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2020-2021 RAMS MEDICAL STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE CANDIDATE STATEMENTS

Candidate statements are listed in alphabetical order.

Thomas Martin
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

T MartinI’m a second-year medical student at Brown University and a practicing paramedic in the State of Rhode Island with seven years of prehospital experience overall. While my experience with SAEM boards and committees has been limited to one term on the RAMS Research Committee, I have served locally as an appointed member of university committees, including the Public Safety Oversight Committee, and previously directed student executive boards at Brown University EMS where I was able to advance longitudinal mentorship programs for premedical students.

Throughout my education, I’ve been fortunate to find mentors through SAEM and my home institution that have helped me shape broad experiences, and occasional work frustrations, into actionable research questions with local impact. Most recently, I was proud to be part of a team investigating unrecognized esophageal intubations in Rhode Island EMS and working to change local protocols. These experiences have transformed my understanding of what it means to practice academic medicine and the difficulties that can accompany the dissemination and implementation of your findings.

Medical students across the country are in a prime position to engage with and bridge similar gaps between the advancement of our field and local progress in our communities. If elected to serve on the RAMS Board for the 2020-2021 term, my first goal would be helping to create and expand programs that support the remote mentorship of junior students who lack local access to the strong, engaging role models found in our broader SAEM/RAMS community. There are so many issues and challenges for us to address in 2020, and so many medical students who could benefit from early engagement by this organization! Thank you for your consideration.

Ryan D. Pappal
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

R PappalFirst, my background:

  • Born and raised in New Jersey then Texas
  • Undergraduate: Rice University (Biochemistry & Psychology)
  • Member of Leadership Board of Rice Emergency Medical Services
  • Paramedic for three years at Rice EMS
  • Medical School: Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
    • Have completed M1 and M2 years
    • Currently doing a gap year to get a Masters in Clinical Investigation (MSCI)
    • Working on study of awareness in mechanically-ventilated ED patients
    • After this academic year, I will enter my M3 year

On a whim I joined the SAEM RAMS Research Committee  two years ago and I have loved my experience helping on various research-oriented projects. What has struck me has been the quality and kindness of the people within the RAMS community. All of my mentors and fellow medical student members on the RAMS Research Committee have helped guide me and they are a big part of why I am motivated to serve as a medical student representative. 

Influenced by my current track studying clinical research, my goals as a medical student representative are:

  • To make the availability of clinical research degrees more well-known to medical students in SAEM and RAMS who are interested in emergency medicine research
  • To highlight and expand on RAMS programs designed to give both medical students and residents a more formal introduction to emergency medicine research
  • To investigate and address some of the unique barriers to performing emergency medicine research for SAEM and RAMS members, based on our unique patient population
  • To aid the RAMS Board in expanding on its mission to give both residents and medical students a greater voice not only within SAEM, but within the field of emergency medicine as well

As a former chair of the research committee at my former university, a leader of Washington University’s EMIG and EM simulation program, and a current student of clinical research in my gap year, I hope to bring a unique skill set to the RAMS board. It would be an honor to serve you all, and I hope to get your vote!

Dhriti Sooryakumar
The Ohio State University

D SooryakumarHello! I am a current medical student at The Ohio State University. I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Cellular/Molecular Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University and my Master of Science in Biotechnology and Drug Development, also  from Johns Hopkins University. I am truly honored and thrilled to be nominated for a position on the RAMS board as a medical student representative.

Emergency medicine has been an interest of mine since my undergraduate studies at Johns Hopkins University when I served as an emergency first responder for two years. Since my undergraduate career, I have had numerous emergency medicine experiences both locally and abroad. Following my undergraduate career, I began taking medical mission trips to Central America. I found a passion for global medicine and took a position as medical/dental program advisor for Global Brigades (the world’s largest student-led international health organization) for 4.5 years prior to and during medical school. During this time, I also created the first-ever surgical program for the organization while living in Honduras. Between my second and third years of medical school, I worked in refugee camps for nearly six  months in acute medical situations. I experienced the thrill of emergency medicine in a global setting and am certain that many medical students and residents would also enjoy opportunities to participate in global health emergency medicine scenarios. If elected to serve on the RAMS board, I would work towards increasing global health opportunities for medical students and residents.

