December 2012 Updates

December 23rd, 2012


On Sunday, December 2, 2012, SCOMSA held its fourth meeting of the year in the home of SCOMSA’s former faculty adviser, Dean Phyllis Carr. The minutes from the meeting are included in the following link: 2012.12.2 SCOMSA Minutes. Flowers and a crystal vase with individual thank you cards written by SCOMSA members were presented to Dean Carr.



Student Group Activities:

The Maimonides Society


The Maimonides Society’s annual Hannukah party was a great success this year, with over 30 students and several faculty from all schools on the BU Medical Campus attending. Students and faculty made festive Hannukah-themed clay crafts, played fast-paced dreidel games. A delicious lunch, including the traditional Hannukah treat of sufganiot (jelly donughts) was thoroughly enjoyed. Candles and menorahs were given as party favors. A lovely time was had by all in attendance. To keep posted about upcoming Maimonides Society events, just email and ask to be added to our email list! 

Medical Students for Choice


We had a wonderful, insightful panel discussion on Thursday night, Dec. 6th on the role of men in reproductive choice. Dr. Noah Rindos and Dr. David Kattan, both Ob/Gyn, discussed their experiences as men working in women’s health care, the changing demographics of obstetrics, and the importance of men’s role in the reproductive rights movement. Dr. Kattan, who is currently completing a two-year fellowship in family planning, encouraged all students to do whatever specialty calls most strongly to them, whether or not that might be “a women’s field.” Dr. Rindos led us through an interesting exercise highlighting the importance of abortion availability throughout the United States just by looking at the numbers. Sixteen first and second year students were able to attend, ask questions, and share their own concerns about gender dynamics in women’s health care and the r! eproductive rights movement in general. Medical Students for Choice was happy to host this event and hopes to be able to do a similar event in future years.

Orthopedic Surgery Interest Group


Dr. Thomas Einhorn, Chief of Orthopaedics at BMC, came to speak to first and second year medical students about the specialty of orthopaedics. Topics included grades required, application process for residency, a day in the life of a resident, the future of orthopaedics, new advancements in surgical instruments, and new discoveries in basic science research that will help propel the field forward. The meeting was from 7-8:15am, breakfast was served, and 32 students attended. The event was a great success!

Family Medicine Interest Group


On December 6th, the Family Medicine Interest Group and the Global Health Equity Program hosted an informal lunch meeting for first year students on how to plan for a fun and productive summer. A large contingent of second year students were on hand to share their experiences, and collectively they participated in a variety of programs including MSSRP (research), the Family Medicine Externship, the Other Side of the Bed VA Program, and various global health opportunities. The session included information about searching for and applying to the many opportunities available to first year medical students. The 50-plus first year students in attendance left with a better idea of what options were available to them and where to focus their planning based on their interests.

American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)


BU’s American Medical Women’s Association chapter held an event entitled “Women in Medicine: How Far We’ve Come, and Where to Go From Here” on December 5th 2012 in Hiebert Lounge. There were over 70 RSVPs for the event, with 10% male attendance. 

This dinner event began with a presentation by Betty Yang on the history of women in medicine, featuring important figures and milestones. The end of the presentation also touched on the current state of affairs, particularly about the persisting pay inequities between men and women, and some strategies at the individual, institutional, and federal level to try to right the issue.

Dean Phyllis Carr followed with a presentation on a more in-depth look at the inequities between female and male physicians today, with results from her research and other studies on the issue. She discussed tips and strategies to navigate pay discrimination in our careers. After her presentation, she fielded questions about what we as students can do now in preparation for these issues in the future.

BUSM Historical Society


The second event of the 2012-2013 BUSM Speaker Series was quite a hit! Dr. Robert Beazley gave his talk titled “Making Order Out of Chaos: Dr. John Billings” to a packed room. Everyone seemed to enjoy the talk about Dr. Billings, who responsible for saving hundreds or even thousands of lives during the Civil War as well for organizing two of the world’s most prominent libraries. He was a man who did great things but always remained behind the scenes, avoiding the spotlight while aptly performing tasks that he saw worthwhile, not those that would bring him great acclaim. 

The next event in the Speaker Series will take place in February 2013, so stay tuned!
In addition, keep an eye out for our student-published history of medicine journal Aceso, which will be released mid-December 2012.

Radiology Interest Group


The first Radiology Interest Group meeting of the year was a great success! Approximately 50 students attended the event, which featured a discussion of Radiology as a career and fellowships such as Interventional Radiology. Finally, we discussed an Interventional Radiology interactive case. Thanks to scomsa, we were able to provide burritos for all the attendees!

Spectrum of Physician Advocacy


Our annual dinner panel was a huge success this year – over 50 students from all four years attended! Dean Witzburg moderated a panel of 4 physicians, each of whom shared their experiences with advocacy work. Themes included the necessity of addressing social determinants of health and greater societal inequities/injustices through advocacy, the unique role of the physician as an advocate, and striking a synergistic balance between caring for individual patients and advocating for change on institutional, community, state, national, and global levels.

MedGLO and AGS


MedGLO and AGS welcomed a panel to discuss the topic of LGBT* Aging: Addressing Disparities and Health Care needs of Older Adults (*Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender). The panelists included:
Mark Simone-Skidmore, MD, a geriatrician in the Division of Aging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Bob Linscott, an educator and community leader committed to issues of equality and social justice, and currently the Assistant Director of the LGBT Aging Project, a non-profit organization based in Boston that is dedicated to education, outreach and advocacy for LGBT seniors and caregivers.
Matt Russell, MD, an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Section of Geriatrics at Boston University School of Medicine.
We also were able to screen excerpts from the powerful and critically acclaimed documentary “Gen Silent.” 




MedGLO hosted a panel discussion about LGBT Elderly Health Care. Specific disparities and barriers were discussed including financial, institutional and cultural ones. 

Dr. Mark Simone-Skidmore
Dr. Matthew Russel
Bob Linscott

Dermatology Interest Group (DIG)


Dr. Amy Chen, a new faculty member at BU’s Dermatology Department presented information about skin cancer and photo protection in a fun and interactive format. She presented information by encouraging students to participate in a Jeopardy-like game. Facts presented were surprising as well as educational and appropriate for first and second year students. Approximately 50 first years attended, and a dozen second years attended. We hope to repeat this event in two years because it was so well-received by students!



APAMSA sponsored an event titled “Asian American Health Care Issues” on November 19, 2012. Dean Hughes and approximately 35 students attended the event. The speaker, Dr. Teresa Cheng gave a lecture about working with the Asian-American community in Boston, highlighting Asian health care issues, cultural beliefs and health practices. Dr. Cheng included cases that illustrated relevant issues encountered in patient visits where cultural barriers may negatively impact the doctor-patient relationship. She encouraged student discussion on how to facilitate communication between doctor and patient. In addition, Dr. Cheng provided a brief visual tour of the different Boston Asian communities. This gave students who are not from the area a chance to familiarize themselves with this demographic and enhance their cultural competency, as well as provide an opportunity to ask Dr! . Cheng what it is like to work with this patient population firsthand.

Ophthalmology Interest Group (OIG)


The Ophthalmology Interest Group held a lunch talk entitled “Introduction to Ophthalmology as a Career” on 11/16/2012. Dr. Edward Feinberg, Chairman Emeritus of the Ophthalmology department at BUSM was our speaker. He discussed the major reasons why individuals pursue ophtho as a career (most citing the opportunity to combine surgical practice with long term clinical care). He also introduced us all to the multitude of different career opportunities available within the field, including international health. Finally, he spoke on how first years can utilize the time between first and second year to learn more about ophthalmology as a future career path. Subway lunch was served, and we had a large turnout (~40 students).

Clinical Neuroscience Society (CNS)


The Clinical Neuroscience Society proudly hosted a lunch talk by Dr. Andrew Budson of BU’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center entitled “New Frontiers in Alzheimer’s Disease”. Dr. Budson is a leading expert on the topics of memory and Alzheimer’s Disease. His current research uses the techniques of experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience to understand memory and memory distortions in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders. The talk will included novel treatment for AD, including the use of music to enhance memory. The talk took place Nov 16 and had 45 attendees.

Family Medicine Interest Group


On November 8, the Family Medicine Interest Group hosted an informal dinner with the aim to give first and second year students who want to learn more about family medicine access to third and fourth year students who are pursuing this specialty. We had a turnout of over 25 first and second year students, and we split up into three groups to encourage more participation. We then had four 4th year students rotate amongst the groups to talk at length about family medicine, what led to their decision to pursue the speciality, and answer any questions the underclassmen had. During the last half of the event, the 4th years addressed the group as a whole and gave an overview of the Family Medicine Scholars Program. They also presented a number of ways for students to become involved in family medicine and spoke about their own specific projects and experiences. 

The goal of the event was to open channels of communication between classes for all students who were interested in hearing more about family medicine. We were very excited to involve students that were unsure of what family medicine was and were hoping to learn more about it by having 4th year students present their paths through medical school and answer questions. Students had a wonderful time interacting with other classmates and the event was a success! We look forward to hosting more informal, educational, dinners in the future.

Global Health Equity Program


The Global Heath Equity Program recently co-sponsored an event with the International Health Department in the School of Public Health, entitled “Crisis Mapping,” on November 6, 2012. Dr. Jennifer Chan spoke to a packed room of more than 60 public health, medical, dental and forensic anthropology students and faculty about using Geographic Information Systems and crowd-sourcing to aid in humanitarian response. 




Student Research Presented at National Conferences:

Alec Kherlopian


I attended the 24th Annual National Forum hosted by the Institute of Healthcare Improvement in Orlando, FL. The community participating in the forum ranged from national to international students, 

physicians, hospital administrators, and other health care professionals. The agenda of the national forum included Keynote speakers, specialized workshops, networking opportunities with healthcare innovators, and poster presentations on quality improvement in health care. The environment of the national forum facilitated discussion on improving quality in health care, especially during the IHI Open School Chapter Congress session, which I attended. The latter session included an audience that consisted of students and faculty of health-professional schools; it was led by Dan Heath, a Senior Fellow at Duke University’s CASE center and author of two best-seller books. With th! e lead of Dan Heath, the students and faculty collaborated with one another to develop a communication framework that would encourage the growth of health care improvement ideas, even in politically contentious environments.

During the day of poster presentations, I presented a poster on the ability of a post-procedure checklist to improve quality in the interventional radiology department of Boston Medical Center. The presentation was successful in initiating discussion with hospital administrators and nurses on the value of checklists in the hospital setting.

Carolyn Smith-Lin


I was awarded the opportunity to present my poster at the Research Symposium as a part of the AMA-MMS Interim Meeting on November 9th, 2012. My summer research aimed to determine the efficacy of an interdisciplinary inpatient rehabilitation program to improve the functional status of patients with Parkinson’s Disease. I built a multivariable model to predict which Parkinson’s disease patients would most benefit from inpatient rehabilitation. The symposium was the afternoon of November 9th. I presented my poster to two judges and my peers at the Medical Student section of the AMA Research Symposium. My poster was assessed as a part of the medical student poster competition and I received feedback from the judges on my work. Through the symposium, I met other student presenters from across the country. 

Alex Rittenberg


I participated with other students from Boston University in representing the state of Massachusetts at the American Medical Association 2012 Interim Meeting in Honolulu. The meeting entertaining with important debate on relevant topics to medical students in this day in age. I additionally presented research at the symposium on proinflammatory response regulation by Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor oligomeric state and caveolin interaction. The Interim meeting provided ample opportunity to interact with current and future leaders in the medical field and was an all-around phenomenal event. 



Student Attendance at National Conferences:

American Medical Association


Over the weekend of Nov 10th, 2012, medical students from all across the United States converged to join the American Medical Association for the interim meeting in Hawaii. The conference included research presentations, educational programs, community service, and public policy advocacy training. Furthermore, medical students banded together to help define American Medical Association national policy which is an extremely influential factor in changing American health policy at the state and federal levels. 

~ Daniel Sternberg

The AMA-MSS Interim Meeting was held in Honolulu, Hawaii from November 8 through November 10, 2012.

I attended the conference as a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society Student Section, and one of the representatives for BUSM. Over the course of the meeting, I participated in caucus sessions for Massachusetts and Region 7 (comprised of medical schools from the Northeast), and gave testimony on student resolutions at both the Reference Committee meeting on November 9 and the General Assembly meeting on November 10.

In addition to participating in the advocacy section of the conference, I attended the Research Symposium in support of the BUSM students presenting their posters.

Overall, it was a fantastic trip, with many networking opportunities and chances to polish professionalism and public speaking skills. Representation from BU far outnumbered some of the other medical schools!

~ Betty Yang

AMA-Medical Student Section Interim Meeting

November 8-10, 2012
Hawaii Convention Center
Honolulu, HI

This meeting is a time for medical students from around the country to network and participate in
shaping our future health care environment. I attended the meeting as part of the Massachusetts and BUSM delegation. During the meeting I was elected as one of the Alternate Regional Delegates for Region 7.

~Nahiris Bahamon

The AMA-MSS Interim meeting began on November 8, 2012 in Honolulu, Hawaii and included over 500 medical students from across the nation. As a member of the logistics committee, my responsibility was to help organize the assembly meetings and make sure the technical aspects ran smoothly. We also attended the regional and assembly meetings, where we were able to discuss all of the resolutions and provide testimony on the behalf of our school, state and region. Many members ran for state and regional positions, and we were able to elect our future leaders of the AMA-MSS.

~Sweta Bodepudi

American Academy of Pediatrics


This year, over two hundred medical students from schools across the country attended the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference & Exhibition, thirty of whom received generous support for travel and accommodations with a scholarship from the AAP. New Orleans provided us with a fantastic opportunity to immerse ourselves in the vibrant culture of the “Big Easy” and to enjoy its unique traditions of southern heritage. More importantly, the 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference & Exhibition (NCE) allowed us to gather with hundreds of medical students and thousands of pediatricians and child health professionals in order to renew our commitment to children through continued education, advocacy, and service.While at the conference, expert faculty and presenters guided us through best practices in patient care and what to anticipate on the horizon of pediatric research. Seasoned advocates taught us about what we can do at the local and national levels to serve as “the voice” for children. We met with representatives from innovative companies that provide the technology, products, and services that impact how pediatric medicine is practiced today. Preventing child health inequities is one of the AAP’s core values, and the NCE featured a track on child health equity designed to inform attendees about what can be done to improve access to quality healthcare in our communities through advocacy. 

