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Yale Med Students Compete in Bedside Ultrasound “Scan Off”

March 30, 2016
by John Curtis

On March 17th, six students and two faculty members from the School of Medicine traveled to New York City for the first annual ultrasound SONOSLAM competition, an education and competition day held specifically for medical students. The Yale students were among 17 teams of three students from 12 medical schools.

The concept is based on national Sonogames for emergency medicine residencies, and regional Ultrafests which introduce medical students to bedside ultrasound. The goal is to promote instruction in bedside ultrasound as part of the longitudinal medical school curriculum.

SONOSLAM was held in conjunction with the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) annual convention, the largest international gathering of ultrasound practitioners. A multidisciplinary team of 33 faculty in emergency medicine, obstetrics, radiology, critical care, pulmonology, and neurology, as well as skilled sonographers conducted hands-on sessions for the students.

“I am really proud of how our students performed. They were competing against teams who are overall more resourced than ours, and were able to impress several judges with their knowledge base and technical skills. This event did highlight where our Yale students stand in terms of experience and resources needed, as teams I did not even know were on the map showed a lot of promise," said Rachel Liu, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine, who served on the competition’s executive committee and designed the “scan off” in the final round.

The School of Medicine fielded two teams of three, one made up of first- and second-year students, the other comprised of third- and fourth-years.

Over the course of the day the students competed in three rounds, the first one focusing on basic physics, anatomy, physiology, and scanning techniques. In Round 2 participants competed head-to-head, testing their clinical applications and simulated procedural skills. The top two teams moved to Round 3, where they demonstrated pathology recognition and then competed in a “scan off” against each other.

The team from Ohio State University took first prize, narrowly defeating the University of Pennsylvania after a nail-biting conclusion dependent on the very last scan off task. The Ohio team received the Peter Arger Cup in honor of the imaging pioneer and passionate ultrasound medical educator.

The other participating medical schools were Eastern Virginia Medical School, Hofstra School of Medicine, Ohio State University, Rocky Vista College of Medicine, St. George’s University / Methodist Hospital, University of Connecticut, University of Florida, University of North Carolina, University of Pennsylvania, Wake Forest University, and West Virginia School of Medicine.

The Yale students who participated included first-year Andrew Silverman, second-years John Grotberg and Cortlandt Sellers, third-years Kimberly Murdaugh and David Suwondo, and fourth-year Tara Holder.

SONOSLAM will be held next year in Orlando, Fla., during the 2017 AIUM Annual Convention.

Submitted by John Curtis on March 30, 2016