On April 4, two Internal Medicine residents blazed a trail into a new arena when they delivered an entire session of Grand Rounds on their own. Often, a resident will present the initial facts of a case during a clinical pathology conference, followed by a pathologist who may or may not be a trainee, but then a faculty member anchors the session, delivering the takeaway lessons from the case.
This time, however, second-year resident Noah Williford, MD, and intern Giselle Statz, MD, delivered an hour-long lively, engaging, and informative session on their own. Titled “Recent Advances in Cardiovascular Health: Fishing For Novel Therapies in the Statin Area,” the two discussed omega-3 fatty acids, reviewed major clinical trials and explained the rationale behind conflicting research outcomes with relation to cardiovascular health, focusing on the latest “REDUCE-IT” trial published by Deepak Bhatt, MD, MPH, in NEJM in January 2019. Based on the “REDUCE-IT” data, high dose (4 gm/day) of purified icosapent ethyl leads to an impressive 25% relative risk reduction in myocardial infarction and other cardiovascular adverse events over a 5-year period. Differences between a highly purified icosapent ethyl and over-the-counter fish oil supplements were clearly highlighted by Williford and Statz.
The full presentation is available but the responses from faculty in the audience during the Q&A may be difficult to hear. Donald Brown, MD, prefaced his question by calling it “one of the best, most well-packaged presentations” he had seen. François M. Abboud, MD, offered his thanks and said that he was “impressed.” Kan Liu, MD, PhD, said, “Fantastic talk! I enjoyed it very much.” Matthew Obinna Nwaneri, MD, declared it evidence of “great mentorship.”
The mentors themselves “could not be prouder” of Williford and Statz. Milena A. Gebska, MD, PhD, founded the Cardiology Interest Group, she says, “to guide and inspire Internal Medicine residents, hospitalists and medical students who wish to pursue their career in the field of cardiology.” Gebska went on to describe the preparatory process:
Dr. Williford and Dr. Statz are a rare combination of intelligence, probing curiosity, along with dedication and diligence. Their maturity, work ethic and professionalism are beyond description. Both constantly strive to give their best effort which speaks for a tremendous passion for medicine. I feel incredibly fortunate that they chose cardiology as a career pathway and reached out to me for mentorship. . . .
Working with Noah and Giselle, as well as one of my most extraordinary colleagues, Dr. Brian Olshansky [MD, professor emeritus], was a truly amazing experience. Dr. Olshansky not only brings energy and creativity to every project, but also willingly shares his wisdom and lifetime experience, his network of leading cardiologists and scientists in the field. . . .
Dr. Williford had to balance his preparatory work with several weeks of cardiac intensive care coverage, night calls and leadingcardiology teaching inpatient services in the very morning of the presentation; while Dr. Statz in addition to multiple patients commitments, had to take into account her new life changing family event just two weeks prior to the Grand Rounds.
Olshansky offered his own thoughts as well:
It didn’t take me more than a few moments to realize the talent intelligence and quality of the two trainees that Dr. Gebska had assigned to me. Giselle and Noah have an innate talent and drive that clearly indicated their willingness to work hard, undertake scholarly investigations and, ultimately, to produce, a stunning Grand Rounds despite their otherwise intense clinical responsibilities. . . .
Someone may ask: why would a senior clinician, basic scientist or investigator want to spend the time with younger members of our profession to act as role models for younger generation, especially if his/her schedule is already more than overbooked?Such question, however, never crossed my mind. I did it because it needed to be done. I did it because I could help develop a few as part of a new generation of physicians who can become leaders in our profession and change in a way that senior members cannot do. . . .
My experience with Noah and Giselle made me even more optimistic for the future of our profession that we have such qualified and talented individuals who deep in their hearts want to do the right thing for their patients and for the profession.