The first day of the NCE featured a Section on Medical Students, Residents, and Fellowship Trainees (SOMSRFT) Medical Student Plenary Session. Student representatives from the SOMSRT Medical Student Subcommittee opened the event with an overview on the SOMSRT’s mission, activities, and opportunities for students. As I have recently been appointed as the Editor of the American Academy of Pediatrics Medical Student News publication for a two year term, I had the opportunity to give a presentation about the publication. This is a national publication featuring content written by medical students with a readership of over 1,000 medical students and academic faculty members at medical schools across the country. During my presentation at the AAP NCE, I informed students about the process involved in publishing works and made recommendations on how students can get more involved in publishing their work in both the AAP Medical Student News publication and other publications.  The keynote speaker was Dr. Jeffrey McKinney, the Department of Pediatrics Residency Program Director at UT Southwestern Medical Center. Dr. McKinney offered the audience insightful advice on ways we can expand our knowledge and skills in order to become excellent contributing members to residency programs in the future. He discussed the best methods to becoming a successful residency applicant, with an emphasis on the importance of being well-rounded, free-thinking, and willing to take on challenges for the benefit of patients.

Following the keynote address was a panel discussion designed to offer students a broad perspective on the residency application process. We were fortunate to hear from a number of experienced panelists who offered candid insights and thought-provoking advice. The panelists included Dr. Teri Turner- Director of the Academic General Pediatrics Fellowship Program at Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Lynn Gardner- Associate Program Director of the Pediatrics Residency Program at Emory University School of Medicine, Dr. Rachel Dawkins- Associate Program Director of the Pediatrics Residency Program at Louisiana State University New Orleans, and Dr. Lisa Costello, PGY-2, Internal Medicine/Pediatrics at West Virginia University. The panel discussion was an invaluable opportunity for medical students to ask important questions about the process of applying to residency programs and to gain unique perspectives from different experts. The panel proved to be a phenomenal way to learn ab! out some of the similarities and differences between programs in regards to the residency selection process.

Not only was this session informative and enriching, it was also a lot of fun! Students met and mingled with others from medical schools across the country. As a creative way for us all to “make our mark” among children in New Orleans, attendees designed hundreds of colorful bookmarks that were then donated to children at a local library.

The culminating event of the SOMSRFT Medical Student programming was the first annual “Subspecialty Speed-Dating” session. Students had the opportunity to meet with pediatric subspecialists in fields including Neonatology, Pulmonology, Critical Care, Surgery, Nephrology, Sports Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Hospital Medicine, and Hematology-Oncology. Medical students sat with pediatric subspecialists for a “speedy” information session on their field, with each meeting lasting about 8 minutes- just enough time to learn a bit about unique aspects of the field and to ask some questions. Students left with a better understanding of the breadth of career opportunities available under the umbrella of pediatrics.

The SOMSRFT Medical Student session was a tremendous opportunity for students to gather, connect with other students from around the country, and to gain some useful advice from seasoned pediatric physicians. The physicians who visited the session were excited about students’ education and enrichment, and eager to share their own experiences in their careers in pediatrics.

Children truly are our future, and the optimization of children’s physical, mental and social health is paramount. As future pediatricians, the sooner in our careers that we reach out and take action, the more we will learn and the more we will be able to impact child health in the future. Isaac Newton once wrote, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” To train in medicine is, undoubtedly, to build upon the research and intellectual pursuits of those who came before us. Attending the annual AAP National Conference & Exhibition was an opportunity for medical students to sit down and talk with many of the intellectual ‘giants’ of pediatric medicine, and to learn from them so that we, in turn, may continue to see further.

~ Kristin Schwarz

November 2012 Updates

November 24th, 2012


On Wednesday, November 7, 2012, SCOMSA held its third meeting of the year. The minutes from the meeting are included in the following link 2012.11.7 SCOMSA Minutes (2).

On Saturday, September 29, 2012, twenty-one BUSM students, ranging from first years to fourth, ventured out to Shelburne Farm in Stowe, MA for some autumnal fun. Students picked a variety of apples and pumpkins, while enjoying mulled cider and freshly baked cider donuts. It was a great opportunity for students to bond with each other and to make connections with students from different class years. This event was made possible by the generous support of OSA’s Wellness Program and SCOMSA.

Apple Picking 2012 - 2

Apple Picking 2012 - 6_______________________________________________________________________________________

Student Group Activities:



Dr. Feinberg will be giving an introductory talk about the field of ophthalmology to first- and second-year medical students. He will speak particularly to how to spend the summer between first and second year if ophtho is a career consideration. Additionally, he will introduce other options to learn more about the field of ophthalmology (such as shadowing experiences, research, etc.)



Dr. Deborah Bershel came to give a personal account of her transition from male to female while also practicing family medicine in Sommerville. She provided an introduction to transgender health care that included a way to conceptualize gender as well as the protocols for standard of care. Dr. Bershel also discussed the need for empathy and the way one can show it in interviewing patients.

Student Oncology Society


The Student Oncology Society is sponsoring a catered lunch panel next Tuesday, October 23rd, from 11am-12pm, in room R-103. 

The panel will consist of a radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, and surgical oncologist. Each individual physician will be able to shed light on the varying aspects of the different oncology specialties in terms of preparation during medical school, residency selection, and career path. Students will be encouraged to ask questions and will gain a more informed perspective of the divisions within the field of oncology.

Medicine and Public Health Association


The Medicine and Public Health Association Introductory Meeting started off with an icebreaker activity to help attending SPH and medical students get to know each other and to get to know what health meant to them as future practitioners of differing but intimately related professions.

Student Nutrition Awareness and Action Council


SNAAC presented the first of a lecture dinner series on “Socioeconomic Issues in Nutrition.” Dr. Alan Meyers, a Professor of Pediatrics at BUSM, discussed the ramifications of food policy, food advertising, and how it applies to the patient population in Boston. He is a primary care pediatrician at BMC and attends in the Nutrition and Fitness for Life clinic, BMC’s weight management program for children and youth. This lecture is part of an annual joint lecture series organized by the Boston Medical Student Committee on Nutrition (BMSCoN), which consists of nutrition medical student interest groups from Boston University School of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, and Harvard Medical School. 


Family Medicine Interest Group


As part of National Primary Care Week, the Family Medicine Interest Group hosted a discussion about the Patient Centered Medical Home and what it means for the future of primary care. Led by family medicine physician and BUSM faculty member John Wiecha, students learned about what a PCMH entails and how this model of care can better serve patients. This event was attended by over 30 first and second years, and the enthusiasm and energy the students showed for primary care was a wonderful way to wrap up National Primary Care Week. Through our future events, we would like to ensure that the conversation about primary care continues throughout the year . 

Global Health Equity Program


For the second installment of the Global Health Equity Program’s Speaker Series, Dr. Heidi Behforouz was invited to speak. Dr. Behforouz is the director of Partners In Health’s (PIH) Prevention and Access to Care and Treatment (PACT) program. Her talk explored PACT’s findings that well-supported and well-integrated community health workers enable care teams to improve their patients’ health outcomes and reduce expenditures on healthcare. Thirty individuals from the medical school, the school of public health, and the BMC staff attended this talk.

Internal Medicine Interest Group


As a part of primary care week, IMIG hosted an informational session on Med-Peds. Med-Peds physicians were invited to speak about their experiences in the field and how the field is different from a categorical internal medicine and pediatrics training. The event was concluded with a Q&A session where students were able to ask questions about residencies and career opportunities in the field.

American Medical Women’s Assoication


Boston University School of Medicine’s American Medical Women’s Association chapter held a National AMWA Nosh event on Tuesday, October 9th at 5:30pm. 

AMWA National Student President, Linda Wang, an M3 Harvard University MD, MBA candidate, gave an overview presentation on the American Medical Women’s Association. Linda described the many ways students can get involved in AMWA activities at the local, state, and national levels. She also covered the numerous benefits of becoming a national member, which include networking and leadership opportunities, scholarships, global health programs, test prep discounts, and giveaways!

Several first and second year medical students in attendance registered at the end of the meeting to become National AMWA members!

This event was sponsored by National AMWA, SCOMSA, and catered by Viga Italian Eatery.

American Geriatric Society


On Oct. 9, the student geriatrics interest group hosted a lunch to discuss Elder Abuse. Clare Wohlgemuth RN, GCNS-BC, who is the director of nursing for the geriatrics section spoke on identifying elder abuse, the various forms of abuse(verbal, emotional, psychological), neglect and related consequences as it relates to abuse, detection of abuse, and treatment of elders who have been abused. She had some very interesting, specific examples from her experiences in home health care in Boston. There were 16 students in attendance and based on evaluations given afterwards, all were very impressed by the lunch quantity and the speakers’ presentation. 

We hope this talk will benefit students in their awareness of the topic and hopefully influence their clinical practice with the elderly in the future.

BU Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Open School Chapter


Dr. Leigh Simmons, an internist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a Physician Fellow at the John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation joined 55 BUSM students for a discussion of how shared decision making in a clinical setting can improve health outcomes. She spoke to benefits of a patient centered approach and led an interactive exercise in shared decision making.

BUSM Historical Society


On Friday, September 28, South End historian Alison Barnet took a group of 15 on the BUSMHS’s 2nd Annual Historical Campus Tour. Alison discussed the origins and development of Boston City Hospital and Massachusetts Memorial Hospitals. Stops on the tour included the sites of the original City Hospital buildings, the Church of the Immaculate Conception, and the old St. James Hotel. We will repeat the event next fall.


Student Research Presented at National Conferences:

Divya Ahuja


The AMA held it’s interim meeting November 8th – November 12th. I had the wonderful opportunity to present my research at the 10th Annual AMA Research Symposium. I learned about research conducted by fellow medical students in a many different fields such as cancer biology, neuroscience, and public health and epidemiology. I also shared my own research on cancer disparities at BMC with numerous medical students and physicians who were very interested in our work. It was an exciting opportunity to learn from and network with students and physicians from medical schools nationwide. 

Manasa Kanneganti


This event was the research symposium part of the AMA/MSS conference. I was able to go to the conference and present the research that I had done in the GI department of Boston University School of Medicine for the past year and a half. There were many other residents and medical students presenting other research projects. In addition, there were many other interesting speakers about health policy and other relevant medical topics.

Peter Hoang


The annual meeting of the American Society of Head and Neck Radiology (ASHNR) is a meeting to showcase current research in Neuroradiology and also provided current up to date advances in the field of Neuroradiology. This year’s meeting took place in Miami, FL. Research presentations, poster sessions, and lecture series were a part of this 5 day meeting. During this meeting, I displayed my poster on my Osteogenesis Imperfecta research conducted during the summer in the department of Neuroradiology at BMC as part of the MSSRP. I also attended the research presentations and the lecture series. This meeting is great for those currently involved in the field of Neuroradiology as well as students interested in the field. 


Student Attendance at National Conferences:

Medical Students for Choice


Five second-year students attended the Medical Students for Choice Conference on Family Planning this past weekend, November 9-10, 2012, in St. Louis, MO. There was a fabulous keynote address by Dr. Joseph Speidel, MD MPH on the world population problem and the necessary role for abortion as well as family planning. Afterwards, we attended smaller sessions on issues such as barriers to birth control, global advocacy for reproductive health, techniques of surgical abortion, and men’s perspectives on partner’s abortions. One of the most popular features of this conference is always the panels of abortion providers where students can ask specific questions of those physicians that choose to perform this necessary, wanted, but highly contentious service in various ways. Throughout the conference students enjoyed being surrounded by other pro-choice individuals, which al! lowed us to investigate issues with nuance and depth in a supportive environment. It was also an excellent opportunity to connect with medical and nursing students, as well as residency directors and physicians from across the country (and in several cases, around the world) and to learn about further opportunities to pursue a career in reproductive health care.

Jason Leung


Annual combined meeting of Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS) scheduled from Oct. 17-21 in San Diego, CA. IDWeek is a recognized forum for peer-reviewed presentations of new research on scientific advances and bench-to-bedside approaches in prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and epidemiology of infectious diseases, including HIV, across the lifespan. 

Alexander Lankowski


This past weekend I attended the Infectious Diseases Society of America annual conference in San Diego, California. This meeting was an excellent opportunity to stay apprised of the latest research and guidelines in the field of infectious diseases. One highlight of the symposium was a talk by Myron Cohen, senior author of the HIV “treatment as prevention” paper that was voted by Science magazine as the most influential science publication of 2011. Dr. Cohen spoke with optimism about the role of different prevention stategies for curbing the HIV pandemic. Additionally, I had the opportunity to meet administrators from the National School of Tropical Medical at Baylor College of Medicine (where I am scheduled to interview next month for the Med/Peds residency) to learn more about how residents can get involved in research and other training opportunities at their ins! titution. Overall, this was an excellent opportunity to learn more about the field that I plan to enter, as well as make some new contact with individuals who may be future research collaborators and colleagues.

Nirav Bhavsar


Anesthesiology 2012, the annual meeting organized by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, took place from October 12th to October 17th, 2012 in our nation’s capital, Washington, DC. The venue was the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown Washington, DC. The Convention Center was beautiful and massive and able to accommodate the vast number of attendees, exhibits, and presentations. The attendees included a mix of anesthesiologists, fellows, residents, medical students, researchers, and industry vendors. 

Most of the sessions and events targeted for medical student attendees took place starting Friday evening up until Sunday. Student presenters usually stayed longer during the week for poster presentations.

Friday evening, there was a Medical Student and Resident welcoming reception and mixer. The organizers provided drinks and snacks while we were able to mix and mingle among our peers. It was a wonderful event for ‘breaking the ice’ with fellow attendees at or near the same level as us medical students.

Saturday involved a Medical Student Delegate meeting where they held an election for the new officers and discussed relevant issues among medical students pursuing a career in anesthesiology. We were given presentations by multiple anesthesiologists ranging from grassroots involvement in policy to information regarding new combined-residency programs. As a fourth year medical student, the talk about “What Program Directors Look For” session was the most helpful. Dr. Lee from UC San Diego gave a wonderful honest talk about that. The evening on Saturday included one of the best events for medical students: The Meet & Greet with Program Directors and Residents. Approximately 75% of the anesthesiology residency programs were represented. They set up multiple booths around in a large conference hall. It was almost like residency program speed-dating. Programs brought cupcakes, candy, and other goodies to lure the medical students in so we could learn about their program. We had t! he opportunity to speak with the program directors as well as representative residents of the programs. The setting was quite informal and friendly without any intimidation, especially for us fourth year medical students. The forum was very casual and eye-opening. It was wonderful to meet face to face with many program directors that might have corresponded with us via e-mail or phone calls during the residency application process.

