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Home | Tag Archives: Paul L. Foster School of Medicine

Tag Archives: Paul L. Foster School of Medicine

Record Number of Paul L. Foster School of Medicine Students to Serve Residency in El Paso

After four arduous years of medical school, 99 Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM) students found out Friday where they will serve their medical residencies.

The class of 2019 included a record 16 medical students who were matched with residencies in El Paso.

“Residents often remain in the region in which they are trained, so this is a good sign for fulfilling the PLFSOM’s mission to increase the number of practicing physicians in the El Paso region,” school officials shared via a news release.

Friday was known as Match Day, and thousands of graduating medical students across the country gathered in similar ceremonies, waiting to simultaneously open their envelopes and find out where they will train.

Jesus Guzman was one of those excited and grateful to find out he will serve his residency in El Paso. Guzman grew up in the Segundo Barrio, graduated from Bowie High School, and will now serve a residency in internal medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

“My family was so nervous because we were all wishing and praying for me to stay in El Paso,” Guzman said. “We’re so blessed. We couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

Guzman hadn’t considered a career in medicine until a chance encounter after graduating with an accounting degree from the University of Texas at El Paso. He started working at the Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso and happened to witness the inaugural PLFSOM White Coat Ceremony at the Chamizal Theater.

The ceremony welcomes first-year medical students into the profession by cloaking them with their first white coats.

“I was so inspired by the ceremony and by what the field of medicine meant — I just knew then and there that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” Guzman said. “Now I get to be a resident here and help the community where I grew up.”

Jake Wilson, PLFSOM class of 2019 president, correctly predicted before the Match Day ceremony that there would be many students matching in El Paso. Wilson was matched to the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida, in internal medicine.

“This is going to be a really interesting year, because I think we are going to have more people stay in El Paso,” Wilson said. “More people want to stay, or at least come back to El Paso, because we’ve fallen in love with El Paso. Regardless of where we end up, we’re taking what we learned in El Paso and spreading it across the country, and eventually I think we’re going to bring it back. This class has really embraced the patients and the community of El Paso. We’ve really loved it here.”

Roberto Solis and Roxana Mohhebali are engaged, and both graduated in the class of 2019. So, they were delighted to both be matched to the University of California-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California. Solis will be training in otolaryngology and Mohhebali in obstetrics-gynecology.

“We’re very excited,” Solis said. “There was a lot of anxiety and nervousness, because the unknown was scary, but now we’re very, very happy.”

El Paso businessman Paul L. Foster attended the ceremony for the first time Friday and afterward had lunch with 22 Foster Scholars who were matched to residencies. Foster donated $50 million to help create the PLFSOM, and his gift also has funded the tuition of more than 140 medical students, known as the Foster Scholars. The PLFSOM, which seated its first class in July 2009, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year.

Match Day comes after the students have spent the past six months applying to residencies, interviewing and deciding the order in which to rank programs they hope to be matched to, said Herb Janssen, Ph.D., interim associate dean of student affairs.

“Though the moments leading up to 10 a.m. on Match Day can be filled with tension, the moments right after are usually filled with joy,” Janssen said. “It’s always exciting to learn where our students will be going to continue their careers.”

Photo gallery courtesy PLFSOM

TTUHSC El Paso’s School of Medicine Reaccredited for 8-Year Term

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s (TTUHSC) medical education program has been granted full accreditation for eight years without citations by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME),

According to TTUHSC officials the announcement is the “best possible outcome of an application for continuing accreditation.”

The LCME is the U.S. Department of Education-recognized accrediting body for programs leading to the M.D. degree. There are three stages of accreditation: preliminary, provisional and full. The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine has been fully accredited since 2013.

Richard Brower, M.D., associate dean for medical education, said the LCME’s survey team was impressed by the school’s educational resources, committed faculty, and well-documented philosophy and theoretical basis for its curriculum.

Clinical integration is key to the PLFSOM’s curriculum. Unlike many traditional medical schools, PLFSOM students are immersed in diagnostic reasoning and clinical skill-building from the very start of their medical education. They learn the scientific foundations of medicine and related diagnostic skills based on common clinical presentations throughout the first and second years.

During this phase they also participate in community explorations and assessments, as well as a unique program of fully integrated Spanish language instruction.

