Health Sciences Newsletter

Health Science Newsletter: Summer 2019

Looking for last year’s newsletter? Visit the archive to view the Spring 2018 Health Sciences Newsletter.


Student Interns at Boston Children’s Hospital

by Erin McCoskey

Erin McCoskeyDuring the summer of 2018, I interned at Boston Children’s Hospital in the orthopedic department. The hospital is known for being No. 1 in the nation for pediatrics and is also where Dr. Lyle Micheli founded dance medicine. I shadowed, assisted and learned from some of America’s finest orthopedic doctors at both the main Boston Children’s campus and the dance-medicine-specific Micheli Center. I had the opportunity to learn from some of America’s finest orthopedic doctors.

The orthopedic department serves primarily dancers, gymnasts and ice skaters but also accepts the typical team sports patients. Many of the injuries I saw in the orthopedic department were due to tendinopathy and tendinitis, which were caused by overuse. Even the dancers and gymnasts tended to be excruciatingly tight in their hamstrings and Achilles tendons, so their bodies reacted by using incorrect muscles, resulting in injury. Among the most severe of injuries I saw were a tibial stress fracture in a 5-year-old, many L5 stress fractures (spondylolysis), concussions and infrapatellar tendon tears.

Along with clinical experience, I observed steroid injections at the Micheli Center. Despite the initial pain and discomfort the patients felt, they were quickly relieved of their pain after the injections, which was amazing. A psoas injection even saved a dancer from needing a hip replacement.

During my internship, I served as a research assistant by collecting data and taking measurements for a study on the Bridge-Enhanced ACL Repair (BEAR) method of ACL reconstruction. This research study is designed to construct a method for ACL surgery that consists of using a scaffold dipping in the patient’s own blood tissue during the surgery to lower the risk of re-tear and the body rejecting the reconstruction. I observed the new way of repairing the ACL in the operating room, assisted the doctors with the write-ups for the research study and took patient data for the study.

Being a sports medicine physician entails a great deal more than simply diagnosis and rehabilitation. Typically, athletes do not like to ask for help, and they definitely do not want to stop performing the sports that they love. Sports medicine physicians have to be the bearer of bad news to young people who love their sports and sometimes are hoping for a career in that particular craft. As an ex-dance athlete who sustained her own career-ending injury, I truly felt the pain that these patients were going through. The idea that I could do something to help young people continue their athletic careers even after being injured inspires me to earn an M.D. in Sports Medicine.


Students Serve Abroad in Ghana in 2018

by Mark Persinger

Ghana 2018 Study AbroadDuring the summer of 2018, Friends University health science students Laramie Edens, Abbey Fischer, Pearce Harris, Makayla Hollis, Jocelyn Logan, Autumn Lubbers, Elizabeth McKee, Mark Persinger, Amanda Smith and Jacob Stewart traveled abroad to Ghana. They spent two weeks volunteering at a hospital operated by Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and researching neglected tropical diseases. The students were accompanied by health science professors Dr. Prince Agbedanu and Dr. John Simmons. This trip was Friends University health science program’s first opportunity to serve abroad in Ghana. This was a unique experience because Dr. Agbedanu is from Ghana, and the university at which the students served is the same school in which Dr. Agbedanu completed his undergraduate education.

Before traveling abroad, the students completed a semester-long course about public health, language skills and cultural issues. Upon successful completion of this course, the students could participate in the experience abroad.

Ghana Study Abroad 2018 Dental ClinicWhile serving at the hospital, students completed a daily rotation of the different departments. These departments included pharmacy, records, X-ray, health insurance claims, maternity ward, public health, ER, infectious disease unit, inpatient wards, dental clinic and OR. During these rotations (which took place in the mornings), the students performed daily tasks and learned alongside current medical students and practicing physicians. In the afternoons, they traveled to the Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research (KCCR) where they researched neglected tropical diseases, including malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid fever and others. They kept daily journal logs about their experiences.

For the summer of 2019, the health science service abroad will take place in Stoke-on-Trent, England. They will plan to return to Ghana in the summer of 2020.


Student Gains Medical Insights

by Daniel Yeremin

Oftentimes, society does not recognize the lasting impact — positive or negative — that medical care can have on a culture. If we take health care for granted, we inhibit its improvement and development. For a long time, I did not value medicine for what it is worth. My experience in a third world country during August of 2017 taught me to appreciate the resources we have in America; I also saw the needs that we have within our own health care system.

I was hesitant to attend a mission trip that would overlap with my first week of college since I did not want to feel behind in school. Nevertheless, I took the medical training class just in case I decided to participate in the trip. A few months later, I found myself on a plane headed toward Panama. The seven-hour drive from Panama City turned into 11 after first getting lost and then getting the van stuck in the mud. The clinic took place in Puerto Armuelles at an open-air school with a few classrooms.

My job involved calculating prescriptions for eyeglasses, nonstop walking and less than five minutes for lunch. I, however, enjoyed my job, getting to see the priceless reactions the locals had when they could finally see clearly. One woman started to cry as she gently spoke, “Azul!” only now able to see that the scrubs we were wearing had color. I saw living proof of what you can do when you invest in others.