Sunday morning involved medical student workshops hosted by the Georgetown University and George Washington University Anesthesiology departments. I attended the workshop at Georgetown University with 25 other fellow medical students. The workshop was titled Regional Anesthesia and Airway Management. The workshop started with the program director introducing us to their residency program and then giving us a brief overview of the workshop. We then broke up into 7 groups to 7 different stations. The stations were run by the program director, the chief of anesthesiology, and multiple residents and volunteer students. The stations were set up so we could learn to use and perform techniques such as intubation, ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia, fiberoptic laryngoscopy, as well as work with various different intubation tools. It was a wonderful experience.

The rest of the conference involved various sessions and poster presentations. I attended a session on Sunday afternoon titled “Electronic Revolution in Learning Anesthesia in the 21st Century”. Then I attended a session on Monday morning titled “Leadership in Information Technology for Anesthesiologists”. They were excellent sessions in subjects I am interested in. I also took some time to walk around the vendor exhibit halls where I had the opportunity to see many new things the industry is working on to improve technology and workflow in the field.

Overall, the weekend was full of fun and learning. It was a well spent weekend constantly engaged with new people, unlimited learning, and helpful advice. I would highly recommend this conference to anyone interested in anesthesiology

Jamie Sparling


I’m so grateful to SCOMSA for the funding that allowed me to attend Anesthesiology 2012/Annual Meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). I was able to attend all of the activities of the Medical Student Component (MSC), including talks about the future of Anesthesiology, a resident panel, a program on what program directors are looking for in applicants, and learn about research opportunities funded by the ASA Patient Safety Foundation. During our meetings, I was elected to the national Governing Council of the Medical Student Component (MSC). I also attended a meet & greet with residents and program directors from programs all over the country, which was a wonderful opportunity to get to learn a bit about the programs themselves and inform my choice of where to apply next year. I attended number of talks and events aimed at the larger ASA audience! , as well, including a Pro-Con debate on whether to mask ventilate prior to administering neuromuscular blocking agents, which was really information. I also learned a lot through the opening session where political commentators discussed the implications of the upcoming presidential election on the future of healthcare in our country, as well as in the patient safety lecture which was given by the former administrator of the CMS. All in all, it was an exceptional conference, and I learned a lot! I’m looking forward to next year’s event already, and again, I’m very thankful to SCOMSA for the opportunity to attend.

Faris Azar


I attended the American College of Surgeons annual clinical congress in Chicago. The program began on September 29th and ran until October 4th. A medical student meeting for members of the ACS and nonmembers was held from the Sunday, September 30th, until Tuesday, October 2nd. The medical student sessions were helpful for medical students of all years. For example, first through third years were able to sit in on discussions related to life as a surgeon and different ways of getting into certain subspecialties. Fourth year students who applied to surgery were able to attend mock interview sessions, a program on professional dress, and a reception to meet with numerous surgical residency program directors. About 10,000 surgeons attended the clinical congress, which had many lectures by experts in various fields of surgery; these lectures were also great opportunities to ! meet faculty of surgical residencies in which a fourth year student may be interested. Finally, there were many companies on site that were advertising surgical equipment, from biological mesh to surgeon-controlled robots. Students had the opportunity to explore and were given the chance to learn laparoscopic techniques, to use various surgical instruments, and to test the robot on a practice setup. All in all, a great experience with plenty of chances to learn and network for medical students of all years who are interested in surgery.

October 2012 Updates

October 14th, 2012


On Wednesday, October 3, 2012, SCOMSA held its second meeting of the year. The minutes from the meeting are included in the following link 2012.10.3 SCOMSA Minutes. On October 5, 2012, we held our annual Fall BBQ, and it was huge success with awesome fall weather!


Student Group Activities:

BUSM Historical Society


For the occasion of the Evans Memorial Medicine Department’s 100th Anniversary, Dr. Aram Chobanian, an expert in the study and treatment of hypertension and also a BUSM dean emeritus and a Boston University President emeritus, returned to the medical students to talk about the history of the medicine department and the medical school. The talk was very interesting and it was great to hear about the history of the hospital and the medical school from someone who had so much person experience with it. 

We at the BUSM Historical Society will be holding more talks in our speaker series throughout the year, so stay tuned!

BUSM Historical Society Event Photo



Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The SNMA celebrated this month by hosting a luncheon where the keynote speaker, Dr. Ortega, spoke about the history and migration of Latinos; and acknowledged those that had a significant impact on the face of medicine.



MedGLO had a lunch talk given by Professor Karen Warkentin, an Associate Professor of Biology at the Charles River Campus. She teaches a graduate course in Phenotypic Plasticity among others. Her talk was entitled, “Evolutionary history, developmental mechanisms, and the diversity of human sexuality.” She discussed the evolutionary background of sexuality in various organisms as well as the developmental mechanisms that might occur in an individual to give a biological and historical context of sexuality and gender in the human species.


Professor Vincent, a Boston University Professor of Japanese and Comparative Literature, gave a talk entitled “What is Queer Theory and Why Should Medical Students Care?” The talk educated the BUSM community about the history of queer theory as well as explained the importance of gay history and culture in the context of the medical profession, specifically with safe sex education and AIDS awareness. The talk was well attended by students directly affiliated with MedGLO and ally students who are not active members of the club. The talk was open to the BUSM community and all students. Faculty members also attended.

Internal Medicine Interest Group


Dr. Felicia Patch came to speak about Internal Medicine as a specialty. Despite a last minute room change, the turnout was excellent with a large number of both first-years and second-years in attendance. Following a catered meal from Grill 705, students brought up many questions including life as a hospitalist, means of sub-specializing, tips for getting good recommendations in third-year, and in what cases one should consult a specialist. The event was a great success, and IMIG recruited many students for free student membership in the American College of Physicians (ACP) giving us a means of funding for other events this academic year. We are all very grateful to Dr. Patch for sharing with us her knowledge and insight.

Clinical Neuroscience Society


Dr. Sanford Auerbach speaks on REM sleep and its links to and effects on mood disorders, memory, dreams, parasomnias and neurodegenerative disorders. An insight into sleep research and REM sleep, the talk was informative and interesting, and well attended by student in both first and second years.

Otolaryngology Interest Group


On September 19, 2012, the Otolaryngology Interest Group (OIG) organized a lunch seminar to introduce medical students to the field of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery. Dr. Devaiah, an associate professor from the Department of Otolaryngology, was the guest speaker. Topics discussed included sub-specialties in the field, types of cases Dr. Devaiah sees, procedures he performs, and residency advice. 

This seminar was open to all medical students. OIG provided a delicious Italian lunch, and has plans to host several more exciting events throughout the year.



The AMA/MMS hosted a discussion of current issues in the health care system and potential solutions with fellow students to accompany the screening of the movie, Escape Fire, at BUSM. We hosted a dinner for all of the students who attended the event to discuss integral issues that we would all face as future physicians and as future patients. We attracted a wide audience and had a healthy discussion of what we as leaders in the healthcare field can do today that would create a better future for medicine through policy, leadership, and the day-to-day practice of medicine.



ACOG, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, held an event at the medical school where Dr. Sarita Sonalkar talked about OB/Gyn in general and about her specific experiences. She led an informal discussion where students asked her their questions. Pizza and soda were served.

Emergency Medicine Interest Group


On September 17, 2012 the Emergency Medicine Interest Group (EMIG) held its first event of the year: “Intro to Emergency Medicine with a panel discussion”. During this lunchtime event, students listened as practicing emergency physicians described the profession and their path from medical school. The panel members addressed the role of emergency medicine in the face of healthcare reform and detailed various career options in emergency medicine. Afterwards, panel members took questions from the audience over lunch. The speakers at this event were Drs. Lauren Nentwich, Andrew Ulrich, Brendan Magauran, Gina Lopez, and Ravi Murthi from the Emergency Department at Boston Medical Center, and approximately 30 first and second year medical students attended the event.

Global Health Equity Program


Dr. Kiran Martin, founder and director of the Asha Society (, inaugurated Boston University School of Medcine’s (BUSM) Global Health Speaker Series with an inspirational talk about her work in the slums of Delhi. On a sunny Friday afternoon, the room was packed with first and second year medical students, public health students, and faculty from across the Boston University Medical Campus. Dr. Martin shared her story how she started Asha as a pediatrician treating patients suffering from an outbreak of cholera in the slums of Delhi. The social inequities facing Dr. Martin’s patients were undeniable. She aptly summarized her drive to start Asha, “seeing your patients again and again with the same disease you have to do something! Or else what is all your medical education good for?” Dr. Martin refocused her medical career by becoming a communit! y organizer and advocate, and “gave hope to the people who need it most.” Dr. Martin described Asha’s successful programs spanning from women’s empowerment, prenatal care, education and financial inclusion, highlighting their unique partnership with India’s Minister of Finance. Students and faculty alike were inspired by Dr. Martin’s philosophy of human rights, and awed by her perseverance overcoming slum lords, social stigma and politics with an attitude of goodwill. After her talk, Dr. Martin spent time talking with eager global health and donated a copy of a report on Asha by the Nossal Institute For Global Health entitled “Asha: Hope and Transformation in the Slums of Delhi,” which can be found in the BUSM Office of Enrichment.


Student Research Presented at National Conferences:

Andrew Platt


I attended the XXVIIIth International Pathogenic Neisseria Conference (IPNC) from Sept. 10-14 in Wurzburg, Germany. The meeting featured attendees from academic institutions across the globe, as well as major pharmaceutical companies invested in the development of vaccines to protect against Neisseria species. The conference centers on the study of the two major pathogenic species of Neisseria, N. meningitidis and N. gonorrhoeae. While at the conference I presented research I performed in the lab of Dr. Lee Wetzler on the innate immune response to the N. meningitidis outer membrane protein PorB. Other presentations at the conference focused on gene regulation in the bacteria, on the performance of existing and new vaccines, on the spread of antibiotic resistant gonorrhoea, and on mediators of the adaptive immune response to Neisseria species.

Matthew Fleming


I presented, along with two fellow BU Biomedical Engineering graduates (BU BME 2010), our senior design project entitled “Design and Manufacture of a Robust Solar Powered Pulse Oximeter” at the 2012 World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering in Beijing, China on May 27th, 2012. The special session on undergraduate biomedical engineering projects was focused around the topic of improving health in developing countries and was chaired by Dr Herbert Voigt, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University and Associate Research Professor of Otolaryngology at Boston University School of Medicine. We presented our design for a solar powered pulse oximeter that we hope will be used as part of a robust diagnostic ‘toolkit’ by community health workers in rural and underserved nations to help decrease the unacceptably high mortality due to pneumonia in ! children under 5 years. 

Matt Fleming Event Photo


Student Attendance at National Conferences:

Lauren Hart


I attended the Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association portion of the American College of Emergency Physicians’ Scientific Assembly in Denver (10/6-10/8). I was able to attend lectures on the field which included information about residencies and fellowships in emergency medicine. I was also able to attend the residency fair which had over 120 residency program representatives present.

Matt Nolan


Timmy Global Health is an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that works to expand access to healthcare, while empowering student and medical volunteers to engage directly in global development and tackle global health challenges firsthand. In collaboration with its international and US partners, Timmy facilitates medical brigades and channels financial, medical, and human resources to community-based projects in the countries where it serves. 

The 2012 Timmy College Conference was a chance to bring together college students from across the country interested in global health and medicine in order to build connections and further education on global issues. It was truly inspiring to see the dedication, creativity, maturity, and leadership that these young people showed in their desire to make a difference both locally and internationally, and it was therefore an honor to have the chance to speak to them about my own international experiences working in Ecuador as well as my experience as a medical student.Matt Nolan Event Photo


September 2012 Updates

September 16th, 2012


On Wednesday, September 5, 2012, SCOMSA held its first meeting of the year and welcomed the 2016 leaders. The minutes from the meeting are included in the following link (2012.9.5 Meeting Minutes).

Student Group Activities:________________________________________________________

Christian Medical Dental Association


This is an event sponsored by CMDA that facilitated the discussion between students and faculty regarding what it means to explore one’s religion as a physician. The event was held on 9/7 and was open to all students and faculty. Our faculty advisor, Stephen Christiansen and student affairs Dean Daniel Chen were present to share their thoughts on Christianity and its role in the medical field.


Family Medicine Interest Group


There was a fantastic turnout for the Family Medicine Interest Group’s first event of the year on 9/4/12, “What is Family Medicine?” talk and panel discussion. Second year student Nicole Economou gave a brief overview of the specialty to the group, comprised mostly of first years. Only a handful of students knew what family medicine entailed at the start of the presentation, but our panel of three physicians (Dr. Poulin, BUMC PGY 2; Dr. Pierce, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center; and Dr. Pecci, BMC Director of Maternal/Child Health) did an excellent job of educating the group. After an hour of information and discussion with our panel, the students built a strong understanding about the breadth and flexibility that family medicine affords. One student even declared that family medicine sounded like “the perfect profession.”


Student Research Presented at National Conferences:____________________________________

Daniel Stein


I attended to 2012 annual American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery meeting. While there, I presented a poster that detailed my work with the Otolaryngology department here at Boston Medical Center looking at the population incidence of chronic laryngitis using the BMC primary care population. The poster was well-received. I also had the chance to attend many interesting lectures on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. 


Student Activities Updates

February 25th, 2012

Please click here to find minutes from the  February SCOMSA meeting:

2.8.2012 SCOMSA Minutes

Student Group Activities:________________________________________________________

American Medical Women’s Association


Approximately 40 students (5% male) participated in our “Daring to Ask: An Interactive Workshop on Negotiations” event on Wednesday February 8, 2012. Our guest speaker and leader of the workshop was Sarah Elizabeth Curi, JD. She is a practicing health care lawyer who has worked extensively with students. Sarah illustrated just how much disparity there was between female and male physicians, not just in terms of income, but also the way women are perceived in the workplace and the negative stereotypes surrounding females. She pointed out how female students and physicians can be more assertive and how not to fall victim to these stereotypes. She concluded the evening with helpful negotiation tactics that female students and future physicians can apply on a daily basis so that they can eventually get what they really want in the workplace.


History of Medicine Interest Group


Dr. James Brust came to campus to talk about BUSM’s early history, including its time as a women’s medical college, an early educator of African American doctors, and a homeopathic medical school. Dr. Brust is a psychiatrist out in California, a published historian, and donor to the BUSM library archives. The dinner event attracted a group of 40 that included students, alumni, neighbors, and medical school deans. 




