April 2014 updates

To view SCOMSA minutes from April’s meeting, the last of the academic year, click here.


Student Group Events

Family Medicine Interest Group


On Wednesday, April 30, 2014, the Family Medicine Interest Group held an informational panel open to first, second, and third year students to learn more about family medicine and the application process for family medicine residency programs. Five current fourth year students (Amelia Baker, Calbee Cooper, Estee Fleischman, Kenya Goins, and Annie Jack) shared their perspectives on the match process, their reasons for choosing family medicine, and advice for current BUSM students who might be interested in pursuing a career in family medicine. Students learned about the various types of family medicine residency programs, qualities of competitive family medicine applicants, and the residency application process in general. Over 30 students from three classes attended this event. It was a great success and a wonderful way to connect students interested in fami! ly medicine! -Tara Shenoy

Global Health Equity Program


The GHEP speaker series hosted it’s last talk of the year with a panel of third and fourth years who have pursued global health work during their time at BUSM. They gave us insight into taking a year off between third and fourth year as well as how to plan for rotations abroad. The talk answered a lot of student questions about the process of going abroad, different types of opportunities abroad, and how to fit global health work into a medical education and residency. -Divya Shankar

Integrative Medicine


The Integrative Medicine Interest Group invited three healthcare professionals to share their holistic approaches to patient care. The goals of this interactive panel were to expose medical students to different therapeutic practices and to learn simple techniques that promote overall well being. Betsy Simmons (BS, MPH) – the instructor for BUSM’s Meditation Initiative, a yoga and qigong instructor, an interfaith chaplain at BMC, and a leader of recovery programs that empower patients – led students through a meditation and deep breathing session. Ellen Highfield (Lic. Ac.) – an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Director of Acupuncture Programs – taught students how to massage several key acupressure/acupuncture points. Charlotte Cuneo (MSN, RN, CCAP) – a clinical nurse educator at BMC and a practitioner of Clinical Aromatherapy, t! he M technique, Polarity therapy, and Reiki – passed around essential oils used in aromatherapy and led students through Polarity Therapy exercises. Homemade baked goods and fruit were served at the event. Students left relaxed and energized! -Calvin Fong

Integrative Medicine

Radiology Interest Group


The Radiology Interest Group held a match panel discussion featuring several fourth year students who had successfully matched into Radiology, as well as a mammography fellow at BMC. The speakers included:Geunwon Kim – M4
Adam Luce – M4
Lindsey Storer – M4
Michael Wasserman – M4
Dr. Lauren Pincus – Mammography FellowMany topics were discussed pertaining to Radiology, including life as a radiologist, competitiveness of the specialty, general advice for students interested in pursuing Radiology, among others. -Deepan Paul



Members of the Down Syndrome community, as well as individuals with other developmental disabilities from around Boston, came to BUSM for a fun carnival put on by the BUDS program. The carnival was held in Hiebert, and featured snacks, games, crafts, and other fun activities. We had about a dozen medical student volunteers help us run the carnival in order to provide them with a valuable experience working with young adults with developmental disabilities in a fun and relaxed setting. Everyone who attended the event seemed to have a great time. This is the third year in a row that we have hosted the carnival. -Casey Fein

Physicians for Human Rights


Jason Lydon, the founder of Black and Pink, gave an introduction to current LGBTQ prisoner issues, prisoner organizing models, and the role of medical professionals within the framework of abolition. Black and Pink is a national organization that started here in Boston to support LGBTQ people currently residing in the prison system. Afterwards we had a Q&A session to further explore issues of medical care in Massachusetts prisons. About 30 people attended. -Robert Carey

Physicians for Human Rights

Women’s Health Initiative


The Women’s Health Initiative hosted a talk featuring Julia Bowker from the Bright Pink Organization. She is a patient and was here to share her experiences with BRCA genetic testing and the actions she took to prophylactically prevent breast cancer. During the event she discussed the implications of BRCA and genetics testing on her family and lifestyle as a young woman in her twenties. It was really enlightening to look at things from a relatable, young patient’s point of view. -Divya Shankar

Christian Medical Dental Association / Maimonides Society / Integrative Medicine Group / Psychiatry Interest Group


