BUSM IV for Radiation Oncology
Dr. Michael Cassidy for Surgical Oncology
Dr. Syed Mahmood for Medical Heme/Oncology
The discussion was stimulating and many interesting questions were raised, including what types of research was required and the quality of life in each of the fields. Each panelist brought a unique twist to the conversation.



Medical Student Advocacy Day is a national conference organized by the American Medical Association to:
1. Educate medical students on pressing health care issues;
2. Give medical students the opportunity to meet with legislators in Capitol Hill;
3. Ask legislators to support our goals in Congress;
This year our mission was to ask legislators to prevent spending cuts to Graduate Medical Education (GME) and repeal the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). GME and SGR will dictate the financial survival of future generations of doctors. With the upcoming health care reform, doctor shortage and the baby boomers reaching the old age, cutting money needed to train and pay the next generation of physician is irresponsible.
In addition, at the conference we had the privilege to hear a speech from Sen. John Barrasso MD who explained his political view on GME and SGR.
Medical Student Advocacy Day was an eye opening experience and allowed me to contribute to a cause that will impact my future as a doctor.

American Geriatrics Society 


The American Geriatrics Society hosted a Lunch Talk on The Hazards of Hospitalization on Wednesday Feb 12, 2014 from 12-1pm in L203. Hospitalization can result in functional decline despite cure or repair of the condition for which a patient was admitted. Usual aging is associated with changes that increase susceptibility to various conditions; however, the elderly are vulnerable and at higher risk for functional disabilities.Dr. Serena Chao, MD, MSc, a geriatrician here at BMC, had an interactive talk with ~40 M1 and M2 students regarding current diagnostic & therapeutic measures made at BMC to minimize potential hazards in the hospital. Students were prompted to think of how decompensation and limited mobility in the hospital affected patient outcomes and the benefits to OT and PT involvement.Students found the talk to be informative and important because it reminded them of clinical considerations that affect patients during a time in which their focus is on the basic sciences of medicine.


American Medical Women’s Association


The American Medical Women’s Association hosted a dinner talk with Dr. Angela Jackson and Dr. John Polk. The topic was “The History and Current Challenges of Women in Medicine.” Dr. Polk open with a fascinating recount of the history of women in medicine in America over the past 100 years, and Dr. Jackson spoke about current challenges that women might face in their medical careers and how these can be overcome. 

Physicians for Human Rights


Our four panelists (Jerry Cohen, JD, a defense attorney for Guantanamo Bay detainees; Lynn Squillace, JD, MPH, Professor of Health Law, Bioethics, and Human Rights at BUSPH; Dr. Sarah Kimball, a resident at BWH and a provider for PHR’s Asylum Network; Dr. Ralph Freidin, a physician on the Mt. Auburn Healthcare Board of Ethics) had a fascinating discussion about the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo, the participation of physicians in the force-feeding as a reaction to hunger strikes, and the ethical and professional dilemmas that arise in that setting. Dr. Rishi Rattan, surgical resident at Tufts Medical Center and Advocacy Chair at Physicians for Haiti, moderated the discussion and read questions submitted by the 40-50 attendees.   

Vagina Monologues


Boston University Medical Center (BUMC) presents the 6th Annual Production of Eve Enslers, VAGINA MONOLOGUES!Come see a riveting performance about courage, despair, hope, and of course, vaginas. Cast includes members of the BUMC community including Medical and Public Health students, staff, and faculty! Vagina Warriors will also be acknowledged at both performances for their outstanding contributions and advocacy for the battle to end violence against women. All proceeds go to Boston Medical Center Domestic Violence Program, BU Sexual Assault Response Program (SARP), and V-DAY (global movement to end violence against women and girls – vday.org).

Spectrum of Physician Advocacy 


Dr. Sandel, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the BU Schools of Medicine and Public Health, described how a stable, decent and affordable home can act as a vaccine to keep kids and adults healthy now and in the future. Dr. Sandel also shared how she became passionate about housing advocacy and discussed the current national homeless crisis. She deliberately left ample time for student questions to allow for an interactive discussion.

Family Medicine Interest Group


Dr. Jim O’Connell, President of Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, gave a talk about the role of primary care doctors in caring for the homeless population. He spoke about how he got involved with the homeless population and how many of the services for the homeless were founded and funded. Dr. O’Connell spoke about many of the issues that his team faces when trying to deliver medical care to the homeless and the ways his team was able to gain the trust of the homeless in order to give them the care they needed. Dr. O’Connell told many personal stories about his experiences treating homeless patients and illustrated his stories using pictures of his team treating patients in the streets. The talk concluded with a brief discussion about the future of healthcare for the homeless population.