The American Medical Association (AMA)/Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) Chapter at BUSM held a very successful meeting over lunch on Friday, November 18, 2011. During the meeting, the leaders of the chapter (Francis Kim & Jamie Sparling) educated members about how they can get involved in leadership roles through the AMA and the MMS, and the types of skills they can develop through these experiences. We introduced the new leadership board structure for the chapter, and reviewed responsibilities for each role. In addition, we commented on other leadership positions, such as student delegate/alternate delegate to MMS committees, AMA-Medical Student Section (MSS) standing committees, and AMA-MSS convention committees. 

Veeshal Patel gave a review of our chapter’s participation at the AMA-MSS Interim Meeting in New Orleans, LA the prior week, and first time attendees Chris Hjorth and Arvind Nishtala shared their impressions of the experience. In all, we had 16 BUSM students attend the conference, passed three BUSM-authored resolutions, and had six poster/podium presentations at the Research Symposium.

After the meeting, we circulated applications for chapter leadership positions, and have now successfully filled the roles of Co-Chair- AMA affairs, Co-Chair- MMS affairs, Membership Chair, Community Service Chair, and Logistics Chair.

A very big thank you to SCOMSA and the MMS for funding the lunch for our meeting! We were able to serve a delicious and healthy lunch of salads and sandwiches/wraps from Tossed.



Student Research Presented at National Conferences:____________________________________

Ankit Agarwal


The ACNM/SNM Mid-Winter meeting of 2012 featured oral presentations and poster presentations from the fields of nuclear medicine and radiology from around the country. Special topics of discussion included the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease, imaging techniques in the diagnosis and management of Alzheimer’s disease, and the cutting edge of research on new treatment options. Presentations also featured the impact of combining imaging modalities such as PET/CT with diagnostic level CTs with IV Contrast, PET-MRI, and others. The clinical impact as well as the practical financial concerns associated with these new modalities were discussed. Finally, the ACNM conference dinner in the evening announced the abstract award winners, including my presentation as the best oral presentation. 



Allison Bond


The one-day Integrate Chicago Conference explored the many modalities of integrative, complementary and alternative medicine through panel discussions, presentations and workshops. The conference was the result of collaboration between medical students in the Chicago area and nationally, and its aim was to boost understanding and awareness of integrative medicine among those in the medical community. With fellow second-year medical student Emily Holick, I presented a poster delineating BUSM’s newly developed MEDYoga course. There were approximately 150 students in attendance, along with many prominent members of the integrative medicine community. Overall, it was an exciting experience, and I had the opportunity to delve deeper into the world of integrative medicine, learning about such subjects as the anti-inflammatory diet, mindfulness-based stress reduction and motivational interviewing. I sincerely thank SCOMSA for the funding it provided so I could have this experience.

Rebecca Burke


This past November I attended the Society for Neuroscience’s Annual meeting held in Washington D.C. to present a poster entitled “Intracerebroventricular infusion of bone morphogenetic protein 9 (BMP9) and insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) modulates the cholinergic phenotype of the septohippocampal pathway in the rat”. This poster reflects the thesis work I have been pursuing as part of my graduate training in the MD/PhD program at Boston University School of Medicine. My research demonstrates that intracranial infusion of two growth factors, BMP9 and IGF2, modulates the cholinergic phenotype of the septohippocampal pathway, a pathway critically important for learning and memory. At the meeting, I had the opportunity to discuss this work with my peers in addition to accomplished scientists from all over the world. These interactions provided insight into my res! ults and helped shape future research directions. I also had the opportunity to attend presidential lectures and special lectures given by some of the world’s leading scientists focusing on aspects as broad and diverse as Alzheimer’s Disease, Rhett Syndrome, the epigenetic basis of neural disease, and cognition to name just a few. Finally, I viewed the posters of other graduate students and scientists on a wide variety of neuroscience topics. Attending the meeting proved to be an invaluable opportunity to fine tune and direct my own research, in addition to broadening my understanding of the research-related challenges that will face future neuroscientists. I am extremely grateful for SCOMSA’s generous funding support to help make my attendance possible.



November 2011 Updates:

November 27th, 2011



On Wednesday, November , 2, 2011, SCOMSA held its third meeting for the year. The minutes from the meeting are included in the following link (2011.11.2 SCOMSA Minutes).


Student Research Presentations:


Eric Carniol

On September 12, 2011, Eric Carniol ( gave an oral presentation at the American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery annual meeting in Sanfrancisco, California. Eric presented his research on tobacco-cessation counseling practices. The talk was entitled “Survey on Tobacco-cessation Policies and Practices (STOPP).


Student Attendance at National Conferences:

Aniruddha Hazra
Aniruddha Hazra attended the Gay Lesbian Medical Association annual conference 10/1-10/2 in Atlanta.  GLMA is dedicated to addressing the medical needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered patients as well as other sexual minorities.  The annual conference is an excellent platform in presenting new and continuing issues facing this medically marginalized community.  My interest in HIV medicine led me to several workshop headlining new anti-retroviral therapies as well as community involvement in stemming the recent rise in new infections.  I was also able to attend talks dealing with issues I know very little about.  Transgender health was a topic I got to learn a lot about during my time at the conference. Overall, I had a great experience in Washington, DC.  I am very thankful to SCOMSA and the Office of Student Affairs for helping fund my trip to the GLMA conference.

Student Activity Blog

October 29th, 2011

October 2011 Updates:



On Wednesday, October 19th, 2011, SCOMSA held it’s second meeting for the year. The minutes from the meeting are included in the following link (2011.10.19 SCOMSA Minutes).



The BUSM AMA/MMS chapter held a dinner meeting on Tuesday October 18, with Alex Calcagno presenting a program on “Understanding the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA)”. Alex is the primary liaison between the Massachusetts Medical Society and Congress, and she advocates the society’s position on federal issues, as well as educates members on the ongoing happenings affected healthcare at the national level. She gave a very informative presentation covering an overview of PPACA, the recent state Supreme Court cases challenging the law, and the expected upcoming US Supreme Court case and its implications. She also spoke to us about other ongoing federal issues including the Super Committee negotiations and the proposed repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). 

We had about 50 students attend the event, and everyone seemed very interested in the topics presented. At the end of the presentation, we held a 15-minute question and answer session with the group, then Alex also answered questions after the formal session had ended. A delicious Italian buffet was served, and the chapter officers were able to give brief updates on upcoming events. All who attended benefited from this educational talk and we are very grateful to both SCOMSA and the MMS for the generous funding. Thank you!

Alex talk photo- 1


History of Medicine Interest Group (HMIG): 

On Friday, October 14, South End historian Alison Barnet took a group of 20 on a Historical Campus Tour. Alison discussed the origins and development of Boston City Hospital and Massachusetts Memorial Hospitals. Stops on the tour included the sites of the original City Hospital buildings, the Church of the Immaculate Conception, and the old St. James Hotel. We will repeat the event next fall.


Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Student Interest Group


The title of our event was “What is Physiatry?” I felt this was a good first event of the year, because rehab medicine is not something students are commonly exposed to during medical school. Our goal was to expose the field to students who might be interested. We had a panel of three physiatry residents from BMC. Overall the event was a success, with about 40-45 students attending. The residents began by giving a quick overview of rehab medicine and why they chose the field. After that we opened up to the audience for questioning. In addition we also gave information out about shadowing opportunities.



Orthopaedic Surgery Interest Group (OSIG):

On October 6, Orthopaedics Chairman Dr. Thomas Einhorn came and spoke to a group of 30 students at a breakfast talk. The talk included discussion of how to become a competitive applicant for matching in Orthopaedics and a description of the speaker’s path to a career in the field. Dr. Einhorn’s enthusiastic presentation ended with a question and answer session.


September 2011 Updates:



SCOMSA paired up with GMS, Dental, and SPH student governments to host the annual Fall BBQ on Talbot green. Over 600 students from the four medical campus programs enjoyed hotdogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, and other refreshments. The weather was excellent at the event and lots of smiles were seen on the faces of the students. Many thanks to all the students on SCOMSA and the other student governments who helped to make the event happen!




This interest meeting served to introduce the five week Engaging Brokenness Training (EBT) sponsored by CMDA. During this meeting students who desired to find out more information about EBT had a chance to hear from other medical students about how small group trainings similar to EBT have helped them throughout medical school. They also met the students who facilitated EBT, experienced a sample discussion similar to the discussion they would be a part of, and found out more information about the Engaging Brokenness Training.



SCOMSA held its first meeting of the 2011-12 academic year. We welcomed our new representatives from the Class of 2015 who were elected by their peers. The organizations began working on setting up events for the coming year including: Formal; Informal; Fall/Spring BBQ; Ski Trip; Skit Night; Class Sweatshirts, and many others. The group reviewed funding requests and new organization applications. The minutes from the September meeting are provided at the following link (2011.09.07 SCOMSA Minutes).

Maimonides Society

The Maimonides Society held an event on 9/2/11 titled “Moses Maimonides: Rabbi, Physician and Philosopher.” This was a talk and discussion led by Dr. Michael Grodin, faculty on Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public health. He discussed issues including Maimonides medical recommendations, his upbringing, and his oath for practitioners (and how it differs from the rather embarrassing Hippocratic oath).


August 2011 Updates:

ACOG – Ob/Gyn Interest Group

On August 31st, the BUSM Student Chapter of ACOG hosted a “What is Ob/Gyn?” lunch. The lunch was very well attended and enjoyed by all. First and second year students learned about the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology, including how our panelists decided on the specialty, their experiences as residents, and what they love about the field. Students asked some great questions and the panelists were both informative and entertaining.

The panelists included:
- Dr. Michelle Sia (BMC attending and residency program director)
- Dr. Shannon Bell (First year Ob/Gyn resident)
- Dr. Marisa Nadas (BMC attending and Global Women’s Health Fellow).

Emergency Medicine Interest Group (EMIG): 


Dr. Thea James and Dr. Ron Medzen  presented on what is Emergency Medicine and how students can get involved with the department.


June 2011 Updates:

Shashank Sarvepalli
I attended an AMA national conference in Chicago from 6/17/2011 to 6/18/2011, along with many rising second year medical students. We convened to talk about the various resolutions medical students from all around the country came up with, and voted on which ones merited inclusion in AMA policy. There were also many educational opportunities and informative lectures offered by physicians and residents.



May 2011 Updates:

Andrew Platt (MD/PhD candidate)

I recently attended the TOLL 2011 conference in Riva del Garda, Italy from May 4-7, to present research done at BUSM, funded in part by SCOMSA. The conference covered recent advances in the field of innate immunity. Notable talks included new pathways through which the inflamasome acts, new methods of regulating certain intracellular infections, and regulating the inflamatory state of a person through cholesterol and dietary sugars. Insights were presented into diseases including inflammatory bowel disease, Tb infection and HIV. Outside of human models, research included work on the fruit fly Drosophila, and a very interesting talk showing that disease conditions can be passed from one animal to another solely through changes in the microbiome of the host animals. I presented my poster on the use of the Niesseria menengitidis outer membrane protein PorB as a vaccine adjuvant. I would like to thank SCOMSA for providing part of the funding that allowed me to attend this conference.


SAVAP (Sexual Assault and Violence Awareness Project)

On May 4, 2011, Dr. Judy Linden, Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Education in BMC’s Emergency Department, delivered a talk titled “Trauma X: Evaluation and Treatment of Sexual Assault Patients in the Emergency Department.” In addition to her training as a physician, Dr. Linden is a certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner and has extensive experience treating survivors of sexual trauma. She discussed the common medical concerns facing survivors after an assault, and she shared the basic elements of the Forensic Evidence Collection Kit.


Community Health Project

The Community Health Project hosted a lunch-time Physician Panel on Community Health on May 4th 2011. The event was well attended and we were very impressed with the depth of questions from our classmates.  It is clear that there is a big interest in community health here at BU!

Our panel included:

Lorraine Stanfield, MD Medicine

Practices Medicine at the Dorchester House in addition to running the CCHERS program and coordinating the ICM curriculum for second year medical students. She is a powerful force in the Medical School Office of Education and has been a wonderful support for the CHP!

Rachel Mott-Keis, MD Family Medicine

Practices Medicine at East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and BMC. Dr. Mott-Keis is a Massachusetts native and also did her Family Medicine residency here at BMC. Her special interests include providing care to the underserved and homeless populations as well as health care access.

The topics that were discussed included:

1. How did you end up working in a Community Health Center (CHC)?

2. What is your role there?

3. What are the benefits and challenges of working in a CHC?

4. What is the lifestyle like for a doctor working at a CHC? (financial, loan repayment, hours, call, home-work balance)

5. What is your definition of community health?

6. As a physician, how would you define a CHC?

7. Working in a CHC, would you say it is a good model for meeting the need for quality health care in America? For filling the gap in healthcare need?

8. What do you love about CHCs? What do you dislike about CHCs?

We served fresh bagels from Panera Bread with all the fixin’s, along with homemade fruit salad and cookies.

The CHP leadership team was also available after the event to answer questions about the SEARCH Program; an exciting, PAID, community-oriented summer opportunity.


Orthopaedic Surgery Interest Group:

On May 3, six members of the Orthopaedic Surgery Interest Group attended the Massachusetts Orthopaedic Association 2011 Annual Meeting. The event featured presentations about surgical procedures, the annual business meeting, a presentation about Accountable Care Organizations, and a reception and dinner. It proved to be a valuable opportunity for students to learn about the field and network. The group hopes to return next year and will organize other events to teach the student population about careers in Orthopaedics, including a residency panel and a meet and greet with the department chairman.


Jessica Moon (Class of 2013)

On May 3rd 2011 I was able to attend the ARVO conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  I presented my poster titled “The effects of inhibiting high glucose-induced upregulation of ECM on connexin 43 expression in retinal endothelial cells”. I started working on this project with Dr. Roy during my first year of medical school. I had the opportunity to present my findings at this conference and attend many interesting lectures.



Neepa Shah


I had the privilege to attend the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2011 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. While I was only at the meeting for a short time, I was very impressed by the sheer number of people that were there – thousands of renowned researchers from various disciplines from around world. At the meeting, I attended various seminars and sessions, and had the opportunity to meet other researchers who were conducting basic science research in similar areas to my own project. I saw many presentations on translational research topics, as well as clinically relevant topics. I plan to make research an important part of my career as a future physician, and was interested to learn that so few physicians remain involved in this organization once they practice clinical medicine (mostly those that remain involved are MD/PhD or are non-MD, such as PhDs). It inspired me to continue to be involved in research in the basic sciences as I move forward with my career.