Our lunch talk was titled: “Understanding the spiritual dimensions within serious illness:
an introduction to spiritual care in the healthcare context”
The event took place from 12:30 – 1:30pm in room L311 and we used our funding to serve flour desserts and sandwiches.
Our guest speaker was Dr. Andrea Enzinger, who currently practices medical oncology and palliative care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and is part of the teaching staff at Harvard Medical school. Her research involves understanding and improving communication between cancer patients and physicians, as well as addressing the spiritual dimensions of facing cancer. Dr. Enzinger introduced the audience to the role of spirituality in patient care, described how to take a spiritualhistory of a patient, and shared some of her personal experiences working with cancer patients. Overall it was a really fascinating talk and we got to hear some really powerful and personal stories about patients with serious illness and how their own spirituality helped them deal with their pain, suffering, and ultimately death.We had a really great turnout, with medical students, dental students, and GMS/MAMS students and everyone seemed to really enjoy Dr. Enzinger’s presentation!(This event was co-hosted by four different organizations on campus) -Daniel Choi

The Beat


The Beat at BUSM had the pleasure of hosting a talk by Dr. George Annas, JD, MPH -a prominent writer and professor at BUSM, BUSPH, and BULaw. During this lunch talk, Dr. Annas spoke about his own career writing about medical ethics and gave advice to students on how to get their writing published. This talk was well received and attended by students, residents, and staff. -Teng Peng


Clinical Neuroscience Society


The BUSM Clinical Neuroscience Society (CNS) hosted a panel of fourth year medical student, who recently matched in neurology or neurosurgery. The panelists not only gave students a candid look into the process of applying to neurology/neurosurgery residencies, but also gave their unique insights into the current and future outlook of the field. Moreover, the goal of this event was to give first and second year students an idea of what it takes to enter the fields of neurology and neurosurgery, evoking students’ interest or disinterests in clinical neuroscience, to hopefully make students picture themselves as neurologists or neurosurgeons to see if that sort of career is right for them. Student attendance and participation was excellent. -Tyler Lazaro

BU Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP)


In our first year as a student organization, BU Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) was one of the strongest represented student chapters at the Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP) Summit. This conference gave us the opportunity to connect with the larger national medical student movement for health care equality. In meeting other medical students from all over the country we found that this generation of medical students really does want a truly just health care system for all. At the SNaHP summit we empowered each other to advocate for single payer in our communities and schools, honed our skills in lobbying and political action, and strategized for building our movement. Keynote speaker Dr. Art Chen of PNHP California (one of Time Magazine’s Persons of the Year in 2011) shared with us how we can be advocates right now, as medical st! udents. We are excited to take the advocacy skills we have learned from this conference and use them for making our new student group even more forward thinking and action oriented for the upcoming school year. -Jawad Husain


Spectrum of Physician Advocacy


On Friday, April 11, the BU Advocacy Training Program hosted a panel of physicians who pursued graduate degrees other than an MPH. Dr. Martin November, MD, MBA and Dr. Luis Ticona, MD, MPP shared their experiences and decision to pursue an alternate degree. Specifically, the group discussed how degrees other than an MPH can be useful in developing tools and implementing programs to advocate for underserved patients.Dr. November is an OB/GYN physician and was a member of the teaching faculty at Harvard Medical School for more than 10 years. His practice during that time was predominantly in low socioeconomic areas and he held various administrative positions at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center including Director of the Division of Community Medicine. His academic research focused on patient safety, cost effectiveness analysis and process improvement in healthcare. He worked with researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health on The Malpractice Insurers’ Medical Error Prevention Study (MIMEPS), a nationwide study of malpractice claims and medical errors. Dr. November earned an AB at Duke University, an MD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an MBA at the Harvard Business School.Dr. Ticona is a resident in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. During medical school at Harvard, he developed an outreach program for patients with diabetes in low-income communities. His decision to pursue a Master’s in Public Policy degree was influenced by his experience in program development and implementation. The skills that Dr. Ticona obtained during his MPP training at the Kennedy School of Government allowed him to focus his advocacy work on how to most effectively develop interventions for patients in order to improve health outcomes. -Nicole Economou

Medicine and Public Health Association


The Medicine and Public Health Association hosted our annual symposium that focuses on a special topic of interest. This year, our symposium was held in remembrance of last year’s Boston Marathon Bombing as well as create awareness of emergency preparedness as part of National Public Health Week. The panelists of this symposium were Dr. Kofi Abbensetts (Assistant Professor of Surgery, BUSM), Dr. Jennifer Brown (Director, Consultation and Liaison Psychiatry Service at BMC), Maria Ober (Director, Office of Communications at BUMC), and Mary Devine (Emergency Management Coordinator, Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals). Each panelist gave their unique perspectives on caring for victims of the bombing, the mental health of victims of the bombing, effective communication and public relations, and emergency preparedness as related to the bombing. Students were ! able to ask questions after each panelist spoke. -Lucero Leon-Chi

