PCOM South Georgia Student Physicians Attend Cancer Research Conference
Friday, November 17th, 2023
Two student doctors from PCOM South Georgia in Moultrie attended the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Fall Group Meeting held in late October in Washington, DC. There the students learned about some of the latest research being conducted in the areas of cancer prevention, imaging, diagnosis and treatment.
PCOM South Georgia student physicians Jordan Howard, a second-year osteopathic medical student from Savannah, Georgia, and Shahrzad Zamani, a third-year osteopathic medical student from Tampa, Florida, attended the meeting.
The ECOG-ACRIN (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group-American College of Radiology Imaging Network) Cancer Research Group is a network of nearly 1,300 academic and community-based cancer centers and hospitals in the United States and around the world. The Group designs and conducts biomarker-driven research involving adults who have or are at risk of developing cancer. The purpose of the Group’s semi-annual meetings is to share the latest research, provide a forum for academic inquiry, host education sessions on the clinical process and offer education workshops for research professionals.
“The ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Fall Group meeting was a phenomenal experience,” Howard said. “This was an opportunity for oncologists and researchers throughout the nation to gather in one place to share ideas and efforts to find a cure for cancer, and improve and implement strategies for early detection to promote good prognoses…During this group meeting I had the opportunity to be a part of a health equity plenary in which we discussed the significance of increasing diversity in clinical trials for cancer research, social genomics and onco-fertility.”
Zamani said, “The conference focused on health equity and was a gathering of healthcare professionals, researchers and advocates. It addressed a wide range of topics, including healthcare disparities, access to quality care and strategies for achieving health equity. Throughout the conference, I gained insights into the significant challenges and disparities that exist in our healthcare system.”
Different aspects of the group meeting interested the student doctors. Zamani was alarmed by the inequalities in health care.
“One key takeaway from the conference was the stark reality of health disparities across different demographics, particularly in underserved communities,” she said. “I learned about various initiatives and research projects aimed at reducing these disparities. I was particularly surprised to discover the extent of racial and socioeconomic disparities in health care outcomes and how systemic factors contribute to these issues.”
Howard was intrigued by a new medical school course focusing on the concept of human flourishing that was discussed during a conference session.
“The most interesting aspect of this conference was the opportunity to attend the cancer outcomes and survivorship session,” he said. “I was intrigued by the course set to be initiated at Georgetown School of Medicine regarding human flourishing. This was interesting because often I don’t think life and self-care are factored into medical school and the medical profession because we are constantly at work, studying, working long hours, and taught to put the needs of others before our own. I would love to implement something like this, not only at PCOM South Georgia but into my own practice.”
Zamani and Howard both received the Edith Peterson Mitchell Health Equity Travel Scholarship, which funded their participation in the ECOG-ACRIN Group Meeting.
“This scholarship provides a valuable opportunity to engage with experts, gain new perspectives, and contribute to the ongoing effort to address health disparities,” Zamani said. “Attending conferences like the one I experienced can broaden one's horizons, foster networking and inspire meaningful action in the field of health equity. The scholarship could be a valuable resource for those committed to making a positive impact in healthcare and reducing health disparities.”