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Students Interested in Global Health (SIGH) was named Florida State University’s Graduate Student Organization of the Year. In his nomination, Associate Professor José E. Rodríguez, M.D., wrote: “This organization has done more to raise the consciousness of our medical student population on Global Health issues than any other College of Medicine student organization. Their drive and spirit has motivated students to donate time and energy to the promotion of health in Nicaragua, Ecuador, Kenya and Ghana. Students in this organization have presented their work in many different physician conferences, and they have also published their stories in Academic Medicine.”

New SIGH President Matt Heimann (Class of 2014) thanked faculty sponsor Daniel Van Durme for his excellent leadership and guidance and said SIGH was honored to receive the award. “The organization has been around only six years now,” he said, “and our impact around the globe and in students’ hearts is being noticed. It is our belief that instilling a global perspective in medical students pushes them to excel in whatever field of medicine they pursue.”

When an email announced the news to the College of Medicine, Clinical Sciences Chair Ricardo Gonzalez-Rothi replied, “This speaks well not only for the quality of students we have but for the College of Medicine and supporting faculty as a whole, as it is an institutional commitment.”

The College of Medicine has quite a grip on this campuswide award. Last year, it went to the Association of Latino Medical Students; in 2009, FSUCares; in 2008, the American Medical Women’s Association. (The photo shows SIGH members on a December trip to Nicaragua. See below for details.)

At least 30 College of Medicine students spent spring break on medical outreach trips. About half of them were associated with FSUCares, and about half of them with Students Interested in Global Health and a new partnership with a Nicaraguan village.

As it has done every year since the Florida State College of Medicine welcomed its first class in 2001, FSUCares was giving out medical supplies and treatment – and getting a cultural education in return. Fourteen first- and second-year College of Medicine students made the annual trip, along with six faculty members and one alumnus who’s now in residency. They split into three groups: one in Immokalee; one on the Texas-Mexico border; and one in the village of Filipina, Panama.

These were the people at each FSUCares site:
* Immokalee – faculty members Elena Reyes, Ph.D., and Curtis Stine, M.D., and students Nathalie Gutierrez (Class of 2014), Alexander Gaukhman (2014), Bethann Mohamed (2013) and David Swoboda (2014).
* South Texas, at (but this year not across) the Mexico border – faculty members Jon Appelbaum, M.D., and Angel Braña, M.D., and students Charles Clark (2014), Andrew Fritze (2014), Tara Gonzalez (2014) and Richard Sims (2014).
* Filipina, Panama – faculty members Ken Brummel-Smith, M.D., and Mark Stavros, M.D.; resident Charles Ritchie (M.D., 2008); and students Keerti Dantuluri (2014), Matt Heimann (2014), Amanda Morden (2014), Shannon Scott (2013, pictured here), John Thomas (2014) and Melissa Velarde (2013).

Meanwhile, in Nicaragua, 16 students associated with SIGH were helping to cement a new partnership with the village of Los Cedros. The spring break trip was the first of four trips planned for this year – and years to come. “December 2010 was when we told the people of Los Cedros, ‘We would like to enter into this long-term, sustainable, community-health improvement partnership with you,’” said Dan Van Durme, M.D., SIGH’s faculty advisor and a frequent visitor to Los Cedros. That partnership differs from what he called “medical brigade” trips, in which health teams fly in, provide care, fly out and perhaps never return. “We told them in December, ‘We’ll be back in March. You can count on it.’”

This photo of Nihar Ganju was taken on the December trip. Here are the College of Medicine representatives who made the March trip to Los Cedros:
* Faculty – Luckey Dunn, M.D., Daytona Beach Regional Campus dean; Suzanne Harrison, M.D., family medicine education director; and José Rodríguez, M.D.
* Class of 2011: Nicole Meisner.
* Class of 2013: Naomi Salz, Joshua Smith.
* Class of 2014 – Shawn Akhavan, Kush Bhorania, Matthew Clark, Michael Dender, Jens Flock, Loan Hoang, Alexandra Mannix, Alexandra Rocha, Chirley Rodriguez, Sweta Sengupta, Ann Sheddan and Sanam Zahedi.
* Pre-med: Clint Dunn (son of Luckey Dunn), Honors Medical Scholar.
 (Read longer versions of the FSUCares and Nicaragua stories.)

These four students from the Class of 2014 are the new 2011-2012 officers for FSUCares: John Thomas, president; Richard Sims, vice president; Amanda Morden, secretary; and Charles Clark, treasurer.

More than 250 people attended the April “Deadly Medicine” symposium sponsored by more than a dozen medical and law student groups. The program, subtitled “Nazi Eugenics: Could It Happen Again?,” was voted academic event of the year by the Medical Student Council and reportedly broke the College of Medicine record for the largest student-sponsored event. “The event committee worked with Holocaust Education Resource Council founder Barbara Goldstein to design a program that would examine the Nazi eugenics and current-day implications,” said Naomi Salz, one of the organizers.

“The keynote speakers were Dr. Daniel Fischer (pictured here), a Holocaust survivor freed from Dachau at the end of World War II, and Dr. Patricia Heberer, historian from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and expert on the Nazi medical experiments. Highlights of the night included a moving musical performance of ‘Theme from Schindler’s List’ by second-year medical student Michael Glickman and staff member DL LaSeur. From the written words on the posters to the singing melody of the violin, the black-and-white images of starving children and the speakers’ presentations, the evening was a unifying experience for everyone. Committee members were flooded with praises and gratitude for their hard work. With donations made for the program, the committee was able to donate $500 to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.”

