Miller School Students and Faculty Present at AAMC Annual Meeting

A handful of students, including one who was invited to showcase a free and easy student-initiated Miller School program that provides hands-on ethical training to medical students, were among the presenters at the Association of American Medical Colleges’ 2012 Annual Meeting in San Francisco this month.

Second-year student Melissa D. Stone was among the five students selected nationwide to make an oral presentation at the AAMC’s Student Programming Showcase. A member of the Miller School’s Council for Honorable and Professional Conduct, she introduced about 100 students and faculty from around the country to the program the council instituted 18 months ago to enable medical students to participate in hospital ethics committee meetings and help decide real-time ethical dilemmas.

Under the program, which has been run largely by Stone and fellow council member Thomas Masterson, a third-year student, Miller School students can sign up by email to attend one of the monthly ethics committee meetings held at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Holtz Children’s Hospital, University of Miami Hospital, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and soon, the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Student participants are limited to four per meeting and are selected on a first-come, first-served basis. To date, more than 50 have attended one of the meetings.

As Stone noted in her oral presentation and in a related poster she authored with Masterson and also presented at the November 2-7 meeting, ethics committee meetings are a free, easy, and time-efficient way to provide ethics education to medical students across the nation. Past research has shown that there is no unified approach to medical ethics education, which is usually undertaken in small-group case discussions and very rarely includes any hands-on experience.

“Students and faculty in the audience quickly realized that having medical students attend hospital ethics committees is an easy program to implement and has a long-lasting impact on the students,” Stone said. “Several deans approached me at the meeting and told me that they are planning on implementing this same program at their medical school.”

In addition to Stone and Masterson, other poster presentations by Miller School students were:

• “Mentoring Breakfast as a Model to Relay Personal and Career Advice,” which was authored and presented by second-year student Marissa Orenstein

• “American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin,” authored by third-year students Anisha Gupta and Ami Panara, and presented by Rimsky Denis, a member of the AAMC’s Organization of Student Representatives (OSR)

• “Doctor’s Note A Cappella: Promoting the Prevention of Physician Burnout through Music in Medicine,” authored by third-year student Lauren Meshkov, and second-year students Christopher Rienas and Zachary Sheingold, and presented by OSR member Stefania Prendes-Alvarez

Faculty members who participated in or presented at various sessions included Hilit F. Mechaber, M.D., associate professor of medicine and Associate Dean for Student Services, who was a member of a panel titled “I Gotta Be Me, Becoming a Doctor Without Losing Yourself – an Examination of Medical Student Work/Life Balance,” and the moderator of two discussions, one titled “Careers in Medicine Hot Topics,” and the other, a Research in Medical Education, or RIME, session on Medical School Admissions. She also presented a poster, “Break-Time for Nursing Mothers: An Initiative to Enhance a Family-Friendly Work Environment.”

In addition, Gauri Agarwal, M.D., F.A.C.P., assistant professor of medicine and Assistant Regional Dean for Medical Curriculum, presented the poster “Effectiveness of Medical Student Community Health Advocacy Training,” which she authored with Julia Belkowitz, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics and Assistant Regional Dean for Student Affairs; Lee Sanders, M.D., M.P.H., now associate professor of pediatrics at the Center for Health Policy at Stanford University; Chi Zhang Ph.D., adjunct associate professor of medicine; Daniel Lichtstein, M.D., F.A.C.P., professor of medicine and Regional Dean for Medical Education; Alex J. Mechaber, M.D., associate professor of medicine and Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education; and Esther K. Chung, M.D., M.P.H., now professor of pediatrics at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and Nemours.

The poster describes the Regional Medical Campus’ student health advocacy training curriculum, conducted with several community-based organizations, and reports the effects of the experience on medical student attitudes, knowledge and skills.

Agarwal also presented the poster “Medical Student Learning Communities: Developing Professionalism, Clinical Skills, and Mentoring Relationships” at the AAMC Learning Community Institute. This poster, which she authored with Belkowitz, Lichtstein, and Amalinnette R. Zito, M.D., associate professor of medicine and Assistant Regional Dean for Student Services, chronicles the development and implementation of the regional campus’ learning communities, which have been adapted into the four-year M.D./M.P.H. dual degree track on the main campus.

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