“The LCME is very interested in the modernization of medical education,” Dr. Brower said. “And we were well-prepared to emphasize how the development and evolution of the PLFSOM curriculum has been deliberately based on settled principles of adult learning and educational psychology — this definitely worked in our favor.”

From the first day of medical school, PLFSOM students are taught to think like a doctor. Active learning is encouraged through simulation exercises in the school’s Center for Advanced Teaching and Assessment in Clinical Simulation. ATACS uses high-fidelity manikins that simulate everything from cardiac arrest to a vaginal birth.

Students also interact with “standardized patients,” real people trained to act out symptoms of medical conditions. These simulation activities help students learn to recognize conditions while developing their people skills and bedside manner.

In the final two years of medical school, students interact with actual patients in a wide range of clinical settings, and gain knowledge in ways that no textbook or simulation could ever teach. These experiences provide students with the background to lead the nation in medical care and prevention upon graduation.

With accreditation through 2026, PLFSOM leaders are looking at ways the school can continue to evolve.

“The great thing about the school’s definitively positive accreditation outcome is that we know we’re on an eight-year cycle, and this establishes an advantageous timeline for educational program enhancement and growth” Dr. Brower said.

With TTUHSC El Paso’s Medical Sciences Building II slated for completion in 2019, TTUHSC El Paso’s priority now will be to align its physical planning with its educational planning and enrollment goals.

The PLFSOM’s LCME accreditation is the third accreditation to be awarded to TTUHSC El Paso in 2018. Previously accredited under Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, TTUHSC El Paso was granted separate institutional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges in June.

Also in June, the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing earned its 10-year programmatic accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

More information about the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine may be found at online.

TTUHSC El Paso President Elected to Chair FDA Advisory Board

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., has been appointed as panel chair for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Circulatory Systems Devices Panel.

“I look forward to working with the FDA to accomplish those goals, to bring these devices to the public earlier and as quickly as possible, while still ensuring their safety,” Dr. Lange said.

Dr. Lange, who is also dean of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at TTUHSC El Paso, is a practicing cardiologist and has served on the FDA Circulatory Systems Devices Panel since 2010.

His term as chair will last four years, at a time when the FDA is going through important changes, including efforts to move drugs and devices through the approval process faster, especially for breakthrough drugs and devices.

The panel reviews and evaluates data about the safety and effectiveness of marketed and investigational medical devices for use in the circulatory and vascular systems.

They then make appropriate recommendations to the FDA commissioner.

Medical Students to Host Free Health Fair, Hands-Only CPR Training

Students in the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM) will host two events Saturday to help keep El Pasoans healthy.

The SUNS Health Fair, running from 9 a.m. to noon at Dolphin Terrace Elementary School in Northeast El Paso, is free to the public and will offer blood pressure readings, blood sugar tests, EKGs, dental screenings, and more.

This will be the third year PLFSOM students have participated in the Texas Two-Step: Save a Life Campaign, said Kelcy Steffen, a PLFSOM student. The campaign began in Texas in 2016 and expanded nationwide to seven states this year.

“Since heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, we knew it was important to help the medical students and our great partners bring this lifesaving event to our communities again this year,” Steffen said.

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso medical students will also offer classes in hands-only CPR. During five-minute training sessions, El Pasoans will learn how to react quickly to cardiac emergencies in two steps: 1. Call 911. 2. Initiate hands-only CPR.

The Texas Two-Step CPR classes will be offered during the SUNS Health Fair, and at two other sites on Saturday.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Fountains at Farah

8889 Gateway Blvd. West

8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sun Metro Downtown Transfer Center

601 S. Santa Fe Street

 

For more information, visit the Texas Two-Step: Save a Life Campaign website, or follow @TX2StepCPR on Twitter.

What: SUNS Health Fair and Texas Two-Step CPR Training

When: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 24

Where: Dolphin Terrace Elementary School, 9790 Pickerel Drive

$420,000 Grant Funds Study on What Makes Humans Susceptible to Zika

Haoquan Wu, Ph.D., associate professor in the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM), has received a two-year, $420,000 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) to study the mosquito-borne virus Zika.

“Zika virus outbreaks pose a serious health challenge worldwide,” says Wu. “However, very little is known about this virus, including how it replicates and kills host cells.”

