ISEMPH Presentation: Michelle Blyth

ISEMPH - Michelle Blyth, Louisiana State University

"Expanding the Understanding of Evolution by Medical Students via a Student-Run Interest Group"
Michelle Blyth
New Orleans School of Medicine
Louisiana State University
In order to grow emerging physicians’ understanding and application of evolution and medical research, an evolutionary medicine interest group was founded by a first year medical student at Louisiana State University School of Medicine at New Orleans (LSUSOM-NO). Currently in its third year, the group has continued to meet and recruit underclassmen from subsequent entering classes. Participants were approved by the school to receive credit hours towards the school’s “professional development” elective. The group follows a journal-club style, with the presenting student choosing journal articles and leading discussion relevant to the month’s topic. The organization of topics seeks to augment current medical curricula in microbiology, neuroscience, psychology, genetics and structural biology while creating an interdisciplinary environment between medicine, research, and public health. Recently, the group also began inviting local experts to give seminars that are open to the entire campus. We believe that studying the principles of evolutionary biology in medicine will serve students on their path to becoming successful physicians and researchers by encouraging a new framework from which to examine health and disease. We hope to share our experiences and methods with the evolutionary medicine community in order to help facilitate and encourage similar groups throughout the country.