I would also work towards creating an advising system and connecting various campus emergency medicine interest groups. I think it would be great to have regional mini-gatherings and leadership conferences for medical students and residents during the year, in order to better connect campus emergency medicine chapters to share ideas, learning opportunities, and resources. I have significant experience in bringing together hundreds of campus chapters in such a manner during the time I spent working as a medical program advisor for Global Brigades. During this time, I advised nearly 100 midwest and east coast university chapters of Global Brigades in fundraising initiatives, campu,s and regional outreach initiatives, and gathering of medications and equipment resources. I held webinars and advised university chapter leaders closely. I think it would be great to create a regional advising system for EMIGs, connecting them with SAEM and RAMS faculty and board advisors. 

I also have significant leadership experience in fundraising initiatives and in directing campus chapters in the organization of major events, creating educational and promotional materials and brochures, as well as executive direction of new programs. During my tenure as medical program advisor, I was able to acquire medical and surgical equipment donations of significant value for donation to local Honduran hospitals.

If elected to serve on the RAMS board, I would like to create an advising system for campus EMIGs, help individual campus EM interest groups in fundraising and outreach initiatives, help them expand exposure to EM for medicals students starting first year, and help further available equipment and resources. I would like to work towards arranging regional conferences for campus emergency medicine interest groups and residents. I have strong experience in global health and would work towards expanding global health emergency medicine opportunities for medical students and residents to participate in short and long term.

I thank you for your consideration and hope I may have the honor to serve our board and emergency medicine residents and medical students around the country and world!

Connor Stephenson
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

C StephensonI am a third year medical student at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois. I attended the University of Kentucky prior to medical school, receiving a degree in chemistry and a degree in biology. I began scribing in the emergency department through the university hospital during my second year of undergraduate. This is when I developed my passion for emergency medicine. During my three years in medical school, this passion has developed further through new knowledge garnered through the classroom, research, and first-hand clinical learning.

I would be honored to represent my fellow medical students on the RAMS board. I have extensive experience with representing my peers. I represented my classmates to the administration as class chair from 2017 to 2019 and I currently represent patients and the medical professionals of Southern Illinois to the American Cancer Society as a board member. I take representation seriously and this would continue into the RAMS board if I were elected.

In addition to working with SAEM to best serve and bring opportunities to EM-bound medical students, I would work with the Mentorship and Career Development Committee on developing mentoring opportunities. The best way to develop as learners and physicians is the open sharing of ideas with colleagues. Many schools have internal mentoring programs; however, students benefit from an outside perspective provided by a learner at another institution. I have set up programs like this when I was president and founder of a chemistry fraternity at the University of Kentucky. I have also aided existing programs like this at my own medical school.

I appreciate your valuable time in reading this and casting your vote. I am eager to serve on the RAMS board if given this wonderful opportunity. I promise to represent the medical students of SAEM to the best of my ability. I also promise to work on developing mentoring opportunities for interested learners. I look forward to serving you and future emergency medicine learners.

Sriram Venkatesan
University of Colorado and Sri Ramachandra University, India 

S VenkatesanBorn and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, I’m currently an MS4 at the University of Colorado Denver. I have an extensive leadership background dating back to high school, where I served as my school’s chapter president for the Health Occupations for Students of America (HOSA) organization. During my time in India for medical school, I established and led the first official emergency medicine interest group (EMIG) in India, at my school, and worked on a model framework for other schools in India to follow. I also worked with the National Disaster Life Support Foundation (NDLSF) in developing a custom curriculum for our EMS personnel and physicians, which paved the way to starting a disaster response team later for the city. 

I was first introduced to SAEM when I started working on SAEM’s social emergency medicine initiative, socialempact.com. I have had the privilege of working on their advocacy team, and helping improve their website. Currently, I have been working on bringing out my expertise with the EMS curriculum back home and working on a SAEM’s official EMS curriculum for medical students and resident electives. 

If given a chance to represent medical students and residents on the RAMS Board, I hope to accomplish the following as medical student representative: 

  • Bridge the gap in communication between EM-bound U.S. medical students and residents and foreign medical students and residents, especially non-Caribbean international students. 
  • Establish a new database of EM programs and EMIGs around the world, forge contacts within each program, and keep them in the loop on a regular basis to provide updates. 
  • Achieve record membership from new members abroad. 
  • Create opportunities for vital mentorship opportunities for those abroad who can’t come to our SAEM annual meetings. 
  • Improve on SAEM’s outdated educational materials by setting up a task force of volunteer medical students willing to help out in a creative way. 
  • Help the general mission and strategic plan for the RAMS board this year and help them achieve their goals. 

Based on my vast experience studying abroad, I bring tons of global experience to the table which would help us gain more membership though members abroad and improve SAEM’s market reach as a whole. I am very confident in my ability to serve in this role and excited to increase my involvement with SAEM and RAMS.