Thirteenth annual Research Symposium

On Friday, October 27, students, faculty, staff, and guests gathered at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education for the Class of 2026 to present their research findings for the Medical Partnership’s 13th annual Research Symposium.

The Medical Scholars Program (MSP) is an opportunity for students to expand their scholarly experiences and learn how medical knowledge is derived by participating in summer research across the world. They also learn how to frame a testable hypothesis, write a research proposal, carry out a project, evaluate scientific and medical data, and write up their results. It provides them with an opportunity to communicate their findings through presentations at local, regional, and sometimes national scientific meetings.

Their findings are then presented at the annual Research Symposium in the fall. The majority of participants are second-year medical students who complete research in the summer between their first and second years.

This year’s MSP saw 39 members of the class take part in the program.

“I’m always impressed by how much the students accomplish and learn in just 10 weeks,” said Dr. Leslie Lee, director of MSP. “I’m thrilled that once again we had so many students who took advantage of this opportunity.”

The event had three portions—poster presentations, elevator pitches, and oral presentations. This was the second year that awards were presented to participants—awards were given for the top submissions in both the poster presentation and elevator pitch categories.

Tajah Damm, Alaina Moore, Constance Sullivan, and Jessica Vissicchio were all recognized for their elevator pitches, and Firdous Khan won first place for her poster Incidence of Sexually Transmitted Infections in Youth with HIV Pre-COVID and COVID Era. Krithika Nayudu (Phototherapy for Vitiligo: Quality and Readability of Online Health Information) and Kaitlin Higgins Pyrz (Does Insurance Provide Enough Physical Therapy Visits for Common Orthopaedic Conditions? A Survey Study) tied for second place in the poster competition.


The Class of 2026 MSP statistics:


Twelve institutions across nine states, and one international location (Czech Republic), including the Medical Partnership, Emory, Harvard, Duke, Mt. Sinai Hospital, University of Washington, University of Miami, UAB, University of Utah, Wake Forest University, and Weill Cornell Medical Center.


Specialties represented: 

Specialties represented include cardiology, dermatology, emergency medicine, kinesiology, ophthalmology, geriatrics, neurology, orthopedic surgery, pediatrics, plastic surgery, oncology, urology, psychiatry, critical care, urology, medicine, and community health.


Award Winners


1. Firdous Khan

2. Krithika Nayudu & Kaitlin Higgins Pyrz


Elevator Pitch:

Tajah Damm

Alaina Moore

Constance Sullivan

Jessica Vissicchio


For a full list of presentations and abstracts, please visit the MSP website.

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