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Medical Student Zachary Cartun International Study in Munich

Zachary Cartun UMass Chan Medical StudentContributed by Zachary Cartun, T.H. Chan School of Medicine Class of 2022

Radiology is such a unique part of medicine in its technological advancements, ability to read images nonlocally, and continued integration with Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. This, combined with adaptive patient care strategies adopted during the COVID pandemic, sparked my interest in the business of medicine and the broadening of international relationships with regard to healthcare. Through several fortuitous connections and the awesome support of the UMass Chan Medical School Radiology Department, I was offered a clinical elective spot at LMU Klinikum, the hospital of The University of Munich, and one of the top research universities in Europe.

Given my interests, my goals in Munich were twofold. The first was to learn more about the business side of medicine – particularly in the field of radiology. With radiologists and health economists Drs. Wolfgang Kunz and Dirk Mehrens, I completed a health economics research project studying the cost-effectiveness of de-escalation of treatment for melanoma after CT-scan-confirmed tumor response. The project was presented during my Senior Scholars presentation at T.H. Chan School of Medicine and our paper is currently in submission to JAMA Dermatology. As I am going to INSEAD business school in France following medical school, and as students there are required to speak three languages for entrance, my business goals were also met via my German language improvement!

The second goal of my rotation was to take part in interesting cases and learn more about clinical radiology. Because of Germany’s location within Europe and its humanitarian policies, it draws immigrants (and refugees) from many Eastern European and Middle Eastern countries with still developing medical systems. I saw advanced disease presentations that I had not been exposed to thus far in the US – including sublingual vascular malformation and bone-involvement in secondary syphilis. I also assisted in the IR suite and took part in close to 50 embolization procedures, a real-time MRI-guided kidney biopsy, and a clinical trial to treat adhesive capsulitis with transcatheter arterial embolization.

In my free time, I enjoyed touring the city! I visited many of the awesome museums and historical sites, attended a philharmonic orchestra performance of Mozart’s Requiem (all tickets are 10 Euros for people under 30 years old for all concerts!), survived a soccer rally for Bayern Munich FC, and of course checked out a few Beer Halls.

I would like to thank Dr. Max Rosen and the entire UMass Radiology department for not just funding this experience but also for their encouragement and support. I would also like to thank Dr. Jens Ricke, the Chief of Radiology at LMU Klinikum, for welcoming me into his department and providing me with such a valuable educational opportunity. Lastly, a major thanks Dr. Wolfgang Kunz, my research advisor and mentor in Munich, for explaining complicated TreeAge software, taking me through the basics of Cost-Effectiveness Analyses, trying to understand my grammatically-fraught German, and kindly helping me avoid American faux pas in German culture.

Zachary Cartun Poster, UMass Chan class of 2022