MU medical students win award at national competition

Monday, May 6, 2013 | 4:34 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — For a record fourth time, the CLARION program's top prize has returned to MU.

F0ur MU medical students, all from different disciplines, took home the top prize in the national competition hosted by the University of Minnesota for their presentation on April 20. The team joins previous MU champions from 2005, 2009 and 2011.

"I think it means that inter-professionally, our students are able to work quite well together," said Suzanne Boren, one of the group's four faculty advisers. "It means that our students are getting the education in the problem-solving field that they can work on cases like this."

The team's task was to create a presentation about how to improve health care for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD. All 10 teams in the competition analyzed a fictitious case study that involved four different people at four different hospitals in a fake community, and they had to offer suggestions for how the care of the patient in the situation could have been improved.

"It was a really good feeling immediately," team member Scott Bartkoski said of winning the contest. "It was reassurance we were on the right track."

Sabrina Abramovitz, Kaci Dannatt and Terri Stone joined Bartkoski to make up the winning squad, which defeated the University of Minnesota, University of New England and University of South Carolina as finalists.

After learning in late January that they would compete, Bartkoski estimated the team members put in "close to 100 hours" of work preparing their presentation. They met once a week for two hours through February and March, then doubled the meeting times in April. 

"None of us realized how much time or work it was going to be," Bartkoski said. "That made us want to win even more, sort of make it all worth while."

The group's work was rewarded with a $7,500 scholarship that will be split among the team members.

"It shows tremendous dedication to see the students work so hard for this," Boren said. "It's a lot of hard work for them, and I'm happy that they were able to get the recognition that they deserve."

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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