The Capstone Scholarship & Discovery Course (CSD) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School is a fully individualized mentored scholarly project for students to build on a personal passion related to medicine. CSD is a four year longitudinal curricular experience and students receive one month credit after successful presentation of the Capstone project during their fourth year. The School of Medicine Class of 2016 was the first class in the school’s history to complete long-term Capstone projects. This collection showcases these Capstone presentations.Attention SOM students: Click on Submit Capstone in the left sidebar to submit your final, approved project. Please first review the policies and submission guidelines, and download the permission form. You’ll need to log in or create a free account. Questions? Contact , the eScholarship@UMMS administrator.
Jessica Rose Long
March 06, 2017
As the obesity rates among children have increased examining the causes of this rise is imperative. One of the many reasons for the increase is the amount of meals eaten away from the home and even though young men of color may be less likely to be overweight or obese, chronic diseases associated with poor diets such as diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia still adversely affect them. Studies show that there is a connection between unhealthy eating and the development of the aforementioned chronic diseases. Therefore, the purpose of this Capstone Project, WooFood Cooks, is to bring high school-aged men of color into the kitchen, expose them to micronutrient rich foods, and teach them to cook healthy meals so that they can take these skills home to their families and employ these into adulthood. By having multiple opportunities to learn about, prepare, cook, and eat meals with fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, this program will hopefully have a long-term positive impact on the health of these young men. After the completion of the classes the young men enjoyed the time in the kitchen and learned new cooking skills that they could implement in their homes. However, this project demonstrated that there is more work to be done in the community with bringing families together into teaching kitchens to help them see a new way of cooking traditional meals. It will also impart the necessary knowledge to parents desiring to best serve the health outcomes and behaviors of their children.
March 06, 2017
As the nationwide discourse on medical marijuana evolves, with 28 out of 50 states approving its use, University of Massachusetts Medical School graduates will need to be prepared to discuss medical marijuana (MMJ) with their patients. There is currently no formal medical school education on MMJ. This project set out to understand the curriculum gap and provide a learning session to interested students. The presentation was created using research done by the author during the first three years of medical school, including visits to private MMJ clinics. Utilizing a pre/post-session online assessment of a group of twenty-six students, we found that student knowledge about Massachusetts’ MMJ law improved by 29%, following a ninety-minute session. In addition, self-assessed confidence in negotiating clinical scenarios involving marijuana improved by 34%. These improvements were statistically significant, with p-values of 0.0033 and 9.5x10-16 respectively. These findings support the formal addition of a sixty- to ninety-minute session focusing on MMJ to the UMMS curriculum.
Samantha Harrington, Jason Stencel, Jacob Koshy, and Shelly Yarnie
March 07, 2016
Based off our workshop series at Ghanaian churches in Worcester, MA, the Healthy Ghanaian Cookbook is a collection of recipes created by Peggy Akufo from the Apostolic Church at Bethsaida Christian Center. The recipes were altered to increase nutritional value. Calorie and nutrition breakdown for each recipe is included.
Thinking Like A Scientist ... And An Engineer: Training future leaders and innovators in health care systems and delivery
Diana Ong, Eric W. Dickson, and Lori R. Pelletier
March 07, 2016
Health care is increasingly becoming more complex with the advancement of accountable organizations, expansion of hospital systems, and major insurance and government reforms. As leaders of care teams, physicians are often expected to have a hybrid set of skills extending beyond clinical expertise. Examples of leadership knowledge and skill sets include organizational thinking, health quality improvement, health policy, financial literacy, health innovation, and many more. The number of MD/MBA programs has risen significantly since the 1990s and more recently, leadership pipelines for both medical residents and students have also emerged. These trends support a rising demand for well-rounded physician leaders. This project sets out to answer two questions: will a health care leadership program add value to undergraduate medical training for University of Massachusetts medical students? If so, what would such a leadership program look like?
We used the Lean management framework and “A3” Plan Do Study Analyze cycle (PDSA) to identify the challenges and appropriateness of developing a leadership program, and then to highlight ideas for promoting leadership. Key components of the framework include a root cause analysis and development of counter measures. As a platform for analysis, we examined the experiences of the “Quality Improvement Health Care Elective,” a student led series of lectures on health care process, Lean management, and health care leadership. We tested our counter measures as well as other ideas in a student opinion survey that focused on level of interest in leadership, career aspirations, desired deliverables, and the option of a training certificate.
An estimated 20% of the student population at UMass Medical School completed our survey (n=125). Our study discovered strong interest in the topic of leadership, with 20% of students stating they are very likely to take an elective on leadership, and 54% somewhat likely. Students were especially interested in career aspirations that included management and administration responsibilities, general career exploration, and opportunities for mentorship. These findings can be core features of developing a health care leadership option for medical students at UMass Medical School.
Aida Shkreta and Carol A. Bova
March 07, 2016
Purpose: To describe the experiences and attitudes of Albanian immigrants toward health care in Albania versus the United Stated (USA).
Method: A cross-sectional descriptive survey using venue sampling was administered at the Albanian Festival in Worcester on June 5-7, 2015. The data was entered and analyzed using SPSS.
Results: There were a total of 146 subjects eligible for analysis. Most subjects were female (52.7%) and the mean subject age was 41.6 with a range of 18-77 years old. Subjects moved to the USA at a mean age of 28.8 years with a range of 1-66 years old. Subjects have lived in the USA for a mean of 12.9 years, with a range of 3 months to 28 years. Categorical response items comparing health care in Albania versus the USA were statistically significant in favor of the USA health care system regarding comfort seeking care, care worth money, receiving preventative care, and having good communication with the doctor. Subgroup analysis of males vs. females showed a significant finding only on females receiving more preventative care. Continuous response items comparing health care in Albania versus the USA were statistically significant in favor of the USA health care system regarding the patient liking care received and trusting the doctors. Content analysis of the open-ended comments showed positive and negative perceptions of both health care systems.
Conclusions: Our results show that Albanian Immigrants have an overwhelming positive experience and attitude toward the USA health care system in all categories including comfort seeking care, care being worth the money, having good communication with the doctor, trusting the doctors, receiving preventative care, and liking care received. These finding are important because they show that even though Albanian immigrants are exposed to under-funded and corrupt medical care in Albania, the majority does not allow this experience to influence the interaction with USA health care professionals. The findings from this study are applicable to the clinical setting in the USA and some recommendations can be made to USA health care providers about how to best approach Albanian immigrant patients.