Students Make Their Mark

Wherever they are in their medical school journey, these students are making an impact inside and outside their regular curriculum.

Lindsay Zimmerman Earns Presidential Fellowship

Lindsay Zimmerman, a student in the Health Sciences Integrated PhD Program (HSIP), was recently named a 2019 Presidential Fellow. The fellowship, the most prestigious fellowship awarded to graduate students by Northwestern University, recognizes Zimmerman’s significant research, academic achievement, leadership and future potential.

Zimmerman, a student in the Health and Biomedical Informatics track of HSIP, is currently investigating the relationship between social determinants of health and cardiovascular health.

Her research aims to better understand the relationship between social determinants of health and cardiovascular heallh, using sequential pattern mining and machine learning techniques.

“This work is vitally important in providing much-needed information about how exposures to social determinants change over time and how they can be used to improve the prediction of patients at high-risk for low cardiovascular health,” she said, adding, “Identification of the social determinants of health and trajectory groups that improve the prediction of cardiovascular health may also provide helpful information for programs looking to develop targeted and timely interventions for these high-risk populations.

Shivani Baisiwala Pursues Treatments in the Lab, Healthcare Strategy in the Community

For Shivani Baisiwala, medical school is much more than just classes and clerkships. As a fourth-year medical student, she already has a wide array of experiences under her belt — from conducting basic science research into glioblastoma in the laboratory of Atique Ahmed, PhD, assistant professor of Neurological Surgery, to volunteering in free health clinics around Chicago and participating in Second Opinions, a student-run pro-bono healthcare consulting group.

She plans on continuing to do research as a physician. “It’s hard for me to imagine seeing patients, especially with complex neurological conditions, and not being well versed in the research around their condition,” she said. “In addition, I can’t imagine seeing patients in clinic every day and not doing my own part to further that research. I think being able to have both a clinic and a lab investigating the same condition provides a unique perspective on the disease and allows for some really impactful research that can be translated quicker to patients.”

Baisiwala also helps patients through Second Opinions, founded by Northwestern medical students with backgrounds in strategy and consulting. The classmates helping community health centers achieve their goals through various projects. “Sometimes, when I’m in the hospital or when I’m studying for medical school classes, it’s hard to feel that I’m actually having an impact on patients,” said Baisiwala. “However, when we’re able to do a really interesting analysis for a clinic or streamline a process that will help patients, I feel like my medical knowledge and business knowledge can actually provide something very valuable to help patients, while I’m on the road to becoming a physician.

Jordan Sell Works to Improve Patient Care

Third-year medical student Jordan Sell has taken full advantage of the wide range of opportunities at Feinberg, from serving as a coordinator at Devon Clinic, a free clinic run by medical students that serves a South-Asian population in Chicago (where he recruited students to volunteer, created patient schedules, and oversaw patient care) to serving as co-president of the Emergency Medicine Interest Group  (organizing medical education events, such as IV insertion and ultrasound practice sessions, where medical students could learn from emergency physicians).

For his Area of Scholarly Concentration (AOSC) project, he helped design a simulation-based mastery curriculum to train nurses to use ultrasound-guided IV — earning him a second-place prize at Research Day 2019.

“Placing IVs is critical for patient care in the hospital, but lots of patients have difficult placements, which can lead to delays in care and increased costs,” he explained. “After our intervention, we saw improvement in skills and an increased utilization of bedside ultrasound, showing an improved efficiency of care.”

Shahzeb Hassan Promotes Preventive Medicine

Shahzeb Hassan, a second-year medical student, founded a preventive medicine interest group to help students like him delve deeper into the field. “We are planning events, speakers and other programs to help students further engage in preventive medicine and provide opportunities to connect with mentors,” said Hassan, now a rising second-year medical student and president of the interest group. Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM, chair and Eileen M. Foell Professor of Preventive Medicine and senior associate dean for Clinical and Translational Research, is the faculty advisor.

Hassan’s interest in preventive medicine extends beyond Northwestern’s campus to the national level: He recently co-authored a viewpoint piece, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, on the emerging field of precision preventive medicine, which aims to leverage large-scale data to improve the targeting of preventive measures.

The paper, led by Philip Greenland, MD, the Harry W. Dingman Professor of Cardiology and a professor of Preventive Medicine in the Division of Epidemiology, discussed current limitations in precision preventive medicine and challenges that must be addressed before the field can more broadly impact clinical practice.