Tiffany Filippel (Class of 2011)

In the early months of my fourth year, I became involved in neonatology research under the direction of Alan Fujii, MD. We sought to determine if former premature, otherwise healthy infants being discharged from the NICU had the same oxygen saturations while seated in a car seat and lying flat in a crib. I spent a dedicated research month on the project, and continued to play an active throughout the remainder of the year. Preliminary results were promising, and were accepted for a poster presentation at the annual Pediatric Academic Societies/Asian Society for Pediatric Research Conference held in Denver, Colorado Apr 30-May 3, 2011. With help from SCOMSA, I was able to attend the conference and display my poster. Over the course of 3 days, I had the opportunity to attend lecture series and presentation of original research on a variety of topics. I heard a fascinating series of lectures regarding the effects of early media exposure on young children, another on prevalence and attempts at reducing cigarette smoking among adolescents in Asian countries, and even learned about the effects of the recent Gulf Coast oil spill on local children.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work on a research topic from initial idea through obtaining and presenting results. I have learned that research is a creative aspect of medicine, and, ultimately, I hope to integrate some research into my clinical career. I am graduating in a few weeks and am excited to be pursuing a residency in pediatrics at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.



April 2011 Updates:

History of Medicine Interest Group:

On April 26, the History of Medicine Interest Group held its inaugural meeting. Dr. Robert Beazley entertained with a talk about Civil War-era surgeon and Medal of Honor recipient Dr. Mary Edwards Walker. After the talk, current group members presented ideas for events and activities for next year and the future. These activities will include historical campus and neighborhood tours, visits to local museums, and a student-run display case featuring items selected from the archives.


Bioethics Interest Group


Christine Mitchell, RN, MS, MTS, is the Associate Director of Clinical Ethics in the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School, and the Director of the Office of Ethics at Children’s Hospital Boston. Ms. Mitchell led an interactive discussion about the responsibilities of hospital ethics committees, presented some complex clinical cases, and engaged students in thinking about how they might respond to different cases if they were serving as ethics committee members.


Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM)


One of UAEM’s central missions is to promote the development and deployment of novel biomedical technologies for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of “neglected tropical diseases” (NTDs), a group of disabling and deadly infections that collectively affect over 1 billion people – mainly the poorest in the world. Chagas disease affects at least 10 million people across Latin America and has recently received increased attention in the US due to immigration patterns and the threat of contamination of the blood supply, yet (like for many NTDs) existing diagnostics and treatments are difficult to access, outdated, ineffective, and often times very toxic.

To this end, we held a dinner screening of the documentary film, “Chagas: A Hidden Affliction”, to raise awareness of Chagas disease amongst members of the BUMC community. The film follows the personal stories of Latino immigrants in the US and Europe, who bring Chagas with them as they seek a better life in the new world, only to be ignored or misunderstood by the medical community. ~15 students were in attendance, and the DVD is now permanently on reserve in the BUSM library for future viewing.


SNAAC (Student Nutrition Awareness and Action Council)

I attended the Experimental Biology conference in Washington DC April 10-12 with Dr. Carine Lenders and Kathy Gorman RD (SNAAC faculty advisors). While at this conference we sat on a panel about nutrition and how to incorporate this topic into the medical school curriculum. We shared our experiences with SNAAC and the Vertical Integration Group at BUSM and how we have and are continuing to work to incorporate nutrition into the curriculum at BUSM. We described the student lead organization, SNAAC, and what each division of this group does (Education, Advocacy, Community Outreach, Clinical Experience, and Events). This was an excellent opportunity to promote our program, to give other schools an idea as to how to integrate nutrition at their schools, and to receive feedback on what others thought we could do to improve upon our program. I presented a poster on behalf of SNAAC explaining why the group was founded and what each division has accomplished. This poster session provided me with another opportunity to network with other individuals interested in nutrition and medical education and receive suggestions as to how to move forward with this group. While at the conference I also had the opportunity to attend a workshop on advocacy. During this session I learned how to get in touch with representatives, how to prepare for a meeting on Capitol Hill, and how to make my concerns heard on the local and national level. I also met the new Director of Government Relations for the American Society for Nutrition (Sarah Ohlhorst) who will be a key contact in expanding the Advocacy branch of SNAAC.



On April 11, CMDA hosted a lunch catered by Equator Thai cuisine to celebrate the end of the year. Michael Balboni, PhD, ThM, leader of the Longwood Christian Community and social science researcher on faith and end-of-life care, came to speak with CMDA members about the intersection of faith and practice with particular concerns to prayer. He stimulated debate and discussion about when it is appropriate to pray with and for patients, and gave students ideas of how to integrate their faith and practice in professional ways.


Timothy McIntire (Class of 2013)

I recently attended the American Academy of Neurology’s 63rd Annual Meeting, held the week of April 9th through the 16th in sunny Honolulu, Hawaii.  I attended the conference in order to present a poster entitled “Intracerebral Hemorrhage in the Young: Risk Factors and Locations”.  This poster was the product of research I conducted last summer with Dr. Aleksandra Pikula in the Neurology department here at Boston Medical Center.  The conference was a great learning experience and an excellent excuse to spend some time in Hawaii.


Kristen Lindgren (Class of 2011)
Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, April 9-16, 2011

This spring, Kristen Lindgren, an MD/PhD candidate at BUSM, attended the 63rd annual meeting of the American Academy in Neurology (AAN) in Honolulu, HI.  She met with other medical student leaders of Student Interest Group of Neurology (SIGN) chapters to discuss BUSM’s activities this past year and to brainstorm over new ideas for next year.  Activities that other chapters have organized included teaching neurology related lessons provided by the AAN in local schools.  In addition to networking with fellow medical students as well as neurologists from around the world, she also attended several lectures and classes.  Several of the symposiums addressed hot topics in neurology, such as treatments in multiple sclerosis, including promising new investigational agents like laquinimod, and potential risk factors for the disease, such as levels of sun exposure.  Through the medical student rush line, a special opportunity offered to medical students and residents to get free tickets to educational courses, she was also able to attend a course entitled “Neuro Flash: Child Neurology.”  This course presented updates on difficult topics in this field through a case-based program.  Through several lectures, this course helped participants differentiate between tics and other twitches, ADEM vs. MS vs. CIS, and also presented treatment options for cerebral palsy.  This material was timely for Ms. Lindgren given her recent match at Massachusetts General Hospital for child neurology.  She thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to attend the meeting, and she hopes to incorporate what she has learned into her current clinical and research endeavors.


SNAAC (Student Nutrition Awareness and Action Council)


This was our second run of the Medical Student/Dietetic Intern match program (MD/DI match) through SNAAC. We had 7 medical students of all 4 classes and 7 dietetic interns paired one-on-one for a four month program involving 5 meetings. The goal was to educate medical students on their own nutrition habits and to learn the role of registered dietitians in the in-patient and out-patient medical teams. For the dietetic interns, this program gave them the chance to build relationships with future physicians and to understand how physicians and dietitians can work together. The pairs participated in one-on-one counseling sessions, a grocery store visit, and a lecture day given by the participants. It was a great success!



Stephanie Feldman (Class of 2014)

I attended the American Medical Women’s Association National Student Conference April 2-3 in Arlington, VA with BUSM’s three AMWA co-chairs Erin Brooks, Xu Xu, and Tiffany Ynosencio. The conference theme was “Don’t be Silent”, educating female medical students and future physicians about how to be advocates for themselves and advocates for their patients. They keynote speaker, Dr. Mandy Krauthamer spoke about her career path, her decision to pursue an MPH, and how she became the Executive Director of Doctors for America, an organization working to improve the healthcare system. Another phenomenal speaker was Sara Laschever who presented “Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want”. This talk highlighted deficiencies in women’s abilities to negotiate and to ask for what they want. She presented some very interesting research and made suggestions as to what women can do differently to get what they want. This conference was very informative, as well as inspirational. We attended the 96th Anniversary Gala dinner where the FDA Commissioner (Margaret A Hamburg MD) and the Surgeon General (Regina Benjamin MD MBA) received awards for their accomplishments and achievements.


Brandi Ring (Class of 2011)

April 1st-3rd Women’s Health

This is one of the best conferences I have ever attended.  The lectures were really amazing and inspiring and on a wide range of topics concerning women’s health.  It was nice to not focus completely on OB/GYN matters but instead to look at primary care and care of all aspects of women’s health.  I also attended the AMWA/PRCH advocacy day on Capitol Hill which was incredible.  We met with the staffers for many very critical Senators and Congressmen just days before a critical vote on funding for women?s health.  I was able to interact with leading physicians in the areas of women’s reproductive rights and even ended up getting a job offer for after I complete residency! It was an incredible experience.  I followed the conference up with a meet and greet with the Pennsylvania Medical Society to get involved in their advocacy efforts as a resident.


March 2011 Updates:


On March 31, 2011, FMIG hosted two speakers from the nonprofit organization Primary Care Progress for an evening dinner event. Practicing primary care physicians Dr. Sarah Smithson and Dr. Nivedita Ghosh from Brigham and Women’s gave a one-hour interactive presentation to thirty medical students. They began by asking for ideas on what the ideal primary care delivery system would entail, based on a patient case. They then explained the concept of a patient centered medical home, and talked about opportunities to get involved with research and innovations as a medical student and as a doctor. There was time for questions at the end, and several students stayed late chatting with the speakers


Sexual Assault and Violence Awareness Project (SAVAP)

On March 30, 2011, the Sexual Assault and Violence Awareness Project (SAVAP) hosted a talk titled, “An Introduction to the Dynamics and Health Impact of Partner Violence”, by Joanne Timmons, MPH, Domestic Violence Program Coordinator at Boston Medical Center. The presentation provided an overview of the types and dynamics of intimate partner violence, the health impact of abuse, and the ways the health care system addresses it. We discussed both the physical and non-physical aspects of partner violence, how survivors make decisions in their relationships, and strategies for effective communication between health care providers and these patients.


Medical Student’s for Choice


Medical Student’s For Choice hosted a movie screening of the short documentary ” Abortion Democracy : Poland / South Africa ” . About 40 students attended and viewed the film which explored the contrast in changes in Poland and South Africa regarding abortion laws and their impact on the lives of women. Poland banned abortion due to the increasing influence of the Catholic Church after the fall of communism; around the same time South Africa legalized it, reforming the health system after the fall of apartheid.


Camellia Banerjee (MD/PhD)

I attended the Keystone Conference on HIV Evolution, Genomics and Pathogenesis held in Whistler, BC, Canada from March 20 to March 25th 2011.  The conference included a number of lectures on the progress of HIV research currently.  Our lab presented a poster on HIV and Aging describing a model that looks at HIV as a model of accelerated aging based on microarray data.


American Medical Student Association (AMSA) BUSM Chapter

Four students from the BUSM AMSA chapter attended the AMSA National student conference in Arlington, VA, from March 10 to March 13th.


Elizabeth Park (Class of 2013)

On March 1st, I presented my poster, titled “KIT in Atypical Acral Nevi- an immunohistochemical and genetic appraisal” at the 2011 United States & Canadian Academy of Pathology annual meeting.



February 2011 Updates:


On Friday, Feb 25th FMIG invited Dr. Saper and Dr. Qureshi to speak to first and second year students about the different fellowships available in family medicine. The talk began with an introduction about Family Medicine and a list of the official fellowships available. Then Dr. Saper spoke about his experience in an academic fellowship and his interest in alternative medicine. Dr. Qureshi discussed her background in OB/Gyn and the opportunities that such a fellowship awards a practicing family physician. It was great to hear such a variety of experiences from our faculty and to see how much they enjoyed their respective paths to where they are today. We served sandwiches for lunch and had a great time! Thank you for the support!



On February 24th, fifteen first and second year medical students attended this workshop led by Dr. Danielle Roncari, a family planning fellow. The workshop included an introduction to the manual vacuum aspiration procedure, including its indications and techniques required to perform this procedure. Each student then work individually with Dr. Roncari to simulate this procedure using a papaya as a uterine model.


Orthopaedic Surgery Interest Group

On February 22, the Orthopaedic Surgery Interest Group held our annual Orthopaedic Residency Panel. Over thirty 1st and 2nd year BUSM students came to listen to the panel, ask questions, and enjoy lunch. The panel consisted of four 4th year students hoping to match in Orthopaedic Surgery and two residents in the department. The goal of the event was to introduce students early in their medical career to people who had recently gone through the process of matching in a competitive field. The panelists shared their experiences, while offering advice and encouragement to the students. The OSIG plans to hold similar events in the future and events that explore the broad spectrum of subspecialties in the field, so that we may best prepare and educate students pursuing a match in Orthopaedic Surgery.


PM&R Student Interest Group

2/17/11  The PM&R Student Interest Group recently hosted Mr. Michael Mahoney to speak at an evening dinner event. Mr. Mahoney sustained a traumatic spinal cord injury in a diving accident more than 30 years ago. After 3 months of acute hospitalization, Mr. Mahoney was transferred to the Boston University Hospital where he received his acute inpatient rehabilitation and his journey to recovery began. Mr. Mahoney spoke on the many challenges he overcame, how physicians have helped him along the way, and what he does now to live life to its fullest.


Unite for Sight

On February 11th, four volunteers from Unite for Sight hosted a lunch for teachers at Blackstone Elementary School in Boston. The purpose of this school outreach event was to educate teachers about eye health and to emphasize sight problems that are common among school-aged children. The volunteers presented a Powerpoint presentation to the teachers and assessed their level of understanding through pre- and post-tests. Several teachers were enthusiastic about repeating this event again in order to educate other members of the school. Unite for Sight is working to coordinate a student workshop at Blackstone to educate the students themselves.





American Medical Women’s Association

On 2/8/11 Dr. Alice Mark, a OB/Gyn family planning specialist lead a workshop for approximately 45 students on sexual health. Main topics of discussion were how to take a sexual history and what to do with the information you get, contraceptive counseling and myths/facts about sexual practices of all kinds.



Shalini Reddy

I attended the American Academy of Dermatology conference in New Orleans, Louisiana from February 4-6, 2011. From BUSM, Busayo Obayan also attended along with several of the dermatology residents and attendings. At the event, there were several planned activities including lectures, exhibitions of up-to-date research, scientific sessions about the basics of dermatology and dermatopathology, and booths with information about the latest skin care products and medications for skin diseases including psoriasis, eczema, acne, prevention of skin cancer, and cosmetic dermatology. I attended several of the lectures given by practicing dermatologists, including one about skin pathology in people of Asian descent, blistering skin diseases, as well allergy and its relation to skin. I also browsed through the booths, in which I learned a lot about the implications and practical uses of some of the most recent research done in dermatology. My main goal in attending the AAD conference was to hold a meeting for the new officers of Dermatology Interest Group Association (DIGA), a national student run organization in which I have newly been appointed the vice president for the 2011-2012 academic year. Many of the officers from the previous year and the upcoming year attended from various medical schools across the nation, and we discussed the goals of the organization and ways to implement some of them. Tim Turnham, the executive director of the Melanoma Research Foundation, was able to attend the DIGA meeting and discuss ways we as students can get involved in the MRF. Overall, the meeting was a great success and we were able to get a lot of logistical work done while we were at the AAD.


