Shrushti Mehta and Andrew Williams, fourth-year students at the School of Medicine, have been selected to receive an award from the Children’s Mercy Hospital Philanthropy Fund to support research interests in neurology.
Recipients of the Neurology Research and Scholar Award work on research projects with Jennifer Bickel, M.D., and her research team in the Headache Research Group in the Division of Neurology at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. An associate professor of pediatrics, Bickel serves as director of the Comprehensive Headache Clinic at Children’s Mercy.
Students work closely with the research group to design, implement and present research findings in the area of pediatric headache assessment and management. They also attend the American Academy of Neurology annual conference where they can network with other professionals in the field, attend presentations and poster displays and other pertinent educational opportunities.
Research projects focus on headache treatment but also vary based on current studies being conducted at any given time within the group.
The research fellowship award is available to qualified fourth, fifth or sixth-year B.A./M.D. students or second, third or fourth-year M.D. students at the School of Medicine. Students must commit to at least 80 total research hours throughout a 12-month period. A medical school research elective with the Children’s Mercy Hospital Department of Neurology is highly encouraged.
On Dec. 5, more than 100 third-year medical students presented research findings at the UMKC School of Medicine as part of their coursework in medical neuroscience.
Students, in teams of four, used data from the Cerner HealthFacts database to try to answer a unique question they identified related to various disease 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.
By all accounts, the assignment was a success. 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.
Shafaa Mansoor, whose team studied possible seasonal effects on strokes, said she is interested in community health and now sees research as a way to further that interest, identify the real effects of medical conditions and test possible treatments.
Her teammates Rebecca Kurian and Tom Matthews agreed that the project was a good, hands-on way to learn how to do research.
“The process was as important as the results,” Matthews said. “Learning how to do this and present our findings was valuable.”
More than 40 faculty members collaborated to make the project a reality, including several who judged the presentations. Each team also had a faculty mentor and a supporting biostatistician from the Department of Biomedical & Health Informatics, Children’s Mercy Hospital or the School of Nursing and Health Studies.
One of the judges, Maria Cole, M.Ed.L., Ph.D., an associate professor in biomedical sciences, very much liked what she saw.
“I had these students in class in January and it’s something to see how far they have come since then,” she said. “Their ability to analyze data and explain their findings, and to link their results to what they learned in class, is impressive.”
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 and interim chair of the Department of Biomedical & 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.
“There was no model for this, so we’re learning as we go,” said Bickel, who talked with the teams about their experiences. “We will make improvements and hope this is something we can eventually share with other programs. It’s exciting to be doing something completely new.”
The teams were judged for poster content, clarity, appearance and organization; their oral presentations; and demonstration of critical thinking.
The top three teams were announced Dec. 6:
First place: Jonathan Jalali, Chidera Okafor, Jacob Perera and Amudha Porchezhian, “Is Patient Sex Linked to Pharmacologic Agents that Induce Acute Dystonic Reaction?”
Second place: Caleb Spencer, Grace Arias, Debolina Kanjilal and Kyla Mahone, “Correlation Between Elevation in Inflammatory Markers of ESR and CRP in Patients Diagnosed with OCD and OCPD and Age.”
Third place: Saniya Ablatt, Vijaya Dasari, Gauri Kaushal and Andrea Pelate, “Stroke Incidence at a Young Age in Rural vs. Urban Populations.”
Two students at the UMKC School of Medicine have received a new award from the Children’s Mercy Hospital Philanthropy Fund to support research interests in neurology.
Dane Stephens, a fourth-year student, and Subhjit Sekhon, a fifth-year student, are the first recipients of the Neurology Research and Scholar Award. The award is given to students who will work on research projects with the Headache Research Group in the Division of Neurology at Children’s Mercy Kansas City.
Award recipients will work closely with the research group to design, implement and present research findings in the area of pediatric headache assessment and management. Research fellows also attend the American Academy of Neurology annual conference. There they will network with other professionals in the field, and attend presentations and poster displays, as well as other pertinent educational opportunities.
Research projects, while focused on headache treatment, vary based on current studies being conducted at any given time within the group.
The research fellowship award is available to qualified fourth, fifth or sixth-year B.A./M.D. students or second, third or fourth-year M.D. students at the UMKC School of Medicine. Students must commit to at least 80 total research hours throughout a 12-month period. A medical school research elective with the Children’s Mercy Hospital Department of Neurology is highly encouraged.
Jennifer Bickel, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and chief of the headache section at Children’s Mercy, will serve as faculty mentor for the research projects.
The Headache Research Group is comprised of physicians, nurse practitioners and additional allied health professionals. Bickel leads the interdisciplinary team in its commitment to improving education, advocacy and research regarding headache care in children.
Stephens and Sekhon are part of a fast growing number of students actively taking part in research activities. Below is a list of some School of Medicine students who have recently been selected for summer and yearlong research fellowships and been invited to present their research at regional and national meetings.
