22nd Annual Antonio Palladino Memorial Lecture & Resident Research Symposium


Today I had the opportunity to present a 15-minute oral presentation at the 22nd Annual Antonio Palladino Memorial Lecture & Resident Research Symposium that was put on by West Virginia University’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  The other presenters at this event were all physicians who were in the process of completing their residencies.  This event was held in the Health Science Center in the Fukishima Auditorium and approximately 50 physicians, residents, and other health care providers attended this event .

Below is the brief brochure for the event or you can to download the PDF – 2014 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Brochure but the full program for this event that includes the abstracts is available to view at the end of this post.

 OBGYN Palladino Series - Page 1Palladino Research Day

Here is the presentation that I presented! Please excuse some of the formatting errors – they were not in the actual presentation but just happened with the conversion in SlideShare.

To view the full program with abstracts for this event, click here: 2014 Palladino Program


iCook Recruitment CONTINUES!

If there is one thing I have learned these past few weeks it is that recruiting human subjects for any research projects is HARD! No matter how excited the kids are about joining that doesn’t mean that their parents are going to pick up the phone and enroll. We have had to extend the recruitment process for this study and continue to recruit an extra week or two to hopefully meet our target! We are currently about 1/3 of the way there… with only 1 week left IT IS CRUNCH TIME!

We hit the schools yet again and decided to sing a song that Erin Smith and her dad wrote! Here is the video of us with an entire lunch room of 5th graders singing the tune after we have described the iCook study!


It has been fun speaking with thousands of 4th and 5th graders but at this point… I am just ready for us to reach our goal and start the actual instruction component of this research study! Below are some silly pictures of Erin and I as we toured the schools!

iCook 4H Nutrition Assessments

For my current rotation I will be dedicating my time to working on the iCook 4H Nutrition Research Study. This study is being conducted in 5 different states: West Virginia, Maine, Tennessee, Nebraska, and South Dakota. This is an awesome opportunity for children between the ages of 8-10 and a caregiver/parent to be able to attend nutrition and cooking related classes while focusing on physical activity to improve their overall well-being.

For more information about iCook click here – and make sure to “like us” on Facebook!

This past weekend we packed up our research lab and traveled to Martinsburg, WV to conduct assessments for the families we have enrolled there. This process involved collecting data such as blood pressure, height, weight, waist circumference, tanner stages (to assess biological maturity), and surveys to assess dietary and physical activity habits. At this time the children/parent pair were also randomly assigned into a control or an intervention group. Each child was given an accelerometer to wear for 7 days; this will assess their physical activity and monitor it continuously for an entire week. This next week we will be recruiting more in Morgantown and conducting assessments starting on Thursday! Stay tune for more posts about iCook – Don’t forget to like us on Facebook!

iCook Logo

Research is Not Just for Lab Rats!

I wanted to provide you with a brief introduction/update on my research. The title of research project is “The Current Description and Future Implications of Comprehensive Multidisciplinary PCOS Clinics.” 

What is PCOS?

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. PCOS occurs in about 5-10% of women of childbearing age. Currently, there is no cure for PCOS, but the symptoms can usually be managed.

Common symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Weight gain/obesity
  • Excess hair
  • Acne,
  • Hair thinning or balding
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Fatigue

These symptoms are thought to stem from the underlying issues of high androgen levels, insulin resistance, and the presence of the ovarian cysts.


It is important to know that individuals with PCOS are at an increased risk for:

  • Infertility
  • Miscarriages
  • Sleep apnea
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Endometrial cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Hypothyroidism

 Treatment will vary depending on the symptoms presented and the goals of the individual.

 Common treatment options for PCOS include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Healthy diet
  • Smoking cessation
  • Weight loss (if necessary)
  • Medications:
    • Birth control – can normalize hormone levels
    • Spironolactone – can lower blood pressure and reduce androgen levels
    • Metformin – can increase insulin sensitivity

Research Objectives

Objective 1 – To assess the prevalence of PCOS according to geographical location, race/ethnicity, and health disparity

Objective 2 – To describe the current and future description of multidisciplinary PCOS clinics

Literature Reviews

Between August and November I began locating research articles and identifying multidisciplinary PCOS clinics that currently exist. Once I had located all the research articles and clinics that I could, I moved on to researching the prevalence.

By December, I had exhausted the literature on PCOS prevalence (objective 1) and drafted up my literature review. My lit review is currently going through revisions and then will be submitted for publication. To make a long story short, the prevalence of PCOS is widely unknown due to three main factors: inconsistent diagnostic criteria, high prevalence of individuals who are undiagnosed, and the lack of large-scale studies. The prevalence of PCOS ranges from 1% to 23% depending on the location, sample, diagnostic criteria, and methods.

Around winter break I fully shifted my focus on to researching objective 2. I picked back up the literature I had identified and began writing my comprehensive literature review. Shortly after beginning, I realized my research question could not be answered without an investigative approach leading me to adapt my previous “problem statement” into a full thesis. In order to fully answer this question I needed input from key practitioners who interact with PCOS patients on a regular basis. These individuals may include dietitians, endocrinologist, gynecologists, dermatologist, other physicians, fertility specialists, social workers, exercise physiologists and many others. Because PCOS is such a multifaceted syndrome, it will be best treated by a multidisciplinary team.


Back in February, I did my proposal with my committee members to introduce my research design. My committee consists of Dr. Olfert, DrPH, MS, RD, LD, who is my advisor, Dr. Murray, MD, MPH, who works as a physician in adolescent medicine, and Dr. Clemmer, PhD who works at the Center for Reproductive Medicine in the IVF lab and is a specialist in reproductive physiology. This gave me the approval that I needed to continue on with my project.


After flushing out my research design and making the decision to do a survey it was time for recruitment. For the past month I have been working to identify a sample of about 200 informants to ensure that I get back at least 50-75 responses. My committee members were gracious enough to post a request on multiple listservs for the associations that they belong to that would target people working with PCOS. From that I received about 50 email responses with the names and contact information of individuals who were interested in participating. In order to boost my sample size I began researching the literature I have previously identified for contact names and did a “snowball” approach for names from there by searching existing clinics, faculty members, and LinkedIn groups. Currently, I have identified about 150!

Survey Development

Developing a survey that needs to gather an immense amount of information but must be able to be completed on a physician’s schedule (i.e. 15 minutes MAX) is no easy task. Originally, I had planned to look at clinics only in the United States until recently because I have gotten a large number of responses from individuals from Canada, Australia, India, and even Israel.  As of now, I am not limiting my involvement because I think they could have very valuable feedback. I am currently in the revisions stage for my survey and I plan to send it out within the next two weeks.

Data Analysis

Once I receive the completed surveys back it will be time to run the statistics. Most of my data will be qualitative with the exceptions of basic descriptive statistics and the possibility of a few t-test depending on the results. All my statistics will be ran using SAS. I plan to spend the month May on this section.

Thesis Write-Up

Once all my data is analyzed it will be time to officially start drafting. The plan is to start the write-up before I start my rotations in June and finish by April of 2015.


Currently, the plan is to submit a poster presentation with the results of my study to the North American Society of Pediatrics and Gynecology (NASPAG) Annual Conference, which takes place in Philadelphia, PA during the end of April. I will also be submitting multiple papers for publication to journals and then defending in April.