Latino Medical Student Association


The BUSM Latino Medical Student Association hosted a health panel of Latino physicians including Dr. Jose Alberto Betances (pediatrics at BMC), and Dr. Vivian Sanchez (surgeon at West Roxbury VA) . During the panel, students had the pleasure of listening to the experiences and obstacles the panelists encountered throughout their medical education, and how they established a successful career in medicine as members of a minority group. Students brought up questions regarding the establishment of a family while becoming a physician, the ability to embrace the “culture of medicine”, and the establishment of succesful habits to stay focused in the pursuit of medicine. Although the panel was composed of Latino physicians, the panelists aimed to keep their answers relevant to minority and non-traditional students from all backgrounds. -LMSA

Ophthalmology Interest Group


Dr. Anand Devaiah presented an interesting clinical case on an ENT patient with a mysterious bone tumor of his jaw. He was also available afterwards to answer questions about career choices in the Otolaryngology field. -Adrian House


Orthopedic Surgery Interest Group


The Orthopedic Surgery Interest Group will be hosting a dinner talk Tuesday April 8th. We will have a panel of recently matched 4th years as well as residents from BMC to share their experiences and answer any questions about the field and/or the process of matching. -Rohith Mohan

Internal Medicine Interest Group


The Internal Medicine Interest Group hosted a panel of current 4th years who have matched in internal medicine to come and discuss their experiences throughout medical school and their reasons for choosing internal medicine. Current first, second, and third year students also had the opportunity to ask questions about career path, extracurricular experiences throughout medical school, and tips for applying to residencies. Also present was Dr. Yadavalli–the director of the internal medicine residency program at BU–who offered his own insight on applying to residencies and succeeding in medical school. -Stephanie D’Souza


Student Presentations at National Conferences

Iranian-American Medical Association


This multidisciplinary meeting brings Iranian-American physicians, dentists, pharmacists, public health experts, and trainees in numerous healthcare professions together to share their recent academic efforts. I was able to give an oral presentation on my recent research activities in the field of Glaucoma through a presentation titled “The Relationship between Intraocular Pressure and Rates of Estimated Retinal Ganglion Cell Loss in Glaucoma,” which was very well received. This meeting also provided a great networking opportunity; I was able to meet other Iranian-American healthcare professionals and learn about their academic work and interests. Lastly, I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of the young investigator award from this society. -Amir Hossein Marvasti


Student Attendance at National Conferences

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists


I attended the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology Annual Clinical Meeting in Chicago. The conference included a special program for 4th year medical students preparing to enter a Ob/Gyn residency program this Summer. It included a full day of didactics and a 2 hour hands-on simulation session, during which students got to practice their physical exam skills, learn how to do cervical exams, practice placing IUDs, learn the steps of a cesarean section, put together a hysteroscope and more. There were a number of fantastic sessions covering the gamut of Ob/Gyn topics, from clinical material to practice management to groundbreaking research. Finally, it was a great opportunity to network with fellow medical students and practicing Ob/Gyns. -Sarah Lambeth


I attended the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist Annual Clinical Meeting in Chicago along with Jessica Norton. The ACM is a chance for people from all walks of their medical careers to come and talk about women’s health. From lectures on health and human rights to specific new therapies for what ails women the most, the conference was both enlightening and exciting. There also were many third year medical student-specific events including panels about getting into residency, workshops on how to write your CV and personal statement, a hands-on seminar with stations on knot tying, laparoscopy, and obstetrics, and a residency fair with representatives from all over the country. This was truly a pivotal event in my journey to becoming a future OB/GYN! -Danielle Chiavetta 
Danielle Chiavetta (MS3) and I attended the 2014 Annual Clinical Meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists taking place in Chicago, IL. The conference included a program of educational activities specific for third year medical students interested in pursuing a career in obstetrics and gynecology including conferences on residency application and programs as well as hands on clinical skills workshops on simulated laparoscopic surgery, IUD insertion and removal, and suturing/knot tying skills. We attended amazing colloquia on women’s health and human rights and the role of the OB/GYN community in reducing the global burden of disease for women. It was an incredible experience to be a part of the international OB/GYN community which we have decided to join! Attendance at this event will strongly benefit our residency application and se! lection process in addition to providing further experience, insight, and confidence for our decision to pursue obstetrics and gynecology. -Jessica Norton


Finding Inspiration and Resilience in Medicine (FIRM)