With the NIAID grant, Wu and his colleagues at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) will try to determine which human genes enable the virus to attack and kill human cells. To do this, Wu will conduct a genome-wide knockout screening — a process that specifically knocks out, or deactivates, each gene in the human genome —to identify the genes involved by process of elimination.

As each gene is deactivated, cells will be put to the test and infected with Zika. The cells that are able to resist and survive the virus’ attack will help identify which genes Zika is harnessing to survive in the human body.

“By deactivating one gene at a time, we hope to understand how the virus takes advantage of certain properties of human cells to aid the virus in multiplying and ultimately destroying our cells,” Wu says. “With this information, we then could develop specific and effective treatments to stop Zika.”

The TTUHSC El Paso team plans to use CRISPR-Cas9, a technology that allows scientists to deactivate genes, to conduct their work.

Third Annual Hearts for Sparks Golf Classic Set for Saturday

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM) will hold its third annual Hearts for Sparks Golf Classic to benefit the Medical Student Run Clinic (MSRC) located in the community of Sparks.

Started in 2013 by PLFSOM students, the clinic operates twice a month on Tuesday evenings in the Sparks community.

Located in far east El Paso county, Sparks is home to residents who lack health insurance and sometimes cannot afford a trip to a doctor; 43 percent of its residents live below the U.S. poverty line, according to U.S. Census data.

The MSRC provides free primary health care screenings, such as diagnostics, blood work and patient education. Run entirely by students with faculty oversight, the clinic not only benefits the Sparks community, but gives students real-life opportunities to hone their medical and Spanish language skills.

Proceeds from the Hearts for Sparks Golf Classic event will go directly toward funding for the MSRC.

Participants will receive lunch and dinner, unlimited range balls, a goodie bag, and 18 holes of golf.

What: Hearts for Sparks Golf Classic

When: 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19 (shotgun start)

Where: Butterfield Trail Golf Club (1858 Cottonwoods)

TTUHSC El Paso Sees Record Enrollment for Fall 2016

A record number of students have enrolled at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) this year to pursue degrees in medicine, nursing and the biomedical sciences.

TTUHSC El Paso has seen a significant growth spurt over the past year, going from 549 students in fall 2015 to 607 in fall 2016, an increase of 10.5 percent.

“It is exciting to see student growth at TTUHSC El Paso,” says Vice President of Student Services Kathryn Horn, M.D. “With this increase, I expect to see more service back to the community through student government activities and student organizations; I also hope that upon graduation, many of these students will help meet the health care needs of El Paso.”

The fall 2016 semester also marks the first time that all of TTUHSC El Paso’s academic programs are being offered exclusively through TTUHSC El Paso and not TTUHSC in Lubbock. Earlier this year, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) approved the university to offer a Master of Science and post-baccalaureate certificate in Biomedical Science.

Formerly, students in ethe biomedical sciences programs attended classes in El Paso, but officially earned their degrees and certificates from TTUHSC in Lubbock.

The first class of students in TTUHSC El Paso’s biomedical sciences programs begins its studies Monday, August 15 (M.S.) and Wednesday, August 17 (certificate).

For Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing (GGHSON) students, classes start Friday, August 19. Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM) students got an early start on Tuesday, July 5.

Student Research at TTUHSC Yields Impressive Results

This past summer, a group of students in the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine conducted a study to better understand treatment options for diseases like multiple sclerosis. The fledgling physicians — only first-year medical students — had little to no research experience, but their results were surprisingly significant.

“We’re really excited about this,” says Assistant Professor Cynthia Perry, Ph.D., who participated in the initial stages of the study. “Typically, it takes graduate students and postdocs a year or two to put out a publication, but our students, who didn’t come in with a lot of training, were incredibly productive.”

The team members, who published their work this past January in the journal Neuroscience, included medical students Harriet Barratt, Hailey Budnick and Ricardo Parra, as well as research assistant Russell Lolley who was recently accepted to the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine. Olivera Nesic-Taylor, Ph.D., a former associate professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso), served as the principal investigator and mentored the students until she left in January 2016.

The students specifically studied demyelination, a condition in which the myelin sheath that covers neurons is damaged, disrupting the electrical impulses that are sent from the brain to the rest of the body. Multiple sclerosis is one example of a demyelinating disease; in worst-case scenarios, patients lose their vision or even the ability to control their legs and walk.

