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Golden Offers a Vision of Hope at Research Forum

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There is no question the nation is facing difficult times. But you wouldn’t have known from the mood at the Seventh Annual Medical Student Research Forum.

Robert Golden, MD, set a tone of hope and inspiration with a spirited opening speech.

“I think that our country is facing some major challenges, but we are facing the challenges now with hope, with renewed commitment and a groundswell of engagement,” said Golden, dean of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

The forum was held Jan. 20 in the Health Sciences Learning Center atrium and featured some 50 second-year medical student research projects that were conducted last summer.

Students’ work ranged from basic biology and clinical investigation to translational type 1 and type 2 research projects. Additionally, there were projects related to public health and administrative questions and issues related to science. More than 20 departments, institutes and centers were represented in the posters.

The Shapiro Summer Research Program is optional for first-year medical students, and is supported by the Herman and Gwendolyn Shapiro Foundation and the UW School of Medicine and Office of Academic Affairs.

Golden said more than 50 percent of medical students participate in research, and he sees the UW School of Medicine and Public Health’s mission of clinical experience, education and research as intertwined. “When it comes to education and research, we’re joined at the hip,” Golden said.

The way to become an expert, Golden said, is through research. “Learning is not about answering questions. It’s not about memorizing facts. It’s about creating new data and organizing that data such that you can challenge the field, challenge yourself and ultimately try to answer questions,” Golden said.

Golden emphasized the use of the scientific method to help tackle health problems.
“Every time we encounter a patient we are scientists — always doing what is based on evidence and data and not on dogma and old science,” Golden said.

Golden honored Jim Gern, MD, professor in the department of medicine, for his five years of service as chair of the student research committee, which oversees Shapiro Summer Research Program and the Research Honors Program.

Following Golden’s introduction, Alexandra Adams, MD, PhD, associate professor in the department of family medicine at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, was the Shapiro guest lecturer. She presented “Health Research Partnerships with American Indian Communities.”

Good Experience for First-Year Medical Students

Amy Schmidt, a second-year medical student, presented the poster, “The Effects of Blood Products on Ruptured Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms, The UW Experience.” She’s glad she participated. “It was definitely a big learning experience,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said participating in the research project will help her be the best applicant for residency. “I wanted to have a good idea how to go about research questions now. This would be a good time to lay the foundation.”

She says much of residency is reading research papers especially about evidence-based medicine. “If you don’t really have a good handle on how the research is done and what makes it a good research project and where to go to get the conclusion, you’ll really be more lost later,” Schmidt said.

Advice for Year-One Medical Students

Ashvini Damodaran, a second-year student, says that anyone considering a summer research project should find out what they want. She knew she wanted to travel abroad so that meant she needed a project that wouldn’t take the entire summer.

“I left for two weeks for Guatemala and it worked out fine. I managed to finish the project and I managed to go and do some service work with other students here,” Damodaran said.

Damodaran said her project was interesting and the time it took to complete the project was manageable. “I would do it again. I mean, I did have a good time. I did work in a really great lab; all the people were really friendly.”



Date Published: 01/29/2009

News tag(s):  research

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Last updated: 05/05/2009
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