Phillis’ presentation was titled “Prevalence of Scurvy in Surgical Patients” and was sponsored by William Richards, M.D., professor and chair of surgery. She also worked closely with Madhuri Mulekar, Ph.D., professor and chair of mathematics and statistics.

Published Sep 25th, 2019

By Lindsay Mott
lmott@health.southalabama.edu

Corey Phillis, a second-year student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, was one of the 2019 recipients of the University of South Alabama College of Medicine Clyde G. Huggins Award for Summer Research given as part of the 46th Summer Medical Student Research Program.

Phillis’ presentation was titled “Prevalence of Scurvy in Surgical Patients” and was sponsored by William Richards, M.D., professor and chair of surgery. She also worked closely with Madhuri Mulekar, Ph.D., professor and chair of mathematics and statistics.

“Research is at the core of what we do here at USA Health, and I enjoy working with our medical students on these projects as it gives them insight into improving patient care by examining complex issues,” Richards said. “Corey’s research gave us a better picture of the prevalence of vitamin deficiencies in candidates for surgical treatment and highlighted potential preoperative screenings that may improve patient outcomes.”

During the USA College of Medicine Summer Research Program, students spent eight weeks completing research and working on their project and poster presentation for research day. Phillis’ project looked at how common vitamin C deficiency is in surgical patients at USA Health University Hospital. She reviewed the charts of approximately 440 patients who had a vitamin C level ordered starting in 2015 and looked for any deficiencies and any comorbidities the patients possessed. The data was then analyzed by Mulekar to see which values were statistically significant.

According to Phillis, one of the most notable findings from the data was the overall prevalence of scurvy in the surgical patient population – 53 percent were deficient in vitamin C. Another interesting finding from the research was that 44 percent of patients who presented at the hospital with a first-time hernia also showed a vitamin C deficiency. Through this, they concluded that all patients presenting with a hernia should have their vitamin C level checked to determine if supplementation should be given before elective surgery.

“Research is a fundamental part of medicine and the driving force on the progression of the field,” Phillis said. “Surgery has been a specialty I always found myself considering, so I wanted to find a research project this past summer that would help me explore it further. Working with Dr. Richards helped me do just that. I was able to work alongside older medical students, interns, residents, and attendings and got a good feel of what the field is like.”

Phillis is originally from Anniston, Alabama, and earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama. She chose to attend USA for medical school because of the small class sizes. “I really liked the idea of a class environment where both students and faculty support student success,” she said.

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine Clyde G. Huggins Award for Summer Research honors the memory of Clyde G. "Sid" Huggins who served as the first dean of students for the USA College of Medicine.

Recent News

Back to News Listing
This link will open in a new tab or window.