February 12, 2020

2020 Medical Student Research Symposium award winners announced

2020 Medical Student Research Symposium award winners announced

Medical students displayed 68 research projects for their peers and professors at the annual Medical Student Research Symposium held Feb. 7 in the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Scott Hall cafeteria.

Poster categories included basic science, clinical prospective, clinical retrospective and public health, as well as a new category encompassing community impact, health care improvement and medical education.

Connor Buechler
Connor Buechler

“Not only for Wayne State, but even on a national level, schools are looking at more health care disparities, and I think it’s an important area. It’s a whole different ball game. We now know in the medical community that there is a whole new literature and field of study on how to educate future health care providers,” said symposium co-organizer Noreen Rossi, M.D.

Medical student Connor Buechler won the event’s coveted Dr. Hershel and Lois Sandberg Travel Award -- given to the poster with the highest total score from judges -- for “Student engagement in Wayne State University School of Medicine curriculum design, development, evaluation and implementation.” He also won first place in the Health-Medical Education category. (See end of article for all winners).

Buechler won top honors in 2018 as well. His 2020 project represents the first inventory of student engagement in curriculum design, development, evaluation and implementation at the medical school. The project confirmed a need for greater collaboration and communication, systems to track curricular projects and improved training/definition of roles. He and co-author Leo Hall wrote that, “As primary stakeholders in their own educational environment, students involved in curricular projects are uniquely placed to make such observations and pleas for improvement. Development of a comprehensive roster specifying roles and responsibilities, an accompanying work-flow model for interacting roles, and a central hub to track projects would each greatly improve the efficacy of curricular planning.”

The annual symposium gives students an opportunity to discuss and deliberate research and accompanying results with fellow students and faculty, and strengthens the message that clinicians can also have fulfilling research careers. All WSU medical students were eligible to submit abstracts on a research project to which they made a significant contribution in their undergraduate or graduate years.

The event is co-organized by Professor of Internal Medicine Noreen Rossi, M.D.; Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences Dennis Goebel, Ph.D.; and the Office of Medical Student Research and Innovation’s Gini Gilchrist. The organizers acknowledged Dean Jack D. Sobel, M.D.; Vice Dean of Medical Education Richard Baker, M.D.; Henry Ford Health Systems Director of Research Margot LaPointe, Ph.D.; and Office of Medical Student Research and Innovation Director Joseph Dunbar, Ph.D., and especially the symposium judges, for their support.

Award winners included:

Sandberg Travel Award

Connor Buechler. Mentor: Heidi Kromrei, Ph.D.

Basic Science

First place: Brendan Mullan

Second place: Jarred Bratley

Honorable mention (tie): Spandana Alluri and Hailey Olds

Clinical Prospective

First place: Jacob Gluski

Second place: Marissa Tandron

Honorable mention: Emily Lau

Clinical Retrospective

First place: Dhir Patwa

Second place: Anita Viashampayan

Third place: Bryen Turco

Honorable mention: Tristan Lemon and Molly Pantelic


First place: Connor Buechler

Second place (tie): Katanya Alaga and Salman Haider

Honorable mention: Kelley Park

Public Health

First place: Reem Kashlan

Honorable mention: Ciara Ivanics