Finding Inspiration and Resilience in Medicine (FIRM) was a one-day physician/student conference on the campus of Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Indiana. The focus of the conference was to encourage conversation among physicians and students about their struggles, and to equip them with the tools to promote personal resilience in the face of these great difficulties. By encouraging them to rediscover their personal inspiration, to become more skilled at self-care and mental wellness, and to have stronger psychosocial support, the conference promoted resilience. The keynote speaker was Liselotte Dyrbye, MD, a national leader in the field of physician burnout, quality of life, and depression. She also spoke about medical education, with specific focus on the experience of medical students in years 1 and 2. One of the organizers of and s! peakers at the conference was Richard Gunderman, MD, PhD, a professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine and also the 2013 BUSM AOA Visiting Professor. He gave a talk at BUMC on March 31, 2014, called “The True Nature of Professionalism.” Dr. Gunderman also wrote a widely read February 2014 article in The Atlantic magazine titled “For the young doctor about to burn out.” -Brad Zehr


Integrative Medicine Conference in Humanism, Activism, Reflective Transformation


Medical school, with its long hours and extensive demands, can leave young physicians with a wealth of knowledge, but an impoverished spirit. U.S. medical schools teach techniques and technologies in great detail, but they, in large part, ignore the human component of becoming a healer.The Integrative Medicine Conference in Humanism, Activism, Reflective Transformation is a conference designed for 4th year medical students to address this gap in medical training. Medical students from around the country who have an aptitude and interest in integrative medicine, social justice and activism, intentional community building, humanism, and/or personal growth attended this conference, and it was a unique and wonderful way to conclude our medical school career and prepare for residency.During the conference, guest lecturers from around the country give incredibly interesting didactic sessions on how to think outside the box in medicine and treat the patient as a whole. We learned about topics including food as medicine, ayurvedic principles, indigenous medicine, osteopathic manipulation, and integrative psychiatry.The conference concluded with a trip to Big Sur, which was very bonding. I have formed very close relationships with my peers at the conference and hope to stay in touch with them throughout residency to help sustain the resiliency skills I learned at this conference.This conference was one of the best experiences of my medical school career thus far. I am very grateful to SCOMSA for making trips like these possible for students. -Emily Holick

Integrative Medicine

Student National Medical Association


I attended the Student National Medical Association’s 50th Annual Medical Education Conference in Washington, D.C on April 16- April 20th. This was an opportunity to reconnect with past, current and future minority physicians to discuss topics directly relating to our communities and how we can be the necessary effective agents of change needed. There were also several residency programs and organizations I was able to establish connections and network with. This was a great opportunity to gather and maintain relevant resources for anyone wanting to practice medicine. -Johnathan Hickson
The SNMA Annual Medical Education Conference (AMEC) has emerged as a cornerstone activity for the SNMA;
an event in which both students and professionals have gathered with high anticipation to attend a wide range of
educational and networking events. The AMEC is held each spring in locations around the country and serves to
enhance our members’ career development, provide continuing education, facilitate networking among minority
medical students, bolster the effectiveness of our local community service programs and recognize the achievements
of our members. In short, our conference is designed to nurture future leaders in the field of medicine. The AMEC
attracts students from all levels of medical education and is consistently the largest gathering of underrepresented
minority medical students at any time in any place in the country.
This year’s conference was held in Washington, DC and celebrated the organization’s 50th anniversary. -Michael Harrell, Jr.


Global Health Equity Program


The BU Global Health Equity Program is a student-led organization that focuses on increasing awareness of Global Health issues, educating students about how to productively and sustainably engage in Global Health, and facilitating direct student involvement in such projects. I’m one of six students leaders, three of whom are tasked with planning and leading the Fall elective intro course.Unite For Sight is one of the largest non-profit global health delivery organizations. Its annual Global Health & Innovation Conference in April convenes 2,200 participants from all 50 states and more than 50 countries to exchange ideas and strategies across all disciplines of global health, international development, and social entrepreneurship. Participants are a diverse group committed to global health innovation and world-changing ideas, and include medical students, public health students, law students, business students, nursing students, public health professionals, physicians, nurses, directors of nonprofits and foundations, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, policymakers, educators, activists, and others interested in global health, international development, and social entrepreneurship.We attended this event to get some ideas that will help us plan the curriculum and lesson plans for our student-led Global Health elective in the Fall semester. We also gathered information about how to start a Global Health concentration or track right here at BUSM, and made some contacts at schools have recently gone through the same process who offered to help us. -Robert Carey & Karen Foo

Global Health and Innovation Conference

Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine