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Fourth Year Medical Student Research Projects

The Department of Family Medicine and Community Health offers a number of research opportunities for fourth year medical students, including the university-wide Senior Scholars Program and a departmental Fourth Year Elective in Preventive Medicine and Public Health (both of these coordinated by Judy Savageau, MPH). The Senior Scholars Program allows the student a two- to three-month opportunity to participate, in depth, in a research project. Numerous departmental faculty offer a number of opportunities for these students to explore/expand their research interests in adolescent medicine, substance abuse, community oriented primary care, international health, health status of vulnerable populations, and many more.

The Fourth Year Elective provides a month-long block rotation for students interested in Preventive Medicine and Public Health, during which time students spend 50% effort on a research project that they define and the remaining 50% effort encompasses many short-term clinical segments related to this field. Some of these include exercise physiology, dyslipidemias, nutrition, the history of public health, mental health and primary care, clinical preventive medicine, refugee health, and communicable diseases.

The following students participated in these research opportunities during the past few academic years: 

Senior Scholars:

Hans Erickson (with Lee Mancini, MD – Sports Medicine)
Cardiac Screening and Return-to-Play Protocols in Adult and Pediatric Athletes following COVID-19 Infection

Filia Van Dessel (with Carol Curtin, PhD – Shriver Center)
Adult Primary Care Physician Management of Obesity in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or Intellectual Disability

Bridget (Xinmiao) Yang (with Patricia Seymour, MD, MS – Hospital Medicine)
Reducing 30-day Hospital Readmission Rates via Standardized Discharge Instructions on the UMass Family Medicine Hospitalist Service

Katherine Sadaniantz (with Janet Hale, PhD – Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing and FMCH)
Assessment of Military Service/Veterans’ Health Medical Curriculum

Preventive Medicine/Public Health Elective:

Olivia Hall (with Judy Savageau, MPH)Behaviors, Knowledge, and Attitudes of Physicians and Advance Practice Providers Caring for Patients with Hepatitis C

Iha Haul (with Judy Savageau, MPH)
Circumcision – How Healthcare Providers can Help Patients Navigate

Meghan Hickey (with Judy Savageau, MPH)
Worcester County Resources for Food Insecurity

Elizabeth McGovern (with Judy Savageau, MPH and Heather Forkey, MD)
Educational Disparities for Children in Foster Care in Massachusetts

Carol (Kaia) Renneberg (with Judy Savageau, MPH and Colleen McKay, PhD)
Tobacco Cessation in Patients with Mental Illness / Resources for Primary Care Providers

Alex Wenk-BodenMiller (2021-2022): Lipid Management to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke: Infographic for Patients

2021-2022 Capstone Projects: A total of 24 students completed 19 projects and were mentored by 16 of our FMCH faculty:

Emily Adler
Beyond Mentoring: What Student-Doctors Learned from an Intervention Program with Teen Mothers Experiencing Homelessness
Project Advisor | Judy Savageau, MPH 

Brian Argus and Taryn Ryan
A Team-Based Learning Approach to Doctoring and Clinical Skills
Project Advisor | Susan Hogan, MD, MPH

Erin Caffrey
Improving Survivor Experiences in the Emergency Department
Project Advisor | Rachel Davis-Martin, PhD

Erica Christenson, MBA
Syndrome of the Trephined: A Rare Challenge in Head & Neck Reconstruction
Project Advisor | Phillip Fournier, MD

Peter Jordan
Defining Mental Illness and Patient Experiences with Providers
Project Advisor | Mary Flynn, MD

Sam Lauffer
Broadcasting COVID-19 Health Information for Visually Impaired People (VIPs)
Project Advisor | Heather-Lyn Haley, PhD

Collin McCloskey Leibold
Worcester's Summer Fitness in the Parks Program
Project Advisor | Elizabeth Erban, MD

Zachary J. Michaels
Effects of the UMass Disability Interstitial on Medical Students Attitudes, Clinical Skills, and Comfort Regarding Patients with Disabilities
Project Advisor | Linda Long-Bellil, PhD, JD

Shafik M. Mutaawe and John Romano
Student and Provider Perspective on the Implementation of an EMR at the Worcester Evening Free Medical Service Program
Project Advisor | James Ledwith, MD

Stephanie Ng
Examining Mindfulness and its Role in Medical Education Through Writing
Project Advisor | Linda Cragin, MS

Lauren Nguyen and Eileen McNicholas
Screening for Malnutrition in the Elderly: A Virtual Training Session for Health Promoters in the Dominican Bateyes
Project Advisor | Michele Pugnaire, MD

Tara Patel
Addressing Barriers to Abortion Care in Mexico: How Providers' Opinions Impact Access
Project Advisor | Susan Hogan, MD, MPH

Hayden Peirce and Rose Healy
Evaluating Medical School Curriculum on Serious Illness Communication
Project Advisor | Jennifer Reidy, MD

Ariana Perry
Urban Health Scholars Pathway
Project Advisor | Linda Cragin, MS

Manasa Raman
Commercial Sexual Exploitation Curriculum Development for Medical Students
Project Advisor | Jennifer Bradford, MD

Margaret Ruddy and Rachel Padillo
Evaluation of Parental Leave Policies and Associated Financial Implications at University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School
Project Advisor | Susan Hogan, MD, MPH

Haley Schachter
Development of the Navigator Needs Assessment, a Tool for Outer Cape Health Services Navigator Program
Project Advisor | Andy Lowe, MS

Alexandre Wenk-Bodenmiller
Expanding the Reach of the Worcester Healthy Baby Collaborative and its Safe Baby Project
Project Advisor | Sara Shields, MD, MS

Charles Yi
What Do You Mean?: Understanding How Comfortable Healthcare Providers Feel Working With Medical Interpreter Services During the Pandemic
Project Advisor | Lisa Morris, MS

Summer Research Fellowship Student Projects:

Physician Coaching Project – A Program Evaluation Scoping Review: Elisah Huynh (Advisors: Lisa Gussak, Judy Savageau, and Suzanne Mitchell)

Oral Health Coverage in Primary Care in Peer-Reviewed Journals: Sumayyah Akhtar (Advisors: Hugh Silk and Judy Savageau)

A Qualitative Study of Age and Aging in Adults Over 80 Years Old: Grace Mascha, Nick Kamkari, and Priscilla Lee (Advisors: Stacy Potts and Philip Day)

Population and Community Health Clerkship Integrated Learning Modules: Linda Nguyen (Advisors: Suzanne Cashman and Heather-Lyn Haley)

Examining Management of Mental Health Care in Rural New Hampshire: Sophie Barlos (Advisor: Suzanne Cashman)

Impact of Community Engagement on the Scribe Experience and Connectivity to Worcester: Racquel Bitar (Advisors: Linda Cragin and Steve Earls)

Worcester Healthy Baby Collaborative: Safe Baby Project: Rosemary Cobb (Advisors: Sara Shields and Kristina Gracey)

Summer Assistantship at AIDS Project Worcester: Updating Naloxone Curriculum for Community Education: Patrick MacDonald (Advisors: Philip Day and David Hatem)

The Farm to Health Center Initiative: If You Give a Patient a Bag of Produce: Jennifer Marino (Advisors: Melanie Gnazzo and Suzanne Cashman)

Designing a Medical School Clerkship: Food Insecurity in Worcester: Siva Narasimhadevara (Advisor: Melanie Gnazzo)

Indigenous Health Community Outreach / PCHC: Caroline Norton (Advisor: Heather-Lyn Haley)

Benedict Family Medicine Food Insecurity Intervention: Connor Pauplis (Advisor: Brennan Dagle)

EMR, Medical Language and Stigma: Derrick Tonto (Sponsor: AHEC Scholars Program)