Clark County Medical Student Wins National Competition
By Doug Nadvornick
Second-year UW medical student Jacob Casey from Vancouver, Washington has won a gold medal in the Cureus national poster competition for medical and health sciences students.
Though Casey is studying in Seattle this academic year, his research is rooted in Spokane, where he spent his first year of medical school.
While in Spokane Casey approached Washington State University (WSU) nursing assistant professor Kenn Daratha about collaborating on a Medical Student Research Training Program (MSRTP) summer project. Casey had taken Daratha’s class on evidence-based medicine and read the professor’s research about the medical complications and outcomes for patients hospitalized with CKD.
Daratha and his colleague, Dr. Katherine Tuttle, a Spokane nephrologist/researcher agreed to mentor Casey. The medical student formulated his own research question: other than heart failure and sepsis, what are the other complicating factors for CKD patients?
Casey conducted a medical literature review and, together, the two organized a database that included hospital patient information for more than 26,000 Washington residents (names excised) with CKD. Through the summer Casey used statistical software to analyze the data and identify a variety of complications that lead to longer hospital stays, readmissions within 30 days after discharge or even death.
“Skin ulcers were a significant issue for many patients,” Casey said. “I never would have thought of that, but they brought many patients back to the hospital within 30 days of their release.”
“This study was unique in that it used data from actual hospital patients, not people who volunteered for a clinical trial. It gives us useful real world results,” Tuttle said.
This fall Casey has created a poster describing his research, the poster that won in the nephrology division of the Cureus competition. He also has written a paper that he plans to submit to a medical journal. He has been invited to present his paper at the Western States Medical Research Forum in Carmel, California in January. He also attended the American Society of Nephrology annual conference in San Diego with Daratha and Tuttle.
“This project has not only helped him (Casey) to think about nephrology as a possible career choice, it makes him more competitive in applying for fellowships after medical school,” Daratha said. “Even more important, it cements in his mind the benefits of using evidence when he cares for patients.”
“This project has given me greater fluency when it comes to understanding research and applying it to my clinical practice,” Casey said.
Though Casey doubts he’ll pursue research as a career right out of medical school, he says it could be an option later in his career.
Read more about the winners in the competition: http://www.cureus.com/competitions/1
Medical student Jacob Casey from Vancouver. His poster -- for research done as a student in Spokane -- won a gold medal in the nephrology category of the national Cureus poster competition for medical and health sciences students.
(Photo by Doug Nadvornick)