In The Media

Four students in the medical education program have spent months 3D printing face shields for health care workers. Brittany Russo, Jordan Levine, Joshua Broden and Mitchell Eyerman all had to leave their clinical rotations due to the shortage in personal protective equipment. “Since we were no longer in the hospitals, this was a great way that we could give back to the community and help out,” says Russo. Already, the group has donated 1000 face shields to hospitals in need.
Two medical students have found a way to explain the novel coronavirus to children in a clear, colorful way. The story, called “Berry Bunny Learns About COVID-19,” is full of illustrations and activities. So far, it has received more than 750 visits from people in 36 states and 16 countries. The authors, Natalie Tjota and Sara Xu are third-year students.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of life for medical students at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Studies are now virtual, exams and labs are online and all patient interaction is on hold. The University at Buffalo “has done a great job integrating the programs that they had available,” says medical student Dilpreet Kaur. Medical student Mark Lawler says that despite the obvious challenges, there have been some positive aspects of temporarily stepping back from patient interactions.
COVID-19 social distancing guidelines have put a temporary end to in-person ceremonies on campus. Thus, graduates of the medical education program at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences are participating in a virtual graduation ceremony on May 1. It’s the first of 15 virtual commencement exercises the University at Buffalo will hold.
Twenty-three medical students in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences will work in hospitals in New York City and Long Island following graduation. New York City is among the areas hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Research by Joshua Gordon, a graduate student in the MD/PhD Program, that showed that postmenopausal women experiencing tooth loss could be at higher risk of developing high blood pressure compared to other women. “Edentulism has been found to be associated with coronary heart disease, stroke and all-cause mortality,” he said. “Risk of hypertension associated with edentulism could be related to life-course health factors that either lead to or were associated with edentulism, including past history of periodontal disease.” Jean Wactawski-Wende, dean of the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions, also contributed to the research.
UB HEALS (Homeless health, Education, Awareness and Leadership in Street medicine), a community outreach program organized by medical students and physicians from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is in the middle of a 60-day online crowdfunding campaign. “This is an extremely humbling experience. So, it brought medicine back to the human aspect of it. And, for those going into medicine, just keep in mind that even though you need to build your resume and you need to build different types of experiences, having an experience that makes you have a human-to-human connection is extremely valuable,” said Lisa Samuels, a second-year medical student who handles fundraising for the organization. 
An article on AMA Wire, a publication of the American Medical Association, interviews Moudi Hubeishy, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Class of 2019. Hubeishy is founder and program director for UB HEALS (Homeless health, Education, Awareness and Leadership in Street medicine), a community outreach program being conducted by UB medical students and physicians from the Jacobs School. “The program has won numerous awards and grants, and — more importantly — has reconnected many homeless individuals with the medical and social care they have been looking for, while exposing and educating medical trainees and professionals about the challenges faced by their patients with low socioeconomic status,” he said.
Shanté White, who will graduate today from the Jacob School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is interviewed about her journey to become a physician, including being the first generation of her family to attend college and the struggles members of her family had with drug and alcohol addiction. “I can say for the first time in my life — I should have said it before — that I’m really proud of myself. Just reflecting back on how I grew up and the things I went through … it’s been hard,” she said.
An article about concerns among UB officials that proposed cuts in state graduate medical education funding will hurt efforts to diversify the physician workforce interviews David A. Milling, MD, senior associate dean for student and academic affairs. “It is important that our medical professionals reflect the populations that they serve, but we have not been able to meet those numbers in New York State,” he said.
A feature story on the new Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building and the impact it is expected to have on medical education at UB quotes Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School; Alan J. Lesse, MD, senior associate dean for medical curriculum and associate professor of medicine; and Kelly Hayes McAlonie, director of campus planning at UB. “We can take advantage of the building. We can look at courses taught in the traditional lecture format and change that to teach in an interactive learning manner, small groups or simulation,” Cain said.
Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, talks about the construction of the school’s new building downtown and the 25 percent increase in enrollment in the school this year to help address the regional and national physician shortage. “Part of this vision of continuing to increase excellence in health care delivery in Western New York was doing these three things: we are moving the medical school, we are building a new one specially designed to be 21st century and we are building programs that attract students here and keep students here and allow us to recruit the best physician-scientists.”
A story about the opioid epidemic reports UB is dealing with the problem by increasing education in the field from medical education to social work, with 1,000 students from 11 professional groups gathering in November to talk about a fictional case of a woman who goes from dental problems to addiction and what went wrong, and interviews Lisa Jane Jacobsen, MD, MPH, associate dean of medical curriculum. "Everyone's talking about the opioid epidemic and, sadly, everyone has somebody they know who is suffering from it or has died from it," she said. 
A story about the impact the doctor shortage is having on Western New York looks at efforts by the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to slow the trend, and interviews Gina Sparacino, a fourth-year medical student at UB who is one of the first recipients of a scholarship from the Western New York Medical Scholarship Fund, which gives Western New York natives an incentive to stay in the area after they graduate from the medical school. “I am seeing a lot more of the Buffalo students who want to stay, especially with the need for physicians in Western New York,” she said.
The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences welcomed its largest class of medical students at a ceremony where 180 students received their white coats. David A. Milling, MD, associate dean for student and academic affairs, discussed the reasons why the school was able to boost its enrollment, including the new medical school building downtown. “With new space that can accommodate them, increase class sizes — so a perfect opportunity for us to do this. Workforce issues in our area and outside our area as well,” he said.
An article on the AMSNY site reports that Jaafar M. Angevin, post-baccalaureate program coordinator in the Office of Student and Academic Affairs, has been recognized with a staff award of excellence for promoting inclusion and cultural diversity at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
The incoming class at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences will increase by 25 percent to 180 students. Over four years, the medical school will grow to 720 medical students. Nearly 2,000 faculty, staff and students will be based at the downtown campus by January.
UB Heals, which is dedicated to reconnecting the homeless population with the health-care system, has earned a pair of grants for its efforts. The program won $5,000 in the region’s second Pitch 10 Competition, where nonprofit organizations had a chance to pitch their project or idea. Last month the program won a $9,000 grant from the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Both grants will go toward purchase of a van to provide a private space for clinical consultations and to store medical equipment.
A walking tour of a Buffalo East Side community by students from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences was designed to provide a better understanding of real life issues the students will encounter when they begin working directly with patients in their third year during clinical rotations.