The biggest pitfall of American medicine, perhaps, is the shortage of caregivers who care. We need medical providers who go out of their way to treat and inform patients, not clinicians trying to maximize patient output and profits. Many doctors get to spend only a few minutes with each patient. That is where students can help. While students do not yet have degrees, their impacts can be profound. Going on mission trips or volunteering at nursing homes, doctor’s offices or hospitals can change both the students and those around them as they share a message of hope.


Acts of Kindness and the Ripple Effect: Faculty in the Spotlight

By Jack Kriwiel

Dr Joseph MeyersWe’ve all witnessed small, kind gestures. Whether it’s someone paying for the coffee of the struggling mother behind them, an unprovoked, authentic compliment or a kind stranger who takes a picture of you and your loved one when your hands are full—these moments don’t go unnoticed. And they can often have a deeper effect than we may even understand. As Scott Adams has said: “Remember, there is no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”

For photographer and professor of science and math Dr. Joseph Myers, it was one small act of kindness by a former Friends University student that sparked the biggest change in him. The eight-year-old boy in the photo above is Myers as a young child, riding his bike on the Friends campus with his brother behind him on the back seat. It’s a photo he has cherished since childhood, growing up in the shadow of Davis Hall—a memory he may not even have if not for the Friends student who captured it for him. This photo inspired Myers to pay it forward by capturing similar moments for current students—potentially sparking the same change in them that was once sparked in him.

Myers can be found on campus, camera in hand, for as many sporting events and other on-campus student events as possible. As a result of an act of kindness, Myers pays it forward by taking photos of student life on campus, hoping to capture special moments and secure these memories as photographs.

Not only does Myers spend his time on campus taking pictures, but he has also been greatly involved in the creation of a few important programs here at Friends. He was initially hired to be an area coordinator for the math, science, business and technology departments for adult students. After four years, he became the director of ADA services (disability services). He then became co-chair for faculty senate, created and taught the business analytics concentration courses in data science for the graduate school and helped create the cyber security master’s degree program. But of all his responsibilities at Friends, he admits that his favorite thing to do is to tutor math.

When asked about how students he tutors fare in regards to the high level of mathematical work he does, he said, “It is definitely not impossible for students to do research, either with me or on their own. As a teacher, my job is to encourage students to have and develop their ideas and to realize that even what one has just learned can be applied immediately.”

He went on to explain some of the ways he was able to best think critically in college, when studying orthogonal regression. He invites students to work with him on similar research problems. “I am currently advising students in two research projects—big-data modeling of current expected credit loss (CECL) for banking and predictive analytics of events for criminal justice.” he said. Myers is excited about the opportunity to effect the lives of students at Friends, and his involvement on campus is his way of keeping the ripple of kindness moving that first began when his photo was taken as a young boy.

Although we can’t always know the full impact of each act of kindness, it’s not impractical to assume one act of kindness can change a life. In the case of Dr. Joseph Myers, the nameless Friends student from all those years ago may never know the impact her actions had, but her kindness had a great impact nonetheless.


Friends Student Attends Medical School Open House

by Amanda Smith

In the fall of 2018, I visited the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Wichita and Kansas City. During one of my visits, a representative spoke about admissions, financial aid, the ACE curriculum and other pertinent information. I learned that since I am a Kansas resident, I would automatically receive an interview with a GPA above a 3.20 and an MCAT score greater than 500. Kansas residents that receive interviews have a 50 percent chance of matriculation. This news will help me remain calm during the application and interview process next year. The admissions representative also discussed the possible ways to combat expensive tuition, including through the military, the rural health program and the specific program (for prospective students in family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine and others). Recently, the University of Kansas School of Medicine implemented a new education system called the ACE curriculum, which teaches physicians how to apply their knowledge. Visiting these two schools has made me excited to graduate college and begin my new chapter in medicine.


Friends Student Participates in Scholars in Rural Health Program

Friends University’s very own Mark Persinger, a junior majoring in health science, was accepted into the Scholars in Rural Health program through the University of Kansas School of Medicine. The Scholars in Rural Health program is designed to identify and encourage undergraduate students from rural Kansas who are interested in building successful careers as physicians in rural areas. The program exposes students to the variety of health care services in rural Kansas. Students apply after their sophomore undergraduate year. During their junior and senior undergraduate years, scholars learn at the side of an assigned mentor in the region of his or her home community, for a total of 200 shadowing hours accumulated during the four semesters and one summer. Mark is paired with Dr. Boller, a family physician in Liberal, Kan. Scholars also complete three patient care reports, attend an initial orientation in Salina and participate in a meeting at the end of each spring semester in Wichita. The program provides Scholars assured admission to the University of Kansas School of Medicine upon successful completion of program requirements and graduation from their undergraduate institutions.


Undergraduates Conduct Research

by Mark Persinger

During the fall of 2018, several health science students participated in undergraduate research studies with Dr. Prince Agbedanu. Christa Titus studied the most efficient caffeine dosing technique by measuring the movement of planarian worms that followed the administration of various doses of caffeine solution in her experiment “Investigating the Most Efficient Caffeine Dosing Technique.” Joshua Schafer, Troy Puga and Pearce Harris studied the consequences of excess CO2 on plants and how that affects the plant pH in their experiment “Investigating the Effect of Increased CO2 on pH of Bryophyllum pinnatum.” The experiment was replicated in two species of lettuce with the same outcome.