On Friday, 2/4/2011, the Creative Arts Society hosted Kick Back Kafe, BUSM’s annual talent show. Over 200 students and faculty were in attendance to watch performances from students and faculty alike, from a special rock song by the OSA Deans to spoken word, the Doctors’ Notes a cappella group, hip-hop dance, to the BUMC Band! Delicious wraps and hummus were catered by Andre’s Cafe. The event was funded and supported by SCOMSA, the Alumni Association, and the BUMC Band. Thank you to SCOMSA for funding for the great night!



January 2011 Updates:

Daniel Faden


I attended the Triological Society meeting in Scottsdale AZ in order to present my research “The Closed Airway Sneeze”, an Unusual Cause of Laryngeal Fracture. The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc., aka The Triological Society promotes research into the causes of and treatments for otolaryngic diseases by attracting promising physicians to scholarly otolaryngology research and supporting their development, providing financial support for the research efforts of young scientists, and promoting the highest standards in the field of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery.


Michael Bohanske (Class of 2011)


I was able to attend the 2011 meeting of the National Association of EMS (Emergency Medical Services) Physicians this year in Bonita Springs, Florida. I attended to present a 15-minute oral presentation of my ongoing research with the BMC Department of Emergency Medicine and Boston Emergency Medical Services. Our talk, entitled “The Effect of Prehospital Continuous Positive Airway Pressure on Intubations” received praise during the moderated research session.
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the remainder of the conference along with over 500 EMS physicians and various clinical supervisors from EMS organizations nationwide. I attended lectures and panel discussions on a variety of topics including the latest techniques in prehospital emergency airway management and how the Vancouver EMS system adopted to surge capacities during the winter Olympics.



CASE PRESENTATION Part II: Critical Pulmonary Care.

As a follow-up to the first Case Presentation by Dr. Jared Magnani in December, Dr. Alan Walkey presented students with a patient case from the Pulmonary Care unit on January 6. The students engaged in an active discussion trying to make a diagnosis as more information about the case was uncovered. Dr. Walkey taught students the art of diagnostic thinking using patient history, imaging and labs and gave the students an overview of some of the key features of the disease. This case presentation also gave some great insight into how effective history taking can matter in the final diagnosis. This is the second of a series of case presentation events hosted by the IMIG, modeled after the real lunch time case series that take place in the clinic, which resemble IP sessions condensed into one session. The overall response from the students was great for both sessions.


December 2010 Updates:

Opthalmology Interest Group

On December 10th Dr. Munir of the ophthalmology department, director of the Cornea, External Disease, and Refractive surgery came to speak with students about the exciting field of ophthalmology. He showed videos of procedures, spoke about a day in the life of an ophthalmologist, gave advice about how to be successful matching, and took questions from the students. The students very much enjoyed the talk, and the Anna’s Taqueria lunch that was served with it.



On December 9, 2010 a lunch time case presentation event was hosted by the IMIG. It was the first of a series of two events intended to present students with real life scenarios from various Internal Medicine specialities and to allow students to exercise their diagnostic thinking. Dr. Jared Magnani from cardiology presented the students with a patient case, including labs, imaging etc. while the students tried to figure out the differential diagnosis and treatment plan. The students were able to ask for more information as the case got uncovered. This event was modeled after the real lunch time case series that take place in the clinic, which resemble IP sessions condensed into one session. For the first year students it served as a glimpse of what the specialty of cardiology is about, while it was a good refresher for the second year students as they get ready to study for the USMLE Step 1. Overall, this event was organized in hopes of getting everyone excited about medicine outside of classroom.


SNAAC (Student Nutrition Awareness and Action Council)


This partnership between the medical school and BU’s Sargent College (which offers the master’s degree and clinical internship program for dietitians in training) was a huge success. We had 12 medical students of all four years apply and enter the program. They were each matched to one dietetic intern. The goals were to have medical students get counseled on their own nutrition habits (and thus become healthier themselves), to learn what a dietitian does, to be able to better communicate basic nutrition information, and to better understand when it’s appropriate to refer to a dietitian. The dietetic interns were able to practice their clinical skills with a single patient over a long period of time and to build a referral network for the future. Over five weeks, the MDs and DIs met for an initial meeting, a followup meeting, a restaurant week, a grocery store visit, and a final wrapup meeting. We collected information via a post-program survey and had great results for our objectives. We are in talks with Sargent College to apply for educational grants, as they want this program to continue next semester and for the future!



Roy Arjoon


I presented at the MMS Fifth Annual Research Poster Symposium at the Massachusetts Medical Society Headquarters in Waltham, MA. The symposium showcased research by medical students, residents, and fellows. The categories for posters included, basic research, clinical research, clinical vignettes, and health policy/medical education.


November 2010 Updates:

Outreach Van Project (OVP)

On November 18th, the Outreach Van Project hosted a Mental Health Panel of three psychiatrists and a patient speaker discussing mental health issues in a homeless population. The event was very well attended, with approximately 80 students. An overall picture of the problem of mental health issues in a homeless population was presented, as well as a number of cases. The patient speaker was particularly well received, and he talked to students about his struggle with homelessness, depression, and alcohol abuse.


Nick Weida

The North American Primary Care Research Group Meeting (NAPCRG) Meeting in Seattle, WA Nov 13-17, is focused on networking primary care researchers from different countries and exposing individuals to opportunities for research. Highlights of the meeting included extensive discussion regarding the expansion of the role of the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and community health centers within the new health care reform bill. Additionally, Dr. Larry Culpepper, Chair of BU’s Family Medicine Department was awarded the NAPCRG Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in advancing primary care and developing the Family Medicine Department at Boston University.


Unite for Sight


Unite for Sight increased awareness for global eye heath by hosting a lunch for students from the School of Public Health and Graduate Medical Sciences programs. About 20 students were in attendance at this recruitment presentation to hear about the organization’s purpose and goals. This generated great interest and enthusiasm for Unite for Sight’s upcoming events this winter and sparked the interest of several new members, particularly for global health initiatives and traveling abroad.


Rebecca Burke

As a fifth year MD/PhD student, Rebecca Burke recently attended the 2010 Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting held from November 11th-17th in San Diego, CA where she presented a poster entitled, “IGF2 as a potential mediator of enhanced adult hippocampal plasticity evoked by high prenatal choline intake in rats”. This presentation allowed her to discuss the work she has been conducting as a graduate student toward her degree in Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and Biomedical Neuroscience in the laboratory of Dr. Krzysztof Blusztajn. The project involves examining the effects of intracranial infusion of two growth factors, Bone-morphogenetic Protein 9 and Insulin-Like Growth Factor 2 (IGF2), on the septohippocampal pathway, a pathway important for learning and memory. The poster illustrated how an 8-day intracranial infusion of IGF2 caused a reduction in the expression of choline transporter transcript in the septum of 60-90 day old male rats. These results support a role for IGF2 in mediating some of the effects of embryonic choline supplementation, a topic extensively studied in the lab. In addition to being afforded the opportunity to discuss her work with accomplished scientists and students from diverse backgrounds, she was also able to attend talks given by some of the worlds leading scientific investigators. The topics included brain development, autism, learning and memory, epigenetics, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Parkinson’s Disease just to name a few. The meeting represents a rare opportunity for the world’s neuroscientists to come together to showcase the most cutting-edge and most recent scientific techniques, findings, and theories regarding today’s most challenging neuroscience questions. Exhibits from biomedical companies from all over the globe showcasing their latest technology and equipment to unravel the intricacies of the nervous system were also available for viewing and consultation. She left the meeting motivated by the groundbreaking research being conducted by so many dedicated individuals and expressed her gratitude for SCOMSA’s generous support.


Medical Students for Choice

On November 5th, Dr. Deborah Maine, a professor at BU School of Public Health presented, “HPV vaccine in the developing world: A human rights issue?” This talk considered the evidence base for cervical cancer prevention, screening and treatment in the developing world. Then, questioned what strategy is most appropriate given limited resources dedicated to this important disease.


AMA-Mass Med Meeting in San Diego, CA   Nov. 4-6, 2010

Anais Parker

I went to the AMA Interim conference San Diego from November 4-7. At the conference I attended leadership where I learned team building exercises. The conference involved two days of testimony. I was responsible for researching two of the forty-eight resolutions that were being debated at the conference. I presented that state of Massachusetts’ view on both of my resolutions and submitted our recommended changes. During the second day of testimony I people fought for or against changes that had been recommended. I only spoke on one of my resolutions that time because the region agreed with the proposed changes on my other resolution. In addition to giving testimony I also attended region meetings where we participated in elections. I also had the opportunity to network with physicians from across the country at dinners and at educational seminars. The last day of the conference I attend the opening of the physicians Interim conference.

AMA-Mass Med

Diane Haddad

I attended the American Medical Association’s Interim Convention in San Diego from November 4th-November 7th, 2010. I attended as part of a delegation from the Massachusetts Medical Society with seven other BU Medical students. I had a wonderful time in San Diego and had the opportunity to participate in debate on legislative resolutions presented to the Medical Student Section of the AMA. I also got to hear a number of physicians and politicians speak on the pressing issues of healthcare policy in the United States today, while personally interacting with medical students, residents and physicians from around the U.S.

AMA interim

Tony Rianprakaisang

The AMA interim meeting was a fantastic opportunity for me to observe and participate in the various aspects of health policy creation. My initial tasks for the meeting were to analyze and interpret various resolutions that had bee researched and written by my peers. After thorough discussion with students at BUSM, we took our viewpoints to the Massachusetts meeting in Waltham, and after more debate, we were able to collaboratively synthesis our state opinion of each resolution. At the meeting in San Diego, I was the designated speaker for two resolutions. When the resolutions that I was responsible for came up for debate, I spoke on behalf of Massachusetts, giving our full opinion on the matter. I very much enjoyed being able to witness the efforts of students across the nation collaborating to improve/amend resolutions on topics about which they are passionate. This was a fantastic opportunity to become exposed to how students are able to affect change through the conversion of their ideas into written policy.


Family Medicine Interest Group

On Thursday, November 4th, a group of over 50 students came to hear four primary care physicians in different fields speak about their experiences in primary care. The panel included Dr. Peggy Chou of Internal Medicine, Dr. Alan Meyers of Pediatrics, Dr. Michelle Sia of Ob/Gyn and Dr. Joanne Wilkinson of Family Medicine. Each panelist spoke about what initially drew them to primary care, what path they took to get to their current position, and what the best parts and biggest challenges are of their fields. Overall, the panelists painted a very positive yet candid view of primary care – each panelist seemed very happy with and devoted to his or her career and patients, and all four spoke about how much they gain from having long-term relationships with their patients.


Family Medicine Interest Group

On Monday Nov 1 FMIG hosted an event titled “The Economics of Primary Care” as the kick off to the National Primary Care Week. The guest speaker was Dr. Wiecha, a family physician at BMC involved in the department and in advising students at BUSM. He introduced his research on models of debt repayment for students thinking of a career in primary care. The event had about 30 attendees and was geared towards those especially interested in this topic. Those with questions were able to follow up with Dr. Wiecha and schedule appointments to work with him to apply his model to their own economic situations. The students were very engaged in the topic and the speaker. The event was very successful!


October 2010 Updates:

Andrew Platt (MD/PhD)

I presented a poster at the Keystone Symposia Conference on the Immunological Mechanisms of Vaccination. The meeting was held in Seattle from October 27-31, and was attended by roughly 600 researchers from across the globe. While most of the presenters were from academia, there were a number of talks by representatives from major pharmaceutical companies describing new vaccines and clinical trials. I was presenting work from the Wetzler lab on the adjuvant activity of the Neisserial Porin B, and its mediation through TLR2.

A great deal of new research was presented at the meeting. A number of labs are using microarray technologies to study both the human and mouse responses to vaccination, and are bringing this information back into the design of new vaccine. Alum, the oldest FDA approved vaccine adjuvant, was under intense discussion as the to the mechanism of its action. A number of recent vaccine trials were also discussed, focusing on why (or why not) they had been successful.


American Geriatrics Society BUSM student chapter

AGS student chapter had their first event of the year an Interactive Aging Workshop which took place Thursday night, October 21st at 5:30pm over in L109.

The event was a big hit! We had around 20 students attend for first a dinner and informal Q&A where Dr. Lee Won fielded questions about Geriatrics including questions about residency, the role of palliative care and general lifestyle questions about being a Geriatrician.

Following dinner students got the chance to experience what life may be like at 85 years of age. We had stations set up for visual impairment, hearing impairment and trying to fill out forms, follow instructions or fill pill boxes with said impairments. We also had a station where students experienced what it would be like to have peripheral neuropathy while performing tasks like shirt buttoning or filling pill boxes.

Overall the event was a big hit and students learned something about the difficulties affecting our aging population.




Dr. John Wiecha, Family Medicine guest speaks for APAMSA’s Annual Lunch Seminar on “Hep B: Epidemiology and the Community.” This event is held every year to educate and raise awareness about Hepatitis B and the issues that arise in the community. Dr. Wiecha described the etiology and clinical aspects of Hep B infection in addition to the impact of hepatitis B in minority populations including Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Hmong, Cambodian, Laotian, etc. He also shares his clinical experiences in serving under-served communities, and especially communities of different cultures. He emphasizes the importance of communication with patients more so than awareness of differences to be truly culturally competent. He also highlights the great impact of preventative care with Hep B screening and vaccination and promotes opportunities for reaching out to community to educate about Hep B and vaccinations through community organizations such as Hepatitis B Initiative.

APAMSA Hep B Lunch Talk with Dr. Wiecha_10.19.2010



The Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) chapters at the Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, and Georgetown University Schools of Medicine hosted this year’s 17th APAMSA National Conference: Navigating Medicine’s Next Frontier on October 15-17, 2010 in Baltimore, MD. This year’s national conference addressed both obvious and sometimes neglected issues pertinent to the health and well-being of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities including cultural awareness, advocacy and policy, health care access, establishing community clinics, domestic violence, mental health, hepatitis B, and bone marrow typing. The conference gave attendees the opportunity to engage in dialogue with health professionals working on AAPI health issues, and provide a forum for collaboration among student leaders from around the country. Ultimately, we learned the tools for better meeting the health needs of the AAPI communities.

