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MEDCoE host Graduate School Research and Education Symposium

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas – More than 150 students, faculty, partners, and affiliates of the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence (MEDCoE) gathered at the 12th annual Graduate School Research and Education Symposium hosted by the Dean, Col. Matthew Douglas, on June 8 and 9 at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio (UTHSCSA). Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the last three years have been virtual or held on hybrid platforms. The organization previously met at UTHSCSA in 2019.

Both days featured several topics spanning leadership, education, research, and scholarship in support of the theme of this year’s symposium, “Accelerating Military Medicine into the Future.” The event was the first major networking opportunity this academic year for the entire graduate school comprised of 400 local and 1,000 combined with those at Phase 2 rotation sites.

On faculty day, the dean of the graduate school recognized the following individuals for their outstanding contributions to the department in the past year:

  • Col. Josef. H. Moore Program Director of the Year
  • Col. Steven Kertes, DNP, CRNA, Director of the U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing
  • Graduate School Noncommissioned Officer of the Year
  • Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Hawkins, Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of the Army-Baylor Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program

Program/Branch Faculty Member of the Year

  • Lt. Cmdr. Lance Beahm, DMSc, PA-C, Interservice Physician Assistant Program
  • Maj. Michelle Stone, MS, RD, CSSD, Army-Baylor Master’s Program in Nutrition
  • Julie Hensler, PhD, U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing
  • Robert D. Gaffin, PhD, Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacy Branch
  • Maj. Bruce Barnes, PhD, Army-Baylor University Graduate Program in Health and Business Administration
  • Lt. Col. Lataya Hawkins, PhD, LCSW, BCD, Army Master of Social Work Program
  • Capt Lyddia Revell, DSc, OTR/L, Army-Baylor Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program
  • Cmdr. (ret.) James Cowan, PT, DSc, OCS, FAAOMPT, Army-Baylor Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy

During research day, Col. James Jones, Director of the Medical Capability Development and Integration Directorate (MED CDID), Army Futures Command, provided keynote remarks that challenged members of the graduate school to look within as we actively pursue future advancement in military medicine. “In the midst of our efforts to modernize and improve readiness, we must remember the importance of fostering empathy, compassion, and humility, for these are the qualities that truly define leadership in the Armed Forces.”

In the future contested battlefield, plenary speaker Col. Steven Kertes, Director of the U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing, emphasized the need to enhance our capabilities not only through logistics and personnel but also sustaining healthy individual resilience to be able to transfer that strength toward prolonging survivability of patients in large scale combat operations. “You are not optimizing the mission if you are not optimized yourself,” he said.

The top poster presentations were awarded to 1st Lt. Stephen Gay and his research team from the Army-Baylor Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy for their work on “Screening to Predict Risk Injury in Tactical Athletes (SPRINT): A Scoping Review” and 1st Lt. Dana Robertson and team from the Army-Baylor Master’s Program in Nutrition for their work on “The Association between Diet Quality Indicators, Desirable Eating Behaviors and Psychological Resilience in U.S. Army Soldiers.” “Presenting our research project forced me to hone my understanding of the research conducted to ensure concise and accurate delivery. The experience of presenting our work to peers and mentors is irreplaceable; this symposium exceeded my expectations,” said Gay.

The following students and faculty were awarded for best posters in the categories of primary research, literature reviews, and research proposals:

Best Poster in Primary Research

  • Student Researcher: 1st Lt. Izzo, Matthew and team: 2nd Lt. Carson Ayers; Capt. Nicole DeLuca; Capt. Jesse Robbins; Capt. Luke Scipioni; Arthur D. Johnson; Lt Col. Jonathan Yost; Julie G. Hensler (U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing)
    • Poster Title: “Comparison of Adult and Pediatric Endotracheal Administration of Epinephrine in a Normovolemic Cardiac Arrest Model”
  • Experienced Researcher: Maj. Jon Umlauf (Army-Baylor Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy)
    • Poster Title: “Influencing Physical Therapist’s Self-efficacy for Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Through Blended Learning: A Mixed-Methods Study”
  • Best Poster in Literature Reviews
    • Student Researcher: Capt. Ben Crockett and team: Capt. Lyddia Revell, DSc, OTR/L, CHT; 2nd Lt. Jacob Bowen, OTS; 2nd Lt. Angel Pena, OTS; 2nd Lt. Kaeli Thompson, OTS (Army-Baylor Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program)
    • Poster Title: “Sleep Hygiene Education for Sleep Quality: Effects on Athletic Individuals”
  • Experienced Researcher: Lt Col. Carrie Hoppes and team: Erin Smith; Maria Pearson; Kristina Houtchens; Jeffery Dolbeer; Scott Kneller; Scott M. Fitzgerald; Karen H. Lambert (Army-Baylor Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy)
    • Poster Title: “Post-concussion Return to Shooting Progression for Service Members: A Scoping Review and Conceptual Framework”
    • Best Poster in Research Proposal or Protocols
  • Student Researcher: 2nd Lt. Burgundy Scott (Army Master of Social Work Program)
    • Poster Title: “Exploring the Pushout Phenomenon Amongst Military-Connected Schools: A Research Proposal”

“The GSRES was a wonderful way to showcase what our entry level and experienced researchers are doing,” said Capt. Corinne Heffernan, a key planning committee member. “It was also a great networking event to interact with our senior leaders and future leaders (our students). They are the future of military medicine and they already have an excellent pulse on what the military needs in the future and are actively preparing to provide it.”

Since 2011, the symposium has been an annual opportunity for MEDCoE graduate school faculty and students to showcase current and relevant research that can be translated towards enhancing the readiness and training of our warfighters for deployment. The valuable faculty development, research, and scholarship achieved each year helps prepare future health care professionals integrate innovative capabilities in their fields to sustain the force. The next Graduate School Research and Education Symposium will take place in summer of 2024.

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