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PCOM Med Student, Rotated at Warren Campus, Earns Recognition for Research Poster
January 15, 2024

2023 was a banner year for Joo “Julie” Kim, who is a fourth-year medical student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM).  She gained invaluable academic and clinical experiences at St. Luke’s University Health Network’s Warren Campus, where she completed an internal medicine rotation.

The highlight of her year was earning third-place prize for her clinical research poster and presentation at the Family Medicine Educational Consortium (FMEC) conference in October 2023. She also discovered her love for the St. Luke’s Warren physician training team and hopes to enter its family medicine residency after she graduates from PCOM.

Kim based her award-winning poster, titled “Holistic Care for Patients with Cognitive Disabilities: Lessons Drawn from Case Study and Literature,” on her time volunteering at a hospice, working with a 52-year-old woman who had the mental capacity of a child, stemming from a childhood accident. This patient, who struggled to express her symptoms, feelings and needs to the nursing home staff, had broken her hip in a fall and subsequently was diagnosed with terminal cancer. This diagnosis happened far too late, as the patient had been experiencing severe back pain for many months, which she was unable to articulate. Kim’s clinical practice recommendations in her poster focus on improving communication between patients with cognitive disabilities and medical providers, and using appropriate assessment and diagnostic tools with this vulnerable patient population.

Winning third place was an impressive achievement given this was Kim’s first time submitting a research poster for a conference. She credits St. Luke’s Residency Program Director Nandhini Veeraraghavan, MD, and Majed Dayoub, MD, residency teaching physician, who encouraged her and helped to brainstorm and produce a polished poster. With their support, Kim also successfully applied for and was selected to receive the FMEC student scholarship to cover the costs of attending the conference.

“I feel so grateful and lucky for this opportunity and the support Drs. Veeraraghavan and Dayoub gave me,” said Kim. She added that she immediately had found them and the other physicians, residents and medical students at Warren to be “the kind I can learn to be the best doctor possible from by training here.” She had rotated through hospitals in Northeast Philadelphia, Delaware and Pittsburgh, but found something special in the program and people at St. Luke’s from her first day there.

“I clicked with them immediately, because they’re clinically skilled practitioners and are gentle and caring to all patients,” Kim said, smiling broadly. 

The opportunity to compete for this prestigious achievement was suggested by Dr. Veeraraghavan during Kim’s internal medicine rotation in early 2023 at St. Luke’s Warren. She worked remotely on the poster with Drs. Veeraraghavan and Dayoub while completing other rotations in different hospital systems. The doctors are credited as contributors to the poster.

“Congratulations to Julie on this great recognition by FMEC,” said Dr. Veeraraghavan. “She is caring, creative and hardworking, and I am confident she will be a great Family Physician and an ardent advocate of her patients.”

A few weeks after presenting her poster at the FMEC’s annual meeting, she received a congratulatory letter informing her that she was one of only six presenters chosen from among 113 posters given at the conference.

“It was wonderful working with and providing Julie with guidance creating and presenting the poster,” noted Majed Dayoub, MC. “Julie’s passion makes it easy to create a winning poster.”

This pivotal accomplishment led Kim to realize that she not only wants to pursue a family medicine residency in 2024, but eventually pursue a fellowship in geriatrics. She began a month-long family medicine “audition” at St. Luke’s Warren in January 2024 and hopes to complete rotations there through the geriatrics and emergency departments.

Kim hopes to follow in the footsteps of the physicians at St. Luke’s Warren, noting that, “I’d like to spend my career taking care of patients alongside the wonderful physicians, nurses and other clinicians I was fortunate enough to work with here.”