Students in the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program stay busy in and out of the classroom, with academic and research presentations, community service activities, and an array of awards and honors.
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IHS Students Serving the Community
IHS Student Shayna Zanker Recognized for Volunteer Efforts
Shayna Zanker has been volunteering with Bethesda Project during her time in the IHS program. She shared her experience during a virtual volunteer fair aimed at recruiting future supporters for the organization. This and all her efforts for Bethesda Project were highlighted in the "Moments That Matter" section of their January 2021 Family Matters newsletter.
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IHS Student Lesley Desriviere Founds Scholarship and Mentorship Program
Lesley Desriviere always knew he wanted to become a doctor, but he didn’t know any African American doctors when he was growing up. It wasn’t clear to him how to get from point A to point B. That is until his junior year at Boston University, when he met a mentor who helped get him on track. Wanting to give back, he founded Together We're Giants, a scholarship and mentorship program for African American high school students interested in pursuing a STEM degree in college.
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IHS Student Sam Sayed Follows in Dayna's Footprints
During the month of November, Sam Sayed and his brother Sharif each lifted over 1 million pounds to buy shoes for children in need. They were inspired by a memory of their sister Dayna, who tragically died in a drive-by shooting when she was 16 years old.
The brothers teamed up with a counselor at Foster Elementary in Arlington, Texas, where they had attended school. They began with a modest goal of helping out one family, but when they visited the school, they saw the need was much greater. They pushed out their call for donations, went to the gym daily, logged their weight and eventually were able to buy shoes for 53 kids.
Sayed is now working on establishing non-profit status for the charity, which he is calling Dayna's Footprints. He and his brother are hoping to turn this into an annual event and expand it to be able to help more children in need.
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PALS Program Helps High Schoolers with STEM Subjects
PALS program founders Stephen Acheampong (left) and Quincy Akaba
IHS students Stephen Acheampong and Quincy Akaba stepped into leaders roles for PALS, Promoting Achievement and Learning through Science. PALS is a program designed for graduate students to support inner-city middle school youth at Spring Garden School. Using hands-on experience, graduate student volunteers assist teachers in the seventh and eighth grade classrooms through small-group tutoring sessions designed to aid students with their academics, specifically math and sciences.
During small group tutoring sessions, graduate students are matched up with a group of students of varying academic levels within the same grade. Being with peers who are struggling with the same subject matter, students will be more willing to learn and engage in the subject matter without fear of criticism by fellow classmates. PALS volunteers are also welcomed to aid students with homework, science fairs and class projects as part of their after-school programs.
The presence of graduate student volunteers in the classrooms introduces young students to an array of career paths and higher education opportunities. Setting this example is not only impactful to the youth, but to the volunteer themselves. The PALS program aims to foster an environment of learning, academic support and leadership for young minds.
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Student and Alumni Publications
Maftuna Gafurova, IHS '20, was a co-author of "Formative research to address vaccine hesitancy in Tajikistan" with Ann Carroll Klassen, Brandy-Joe Milliron, Leslie Reynolds, Zubayda Bakhtibekova, Suhaily Mamadraimov, Mutribjon Bahruddinov, Sitora Shokamolova, Michelle Shuster, Sarah Mukhtar, Malika Iskandari, Rauf Majidian and Bridget Job-Johnsonc. The paper was published in Vaccine, online January 2021.
Billy Ramirez, IHS '18, published "A Subpopulation of Prefrontal Cortical Neurons Is Required for Social Memory" with co-authors
Bo Xing, Nancy R. Mack, Kai-Ming Guo, Yu-Xiang Zhang, Sha-Sha Yang, Li Lin,
Dong V. Wang, Yan-Chun Li and Wen-Jun Gao in Biological Psychiatry, 2020.
Neil Pillai, second-year IHS student, published "Cauterization as a Simple Method for Regeneration Studies in the Zebrafish Heart"
with Papa K. Van Dyck, Natasha Hockaden, Emma C. Nelson, Alyssa R. Koch, Kamil L. Hester, Gabrielle C. Coffing, Alan R. Burns and Pascal J. Lafontant in the Journal of Cardiovascular Development and Disease, October 2020.
Katelyn Reeb, IHS '17, published "Dopamine activates NF-κB and primes the NLRP3 inflammasome in primary human macrophages" with
Rachel A. Nolan, Yi Rong, Stephanie M. Matt, Hannah S. Johnson, Kaitlyn Runner and Peter J. Gaskill. The article appears in Brain, Behavior, & Immunity – Health Volume 2, February 2020.
