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Wyoming WWAMI Students Present at Medical Research Forum

February 13, 2020
woman and man standing with posters
Second-year Wyoming WWAMI Medical Education Program students Allana Hall, of Laramie, and Adam Blaine, from Gillette, present their research posters as part of the Western Student and Resident Medical Research Forum in Carmel, Calif., Jan. 23-25. (WWAMI Photo)

Ten Wyoming WWAMI students were invited to present their research at the recent Western Student and Resident Medical Research Forum (WSMRF) in Carmel, Calif.

“The WSMRF is the largest faculty-mentored student and resident research meeting in the country,” says Tim Robinson, director of the WWAMI Medical Education Program at the University of Wyoming. “The Wyoming WWAMI program is very proud of the fact that half of our 2018 WWAMI class were invited to present their research at such a prestigious meeting.”

According to the WSMRF website, over 450 abstracts are presented by medical students, residents and faculty each year. The forum has partnerships with several prominent medical research societies, including the Western Section of the American Federation for Medical Research (AFMR), the Western Society for Clinical Investigation (WSCI), the Western Association of Physicians (WAP) and the Western Society for Pediatric Research.

Robinson says the expansion of the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) program to include educating second-year medical students at UW has allowed the university to attract “some of the best young faculty in the country.” One such faculty member is Assistant Professor Emily Schmitt, who holds a joint position with the Division of Kinesiology and Health and the WWAMI program.

“I am extremely grateful to mentor these medical students as they progress through the curriculum, in particular their scholarly research,” says Schmitt, the research coordinator for the Wyoming WWAMI program. “Not only have these students impressed me with the projects they are working on, but also in their growth of understanding the scientific process and a true bench-to-bedside approach in medicine.”

“The fact that our medical students get to participate in research, often working one-on-one with professors at the top of their respective fields, gives our students the opportunity to explore scholarly areas they might not have otherwise considered -- from collaborating with community organizations to measure health metric baselines and relative impacts of interventions, to decrease rates of smoking in pregnant women in rural Wyoming or pneumonia rates in children in suburban Kenya, to investigating how insulin affects renal function in diabetic patients with chronic kidney disease,” says Laramie family physician Dr. Tracey Haas, one of the WWAMI program’s physician mentors.

Haas says the WWAMI students were challenged to apply advanced research methods to evaluate cutting-edge medical concepts and fields of study.

“This not only builds on their scope of knowledge, but it also helps them gain confidence in writing up their findings and presenting to their peers,” Haas says.

Dr. Larry Kirven, a family physician from Buffalo, serves as the clinical dean for Wyoming WWAMI.

“It was a privilege to be able to watch our Wyoming students present their research at WSMRF, which is a prestigious gathering of medical schools from all over the U.S. and Canada. It was impressive to see the breadth of research done right here in Wyoming,” he says. “Two of the Wyoming students won awards for the relevance and quality of their research, which attests to the high standards of the Wyoming students’ work.”

These two students were Daulton Grube, of Rock Springs, and Reed Ritterbusch, of Sheridan. They each won a WAFMR/WAP/WSCI Student Subspecialty Award.

The 10 Wyoming WWAMI students who presented at the forum, listed by their hometowns and research presentation titles, are:

Cheyenne -- Trey Thompson, “Etiology of Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome and a Non-Surgical Treatment”; and Jacob Zumo, “Age-Specific Cardiac Remodeling Outcomes Induced by Isoproterenol.”

Cody -- Amanda Golden, “An Assessment to Reduce Smoking During Pregnancy in Park County, Wyoming”; and Ryan Winchell, “The Role of Do Not Attempt Resuscitation Directives in Treatment of Patients with Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest.”

Gillette -- Adam Blaine, “Mitigating Alcohol Abuse in the Boomtown Economy of Douglas, Wyoming.”

Laramie -- Allana Hall, “Multidisciplinary Support for Buprenorphine-Naloxone Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder”; and Renae Wollman, “Addressing Pneumonia Misconceptions and Prevention in Children Under 5 in Karagita, Kenya.”

Rock Springs -- Daulton Grube, “Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease is Associated with Higher and Not Lower Insulin Use.”

Sheridan -- Reed Ritterbusch, “Comparison of Pseudoprogression in Glioma Patients Following Proton vs. Photon Therapy.”

Sinclair -- Logan Taylor, “Peripapillary Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Microcirculation in Glaucoma Patients of African and European Descent Using Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography.”

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