Event committee (in alphabetical order): Joshua Ellis (Class of 2014), Michael Glickman (2013), Barbara Goldstein (Holocaust Education Resource Council), Jillianne Grayson (2014), Merisa Kaplan (2014), Alexander Kushnir (2014), Jay Meyer (2013), Stephenie Pollock (2013), Naomi Salz (2013), Rachel Siegel (College of Law), Joshua Smith (2013). Artwork: Zach Folzenlogen (2013).

Sponsors: Maimonides Society, Holocaust Education Resource Council, Florida Rural Health Association, Pediatric Interest Group, Geriatrics Interest Group, Family Medicine Interest Group, OB/GYN Interest Group, Grayson Family, Jewish Law Students Association, Medical Student Council, FSUCares, Golden Key Florida State University Chapter, Student Interest Group in Neurology, American Medical Student Association, Gays Lesbians and Allies Advancing Medicine, Health Law Society, Health and Law Organization.

The Pediatric Interest Group’s fall fundraiser to benefit Dreams Come True was featured in last quarter’s American Academy of Pediatrics Medical Student Newsletter. Here’s how the article, written by Class of 2011 President Ashley Lucke, began:

“Every year on a breezy Saturday afternoon in October you’ll find the faculty and medical students from the Florida State University College of Medicine sitting on the front porch of Chez Pierre, sipping wine and nibbling on artichoke dip. Jazz music plays in the background as raffle ticket numbers are called out every fifteen minutes for great gifts like salon packages, diamond and pearl jewelry, and gym memberships. It sounds pretty amazing, right? Actually the most amazing part is the guest of honor each year. This year it was Trenton, a seven-year-old boy with a sinus tumor, who dreamed to go on a Disney cruise. He came with his parents and younger sister Chloe to enjoy an afternoon on the deck and help call out raffle ticket numbers. Thanks to the fourth annual Wine and Cheese Fundraiser to benefit the Dreams Come True Organization, he will get to cruise the open seas this spring on Disney cruise lines.”

Larry Sorrell, Class of 2014, has been accepted for the national American Medical Student Association End-of-Life Fellowship in Fort Lauderdale this summer. He is the second student from Florida State to attend.

Michelle Cormier, Class of 2012, is the newly elected chair of the National AMSA Death and Dying Interest Group.

Alyson Lewis (Class of 2012) was featured prominently in a CNNMoney.com story titled “Med students: We want to be family doctors.” The story was a compilation of quotes from med students. Lewis’ photo and quotes came up first. Here’s how she was quoted:

“Health reform didn't change my attitude. I always wanted to get into primary care. But I do think that new incentives offered by the government to grow the primary care workforce have influenced those who have been on the fence about entering primary care. Money is the main thing that scares med students away from primary care. We leave school with a lot of debt. The average salary for a family physician is $150,000. For another specialty it can be $300,000. Reform shows that the government is serious about changing things. For example, the government's support of the patient-centered medical home model is great. When I entered medicine, that's the kind of model I envisioned for me as a practicing physician. My dream is in line with what the government is now aiming for.”

Lewis was elected last year as a Family Medicine Interest Group Network national coordinator. Her term lasts through the 2011 National Conference July 28-30 in Kansas City.

The following students have been elected or otherwise honored by the American Medical Women’s Association: Kathryn Winn (Class of 2013) was elected national student recruitment chair; Jordan Rogers (Class of 2012) placed third in competition for the Women in Science Award; Dani Barnes (M.D., 2010) was elected national president of the AMWA Resident Branch; and Sarah Mike (Class of 2012) was honored for her presentation of the Clothesline Project as the National Advocacy Project for 2011 in support of awareness regarding domestic violence.

Suzanne Harrison, M.D., education director in family medicine, also thanks the College of Medicine’s outgoing national officers for their service: Michelle Miller, Class of 2012, national undergraduate liaison; Stacia Kutter Groll and Amanda Rose, both Class of 2011, national recruitment co-chairs; Mike, national advocacy chair; and Barnes, national residency branch president-elect.

Two third-year medical students, Charlene Hylton and Gina Obmana, participated with Karimu Smith-Barron, M.D., FAAP, Immokalee Health Education Site faculty administrator, in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. They represented the Collier Health Services team for the event.

Brett Thomas, president; Geden Franck, vice president; Samantha Rupert, secretary; Angela Green, treasurer; Kelly Schwirian, social chair; Jens Flock, historian; Lexie Mannix & Stephanie Morales, hospitality co-chairs; Mohammed Al-Humiari & Jake McKay, intramural co-chairs; Melissa McDole, Gala chair; Trung Tran, IT/Library Committee representative; Jessica Specht, Curriculum Committee representative.


Janel Rodriguez, a graduate student in Jamila Horabin’s lab, has been awarded the Wilson-Auzenne Graduate Assistantship for Minorities. This award carries a $5,000 stipend as well as a tuition waiver for the fall and spring semesters.

Brad Groveman, a biomed Ph.D. student in Xianmin Yu’s lab, was accepted to a postdoctoral position at the National Institutes of Health.

Melissa Pflueger, also a biomedical Ph.D. student in the Yu lab, recently received a dissertation award, and also has been accepted for a postdoctoral position at Emory University.

Sarah Riman, a biomedical Ph.D. student in Myra Hurt’s lab, was awarded a school dissertation research grant in the amount of $750.

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