Tatiana Saltos Shapiro, first-year IHS student, co-authored "Pharmacological inhibition of soluble tumor necrosis factor-alpha (sTNFα) 2 weeks after high thoracic spinal cord injury does not affect sympathetic hyperreflexia" in the Journal of Neurotrauma. The article was published online on January 4, 2021. The other authors were Micaela O'Reilly, Eugene Mironets, Kallon Crowther, Eileen Collyer, John Bethea and Veronica J. Tom. She also published "Chronic neuronal activation increases dynamic microtubules to enhance functional axon regeneration after dorsal root crush injury" with co-authors Di Wu, Ying Jin, Abhishek Hinduja, Peter W. Baas and Veronica J. Tom, in Nature Communications, November 2020.
Jeremy Weinberger, IHS '17, is a co-author of "Delivery of the 5-HT2A Receptor Agonist, DOI, Enhances Activity of the Sphincter Muscle during the Micturition Reflex in Rats after Spinal Cord Injury," with Jacklyn DeFinis and Shaoping Hou. The article was published in
Biology in January 2021.
Shayna Zanker, second-year IHS student, is a co-author of "Mesenchymal stem cell-derived neural progenitors in progressive MS Two-year follow-up of a phase I study." Other authors include
Violaine K. Harris, PhD, James W. Stark, MD, FAAN, Sophia Yang, John Tuddenham,
and Saud A. Sadiq, MD. The paper was published in
Neurology: Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation in January 2021.
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Student Presentations and Honors
On April 20, 2020, Interdisciplinary Health Science program students presented at Explore & Serve Poster Presentation Day, sponsored by the Division of Pre-medical and Pre-health Programs. The goal and purpose of the event is to provide our students an opportunity to showcase the projects they conducted as graduate students in the division, both in research and in community service.
The critical thinking and analytical skills developed while conducting biomedical research enable our graduates to become better diagnosticians and practitioners of evidence-based medicine. Likewise, the communication and interpersonal skills honed through community service projects help our students to become health care practitioners who can better serve patients, their families, and their communities.
Golden Dragon Awards Honor Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Students
First- and second-year Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences (IHS) students recently celebrated one another’s diverse accomplishments, interpersonal skills and positive impact on the program at a virtual Golden Dragon Award ceremony, held via Zoom.
Cheer 'Em on Award
Esin Bulut, Class of 2021, and Nastasha Teckham, Class of 2020, won the Cheer 'Em on Award for giving their peers exceptional support and positive feedback.
Leader of the Pack Award
Gabriela Sarriera, Class of 2021, and Thu Bui, Class of 2020, won the Leader of the Pack Award for providing outstanding leadership to their peers.
IHS Spirit Award
Brianna Hector, Class of 2021, and John Thomas, Class of 2020, won the IHS Spirit Award for their pride in being part of the program, and for their support of its goals and missions.
Jehron Pura Bryant and Steven Sims, both Class of 2021, and Corey Johnson, Class of 2020, won the Hustle Award for distinguishing themselves by their strong work ethic, positive attitude and performance.
Outstanding Teaching Assistant
Syeda Sarder, Class of 2020, won the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award for providing exceptional support to students while serving as a teaching assistant.
Best Student Mentor
Faith Blamon, Class of 2020, won the Best Student Mentor Award for her exceptional mentoring of first-year IHS students.
IHS Alum Stephen Rogers Gives Commencement Address
Stephen Rogers, who completed the IHS program in spring 2014, graduated from the MD program at Drexel University College of Medicine in May 2019. Stephen was selected by his classmates to give the student speech at Commencement.
Khalil Taylor Receives Honor at Dr. Wilbert C. Jordan Research Forum
Khalil Taylor, a second-year IHS student, was the winner of the Post-Baccalaureate/Graduate Student Poster Award at the 2019 Dr. Wilbert C. Jordan Research Forum on April 19, 2019. His study, which was called "Association Between Adverse Childhood Experiences, Psychological Distress, and Perceived Health in Urban Violently-Injured Young Adults," was coauthored by Theodore Corbin, MD, MPP, and Daria B. Waite, MPH, MSW, Department of Emegency Medicine; and John A. Rich, MD, MPH, and Loni P. Tabb, PhD, Dornsife School of Public Health.
Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Alumni at 2018 Discovery Day
Two Interdisciplinary Health Science program alumni, Hana Kebede and Jeremy Weinberger (Class of 2018), presented posters at Discovery Day, Drexel's annual day of research hosted by the Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies. Hana and Jeremy now work as research assistants in the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy. Hana is mentored by Itzhak Fischer, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy. Jeremy is mentored by Shaoping Hou, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy.
Hana Kebede, IHS '18
Jeremy Weinberger, IHS '18
Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Students Present Research at the National Reproductive Health Conference
St. Christopher's Hospital for Children's Division of Adolescent Medicine, via The Teen and Young Adult program, awarded travel scholarships to Interdisciplinary Health Science program students Sherice Simpson and Ijeoma Unachukwu. Sherice and Ijeoma presented three posters at the National Reproductive Health Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, on July 15-18, 2018. Interdisciplinary Health Science program student Jhoneil Cooper also contributed to the research presented. Mentoring and scholarship support from Enitan Adegite, MD, and colleagues at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children to Interdisciplinary Health Science program graduate students opened excellent opportunities for professional development and research on best practices in providing reproductive health care to our community.
The poster titles and contributing authors were:
- "Continuing the journey: Supporting Nexplanon adherence among adolescents"
Haley Breslin-Foulkrod, MPH; Darnielle A. Williams, MSHEd; Ijeoma Unachukwu, BS; Kimberly Neidig, MD; Latanya Deeb, BA; Lydia White; Nadja G. Peter, MD; Enitan Adegite, MD, MPH
- "Pregnancy, STD & Contraception Rates in an Urban Clinic"
Sherice Simpson, MS; Katie Feehan, MPH; LaTanya Deeb, BA; Renee Turchi, MD, MPH; Darnielle Williams, MSHEd; Haley Breslin-Foulkrod, MPH; Enitan Adegite, MD, MPH
- "Discovering Seasonal Trends in Teenage Pregnancy in an Adolescent Medicine Clinic"
Toyin Erinle, MD, MPH; Jhoneil Cooper, MPH; Simpson Sherice, MS; Darnielle A. Williams, MSHEd; Haley Breslin-Foulkrod, MPH; LaTanya Deeb, BA; Katie Feehan, MPH; Renee Turchi, MD, MPH; Enitan Adegite, MD, MPH
Explore & Serve Poster Presentation Day
On April 9, 2018, Interdisciplinary Health Science program students presented at the inaugural Explore & Serve Poster Presentation Day, sponsored by the Division of Pre-medical and Pre-health Programs.
The goal and purpose of the event was to provide students with the opportunity to showcase the projects they conducted as graduate students in the division, both in research and community service.
The skills developed while conducting biomedical research enable our graduates to become better diagnosticians and practitioners of evidence-based medicine. Community service projects allow our students to develop skills that will help them become health care practitioners who can better serve patients and their families, as well as the community.
Golden Dragon Awards
On March 16, 2017, the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program presented its Golden Dragon Awards, which recognize the multifarious accomplishments of first- and second-year IHS students who excel in their academic, research, and interpersonal skills. The Golden Dragon Awards also thank IHS students for their positive contributions to the program.
This year's awardees included:
- David Dugue, IHS Rising Star (Fall 2016)
- Melissa Urquhart, IHS Rising Star (Spring 2017)
- John Spikes, IHS Spirit Award (1st year)
- Tyler Wilkinson, IHS Spirit Award (2nd year)
- Hana Kebede, Hustle Award (1st year)
- Victoria McIlrath, Hustle Award (2nd year)
- Ijeoma Unachukwu, Heart of IHS Award (1st year)
- Ahlivia Mattocks, Heart of IHS Award (2nd year)
- Abigail Haba, Strongest Starter Award
- Rody Alexis, Cheer 'Em On Award (1st year)
- Gifty Barfi, Cheer 'Em On Award (2nd Year)
- Victoria Barnes, Leader of the Pack Award (1st year)
- Ekta Panjrolia, Leader of the Pack (2nd year)
- Ronnie Shade, Best Student Mentor
- Antoinette Bell, Outstanding Teaching Assistant
- Gardith Edouard, Research Project Award
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IHS Program Rising Stars
Each semester, the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program names a "Rising Star," a student who has excelled academically and served as a
leader or source of inspiration to their fellow students.
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