Third-year teams dive into research projects
THE EXPANSION OF student research at the UMKC School of Medicine got a big boost this school year with the addition of an in-class research project for all third-year medical students. Their work, in teams of four, resulted in dozens of study posters filling the school lobby for presentation, judging and discussion.
The teams used data from the Cerner HealthFacts database to try to answer a unique question they identified related to various diseases and conditions. Those examined included Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, obsessive-compulsive disorder, epilepsy and diabetes. After analyzing the data and drawing conclusions, each team made a poster displaying its question and hypothesis, telling how the team members went about testing their hypothesis, explaining their findings, and identifying questions for further study.
The idea behind the exercise was to give students an early research experience, and for many it was their first medical research. Several students said that before the exercise they were worried about how difficult it would be to do research, but now they looked forward to being able to do more.
“The process was as important as the results,” said one of the students, Tom Matthews. “Learning how to do this and present our findings was valuable.”
The exercise was devised by Jennifer Bickel, M.D. ’01, associate professor of pediatrics and chief of the headache section at Children’s Mercy Hospital; Julie Banderas, Pharm.D., BCPS, professor in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics, professor and associate dean for graduate studies; and Paula Monaghan-Nichols, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and associate dean for research.
Each team also had a faculty mentor and a supporting biostatistician from the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics, Children’s Mercy or the School of Nursing and Health Studies.