PNWU Students Present Research Projects at AMA Symposium in Honolulu

On November 10, PNWU osteopathic medical students Taylor Campbell and Thomas Rehder presented at an American Medical Association Research Symposium, which was held in Honolulu, HI. The students competed against hundreds of other students from across the country in the medical student section, becoming only the second and third students* to represent PNWU at an AMA Symposium. 

“When we saw advertisements for the Symposium, it looked like the perfect goal for us to work towards putting our ideas onto a poster,” said Campbell. “As a formal, national event, it felt very prestigious to be representing PNWU alongside students with valuable research from all over the country.”

Campbell’s presentation, titled “Gender Differences in Methamphetamine Use,” was researched with the help of 14 PNWU students, along with guidance from PNWU faculty. 

“We felt that methamphetamine abuse is a pertinent topic,” he explained, “and after doing a little digging we voted again to look further into gender differences. Methamphetamine abuse is a common worldwide problem, but there’s a lot of things we still don’t know about its addiction process. Through our research we were able to uncover many differences between men and women suffering from meth addiction, and we hope that they’ll be taken into account for future research, as there’s still much that needs to be explored.”

Rehder, who was also a member of the research team on Campbell’s presentation, focused his own presentation on treatments of fungal periprosthetic joint infections. 

“I think fungi are an interesting topic and fungal infections are quite rare,” Rehder explained. “I also find orthopedic surgeries fascinating and wanted to learn more about them.”

Rehder’s research compared and reported the different treatments for fungal infections after a joint replacement surgery with the outcome of whether the prosthetic joint had to be removed or not (resection vs no resection). His research found that, in carefully selected patients, anti-fungal therapy alone, or in combination with debridement, may be enough to clear a fungal periprosthetic joint infection without the need of a resection arthroplasty.

“I saw that the AMA was accepting research abstracts for their Research Symposium and I thought that it would be an amazing opportunity to present at something of that caliber. There are a lot of faculty and staff that are very knowledgeable about research in a variety of fields, and they are all approachable and dedicated to the success of students.” In particular, Rehder credits PNWU’s Dr. William Elliott, with the success of project. 

“Dr. Elliot gave valuable insight on what would be relevant and how to convey important information. Without him, I do not think my project would have been possible.” Campbell echoed that sentiment when discussing his own presentation. 

“PNWU faculty often treat us like we’re already doctors,” he said. “They encourage us to look up research and examine it critically. That, combined with the PNWU Office of Scholarly Activity that funded my travel, made this wonderful opportunity to represent PNWU at a national event possible.”


* Dennis Heaton presented a poster at the AMA-MSS in Atlanta Georgia in November, 2015.