Medical school students use what they have learned to improve the community

May 09, 2018

Dembowski points to his poster.

Our graduating Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine students showcased what they learned at a recent interdisciplinary showcase highlighting the culmination of four years of scholarly inquiry at Capstone Scholars Day.

Topics ranged from demographics’ effect on primary care to the Malaria outreach in Uganda. Mentors from area hospitals, clinics and throughout Quinnipiac worked with the graduating students.

“I knew when I first arrived at the Frank H. Netter School of Medicine that I wanted to leave my mark on the school in a way that benefitted veterans,” said Brendan O’Shea MD ’18. “One of the most exciting parts of starting at a new medical school is the opportunity to start groups and events that can become traditions. Jose Burgos, MD ’18 and Frank Ruiz, MD ’19, who are both veterans, and I started the Military Medicine Interest Group very soon after arriving with the objective of coordinating community service efforts with veterans in the area.”

O’Shea then transformed that passion into his capstone project titled, “Campaign for the Improvement of Outreach to Homeless Veterans in Need of Medical Care.” He worked with the Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (H-PACT) in southern Connecticut, which provides medical care to homeless veterans. He then worked with Katie Place, assistant professor of strategic communication at Quinnipiac, to learn how to develop effective media campaigns.

School of Medicine

“The project is based on the situational theory of publics, which categorizes groups that you would target based on how one seeks, processes and internalizes information,” he said. “Using this theory, we were able to survey 51 patients of the clinic to examine how they interpret and react to information about medical care provided for them through the U.S. government. We then took that information and created a full strategic plan, including sample media in the form of a fact sheet, PSA and flyer. The plan lays out how this campaign should reach homeless veterans based on our research.”

Rebecca Howe, MD ’18 has been interested in pursuing a career in primary care since starting at Quinnipiac.

“I looked to explore a capstone project that would let me explore explore a different side of primary care from what I was learning in medical school,” she said. “Personalized Health Planning (PHP) is when patients work together with clinicians to set treatment goals and make care plans. Research shows that patients who set goals and are more involved in their care have better health outcomes and increased self-efficacy. My capstone project explored PHP at the VA and with an interprofessional care team at Community Health Center, Inc. in Middletown, a federally qualified health center.”

She studied both the opportunities and challenges for implementing this form of care.

“Quinnipiac has been the perfect environment for me to learn about innovation in primary care and how health teams can work together to provide the best care to patients,” Howe said. “This June, I will start my residency in family medicine and am excited to put what I learned from this capstone research into practice with my own panel of patients.”

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