Category Archives: Summer Medical and Dental Education Program

Sep 8 2014
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Field of Dreams

“In the NFL, you have to be ready for everything,” says Lutul Farrow, MD.

He should know: For more than three years, the orthopedic surgeon was a member of the medical staff for his hometown Cleveland Browns. With Farrow on the sidelines were a nonsurgical sports medicine doctor and an anesthesiologist; in the stands were a paramedic and a dentist. “That was just for our team,” he says.

Farrow currently works with the Yellow Jackets, a Division III team at his college alma mater, Baldwin Wallace University. Because football requires physician coverage at every game, he travels with the Yellow Jackets to games throughout the Ohio Athletic Conference. He’s also the head team physician for the Brunswick High School Blue Devils.

On game day, he has a field-level view of every play—and every injury. “We mostly see strains and sprains,” he says, including hamstring pulls, ankle sprains, and ligament sprains of the knee.

Farrow predicts that the current attention to concussions—most recently the NCAA’s settlement of a class-action lawsuit brought by former college players—will change the way the game is played.

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Jun 23 2014
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RWJF Milestones, June 2014

The following are among the many honors received recently by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, grantees and alumni:

Emery Brown, MD, PhD, an alumnus of the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program has been elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research recipient James Perrin, PhD, is the new president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He took office on January 1, 2014, beginning a one-year term.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has named Deborah E. Trautman, PhD, RN, as its new chief executive officer, effective June 16. Trautman, an RWJF Health Policy Fellows program alumna, currently serves as executive director of the Center for Health Policy and Healthcare Transformation at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The American College of Physicians (ACP), the nation’s largest medical specialty organization, has voted Wayne Riley, MD, MPH, MBA, its president-elect. Riley is a former RWJF senior health policy associate.

Kenneth B. Chance, Sr., D.D.S. has been appointed dean of the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and will begin his duties on July 1, 2014. He is an alumnus of the RWJF Health Policy Fellows program, and served on its national advisory committee. His is a current member of the national advisory committee of the RWJF Summer Medical and Dental Education Program.

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Oct 3 2013
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Human Capital News Roundup: The Tour for Diversity in Medicine, the cost of food allergies, peer navigators for patients with mental illness, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast, and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni, and grantees. Some recent examples:

The Tour for Diversity in Medicine, founded in part by RWJF Summer Medical and Dental Education Program alumnus Alden Landry, MD, MPH, recently made a stop at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, the Washington Post reports. The Tour is a grassroots effort to educate, inspire, and cultivate students who are underrepresented in the nation’s medical and dental schools by reaching out to them on the nation’s college campuses. Learn more about the Tour for Diversity here and here.

Peter Ubel, MD, an alumnus of the RWJF Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars program and a recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, was a guest on Marketplace radio to talk about the effect of advertisements about the Affordable Care Act. Read a post Ubel wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about the health care law.

Childhood food allergies are costing the United States an estimated $24.8 billion every year—mostly due to costs that are not direct medical care—according to a study led by RWJF Physician Faculty Scholars alumna Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH. The study also asked parents what they would be willing to pay to make their child’s food allergy disappear overnight, Huffington Post reports. The average answer was $3,504 per year—close to the $3,457 average annual per family cost of managing a food allergy. Read a post Gupta wrote about her research for the RWJF Human Capital Blog.

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May 3 2013
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Hard Work and Investing in Others Opens Opportunities

Felix German Contreras, 22, of Atlantic City, N.J., credits his 2012 participation in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP), and his teachers at the Yale University site, for opening new doors to opportunities. A naturalized U.S. citizen, Contreras emigrated to the U.S. with his family at age 6. He will graduate from Atlantic Cape Community College next year and plans to attend Yale School of Medicine. Started in 1988, more than 21,000 alumni have completed SMDEP, which today sponsors 12 university sites with each accepting up to 80 students per summer session. This is part of a series of posts looking at diversity in the health care workforce.

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Living as an immigrant and student with only part-time employment is a daily battle. But I will never allow these challenges to slay my dreams. With so many struggles, I am often asked: “Felix, how do you do it?”

I cannot help but smile when I reply, as it is not a secret; nor do I believe it is a talent—it is simply a strong work ethic. I have realized the best things in life are the hardest to obtain.

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My doors to new unexpected opportunities were opened when a late-night online search in 2012 led me to the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program. I applied and was accepted at the six-week program’s Yale University site. It was there where I met mentors and students with similar aspirations to improve communities through medicine. Not only did the intensive program place me on a sure-footed path toward a health sciences career, my English improved tremendously through rigorous reading and writing. You can’t believe how much six weeks can give someone who is eager to receive. SMDEP exposed me to countless possibilities on the other side.

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May 2 2013
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A Personal Mission: Bridging the Oral Health Care Gap

Monique Trice, 24, is a University of Louisville School of Dentistry student who will complete her studies in 2015. Trice completed the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) in 2008 at the University of Louisville site. Started in 1988, SMDEP (formerly known as the Minority Medical Education Program and Summer Medical and Education Program), is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation–sponsored program with more than 21,000 alumni. Today, SMDEP sponsors 12 sites, with each accepting up to 80 students per summer session. This is part of a series of posts looking at diversity in the health care workforce.

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Diversity is more than ethnicity. It also includes geography, perspective, and more. I was raised in Enterprise, Ala., which is in Coffee County. The community’s demographic and geographic makeup set the stage for an oral health care crisis. Here’s how:

  • Enterprise is a community of 27,000 and just 15 licensed general dentists, three Medicaid dental providers, and zero licensed pediatric dentists to service Coffee County, a population of 51,000. In 2011, Alabama’s Office of Primary Care and Rural Health reported that 65 of the state’s 67 counties were designated as dental health shortage areas for low-income populations.
  • According to this data, more than 260 additional dentists would be needed to bridge gaps and fully meet the need. For some residents, time, resources, and distance figure into the equation, putting dental care out of reach. In some rural communities, an hour’s drive is required to access dental services.
  • Lack of affordable public transportation creates often-insurmountable barriers to accessing dental care.
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Growing up in a single-parent household, my siblings and I experienced gaps in dental care. Fortunately, we never suffered from an untreated cavity from poor oral health care, but many low-income, underserved children and adults are not so lucky.

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Feb 28 2013
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Human Capital News Roundup: ‘Dynamic environments’ for older adults, specialty nurses, racial diversity on campuses, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, RWJF senior adviser for nursing, spoke this month at the Oregon Center for Nursing conference on the future of nursing leadership, according to The Lund Report. “We need to be keeping more data, recording our expertise and speaking up for ourselves so when people say quality of care, they will also say, quality of nursing,” she said.

Alicia I. Arbaje, MD, MPH, an alumna of the RWJF Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program and the RWJF Clinical Scholars program, was a guest on NBC Nightly News discussing the need for older adults to live in “dynamic environments” like college towns, where they can stay physically active and socially engaged. See the clips here and here.

A white paper co-authored by RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research recipient Kathleen Sutcliffe, PhD, “breaks down the behaviors of managers who are the best at anticipating, containing, and repairing catastrophes,” Business Insider reports. Among those behaviors: they overcome cognitive biases and update their beliefs, and they don't ignore small problems until they snowball into larger ones.

Science Magazine reports on research by RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumnus Rashawn Ray, PhD, that finds women of color often encounter an unwelcoming environment in graduate school, and have a particularly hard time finding primary mentors who share their experiences and can provide guidance.

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Feb 19 2013
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Cross Cultural Medicine Workshop

The American Indian Physicians and Association of American Medical Colleges will host a Cross Cultural Medicine Workshop, March 1-3 in Washington, D.C. The workshop is designed to provide physicians, faculty, medical students, health care professionals, and others with a greater understanding of Western and Traditional Medicine in order to enhance their cultural competence.

Participants will learn to identify strategies to improve cultural competency and communication between American Indian/Alaska Native patients and health care professionals, and learn about the role of traditional healers and the American Indian/Alaska Native approaches to healing and health.

The Association of American Medical Colleges provides technical assistance to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Summer Medical and Dental Education Program.

Learn more and register here.

Dec 20 2012
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Human Capital News Roundup: Promoting health professions, generic drug manufacturers, traumatic brain injuries, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

The Baltimore Times reports on the Tour for Diversity in Medicine, founded in part by RWJF Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) alumnus Alden Landry, MD, MPH. Several weeks each year, the Tour visits college campuses across the country to promote careers in the health professions to students from groups underrepresented in higher education. Read more about the Tour for Diversity here and here.

Jason Karlawish, MD, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer about tests for Alzheimer’s disease. Read posts Karlawish wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about the disease and the challenges associated with early diagnosis.

Pharmacy Times reports on a perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine, co-authored by Investigator Award recipient Aaron Kesselheim, MD, JD, MPH. It addresses concerns about a proposal to increase liability for generic drug manufacturers for adverse reactions. Read a post Kesselheim wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog about pharmaceutical industry marketing to medical students.

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Nov 8 2012
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Human Capital News Roundup: Built environments, the evolution of nursing, sugary drinks, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows and grantees. Some recent examples:

A study by Deidra Crews, MD, ScM, FASN, an alumna of the RWJF Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, finds that poor nutrition is strongly associated with kidney disease in low-income individuals. Health Day, Science Daily and Medical XPress are among the outlets to report on the findings.

WHYY interviewed RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna Carolyn Cannuscio, ScD, ScM, about the “built environment” and its impact on health, as well as her personal connection to the field.

The Afro-American Newspapers wrote about the Tour for Diversity in Medicine, run in part by RWJF Summer Medical and Dental Education Program alumnus Alden Landry, MD, MPH. The Tour travels with mentors to college campuses around the country to promote health professions to underrepresented students. Read more about the Tour for Diversity here and here.

Julie Fairman, PhD, FAAN, RN, gave comments to Nurse.com for an article on the history of the nursing profession. Fairman says that nursing education evolved “very haphazardly.” She is the recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research.

Nurse.com also spoke with RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumnae Jane Kirschling, DNS, RN, FAAN, and Susan Bakewell-Sachs, RN, PhD, PNP-BC, about initiatives across the country to recruit and retain nurse faculty. Bakewell-Sachs is also program director of the New Jersey Nursing Initiative, a program of RWJF and the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

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Oct 2 2012
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Motivating the Next Generation of Minority Physicians

Alden M. Landry, MD, MPH and Kameron Leigh Matthews, MD, JD are  co-directors of Tour for Diversity in Medicine, a grassroots effort to educate, inspire, and cultivate future minority physicians. Landry, 31, is an emergency medicine physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and Matthews, 33, and is the medical director for a Chicago-based family health clinic. Landry is an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP), formerly the Minority Medical Education Program.

Alden Landry reflects on the second Tour for Diversity which ended last week:

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Dr Matthews and I created the Tour for Diversity in Medicine (T4D) to reach out to students in their comfort zones and show them that they could be successful and become health care providers. We enlisted the help of our friends and colleagues to come along with us on the tour as Mentors, to lead lectures, workshops and interactive sessions and motivate the next generation of minority physicians. The Mentors range from pre-health advisors to medical and dental students as well as physicians and dentists in practice. More importantly, they share their personal stories with students. We’ve found this to be one of the most valuable parts of the tour—giving a human face to what can sometimes seem like an unattainable profession.

The tour was different than our earlier, February tour because we had a broader mix of host institutions. Host institutions ranged from small historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to larger institutions. We visited schools in rural settings as well as large cities. Each institution was as unique as were the students who attended and the stories we heard.

There wasn't just one stop that was memorable. All of the stops were filled with amazing groups of students hungry for more knowledge about careers in medicine and dentistry.

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