APAMSA National Conference 2010


Student Nutrition Awareness and Action Council (SNAAC)

On October 15th, Joan Salge Blake, the clinical director of the dietetic intern program at BU’s Sargent College, came to speak with medical students on the topic of “Talking to Patients About Weight Management.” She had a fantastic presentation, full of passion and TV-quality speaking skills, that focused on why we need to talk to patients about nutrition, what some common perceptions of weight management are, and what specific tips we can give to promote weight management. The talk was very well attended (every seat was filled), and we served a healthy lunch appropriate for the talk. In addition, we had 20 dietetic interns (dietitians in training) attend to help break the ice for our MD/DI match coming up, where we will pair med students with dietetic interns so that the med students can be counseled on their own food habits and learn how to communicate nutrition information to patients.



Pediatric Education and Development Society

Pediatric Cardiology: Myths and Facts! On October 15, 2010, Dr. Sep Sekhavat spoke to members of the PEDS society about his path to pediatric cardiology and some of the procedures he does on a daily basis as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Pediatric Cardiologist at Boston University School of Medicine and as an Echocardiographer at Children’s Hospital Boston. He highlighted congenital abnormality cases such as atrial and ventricular septal defects and the Tetralogy of Fallot and described them using radiological techniques. Students asked a lot of insightful questions correlating their Anatomy and DRx2: Cardiology module classroom learning to some pediatric cases.


American Medical Women’s Association


A group of female physicians from diverse specialties brought unique perspectives on choosing a specialty, thriving during training and planning major life events and careers. Students ate dinner in small groups with the physician who’s specialty interested them. Then a panel discussion was held to present a range of opinions to the entire group. The evening culminated in a lively question and answer session with the panel.


Unite for Sight

Dr. Seth Wayne, a Ghanaian ophthalmologist, spoke on October 13 about providing eye care to the poor population in Ghana. He presented to the ophthalmology department at department Grand Rounds about his experience being the only ophthalmologist for 2 million people in the northern region of Ghana. He followed this with a presentation to medical students at Boston University School of Medicine that included topics on global health and eye health disparities. He was truly inspiring.

Dr Wayne


Otolaryngology Interest Group

The Otolaryngology Interest Group held a breakfast talk, with guest speaker Dr. Jeffery Spiegel on 10/13/10. Dr. Spiegel is chief of the division of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at BMC, and a Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and a Professor of Plastic Surgery at BUSM. First and second year medical students attended the talk, to learn about entering the field of Otolaryngology, as well as to hear about the specific work of Dr. Spiegel. Some of this work includes post-traumatic reconstructive surgery, elective plastic surgery, and facial feminization surgery (FFS). Dr. Spiegel was both entertaining and informative, and gave students a glimpse into the world of facial plastic surgery.


Unite for Sight

On October 4, Dr. Edward Feinberg spoke to the first years about a career in the field of ophthalmology as part of the Careers in Medicine series. Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Ophthalmology, Dr. Feinberg provided insight into the daily life and responsibilities of an ophthalmologist, while also giving advice to medical students on how to get accepted into a residency program. About 50 students were in attendance.


September 2010 Updates:


On September 30th, 2010, Dr. Teresa Cheng, Internal Medicine guest spoke on Asian American Health Issues in Massachusetts. She described and familiarized students to the Asian demographics in Boston, Quincy, and Dorchester and addressed the need for cultural competence in providing for not just Asian patients, but all patients of different ethnic backgrounds. She also described specific cases that exemplify differences in language, differences in health beliefs and differences in interaction between patients and doctors. She also touched upon the lack and need of well-defined research on health-related topics for the heterogeneous Asian American subset.


Clinical Neuroscience Society

The Clinical Neuroscience Society kicked off the year on 9/29/10 with a great presentation by Dr. Bergethon titled ‘The mind of the medical student: strategies and implications.’ The talk focused on how the human mind processes, stores, and recalls information and the changes in how information is stored and accessed as students progress from novices (first and second year medical students) to experts (senior attendings). Approximately 35 first and second year students were in attendance.


Michael Bohanske

On September 28th, I was able to attend the American College of Emergency Physicians 2010 Scientific Assembly this year in Las Vegas, Nevada. I attended to present the poster of my ongoing research with the BMC Department of Emergency Medicine and Boston Emergency Medical Services. Our poster, entitled “The Effect of CPAP on Patient Care Time in an Urban EMS System” received praise during the moderated EMS poster session. Fellow researchers and clinicians were able to view the poster for two days at the Research Forum.

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the remainder of the conference along with 6,000 emergency physicians. I attended lectures and panel discussions on a variety of topics including the latest techniques in emergency airway management and how health reform will effect emergency physicians.

ACEP 2010


Orthopaedic Surgery Interest Group

On Tuesday evening at 5 pm, September 21, 2010, the Orthopaedic Surgery Interest Group (OSIG) hosted a dinner presentation by Dr. Andrew Jawa, assistant professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at BUSM and hand/upper extremity specialist at BMC. A group of approximately 35 first and second-year medical students were in attendance at the dinner talk. Dinner was catered by Boloco burritos.

Dr. Jawa began the evening by giving an introduction to Orthopaedic Surgery and fielding questions from the audience about a range of topics, from the pros/cons of Orthopaedic Surgery as a career to advice for improving one’s chances for an Orthopaedics residency. He then gave a presentation of clinical Orthopaedic cases highlighting basic anatomy of the hand and upper extremity/shoulder. The talk was very well-received by the students and Dr. Jawa gave a lot of great advice and insight into the field of Orthopaedics. Thank you to SCOMSA for helping make this event possible!


Family Medicine Interest Group

On 9/14/10 the FMIG at BU hosted its introductory meeting for the year, “What is Family Medicine”. The purpose of the event was to introduce the specialty of family medicine to the first and second year medical students and to share with them the many pathways possible as a family medicine physician. The event had about 60 attendees. Lunch was served. The event began with a short introduction from Dr. Wilkinson, a family physician in the Department of Family Medicine at BMC. Then, students engaged with a 4th year medical student and two 2nd year residents on a panel. Students got a chance to learn the different options available as a family physician learned a bit about what every day life might be for a family physician at BMC. After the discussion, students were encouraged to approach the panelists with more specific questions. The event was very successful in introducing the students to Family Medicine. We hope to have many more events in the future to broaden this understanding. Thank you SCOMSA!


August 2010 Updates:


Held and event on 8/30/2010 that was very well attended (60-70 people). We presented some info on AMA membership and followed with a panel with 2nd/3rd/4th year students to talk about study/stress strategies. Specifically, we addressed some common misperceptions about the AMA, talked about how to get involved in general school activities, and a few study strategies.


Anesthesiology Interest Group

On 8/18/10 the AIG held an information session for students applying to an Anesthesiology Residency this year, or who plan to apply next year.





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August 21, 2010

SCOMSA and the Office of the Provost teamed up to treat the incoming class of 2014 to a ride around the city on Boston Duck Tours. Three WWII era boats were reserved for participants. Students enjoyed the opportunity to get to know the history of the city and see views of historic landmarks both from the the land and water. Some lucky participants were even allowed to drive the boats out on the Charles river!



July 2010 Updates:

Veena Thomas

Thank you for providing me with funding to attend the XIX Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Eye Research Conference in Montreal, Quebec in July, 2010. I presented a poster entitled “Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System Quality Assurance Study for Tonosafe Disposable Tonometer Prisms: Reliability of Intraocular Pressume Measurements at Extremes of Pressure” in the Young Investigators’ Session. The conference was focused on advancements in basic science eye research, which was very educational.

Marta Flory (MS 2)

Family Medicine Resident and Student National Conference, July 29-31, 2010:

The FM Student and Resident National Conference in Kansas City, MO has been a phenomenal and unique experience for me. It has exposed me to the breadth of the discipline, introduced me to peers and future colleagues, and taught me on many subjects in medical knowledge and medical training. For example, I attended didactic workshops on sports medicine and rehab (ankle and knee injuries) and EKGs, as well as practical-oriented lectures on how to manage student debt and how to get better feedback on your clinical rotations. This last workshop was particularly helpful, and I plan on sharing the acronym and techniques I learned with my peers so that they can improve their own training and get more out of their clerkships. Another thing that I bring back from my experience is some feedback for the FMIG at BU–better awareness and outreach to students about the annual conference. There are scholarships available to first time attendees like myself, but, for example, by the time I learned about the conference via a pamphlet in the mail, I had missed the deadline for the scholarship. If we consider our school to advocate for primary care, it is critical that more students attend this conference in FM, and I believe that more availability of alternative funding would encourage more students interests in attending the conference.


Carol Cheng

I attended the Society of Pediatric Dermatology Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon from July 16-18th, 2010. There were around 200-300 attendees, most of whom were pediatric dermatologists and fellows or dermatology residents interested in pediatric dermatology. The conference consisted of a series of lectures on various dermatology topics that pertained to the pediatric population, as well as lectures from research-clinicians showcasing their latest research and their clinical application. One of the most interesting lectures was by a dermatologist from Ethiopia who discussed the common der matology conditions seen in his country, and the difficulties in access of care, as there are only 35 dermatologists for 80 million people.


Neil McCormack

I attended the Appalachian Center for Wilderness Medicine sponsored conference on Wilderness medicine techniques at the Medical College of Georgia on March 6 and 7, 2010.  It was the Annual Southestern Wilderness Medical Conference which is held at a different medical school in the Southeastern United States every year.  The first day began with a presentation on just what Wilderness medicine is.  Wilderness medicine is treating the medical and survival needs of individuals out in the wilderness.  The skills used for wilderness medicine can also be used in situations where resources are scarce such as during disasters or in underdeveloped areas.  Following the presentations we had workshops to teach the techniques used to survive and deal with medical emergencies.  These include hypo/hyperthermia, water purification, animal attacks, trauma and extrication.  The second day was spent outside at a local state park.  There we got to put the skills we learned the day before to good use.  In groups, we went through 10 stations where we treated simulated medical emergencies.  These stations included hypo/hyperthermia, water rescue, a fall from a tall cliff, a lightning strike, allergic reactions and broken bones and dislocations.  I think this was an amazing experience and I plan on attending more conferences like it.


Melinda Marshall

The Women in Medicine CME conference is an annual gathering for lesbian physicians and their partners. Medical students are also invited for education, mentoring and networking. It was a great experience for me because I was able to talk to many lesbian physicians and get to know them and how they have handled their careers and lifestyles. Many subjects of the seminars were pertaining to sexual minorities and women’s health and gave me a good understanding of the knowledge and research that is currently available about these subjects, which are not often covered in the BUSM curriculum. My assigned mentor was Dr. Susan Love, who is currently a top breast cancer researcher and has started the Love/Avon Breast Army of Women Foundation, which brings together women of all ages to participate in breast cancer research. I hope to keep in contact with her in the future. Her lecture on mammograms and the changing standards of care was thought provoking and caused many conversations on the controversial subject. Overall the Women in Medicine conference was a great experience for me and I met many other students who I am looking forward to working with in the future. I thank SCOMSA for funding my trip and making it possible.

June 2010 Updates:


David Veltre (MS2)

I was part of a group of medical students from BUSM to attend the AMA Annual Meeting from 6/10 to 6/13 in Chicago. At this meeting and the accompanying pre-meetings, I met medical students from other schools in Massachusetts and across the country. The meeting was structured around the AMA-MSS (American Medical Association – Medical Student Section) General Assembly during which 42 different resolutions and 5 reports were debated and voted on for forwarding to the ! AMA HOD (House of Delegates). Through the MMS (Mass Medical S! ociety), I was personally responsible for reviewing 3 of these resolutions and spoke on behalf of Massachusetts in the General Assembly on these resolutions. When I was not in the general assembly, I attended other sessions including ones on community service (to get ideas on what other Chapters have done), the history of medical education, the state of health inequities, and a large medical specialty showcase. Overall, I thought it was a great meeting to learn more about how the AMA works and explore my personal career options.


Amir H. Marvasti (MS2): The American Medical Association is a unique place for medical students and physicians to interact among and between each other. This year, their annual national conference was held in Chicago where I attended the AMA Medical Student Section (AMA-MSS) meetings. There was a range of educational meetings from community service to a specialty show case where physicians from different specialty societies were available to answer questions and spike interest in medical students. What I enjoyed the most, however, was interacting with medical students from all around the nation and learning from their experiences and/or institutional programs. 

The main event in the meeting was to discuss and vote on 31 resolutions that were written by students. It was an great opportunity to work with classmates and students from other Massachusetts schools to go over all the resolutions and make decisions if we agree/disagree as a state and then take our position to the national level. I had to represent my school and state and give testimonies on a number of resolutions and make amendments in few cases. 

What I took from this experience was that AMA gives me the voice to give my opinion on policies and even write resolutions and make changes in our healthcare. The power I felt just by being part of this organization was amazing and I will definitely get more involved.



May 2010 Updates:


Rajesh B. Patel:

Thank you for supporting my oral presentation at the 2010 Society for General Internal Medicine (SGIM) Annual Meeting. The theme of the meeting was – Value(s)-Based Generalism: The Time is Now! My oral presentation, entitled Cost-Effectiveness Based Pricing of Dabigatran for the Primary Prophylaxis of Stroke in Elderly Patients with Atrial Fibrillation, took place on 5/1/2010 in the joint session of the SGIM and the Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM). Many members of the SMDM board were present. Many of the attendees were national experts on cost-effectiveness analysis and offered wonderful feedback on this work. Overall the meeting was a tremendous learning experience. Topics in sessions I attended ranged from public health policy decisions to resident medical education to new treatment modalities. Attending this meeting has truly reinforced my decision to enter the field of internal medicine. Again thank you for the support!


Family Medicine Interest Group:

Family Medicine Interest Group held the FMIG Residency Panel dinner on Tuesday, May 11 2010 from 5-6pm. The panelists at the event included two 4th year students, one intern and
BMC Residency Director of Family Medicine, Dr. Tom Hines. The event was attended by about 50 first year medical students, a few second year medical students, and a few faculty members of from the Family Medicine Department at BMC. Thai food was provided for dinner. The timing of the event worked well as it supplemented SCOMSA’s residency panel events the previous week. The panelists were very open and informative in discussing what family medicine as a field means to them, what motivations they had/have for pursuing a career in family medicine, and what particular interests they have within the field. The panelists did a great job drawing on their own experiences to illustrate the differences between family medicine and internal medicine and family medicine and pediatrics. The students were very engaged in asking questions about the possible routes one can take within a family medicine specialty, the financial options available for those pursuing family medicine, and the residency requirements for the field. The panelists ended with advice
for the students in the pre-clinical and clinical years to take time to develop and pursue interests outside of academics. The event ended with a chance for students to speak with the panelists one-on-one with any additional questions.The students left with a better understanding of the field and ideas of how to get involved next year. Thank you for the funding to make this event possible!



