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First annual HOD poster presentations a huge success



October 28, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Physician Leadership 

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The California Medical Association (CMA) hosted its first ever House of Delegates (HOD) poster session to showcase research by medical students, residents and fellows around the state. The winners were Alexandra Iacob, M.D., a pediatrics resident at Loma Linda University Medical Center, and Sahil Aggarwall, a second-year medical student from the University of California, Irvine.


Dr. Iacob's research looked at the after-effects of non-fatal drowning to see if medical care could be improved and if policies could be developed to reduce the devastating effects "not only for the patient but for the entire family.” Her poster, which she was inspired to create after she and her team saw too many non-fatal drowning incidents in their pediatrics practice at Loma Linda, looked at data from 265 submersion incident reports in San Bernardino County between 2007 and 2014. Among the conclusions were that males are at increased risk and that the majority of injuries occurred when fencing was present.


Dr. Iacob hopes to take this data and write a bill to be submitted to the state legislature requiring state data collection. She and her team are also entertaining other advocacy efforts to “improve health outcomes of our children…[but the] ultimate goal is to develop measures to prevent these terrible injuries.”


Aggarwal presented research that looked at medical students’ attitudes toward reporting risky behaviors committed by doctors, nurses and classmates. “After doing some searching through research databases, I found that there is not a single study that characterizes medical students' attitudes toward reporting different provider types for the same behavior or error.”


He surveyed 159 medical students at UC Irvine and found that medical students are more likely to approach and discuss a medical error or unethical behavior with a classmate or nurse rather than a doctor.


“I think that reporting medical errors or unethical behaviors is vital to both the health and safety of patients," said Aggarwal, who believes that medical schools should implement patient safety curricula that alleviates student fears about reporting superiors, and that hospitals should be encouraged to create anonymous error-reporting systems to improve reporting rates.


"I plan on continuing to encourage medical students to report these behaviors by working to incorporate a section in the UC Irvine first-year curriculum about medical error/unethical behavior reporting and its importance," he said.

Both winning posters, as well as presentations from 20 other medical students and residents, were on display immediately outside the ballroom where the delegates met during the CMA annual meeting. The research was well received by all, and we hope that this will become a permanent fixture at future meetings and encourage more future physicians to take an active role within the association.


“As a pediatric resident I have been involved with CMA since I moved to California," said Dr. Iacob. "I have seen CMA's advocacy efforts for patients through various meetings throughout the year. I thought this contest would be a wonderful platform to discuss the data we have been able to gather in our county and develop future plans.”


A big thank you to the Academic Practice Forum for judging the contest and to the Medical Student Section and Resident and Fellow Section for reviewing the abstracts.


To view the winning poster session abstracts, click here.

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