April 12, 2022 — While fourth-year medical students at the University of Florida College of Medicine were celebrating Match Day March 18, the college’s rising medical students and a few residents and fellows were busy presenting research for a visiting professor at the 20th annual James Lewis Talbert, M.D., Lectureship and Mini-Symposium.
Named for Talbert, a professor emeritus and founding chief of the UF division of pediatric surgery when it launched in 1967, the lectureship has hosted distinguished pediatric surgeons from across the U.S. and Canada for two decades. For about 10 years, it has also included a research symposium, allowing members of the college to present their work to the visiting guests.
Because of COVID-19 pandemic considerations, it was not known until last-minute whether visiting professor Marjorie J. Arca, M.D., surgeon-in-chief at the Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester, New York, and division chief of pediatric surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center, would be able to attend this year’s events in person, said Saleem Islam, M.D., M.P.H., a UF professor and division chief of pediatric surgery who helped organize and moderate the symposium. But at the drop of a hat, he said, 15 students coordinated to present for Arca and answer her questions on their research. And despite the fast-paced timeline, they all excelled.
Students sometimes stumble when delivering big talks or divert difficult questions to their faculty mentors, Islam said. But this year, “They just did it as if they were faculty themselves,” he said. “They were outstanding. There was this immense feeling of pride among all the faculty and residents in the room.”
Islam, who mentored seven of the 15 presenters, said Arca, an “icon in pediatric surgical education,” was blown away by the students’ professionalism, depth of understanding and wide variety of research and opportunities. Talks ranged from pediatric burns, trauma and basic science to neonatal problems, education and gastrointestinal topics. See a full list of presenters and their project titles below.