Research assistants recognized at first annual DGIM Research Day
May 2 was all about RAs—or research assistants—as the BWH Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care (DGIM) celebrated these hard-working individuals at the first annual DGIM Research Day. Dedicated to honoring the diverse projects that the division’s RAs are involved in, afternoon events included oral presentations and a poster session, as well as a career panel discussion.
“At its core, DGIM Research Day is about community,” said Harry Reyes Nieva, network manager, Brigham and Women’s Primary Care Practice-Based Research Network. “The event was conceived to facilitate better sharing of information and cross-fertilization of ideas among DGIM members. It is also a forum to showcase RAs’ contributions and promote their personal career development.”
After opening remarks from Division Chief David Bates, MD, MSc, in the Shapiro Breakout Room, there were five presentations by RAs on projects covering topics such as patient safety, quality improvement and care coordination. At the conclusion of each presentation, RAs fielded questions and received constructive feedback from an audience comprised of their peers and mentors. Oral presentations were followed by a poster session on the second floor mezzanine exhibiting research and quality improvement abstracts from 16 teams.
“As research assistants, we are used to working closely with a few key colleagues on our project and discussing our data in a detailed manner,” said Arbor Quist, poster session participant and research assistant in the division. “This poster session allows us to speak more broadly about our work and present our research to other members of the division and the BWH community.”
Voices of Experience
Joseph P. Frolkis, MD, PhD, division associate chief and vice chair of Primary Care, moderated a candid career panel discussion where mentors in the areas of research, medicine and nursing provided advice in response to questions RAs submitted beforehand. Panelists Heather Baer, ScD; Jeffrey Linder, MD, MPH; Cherlie Magny-Normilus, FNP-C; and Jeffrey Schnipper, MD, MPH shared their words of wisdom on achieving work-life balance, selecting a career path, and overcoming challenges.
“If you want to make a change in patient care and not only write research papers, you’ve got to be an advocate and pound the pavement,” said Schnipper in response to a question about how to implement research findings into clinical practice. “Just because the intervention you study improves patient care and may even save society money, it will not be adopted if all you do is publish the results in a well-respected journal.”
And the Winners Are…
The day concluded with an awards ceremony presided by Jennifer S. Haas, MD, MSPH, division associate chief of Research, that recognized best oral and poster presentations from the event as determined by a paper ballot vote by attendees. Best oral presentation was awarded to a team led by Conny Morrison for a project designed to assess clinicians’ attitudes and performance on patient care coordination between intensive care units and long-term acute care facilities.
The award for best research poster was bestowed to Do Quyen Pham for a study on the connection between neighborhood safety and adipose tissue distribution among African Americans.
A tie for best quality improvement posters resulted in awards given to Jeffrey Medoff and Amanda von Taube, for their work on interactive voice-response systems and enhanced referral management systems, respectively.
Katyuska Eibensteiner received an honorable mention for a research poster describing risks of coronary heart disease and diabetes among adults.