Year-long Fellowships: Grant Randall, NIH Medical Research Scholars Program
Sultan Khan, TL1 Predoctoral Clinical Research Training Program, Washington University
Carlee Oakley, TL1 Clinical Research Training Program, University of Kansas Medical Center
Dane Stephens, Subhjit Sekhon, Neurology Research and Scholar Award, Headache Research Group in the Division of Neurology at Children’s Mercy Kansas City
Summer Fellowships: Akash Jani, George Washington University Summer Research Internship, Dept. of Emergency Medicine
Vishnu Harikumar, Pediatric Oncology Education Program, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Priyesha Bijlani, Washington University Pediatric Student Research Program
Elizabeth George, Unite for Sight Summer Program in India
Ashwath Kumar, Health Policy Fellowship Initiative (American Academy of Ophthalmology, Washington, D.C.
Ben Bernard*, NIDDK Medical Student Research Training Program in Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolic Disorders (*had to decline due to another research opportunity in Israel)
Chizitam Ibezim*, NIH Summer Internship Program (*had to decline due to other obligations)
Selected to present research at regional or national meetings: Sarah Alshami, International Facial Nerve Symposium, Los Angeles, CA, August 2017
Noor Alshami, American Academy of Pediatrics, Chicago, IL, September 2017
Morgan Warren, Central Association of OB/GYN, Scottsdale, AZ, October 2017
Sumita Sharma, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Denver, CO, October 2017
Suzan Lisenby, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Denver, CO, October 2017
Siri Ancha, World Congress of Gastroenterology, Orlando, FL, October 2017
Ravali Gummi and Imran Nizamuddin, Clinton Global Initiative, Boston, MA, October 2017
Chizitam Ibezim, AHA Scientific Sessions, Anaheim, CA, November 2017
Amber (Leila) Sarvastani, AHA Scientific Sessions, Anaheim, CA, November 2017
Hunter Faris, AMA, Honolulu, HI, November 2017
Vaishnavi Vaidyanathan, Child Neurology Society Annual Meeting, Kansas City, MO, October 2017
The School of Medicine’s graduate programs have expanded with a residency in neurology and a fellowship in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism.
The neurology residency started July 1 with two residents, Dr. Ellen Troudt and Dr. Nikita Maniar. Troudt, currently at Truman Medical Center, and Maniar, at Saint Luke’s Hospital, will work for a year in internal medicine and then three years in neurology. Research Medical Center, Children’s Mercy Hospital and the Center for Behavioral Medicine also are affiliates for the residency.
Dr. Charles Donohoe, the Neurology Department chairman and associate professor of neurology, said adding the residency was “integral to sustaining the TMC-UMKC neurology program.”
“Five years ago we had no full-time neurology faculty,” said Donohoe. “Now we have five faculty members in the Neurology Department, and to add a residency in such a short time is quite an achievement. We also think it’s important to have a solid neurology presence at a safety net hospital such as Truman.”
Now that the program is underway, Donohoe said, it will use the match system next year and aim to add three physicians a year, eventually having a dozen residents. Dr. Sean Gratton, who is the program director, said this was “the first new residency program at TMC or UMKC in many years.”
Troudt is from New York and earned her medical degree at the Ross University School in the Caribbean island nation of Dominica. Donohoe said she had recently worked in cutting-edge stroke treatment as part of an ambulance team that had the rare advantage of having a CT scanner in their vehicle.
Maniar is from Florida and also earned her medical degree in the Caribbean, at the St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada. She then earned an MBA there and recently was a research fellow at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York.
The new endocrinology position is a two-year fellowship held by Dr. Maha Abu Kishk, an internist who earned her medical degree in 2003 and has been a hospitalist with Truman Medical Centers. This fellowship is affiliated with Hellman & Rosen Endocrine Associates, which will be a primary training site along with Truman Medical Center.
“We’re excited to add this fellowship, which helps address the shortage of endocrinologists,” said Dr. Betty Drees, professor of medicine and program director for the fellowship. “As diabetes continues to increase in prevalence, so does the need for endocrinologists.”
Fifth-year medical student Vaishnavi Vaidyanathan spent nearly two months exploring the histories of stroke patients and the effects of the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). The result was a research poster she recently presented at the 2017 American Academy of Neurology conference in Boston.
Her presentation showed that patients treated with tPA within the first 24 hours of a suffering a stroke have significantly fewer early onset seizures.
Vaidyanathan began her study last September while completing a neurology rotation at Saint Luke’s Hospital. Under the guidance of Saint Luke’s neurologist Harold Morris, M.D., and Angela Hawkins, M.S.N., R.N., stroke program manager, Vaidyanathan reviewed the histories of nearly 1,300 stroke patients.
“They allowed me to write it up and go through process with their guidance,” Vaidyanathan said. “I learned so much from that, literature searching, how to write up an abstract, doing bio-statistics. It was a great learning opportunity.”
The annual neurology conference in Boston drew an international audience of nearly 14,000 physicians and scientists.
“This conference was a great experience,” Vaidyanathan said. “I got to meet people who are celebrities in the neurology field. They’re very well-known. I had the opportunity to listen to talks about the latest research that’s going on in neurology and hear all the great innovations that are happening. It was an awesome experience.”
Vaidyanathan said she already has ideas for future studies that look at the effects of tPA and other intra-arterial interventions on the incidence of post-stroke seizures.
“I hope to do further investigation of these patients and get more results that I can write up and present,” she said.