New Gallery of Scholarship spotlights senior medical student capstone projects

Scholarly Concentration Program sign

Fourteen graduating medical students showcased their capstone projects May 3 as part of the inaugural Gallery of Scholarship, held before the annual USF Morsani College of Medicine’s Student and Faculty Awards Ceremony.

The poster presentations summarized their work in the college’s Scholarly Concentration Program and offered a glimpse into their scholarly experiences while at the Morsani College of Medicine.

Started in 2007, the Scholarly Concentration Program provides medical students with an elective minor, of sorts, in one of 10 areas, providing them with opportunities for academic endeavors in areas of special interest. The concentrations are:  Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Business in Medicine; Health Disparities; Health Systems Engineering; International Medicine; Law and Medicine; Medical Education; Medical Humanities; Medicine and Gender; Public Health; and Research.

There are 43 graduating seniors in the program this year, all of whom produced capstone projects and received certificates of completion at the annual Student and Faculty Awards Ceremony that followed the Gallery of Scholarship.

Among the 14 who presented their work at the inaugural Gallery of Scholarship — where they shared their scholarly pursuits with faculty, staff, friends, and family members — was Sarah Pullen, whose study looked at empathy levels among medical students.

“I knew about the program before I entered USF and was very interested in participating in it,” said Pullen, who will conduct her residency in psychiatry at the University of Washington in Seattle.  “The Scholarly Concentration Program gave me a chance to get to know faculty better and to pursue my interest in health disparities. It was a great, warm, supportive environment.”

USF medical student Sarah Pullen, right, with family friends

USF graduating medical study Sarah Pullen (right), a scholarly award winner, with family friends.

At the awards ceremony, Pullen was presented with the Thomas and Elizabeth Flannery and William and Mary Tibbels Scholarly Award. Dr. Michael Flannery, whose family members are named in the award, presented it to Pullen.

The Scholarly Concentration Program allows for self-directed learning, enhances interactions between students and fosters relationships between students and faculty. Each concentration includes elements of course work, practical application, and scholarly presentation.

“The concentrations allow students to gain valuable early experience in various fields of study,” said Susan Pross, PhD, director of the college’s Scholarly Concentration Program. “Students are using these concentrations to delve deeper into their area of speciality, as well as trying out areas they’ve just always wanted to know about. The program has become a great recruiting tool because it adds so much value to their education and, as a result, to their careers.”

Susan Pross, Scholarly Concentrations Program, Morsani College of Medicine

Susan Pross, PhD, director of the Morsani College of Medicine's Scholarly Concentration Program

The 14 students presenting their capstone projects in the Gallery of Scholarship were:

Margaret Elisa McQueen:
“Designing a Regulated Market Solution to Eliminate Organ Shortages: The Case of Kidney Transplantation.” Mentor: William G. Marshall Jr., MD, MBA, Finance and Administration, Department of Psychiatry.

Sarah A. Pullen: “Empathy Study: Does Participation in Health Disparities Scholarly Concentration Affect Empathy of Medical Students?” Mentor: Desiree Rivers, PhD, USF Department of Family Medicine.

Lauren E.  Mullinax
and Tanvi R. Patel: “Trouble in Paradise:  An Eye-Witnessed Account of Pediatric Health Problems Exacerbated by Sociocultural Circumstances of Panama’s Ngobe-Bugle Tribe.” Mentors: Eduardo C. Gonzalez. MD, USF Department of Family Medicine

Matthew C.  DuMouchel:
“Occupational Hazards of Immigrant Agricultural Workers.” Mentor:  Deanna Wathington, MD, MPH, USF College of Public Health.

William G. Carson, III: “Treatment of Type II Endoleaks with Ethylene-Vinyl-Alcohol Copolymer (Onyx).” Mentors: Kamal Massis, MD and Bruce Zwiebel, MD, Department of Vascular and Interventional Radiology.

Dana M. Cruite: “Enhancing the Degeneration of ABeta Amyloid in APP+PS1 Mice Using rAAV Vector Expression of Neprilysin and Insulysin.” Mentor:  David G. Morgan, PhD, USF Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute.

Nicholas C. DeVito:
“Patterns of Metastases and Correlation with Prognosis in Solitary Fibrous Tumor Hemangiopericytoma at Moffitt Cancer Center. Mentor: Anthony Conley, MD, Sarcoma Program, Moffitt Cancer Center.

Jennifer M. Eatrides:
“Axillary Ultrasound in Breast Cancer and MRI in Surgical Planning of Breast Cancer.” Mentors: M. Catherine Lee, MD, Nazanin Khakpour, MD, FACS and John Kiluk, MD, FACS, Comprehensive Breast Program, Moffitt Cancer Center.

R. Evans Heithaus, Jr.:
“The Impact of a Fundamental of Laparoscopic Surgery and Virtual Reality Training Program on Surgical Performance:  A Blinded Randomized Validation Trial.” Mentor: Steve Goldin MD, PhD, USF Department of Surgery.

Clara H. Kraft:
“Phosphorylation Dynamics Regulate Hsp27-mediated Rescue of Neuronal Plasticity Deficits in Tau Transgenic Mice.” Mentor: Chad Dickey, PhD, USF Department of Molecular Medicine

Harry Lomas, IV:
“Post Chemoradiation SUV is Highly Predictive of Disease Free Survival and Overall Survival in Esophageal Cancer.” Mentor: Ravi Sridhar, MD, PhD, Radiation Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center.

Andrew M. Pepper:
“Evaluation of Expandable Endoprostheses in Pediatric Musculoskeletal Oncology.” Mentor: G. Douglas Letson, MD, USF Department of Orthopaedics, Sarcoma Program, Moffitt Cancer Center.

Erika S. Reese:
“Comparing BMI, FAST Score and Energy Expenditure in Division I Intercollegiate Female Athletes.” Mentor: Eric Coris, MD, USF Department of Family Medicine.

Story by Sarah A. Worth, photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Office of Communications.