Two medical students recently attended the 24th Annual Southern Region Burn Conference to present their research.
The Class of 2013’s Joseph D. Roderique and the Class of 2014’s Leahna Haldeman were responsible for a total of three presentations and two scientific posters on topics ranging from inhalation injury in a pregnant patient to a new use of a wound dressing for burn patients.
Roderique, an ensign with the U.S. Naval Reserve’s Medical Corps, took second place out of 84 oral presentations over the course of the weekend for a presentation that was a summary of a larger paper that has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Burn Care and Research. His interest in the field was piqued during his first year when he had the opportunity to shadow burn fellow Abel Gebre-Giorgis, M.D., three hours a week. After several months of observing in the clinic and OR, Roderique was asked to help out with several of Gebre-Giorgis’ ongoing research projects. “That partnership became so fruitful, that I began taking on projects of my own in addition to helping him with his,” said Roderique. “Eventually, we had so much going on that we realized we needed more help.”
Roderique recruited three fellow medical students as well as several undergraduate students who formed a research team. Now interest has snowballed into the creation of a medical student and undergraduate interest group that act as a “farm team” for finding additional motivated students to participate in the research effort. “This offers not only hospital exposure and experience, but also the opportunity to do real research with real results that can translate into better clinicians.” Roderique is strongly considering caring for burn patients as a part of his future career goals. He describes the field as one of the most rapidly changing in medicine, with products and procedures that have proven to have wide-ranging impact on many areas beyond burn care.
Haldeman, who worked as a critical care burn nurse for three years prior to medical school, aspires to a career as a burn surgeon. Her oral presentations focused on hair braiding burns, which are a little-known cause of scald injuries, and a compilation of data comparing pediatric patients who are admitted directly versus admitted through the emergency department.
Presented by the Southern Medical Association and hosted by the Burn Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the Dec. 1-4 educational event is intended for all burn care disciplines at any level of experience.