UMHS grads Dr. Rebekah Amarini and Dr. Elise Landa recently had research published by Austin Publishing Group. The UMHS Endeavour interviewed both of these young doctors about their accomplishments and the benefits of medical students doing research for publication.
Dr. Rebekah Amarini
Dr. Rebekah Amarini worked with former UMHS professor Dr. Girish Kotwal on a book chapter, published by Nova Science Publishers, about emerging health problems among the growing “Baby Boomer” population.
“ We focused on preventative illnesses that are most prevalent in this demographic, and then determined the current mainstays of therapy and future therapies which will keep Baby Boomers on the path to longevity,” Dr. Amarini said. “Being involved with this research was very relevant as I gained deeper insight as a physician on the Baby Boomer population that is coming of age [becoming senior citizens].”
Dr. Amarini, who is currently applying for residencies in the Northeast, also discussed two research projects in which she was involved, both published while she was a student at UMHS.
“The first was on hypertension and the second was on the Baby Boomer population,” she said. “I was searching for research opportunities and Dr. Kotwal had some projects that he was working on and I was lucky to be a part of them. Other research that I worked on was a case study on VNS (Vagus Nerve Stimulation) therapy in an epileptic patient; however, this was not published officially in a journal. While this wasn’t published, it expanded my knowledge of a complicated epileptic patient. Additionally, after I graduated medical school, I was able to be a part of two abstracts that were submitted to the SVIN (Society of Vascular and Interventional Neurology) meeting and published.”
Dr. Amarini worked on “Hypertension-Biochemical Basis and Current Management Strategies,” published by Austin Publishing Group.
“The hypertensive research was based on an observed patient with hypertensive crisis; the BP and HR tracings were recorded at least five times a day over a four-month period with multiple interventions being utilized by different specialties, including lifestyle changes and medications to stabilize the blood pressure,” Dr. Amarini said. “The goal was to determine a root cause of HTN (hypertension), effectiveness of treatment, and range of diagnostic procedures available for a hypertensive crisis.
Not all med students are able to do research, but there are benefits indeed if one has the opportunity. “Your residency application is like a jigsaw puzzle, there are many different pieces that must fit in order stand out as exceptional among thousands of applications,” Dr. Amarini said.
“Having publications shows that you are an active learner and are not sitting around waiting for opportunities to reach you; you are searching for them and taking them. The more publications, the better, so using each avenue to not only get published, but learn throughout the process, you become more knowledgeable about the topic and it ultimately will help you become a better doctor for your patients.”
Doing research and getting published can pay off when it is time to start applying for the residency Match.
“During interview season this year, I was told multiple times that my research and publications are impressive and this significantly helped me to shine on interview day,” Dr. Amarini said. “It shows you are a hard worker and will do whatever it takes to reach your goal of a secure future. There are even opportunities other than papers to attain publication, including abstracts submitted to conferences or case studies submitted to journals. I found it very useful to utilize these methods to gain additional publications and this wasn’t something that I knew much about before the residency application process. The one thing that I feel the most grateful for is the mentors that have supported and encouraged me along the way, and these mentor relationships and the relationships with my future patients are the reasons why I know I chose the right field to be a part of.”
Dr. Elise Landa
Dr. Elise Landa, currently an Internal Medicine PGY2 resident at St. John Providence Hospital in Michigan, worked with Dr. Amarini on “Hypertension-Biochemical Basis and Current Management Strategies.”
“The book chapter was a broad overview of hypertension, the pathophysiology of hypertension and the treatment and management strategies,” Dr. Landa said. “It was a brief overview to help people better understand, treat, and manage those with hypertension in the outpatient setting.”
In addition, Dr. Landa worked on research in St. Kitts when she was a UMHS student.
“The research I worked on while on the island was a project to identify the types of fungi that were common in the air [on St. Kitts] and how these fungi are associated with human infections,” she said.
Dr. Landa advocates medical students doing research while in school, but stresses the need to work only on worthwhile projects.
“If you have the opportunity to work on a project that you believe in and feel will help to improve the medical field, I fully support this and think it is important,” she said, and added, “Do not do research for the purpose of padding resumes.”
Built in the tradition of the best U.S. universities, the University of Medicine and Health Sciences focuses on individualized student attention, small class sizes and recruiting high-quality faculty. For these reasons, UMHS is quickly becoming the school of choice among Caribbean medical schools.