Jonathan Temte, MD, PhD, (second from left) with this year’s Summer Student Research and Clinical Assistantship participants.

Jonathan Temte, MD, PhD, (second from left) with this year’s Summer Student Research and Clinical Assistantship participants.

This summer, the Department of Family Medicine (DFM) welcomed nine medical students to its Summer Student Research and Clinical Assistantship (SSRCA).

During the eight-week program, which is led by Jonathan Temte, MD, PhD, the students work closely with DFM faculty who have shared clinical research interests.

Students also participate in seminars, receive individualized support from faculty, and make a final presentation of their findings at the end of the program. In addition, many of the students go on to present their results at regional, national, and even international meetings.

Using ‘Big Data’ to Investigate Asthma Risk Predictors

One student, Saamia Masoom, analyzed data from the UW eHealth-PHINEX database—which is representative of the Wisconsin population—to better understand the roles of both age and sex on the association between asthma and obesity.

She found that asthma prevalence was generally higher in obese pediatric males and obese adult females. Her findings match previous preliminary studies, further demonstrating the potential role of “big data” in providing patient-specific asthma care.

Of her experience, Masoon said, “It was particularly rewarding to reap the benefits of an EHR and the ‘big data’ it provides firsthand. Furthermore, I got a fairly comprehensive taste of epidemiological research, working with our team all the way from formulating our question to extracting, analyzing, and reporting our results.”

“We even submitted a manuscript for publication, and I will be doing an oral and poster presentation at the Wisconsin Research and Education Network (WREN) Convocation

[in September]—quite productive for an eight-week summer assistantship!”

Effective Treatment Regiments for Latent Tuberculosis Infection

Another student, Gregory Lines, MPH, reviewed treatment regimens for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) at a Milwaukee community health center.

Approximately 11 million people in the U.S. have LTBI; of those, 10 percent are likely to develop active tuberculosis (TB). Although treatment of LTBI is essential to preventing active TB, adherence is a significant challenge.

He found that a 12-week regimen of combined therapy (isoniazid plus rifapentine), administered as directly observed therapy, resulted in higher completion rates than a nine-month regimen of self-administered isoniazid monotherapy.

According to Lines, “SSRCA was an excellent learning experience that allowed me to take a project from start to finish with guidance from faculty mentors. I was able to engage a specific topic of interest for eight weeks and also learn about the breadth and diversity of family medicine through clinical experiences. The research I conducted is exactly the type that I hope to be involved in as a practicing physician.”

Diverse Projects Attract Interest in Family Medicine, Research

Dr. Temte affirmed that the SSCRA is a fantastic opportunity for students considering going into community-based or academic family medicine.

“We are happy to mentor them as they develop their research, writing, and presentation skills,” he said. “These are essential tools for students with an interest in conducting research, either through their own program or a practice-based research network.”

Other student projects investigated:

  • Meditation or exercise for preventing acute respiratory infection
  • Disease management and financial implications of the addition of a nutritionist/health coach in two family medicine clinics
  • Collaborative care models for opioid dependent offenders
  • Streamlining the assessment of resident physician competency in pelvic examination skills
  • How doctors birth: how our experiences shape our practice
  • Negative pap smear, positive HPV: what does it mean?

Read complete abstracts for each project.

Published: October 2014