Motion Analysis of Daily Activities in Patients with varying Spinal Pathologies

Christina and another student presenting research


College Wharton


Project Summary

Through PURM, I was able to work directly with a spine surgeon and I learned more than I ever thought was possible. I worked in several settings on many projects that all required careful planning and special skills that I developed throughout my time with my mentor. I worked in the clinic at Pennsylvania Hospital shadowing my mentor as he evaluated patients and talked about spine surgery with them. I also spoke to patients about participating in a study revolving around human motion and preoperative functional testing. I communicated with patients outside of the clinic to schedule appointments to participate in our study as well as conducting the actual study itself. The hands-on experience is incomparable to that which can be obtained solely in a classroom. Shadowing in the clinic and speaking to patients directly about participating in our study, I developed professional and interpersonal conversation skills that I never would have been exposed to or be able to practice. Watching spine surgery from 5 feet away and being in the operating room allowed me to get up close and personal with an experience I have never been a part of before, but have always dreamed of. Writing manuscripts using data from a national database and receiving feedback on my writing allowed me to develop and practice a specific style that may be useful in the future. Three of my major accomplishments resulting from this position include authoring a scientific paper which is to be published by The Spine Journal, creating a scientific poster for the CURF Research Expo, and developing a colloquial and professional relationship with surgeon and mentor, Dr Saifi, with Perelman School of Medicine medical student Alex Beschloss, and with my co-researcher Dan Rodriguez. The relationships I have developed and the lessons I have learned will surely serve me well as I continue my education. I will strive to sharpen and further develop them through future research opportunities, and I hope to pass along what I have learned to undergraduate students whom I may have an opportunity to mentor at some point in the future.