Physicians for a National Health Program


In partnership with BU’s American Medical Student Association, Physicians for a National Health Program hosted a presentation introducing single-payer health care.The presentation was led by our distinguished guests:
Adam Gaffney, MD–Fellow in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at MGH and writer for Salon magazine
Gordon Schiff, MD–Associate Director of the Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice at BWHWe learned about how single-payer health care compares to our current health care finance system in the US. We also discussed how implementation might affect patients and our practice of medicine. – Sam Sheffield



Student Presentations at National Conferences

American Glaucoma Society


Thank you BUSM SCOMSA for supporting my recent presentation at the 2014 American Glaucoma Society (AGS) annual meeting in Washington D.C.This 3-day meeting attracted leaders in Glaucoma from around the world and was filled with extraordinary educational lectures and sessions. I was fortunate to be one of the presenters and share my recent clinical research findings through a 15 minutes presentation in front of all the attendees. I believe my presentation was well received and shed light on the need for further research in multiple areas of Glaucoma research, including disease progression and the structure-function relationship. This was an especially meaningful experience for me as it was my first presentation on a national stage.I was also able to attend many educational lectures from novel diagnostic technologies to new medical and surgical approaches in Glaucoma therapy. This meeting also allowed for a great networking experience, as I was able to meet many clinician-scientists, many of whom I plan to collaborate with in future. – Amir Hossein Marvasti

Eastern-Atlantic Student Research Forum


I gave an oral presentation at the Eastern-Atlantic Student Research Forum that’s held by the University of Miami in Miami, FL. This multi-day conference gives medical, graduate, M.D./Ph.D. students, and resident physicians the opportunity to give an oral presentation or poster presentation of the research they have recently worked on. In addition to formal presentations, the forum includes the informal exchange of scientific ideas among students and faculty preceptors, the encouragement of student-initiated research, and the professional development of future leaders in biomedical research. – Sunali Shah

CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting


“Designing and Implementing a Quality Improvement Curriculum: Tools and Tips”
– Jodi Abbott, MD; Shannon Kokolus, MSIV
The ACGME now requires quality improvement projects by residents, which are also recommended by the AAMC for medicals students. In the session, we presented a didactic curriculum set up by BUSM leadership for 4th year medical students to use as a framework to integrate experiential learning of residents and students. Dr. Abbott presented the curriculum framework, and I was able to present my quality improvement project that I completed and implemented during my QI 1 and 2 electives during my 4th year of medical school
The conference serves to bring together educational leaders in women’s health clerkship and residency programs, as well as residents and students interested in medical education, to present and learn about changes and improvements in education of women’s health. The program is an opportunity to increase participants level of excellence as a leaders and expand perspectives on women’s health education.

East Coast Asian American Student Union


I am an editorial staffer/blogger for Mochi Magazine, an online lifestyle magazine for Asian American young women. I, along with 2 other staff members, went to the annual East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) conference to host a workshop called “Living the Double Life: Career Development and Pursuing Passions,” focused on why passion projects — those that you pursue on the side in addition to school or your full-time career — is worthwhile, along with tips on how to survive the realities of working two careers without burning out. Our goal was to empower college students to consider what they’re passionate about and to demonstrate that it’s possible to have multiple careers to fulfill each person’s multiple interests. In particular, I discussed time management and organizational skills necessary to balance both being a medical student a! nd journalist and how I felt I was able to expand my skill set to contribute toward issues that I cared about, both culturally and in the healthcare field. – Stephanie Lee

American Academy of Emergency Medicine


I attended and presented at the 20th annual American Academy of Emergency Medicine Scientific Assembly in New York City. As the student board member of the Uniformed Services Chapter of AAEM (USAAEM), I helped design the curriculum for a Tactical Combat Casualty Care “Living the Tactical Life” course held at this year’s conference. Specifically, I was one of 3 instructors leading a hands-on workshop designed to introduce civilian providers to the application of commercially available tourniquets. We discussed the evidence, indications, and proper technique for modern tourniquet use in massive hemorrhage with over 40 participants.As a member of the AAEM education committee, I also helped organize the Resident and Student Association track curriculum. This year’s topics included work/life balance, EM fellowships, community vs academic practice, effective bedside teaching, transitioning to becoming an attending, and challenging communication scenarios in the ED. The resident and student track was a well-attended success. – Devin Keefe

Student Groups at National Conferences

AMA-MSS Advocacy Day


The AMA-MSS held its annual Advocacy Day in Washington, DC on February 13, 2014. As always, there was a strong contingent of BUSM students in attendance. During the morning session, we heard from Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and Matthew Heinz, Director of Provider Outreach at the US DHHS, both of whom talked about current issues in US healthcare and their views about the implementation of the ACA. Although a snowstorm prevented us from meeting with legislative assistants for Senators Warren and Markey, we did send them video messages of our support for continued government funding of US graduate medical education (GME) programs. On February 12th, we learned how to effectively lobby members of Congress and we talked about the AMA’s current advocacy agenda, which includes sustained funding for GME and repeal of the Medicare SGR formula. Everyone had an enjoyab! le experience in DC (despite the weather!), and we look forward to representing BUSM again at future AMA-MSS Advocacy Days.
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