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Five rising fourth-year medical students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine — Lauren Nelson, Ashton Todd, Alexandria Broadnax, Samantha Lin and Adam Powell — recently received participation scholarships from the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to attend the 2017 AAP Alabama Chapter Spring Meeting and Pediatric Update in Mirarmar Beach, Fla.
“The AAP’s Alabama Chapter has a program in which students across the state are invited to submit applications for educational scholarships to attend the meeting,” said Dr. Benjamin Estrada, professor of pediatrics at the USA College of Medicine and a pediatric infectious disease specialist with USA Physicians Group. “This year, five of our students applied and were granted a scholarship.
Participating in this meeting is not only a great learning opportunity, but also an opportunity to become familiar with different aspects of pediatrics across Alabama, to become engaged in child advocacy and to network with others in the field.”
Nelson said attending conferences is beneficial for medical students because they offer an abundance of useful information and networking opportunities. “Many of the talks are typically presented by experts in the field and are very relevant to medical students, residents and early career physicians,” she said.
According to Dr. Estrada, Nelson not only plays an active role in the Alabama Chapter of the AAP, but she is also the medical student committee district representative for the southeast region. She serves as the medical student district representative for district ten, which includes Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Puerto Rico.“This is the first time that I have attended an Alabama Chapter AAP meeting, and I really enjoyed meeting local pediatricians,” Nelson said.
Nelson said she especially enjoyed a lecture given by Dr. Haidee Custodio, assistant professor of pediatrics and a pediatric infectious disease specialist with USA Physicians Group, titled “Differentiating Mucocutaneous Symptom Complexes.”
During the lecture, the audience participated in an interactive activity led by Dr. Custodio to solve cases on different disease processes. “She covered five disease processes that all have similar presentations, but she was able to highlight what differentiates them so that pediatricians will know what to look for in the clinic,” Nelson said. “It was very effective and seemed to garner a great deal of enthusiasm from the audience as they tried to solve the cases.”
Dr. Estrada and Dr. David Gremse, professor and chair of pediatrics at the USA College of Medicine and a pediatric gastroenterologist with USA Physicians Group, also attended the meeting. “Dr. Estrada and Dr. Gremse are so supportive of medical students, especially those of us interested in pursuing a career in pediatrics,” Nelson said. “I feel very lucky to have such outstanding faculty who are so enthusiastic about involving medical students in an organization they love.”
The Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is the only statewide member organization of pediatricians, with 780 members across the state, representing both academic and community pediatrics in both urban and rural areas. To learn more, visit https://www.alaap.org/ .
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