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Nov. 17, 2016 - USA Medical Students Present at 14th Annual AMA Research Symposium


USA medical students (from left) Mazen Omar, Vikash Pernenkil, Maelynn La, Jordan Nickols and Lauren Chastain present original research at the 2016 American Medical Association Research Symposium.

Five medical students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently presented at the 2016 American Medical Association (AMA) Research Symposium in Orlando, Fla.

At the symposium, second-year medical students—Vikash Pernenkil, Mazen Omar, Lauren Chastain and Maelynn La, and third-year medical student Jordan Nickols—had the opportunity to showcase their original research to AMA members.

Vikash Pernenkil chose the topic “Trends in Smoking and Obesity Among U.S. Adults Before, During and After the Great Recession and Affordable Care Act Roll-Out.” He said his research is important because smoking and obesity are two preventable health risk factors that contribute significantly to morbidly and mortality in our country.

“Presenting research at a conference like this is a great opportunity to inform others who may be able to take this epidemiological information and implement it to improve the lives of patients,” Pernenkil said.

Lauren Chastain’s research explored the perceptions of diabetic patients toward their chronic disease and their knowledge concerning Self-Monitoring Blood Glucose (SMBG). Traditional SMBG involves checking their blood sugar a few times a day to track their glycemic control.

Chastain said she chose this topic because she is very interested in the public health, patient satisfaction and educational aspect of medicine. “Understanding patient perspectives can promote meaningful dialogue to foster compliance with prescribed self-management routines,” she said.

“Diabetes is a growing epidemic both in the United States and worldwide, so knowing how to best educate and successfully work with patients is vital.”

Omar, another second-year medical student at USA, chose the topic “Association of Stress Test Findings with the Presence and Extent of Coronary Artery Disease in Patients with vs. without Diabetes.”

Through his research, Omar concluded that diabetic patients with an abnormal stress test are more likely to have coronary artery disease than a non-diabetic patient. “There are currently no separate guidelines for giving diabetic patients stress tests,” Omar said. “However, this research shows that there is a need to do so.”

Although this project was her first presentation as a medical student, Maelynn La said she had substantial research experience while earning her undergraduate degree at USA. La presented her research on “The Association of Nonspecific T Wave Abnormalities with Ischemic Heart Disease.”

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, with many of those deaths preventable,” La said. “I knew that I wanted to contribute to the efforts of preventing heart disease with my research project to identify early findings of heart disease on ECG.”

Jordan Nickols presented his research on “Lipopolyysaccharide Induced Pulmonary Endothelial Barrier Disruption and Lung Edema: Critical Role for Bicarbonate Stimulation of AC10.”

Nickols said the conference brought about excitement for what the future might hold. “It was a great experience to meet like-minded medical students from across the country who were excited about making a difference in medicine through their research, and for others, through their involvement with AMA and the establishment of policies in the medical field,” he said.

The AMA Research Symposium is hosted annually by the AMA Student Sections, Resident and Fellow Section and the International Medical Graduates Section.To learn more about the AMA Research Symposium, click here.

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