The Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ACHE) in Fort Smith recently hosted its second annual Research Symposium for its Arkansas Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.
The symposium was held virtually through Microsoft Teams in order to meet the state guidelines for group gatherings.
Physician students Garrett Schick, Gabryele Pochron and Christopher Buliga organized the research symposium under the guidance of faculty and staff advisers Elizabeth McClain, Ph.D., Kenneth Hensley, Ph.D., and Charitee Floyd.
“Research is a vital component for medical education and research symposiums allow students the opportunity present their findings and to add critical research credentials to their curriculum vitae in order to make them more competitive for residency opportunities in the future,” a news release states.
McClain noted since medical college is a newly established institution and it is important to demonstrate the interest and commitment to furthering scientific research with an emphasis on student involvement.
“These students carried the weight of the responsibility for implementing the symposium demonstrating resilience and creativity in a challenge time,” McClain said in the relese. “I am very proud of not only what they accomplished, but how they worked collaboratively carry out this successfully research event.”
Schick and Pochron are first-year physician students. Buliga is in his second year at the osteopathic medical college.
The research symposium was originally set to take place in late April. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all on-campus activities were suspended March 16. Students were faced with several challenges such as: method of presentation delivery, acquisition of recorded material, distribution of presentations to the community, organization of live keynote speakers, and facilitating virtual judging panels for awards. An unforeseen advantage was also discovered with this change as the new format allowed students and other individuals the ability to participate from off-campus, the news release adds.
Schick said, “While a virtual research symposium was not what we had originally envisioned, this new format allowed us to create a foundation for future events in which a virtual component can be added to increase the participation of remote individuals. It was an incredible experience getting to work with this amazing group and it showed me how being able to adapt to these unforeseen circumstances can yield remarkable outcomes.”
The research symposium consisted of 33 original research projects in four categories (Basic Science, Health Education, Public Health, and Clinical Medicine) from individuals in ACHE’s osteopathic medical school and their master’s in biomedical sciences program along with student and faculty involvement from the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith.
The presentations were judged by a committee consisting of a variety of ACHE clinical faculty, basic science faculty, staff, administration, and non-presenting students. The top three presentations in each category received cash prizes that were sponsored by the Arkansas Osteopathic Medical Association (AOMA), the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) ARCOM chapter, and the Student Osteopathic Association for Research (SOAR).
The categories and winners are:
Nga (Izzy) Tran