The body normally reacts to demyelination by trying to repair the damage. Myelin-producing cells, called oligodendrocytes, die in demyelination, but cells named progenitors come to the rescue. Progenitors, which are present in the brain and spinal cord, transform into oligodendrocytes, thus replacing the deteriorating myelin.

In demyelinating diseases, however, these progenitor cells can fail to transform into oligodendrocytes. “So, we decided to try to hyper activate these progenitor cells, or the repair mechanism, so that it could more effective,” Perry explained.

The students’ role was to test the idea. Between November 2014 and August 2015, they ran a series of experiments in TTUHSC El Paso’s Laboratory for Education in Molecular Medicine (LEMM).

Under Nesic-Taylor’s guidance, they examined whether tamoxifen, a drug used to treat breast cancer, can activate progenitor cells into oligodendrocytes.

“We were interested in tamoxifen because it’s already approved by the Federal Drug Administration,” Perry says. “The drug has passed all the safety trials, so it’s a lot more appealing if we could find a way to repurpose it [for another disease].”

The drug worked. When the students added tamoxifen to progenitor cells in petri dishes, the cells transformed into oligodendrocytes. Their work suggests that tamoxifen — a clinically safe drug — could be used to treat demyelinating diseases by hyper-activating the body’s repair system. This novel idea has high clinical relevancy.

“Our findings were hard earned,” says Harriet Barratt, now a second-year medical student. “The life of a med student sometimes can limit the amount of time put in [to research]; hard work and precision were key. We worked hard to make the experiments flow smoothly, and we were relieved to determine that we had significant results.”

Students in the PLFSOM are required to take part in the Scholarly Activity Research Program (SARP), which emphasizes that medical students receive basic, clinical and transitional research experience. As part of the program, students must conduct a faculty-mentored research project prior to graduation.

“It’s imperative that medical students conduct research, not just for the depth of academic knowledge it can give you on your particular subject, but also because it’s a great way to learn patience with obtaining results,” Barratt says. “It’s also important to understand the work that goes into the basic science behind the scientific principles of medicine.”

Perry says the study proves that SARP is an effective research program for students. Even without major research funding, the team garnered impressive results. The work was supported by a seed grant from TTUHSC El Paso’s Office of the Assistant Vice President for Research.

Honorary Doctorate bestowed on Internal Medicine Professor

Jerzy Sarosiek, M.D., Ph.D., AGAF, FACG, professor of medicine and vice chair for research in the Department of Internal Medicine at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso Paul L. Foster School of Medicine was recently bestowed with an honorary doctorate (Doctor Honoris Causa) from his alma mater, the Medical University of Bialystok in Bialystok, Poland.

Traveling to Poland for the award, Dr. Sarosiek was honored for his innovative contributions to research in gastroenterology. For more than 30 years Dr. Sarosiek has collaborated with research teams from medical universities in Poland; mentoring and overseeing in his gastroenterology research laboratory many research fellows and physicians who subsequently received their philosophy degrees in Poland and advanced in their academic careers and still collaborate with Dr. Sarosiek on various projects.

Dr. Sarosiek graduated from the Medical University of Bialystok and while getting medical training at the University Hospital he also earned his doctorate in philosophy in 1975, and in 1986 earned a postdoctoral habilitation degree in medicine.

Dr. J. Sarosiek 2He continued postdoctoral training at New York Medical College, Gastroenterology Research Laboratory at Westchester County Medical Center in Valhalla, New York; at Research Center of University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; held positions at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center in Charlottesville, Virginia, and at Kansas University School of Medicine in Kansas City, Kansas; and was appointed to TTUHSC El Paso in 2009.

He is the author or co-author of more than 130 papers in peer-reviewed journals and 18 book chapters; as well as patents related to research addressing the role of the balance between aggressive factors and protective mechanisms in health and disease of the alimentary tract, including colonization with Helicobacter pylori in collaboration with Barry Marshall, M.D., 2005 winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Dr. Sarosiek is a Fellow of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGAF) and the American College of Gastroenterology (FACG).

Since 1996, Dr. Sarosiek has been a permanent member of the Scientific Committee of the World Organization for Specialized Studies on Diseases of the Esophagus (OESO). Headquartered in Paris, France, this international assembly brings world leading specialists from across 19 disciplines to focus studying of the esophagus.

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