Julia Manasson (MS2)– I presented a poster at the 2010 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) national meeting on 5/26. The focus of my poster was a novel gap junction protein, Connexin 30.2, which had never before been studied in the retina. I conducted both cell culture and in vivo experiments with retinal vessels to discern the expression pattern of Connexin 30.2, and how it is affected by high glucose conditions emulating diabetes. 

It was a wonderful and unique opportunity to be able to attend one of the biggest meetings in ophthalmology. There were a number of people who stopped by my poster and asked very intriguing questions about my work. It was also inspiring to be able to see the vast number of topics that other people were researching, all having to do with eyes.

I had an amazing time at ARVO and am grateful for the support from SCOMSA that allowed me to attend the meeting.


Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM):


After being inspired by Peter Hotez’s address at the 2009 UAEM Fall Conference, the Boston University chapter decided to take action in a concrete and meaningful way to increase awareness of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) within our university’s academic and clinical community. Boston Medical Center serves as the safety net hospital for Boston’s most socioeconomically disadvantaged citizens, including many recent immigrants from parts of the world with a high NTD burden. Given the fact that such a relatively large proportion of our patient population comes from NTD-endemic areas, we felt that it was important for BU students, clinicians, and researchers to have a better understanding of the global burden and health impact of these poverty-promoting infections. 

As our first act, we kicked off the “Worm of the Week” campaign: each week from mid-March through mid-May we profiled a different NTD by creating a brief one-page flyer, circulated to classmates and colleagues via email. The email/flyering campaign was coupled to a weekly bake sale in the School of Medicine lobby, where we passed out Worm of the Week flyers and raised funds for NTD treatment and eradication as part of the Global Network for NTD’s “Just 50 Cents” campaign.

As a culmination of these weekly efforts, we organized a symposium on May 10th entitled “Global Worming: the State of Neglected Tropical Diseases Today”. Peter Hotez (President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute) traveled to the School of Medicine to give the keynote address, delivering his characteristically captivating “30,000 foot aerial shot” of the NTD landscape to an audience of roughly 100 students, faculty, and clinicians. Kishor Wasan, pharmacology-researcher-turned-NTD-advocate from the University of British Columbia, also joined us via video-conference from Vancouver to provide his insights into the challenges and rewards of NTD drug development. In our final talk of the night, James Maguire, currently of Harvard Medical School and formerly Chief of the Division of Parasitic Diseases at the CDC, provided a stirring foray into the clinical epidemiology of Chagas disease. The event also included a well-attended poster session featuring NTD research done at BU and other Boston-area universities.

Overall, the May 10th “Global Worming” symposium and “Worm of the Week” campaign were highly successful. Looking further ahead, our goal is for the recent activities at BU to serve as a springboard for future action aimed at raising the specter of NTDs on our campus. We hope that our efforts at BU can positively contribute to the larger university movement to end the neglect of these global infections of poverty and the populations they affect, giving such populations the attention and voice of influence that they deserve amongst the researchers, funders, and policy-makers who can effect real change.




April 2010 Updates:


Joseph Liao (MS3)

Following first-year Neuroscience, I began an independent research
project investigating the MRI signatures of the salivary glands in
patients with sickle-cell disease. My work was conducted under the
supervision of two faculty members: Osamu Sakai, MD PhD (BMC Section
Head, Neuroradiology) and Hernan Jara, PhD (Professor of Radiology).
The project resulted in a first-author abstract submission to the
Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), which was accepted. I
subsequently applied for the Trainee Research Prize in the medical
student category. Eleven medical student prizes are awarded annually,
one for each field of research (e.g., “Cardiac,” “Musculoskeletal,”
“Physics,” “Health Policy”). Early in the fall of 2009, I was notified
that my project won the Trainee Research Prize in the “Head and Neck”
category. The RSNA is held annually in Chicago the week after
Thanksgiving. It’s the largest medical conference in the world,
boasting attendance rates of up to 60,000, attracting not only
diagnostic radiologists but also radiation oncologists,
interventionalists, biostatisticians, and of course, vendors. I gave a
10-minute Powerpoint on my research in a small breakaway room of
around 50 audience members. I spent the rest of the afternoon checking
out scientific posters, Siemens’s gigantic CT scanner sales floor, and
even got to play with ultrasound-guided needle biopsies with Drew
Colucci (BUSM II) and Steve Sherry (BUSM II), who were also in


Creative Arts Society

Kick Back Kafe was held this year on Saturday, April 10th in Hiebert lounge. Over 20 student acts performed in front of a packed house of approximately 200 spectators, dancing, singing songs, telling jokes, rapping, and more. Everyone who attended had a great time, and found it to be a great break from their studies. Everyone was also treated to a free meal of burritos and chips and salsa.




This event was the Miles for Healthier Lifestyles Bike Tour consisting of medical students from all New England medical schools. BU was the strongest represented school with 10 riders. There were 25 riders for Massachusetts and 200 overall. BU’s crew rode 60 miles from Boston to Providence along with the Tufts/UMass/Harvard riders.

BU Team-funny


AMA/MassMed Society:


Paul Levy is the President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He has achieved some attention for maintaining a blog called “Running a Hospital” where he has been a proponent of getting other hospital CEOs to be transparent. He talked about posting statistics on central line infections at the BI every month, and creating very tangible ways to improve the efficiency within the hospital in relation to patient safety and funding. We had a great turnout of about 40 people, given that it was the first day of second year’s board study period and during exam week for first-years.



Medical Students for Choice:

April 14th, 2010

Thirty students attended this talk and learned what happens in the 50% of all pregnancies that are unintended. Melissa Conroy MSW, an experienced social worker and options counselor, gave a highly interactive lunch talk on her experiences counseling women about the options available to them. Ms. Conroy explained the process of counseling in a non-leading way to allow women to have all the information they need to make the decision that is right for their unique situation. A respectful discussion between students with differing viewpoints on the issue followed.


Student Nutrition Awareness and Action Council (SNAAC):


This event went great. We had Joan Salge Blake, an assistant clinical professor of dietary science at BU’s Sargeant College for a lunch talk. Despite having an Emergency Medicine elective and FAMES lunch and a Women’s Choice lunch and Board Review Session, we were still able to attract 60 students, including a few third and fourth years. She gave great concrete and tangible advice on how med students and patients can make slight alterations to their diet to boost antioxidants and weight loss.


ACOG (OB/GYN Interest Group):

Residency Panel & Congratulatory Dinner
April 14, 2010

This end-of-the-year event, hosted by ACOG, was a celebratory dinner to congratulate the fourth year medical students that matched into OB/GYN. We also had a panel of current OB/GYN residents and physicians in attendance who shared their experiences choosing and working in this specialty. Approximately 50 students attended the event and enjoyed a delicious Italian meal while listening to the interesting stories and bits of advice their peers and colleagues had to share.


Clinical Neuroscience Society and Student Interest Group in Neurology: The Clinical Neuroscience Society and the Student Interest Group in Neurology held a joint event on April 6, 2010, which was a lunch panel on adult and pediatric neurology residencies. Dr. Karl Kuban gave us information on what a career in pediatric neurology entails and Dr. James Otis gave information on a career in adult neurology. Both were joined by residents who gave us their perspectives on what it takes to be a neurology resident, what they enjoy about it, and why they are happy they chose the career they did. Of special note was the wide range of patients that neurologists see, the different options for subspecialties, and the special relationships that neurologists have with their patients. Students enjoyed this great discussion while eating delicious Domino’s pizza. The Neurology Residency Panel gave us a great perspective on a career in neurology and peaked our interest in the field!


Brandi Ring (MS3) - Thank you so much for supporting my involvement in the 95th Annual AWMA meeting, the Women’s Health 18th Annual Congress and the AMWA/PRCH Advocacy Day.  It was an amazing weekend full of activity.  At the advocacy day I was given a chance to express the concerns of many women’s health physicians across the states, mainly that health care reform while good, still has a long way to go to improve equal access to health care for women.  Now more than ever they may need to call on women’s health care providers for guidance in how to shape health care in this country in the near future. At the congress I was exposed to many of the top thought leaders in the country and the latest (sometime even unpublished or in-progress) data to help me take care of my female patients.  In addition I was able to interact with physicians in many specialties and gain a stronger sense of the many ways I could provide care for women.  The AMWA student events allowed me to get to know my future colleagues and to engage in discussions about how we will be the changing face of health care and how we want it to change.  Overall it was an exceptional experience in terms of educational content, advocacy and professional networking.  I learned many things that will help me learn the practice of medicine and help me apply new techniques to the application of medicine.


Creative Arts Society:

Kick Back Kafe was held this year on Saturday, April 10th in Hiebert lounge. Over 20 student acts performed in front of a packed house of approximately 200 spectators, dancing, singing songs, telling jokes, rapping, and more. Everyone who attended had a great time, and found it to be a great break from their studies. Everyone was also treated to a free meal of burritos and chips and salsa.


Joanna Gan (MS3) - The American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in Toronto, Ontario, Canada from April 10 through April 17, 2010. It is a meeting that attracts (don’t quote me on this) roughly half of the neurologists from around the world. I presented my poster entitled “Diagnosing Bartonella Cat Scratch Disease When Suspecting Optic Neuritis”. It was a wonderful preview to what may come as I progress through my training in the field of neurology. As I prepared for the meeting, I learned about the process of drafting a clinical case report, taking it through the various revisions, and finally putting it to press, and explaining to member of the academy much more experienced than I at this point what I found and why I believe it to be important. All in all a great experience in a diverse metropolis. Thank you for assisting with funding.


Clinical Neuroscience Society : The Clinical Neuroscience Society held our final event of the school year on April 7, 2010. For the first part of the night, we were honored to host the incredible illusionist, George Saterial, magic’s only two-time Gold Medal Champion. His fabulous show of illusions kept us laughing, gasping, and guessing how he was able to perform such seemingly impossible tricks. The show was followed by a talk given by Dr. Peter Bergethon, who explained to us the neurobiology that led our minds to p! erceive the magic we had just enjoyed. Dr. Bergethon even per! formed s ome tricks of his own and explained to us why they worked on us. To end the night, Mr. Saterial performed a few more tricks, and even taught us one of them! Students enjoyed this fascinating and entertaining evening while eating delicious Italian food from Tremont Cafe. It was a fun way to end a great year of neuroscience!


Urology Interest Group : We had a great turnout of 1st and 2nd years who took part in an informal discussion with Dr. Wang regarding the many benefits of a career in Urology. He went over the surgical and medical aspects of urology as well as an in depth analysis of the other surgical specialties. He also answered any and all questions the students had regarding the application process, competitiveness and board scores. The event took place, Thursday April 8th, 2010 at 6 p.m. and lasted approximately 1 hour. Pizza, fresh salad and drinks were served. The first years left the event with a new found interest in urology and the second years were reminded of the importance of board scores.


Global Health Education Consortium Annual Conference
Cuernavaca, Mexico – April 8-11, 2010

Thank you for your generous financial support which allowed me to attend the 19th Annual GHEC Conference – Alliances for Global Health Education: Learning from South-South Collaboration, in Cuernavaca, Mexico, April 8 – 11, 2010. This conference was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn more about a number of global health topics which are extremely relevant to ongoing work I am involved in with two BUSM student organizations, the International Health Organization (IHO), and Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM). Among the over-arching themes of the conference were the importance of smart global health diplomacy, the latest thinking in global public health education, the increasing necessity for fruitful cross-disciplinary collaborations on issues pertaining to global health, and the proper treatment and awareness of social determinants of health for public health and medical practitioners. Particularly useful to my work with the IHO, through which we! are currently developing a free-time global health elective at BUSM, were the talks by international global health leaders (e.g. Paolo Buss, Director of Brazil’s National Institute of Public Health) on priorities for teaching various global health competencies. I had the opportunity to attend a dinner meeting with the leaders of GHEC’s educational module team, at which we discussed these core competencies and different strategies for implementing them at various levels of education, including medical school and residency training. At the poster session on Saturday, I was also able to get some great insights into what students at other medical schools are doing in terms of student-driven global health curricula. With UAEM, we are also currently working on a project to distribute GHEC’s educational modules to academic institutions and communities in developing countries where there is not an adequate internet connection to access the online modules. At the conferen! ce, I was able to network with individuals from other NGOs wor! king in developing country settings with whom we can hopefully partner to implement this project. And as an added benefit of attending this conference, I was able to work on my language skills, since many of the talks were in Spanish. Over the coming weeks and months, I hope to bring the knowledge and contacts that I acquired at this conference back to my peers and faculty at BUSM, so that we can work towards improving global health education and awareness at our institution.

Alex Lankowski, MS2

Alex Lankowski MS2 - GHEC


Laura Moreno (MS1) – The Student National Medical Association Annual Medical Education Conference was a great experience for me. It was my first time there and I enjoyed seeing other medical students from our region, which includes medical schools such as Harvard, Yale, Tufts, UMass, and a few others. I was elected to a Regional Board position as the Secretary for the 2010-2011 school year. I presented a board about the community service our chapter has participated in this past year involving the national protocol for the Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program. This program is a high school outreach program to encourage under-represented minorities to pursue careers in the medical field and specifically to apply to medical school. We did workshops two Saturdays a month with a group of 39 students at the John D. O’Bryant high school in Roxbury. We taught them about applying to college, Anesthesiology, smoking cessation, Occupational Therapy, Psychiatry and we took them on field trips to the Gross Anatomy Lab and to the AAMC Conference held in Boston this year. The goal and result of the program has been to increase communication between BU medical students and the high school students and to give the high school students the tools and information they need to get to where they want. My presentation at the SNMA Conference put us in the running to receive an award and to share with other chapters nationwide useful strategies for improving our HPREP implementation.


Internal Medicine Interest Group:

April 1st, 2010

More medical interview pearls with Dr. Crosson.
April 1, 2010
20 Attendees 
Dr. Crosson’s specialty is medical communication. She began the talk by asking what situations we have difficulty communicating in. Dealing with evaluating drug use, discussing obesity and medical team communication were all agreed on as areas in need of assistance. She gave examples on how to ask normalizing questions about drug use, using both verbal and body language. She discussed using the BMI as an objective measure of obesity, and how that relates to increased health risks. Regarding intra-team dynamics, many attendees volunteered what they do in clinic, what their goals are, and how to match them.

Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine