Diary of an MSTAR Student
Diary of an MSTAR Student

The MSTAR Program encourages medical students to consider a career in academic geriatrics by providing summer research and training opportunities. Follow these students as they journey through new experiences in the lab, classroom, and clinic.  Click here to read entries from previous years.

Aarushi Suneja: Geriatrics - A Conglomerate of Complexities

Jul 31
1:02 pm

Aarushi Suneja: Geriatrics - A Conglomerate of Complexities

“It seems like everything is falling apart, and my body can’t keep up!” The patient sighed and Dr. Smith* nodded to me reassuringly as I rested the diaphragm of my stethoscope on the patient’s tricuspid valve. Even my short white coat had a soothing, calming effect on the 80-year old patient. The patient was a “regular” in the Geriatric Outpatient Clinic at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center where I was shadowing.  There, while observing a whirlwind of complicated, often chronic diseases, I learned first-hand the complexities of medical management in…

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Seth Einterz: The Magnitude of Seventy-Seven Years

Jul 29
3:39 pm

Seth Einterz: The Magnitude of Seventy-Seven Years

Today I shadowed a nurse practitioner on hospice home visits.  Hospice lacks some of the heroic narratives of the emergency department or the intensive care unit.  I don’t even wear my sparkling white coat. (Notice me, says the white coat, I am training to be a hero!) I keep my stethoscope stuffed in my backpack, and except for an official UNC ID on my lapel I don’t have any trappings of higher education. Although I am dressed up more than is regular; ties are scarce in retirement communities. The nurse, Ms. Nancy Jo, can…

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Anna Schuler: Welcome Presence

Jul 25
10:13 am

Anna Schuler: Welcome Presence

While waiting for approval from the Institutional Review Board at SLU to start my project about mobility and falls, I met with the staff at NHC Maryland Heights, the nursing home where I will recruit participants. Jeff, the director of nursing, was very enthusiastic about my project. While at NHC, my mentor, Dr. Morley, asked me to dance with residents who were in the main lobby watching a man play guitar and sing. At first I felt shy approaching the residents and asking them to hold my hand while we moved to the music, but I quickly realized my presence…

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Katie Hunold: Enjoying the Journey

Jul 23
10:33 am

Katie Hunold: Enjoying the Journey

Before I even arrived at UNC-Chapel Hill to start my MSTAR experience, I had a feeling it was going to be a good summer. My mentor and I had been in communication throughout the spring and it was clear that he loves mentoring students and has a wealth of experience to share and draw on as he teaches us about clinical geriatric research. This summer I am doing work focusing on ambulance transport following motor vehicle collision in the older adult population. The work requires me to expand my current skill set in order to be able to properly analyze…

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Kyle Roedersheimer: Patient-Centered Research

Jul 19
8:37 am

Kyle Roedersheimer: Patient-Centered Research

Entering this summer, I have had little experience in the world of research. I started 4 weeks ago working with my PI, 3 days after our last final. I haven’t had a break since then, and I have learned a tremendous amount in such a short period. In that time I have written the Standard Operation Procedures for the study, helped implement an 8 week enrollment schedule in the Emergency Department and have 3 weeks of data, 49 patients, enrolled in the study. I have learned statistics, tinkered with Stata and had many conversations with my PI and fellow colleagues in the lab.…

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Christopher Schifeling: See One, Do One, Teach One

Jul 17
8:08 am

Christopher Schifeling: See One, Do One, Teach One

This summer I’ve taken a job as a detective’s understudy. I’ve set aside the microscope for the magnifying glass. I am learning to uncover clues and sniff out trails in the histories of people with Alzheimer’s disease. People with dementia present a special challenge for clinicians. As the disease advances, the reliability of their histories becomes impaired. As their cognition declines, they may no longer remember when their pain started or even have the communication skills necessary to express their pain. Compounding these problems is the host of issues complicating geriatric care…

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Horacio Sosa: Finding Inspiration

Jul 12
10:19 am

Horacio Sosa: Finding Inspiration

It was the first time I was to round with Dr. Ross, a family doctor, geriatrician and lecturer whom I knew from my last semester as a first year medical student. I settled my backpack near a cabinet in a tiny room next to the examination rooms in the Geriatrics clinic, and was swinging my hands, trying to dry up antibacterial foam when the head of Geriatrics, Dr. Knebl,   approached me. She informed me I was given permission to assist with the Hispanic Caregiver Conference that morning which started at 9. Reluctantly, because I had looked forward to working…

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Jing Sun: Studying Falls in Elderly Patients

Jul 10
12:32 pm

Jing Sun: Studying Falls in Elderly Patients

Having never experienced population based research before, I was both eager and apprehensive to start my MSTAR research project.  My background as a basic science research assistant during undergrad provided some foundational knowledge, but the majority of what I’ve experienced so far is completely new to me.  I am working at the University of Connecticut Center on Aging on a project involving the Money Follows the Person demonstration program.  I will be conducting quality of life interviews and analyzing the data collected in terms of incidences of falls.  And my first week here has…

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Timnit Tekeste: New Research Opportunities

Jul 08
10:21 am

Timnit Tekeste: New Research Opportunities

I am in my second week of the MSTAR program and already I’ve learned so much. On my first day of work here at the Center on Aging at the University of Connecticut Health Center, I was conducting a literature review on the unique health care needs of older prisoners. Since then I’ve continued to do my literature review, but I’ve also been introduced to other projects currently being led by my Principal Investigator as well as others in the Geriatrics Research Field. There’s one study in particular that is looking at…

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Hillary Fitzgerald: An Introduction to Gerontology

Jul 03
9:15 am

Hillary Fitzgerald: An Introduction to Gerontology

I have just finished the second week of my MSTAR experience at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, where I am also a student during the normal academic year. I am very excited for this opportunity to learn from mentors at WF Baptist Hospital’s J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging and at different centers for geriatric health throughout the community, as well as for this pause in the normal pace of nonstop studying to get a taste of clinical research. I spent the mornings of my first week shadowing on the Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE)…

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