Skip Main Navigation | Skip to Content

Bridge students share their research findings

Spotlight Item Photo
Click to open photo
Bookmark and Share

 May 17, 2017

Eleven huge sighs of relief capped off the latest annual Bridge Program Graduation Luncheon this week.

Having summarized their research projects May 16 to a roomful of research heavyweights, the 11 Bridge students are now prepared to receive their master’s degrees May 20 and then, 10 days later, join the Class of 2021 as first-year medical students.

“You’ll be the heart of the Class of 2021,” Associate Dean Chris Leadem told the students. Thanks to the three semesters they’ve already spent here in Bridge, he said, they have knowledge and experience that their new classmates won’t have. History suggests that they’ll be among the leaders of the class. Three of the college’s four current class presidents, he said, are Bridge alumni.

The Bridge Program provides a bridge into medical school for promising, hand-picked students – those whose characteristics make them good candidates for practicing primary care with underserved or minority patients in rural or inner-city communities. Often the students come from such communities themselves.

Among the Bridge requirements is a research project with a medically underserved population. Here are the projects for the Bridge Class of 2017 (with faculty mentor’s name in parentheses):

  • Whitney Basford, “Distress and Motivation Experienced by Parents of Children Undergoing an Autism Diagnosis” (Heather Flynn, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine).
  • Diana Benedetti, “Parent Perception and Child Weight Gain: Identifying a Potential Misperception” (Gina Sutin, BSSM).
  • Cortez Brown, “Physicians’ Perceived Solutions and Barriers to Early Childhood Obesity Prevention with Low-income Patients: A Pilot Study” (Gail Bellamy, BSSM).
  • Laksmy Castillo, “Female Farmworkers’ Pesticide Exposure Baseline Knowledge” (Joe Grzywacz, Department of Family and Child Sciences).
  • Jasmeka Colvin, “The Relationship Between Depressive Symptoms and Fat, Sugar, and Sodium Intake in African-American Women” (Penny Ralston, Center on Better Health and Life for Underserved Populations).
  • Fernanda Correa, “Baseline Heat-Stress Knowledge Among Migrant Farmworkers in North Florida and South Georgia: Misconceptions and Knowledge Gaps” (Grzywacz).
  • Malcolm Dix, “Black Teachers’ Impact on the Educational Aspirations of Ninth-grade Black Males” (George Rust, BSSM).
  • Tamara Gali, “Sustainability of Caregiving Skills and Outcomes of the ACTS 2 Program: Initial Follow-up Evaluation” (Rob Glueckauf and Michelle Kazmer, BSSM).
  • Ciara Grayson, “Effects of Active Surveillance as Treatment for Prostate Cancer on Quality of Life and Health-related Quality of Life” (Sabrina Dickey, College of Nursing).
  • Maheen Islam, “Personality and Cognition Among Older Adults” (Antonio Terracciano, Department of Geriatrics).
  • Richmond Laryea, “Faith-based Cognitive-behavioral Intervention in African-American Dementia Caregivers: Analysis of Self-reported Maintenance of Self-care Techniques” (Glueckauf and Kazmer).

After the presentations, just about every student got at least one question from the audience. Nearly every person in the room was a researcher – they just couldn’t help themselves.

Dix’s project seemed to inspire the most questions. This is one sentence from his summary: “The educational aspirations of Black male ninth-grade students increased when they had a Black teacher, suggesting Black teachers may play a more significant role in the education aspirations of Black students than previously thought.”

Dix, like many of his fellow students, indicated that he’d like to pursue the research further.

Dean John P. Fogarty thanked the mentors for their dedication and thanked Tom Glennon from Capital Health Plan, whose financial gift helps support the Bridge Program. And he commended the students’ work: “You’re really doing community-based research, things that we need to know about.”