As a dual-degree student in DMU’s doctor of podiatric medicine and surgery (D.P.M.) and master of public health (M.P.H.) programs, Kelsey Millonig seized a great number of opportunities. The 2017 DMU graduate was a peer tutor and teaching assistant, gave presentations at state and national conferences, was the leader of a five-day Global Health Student Club medical service trip in rural Honduras, founded and led a podiatric medicine advocacy group and served as president of the DMU student chapter of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, to name a few.
Also among her many activities was performing research that she presented at the DMU Research Symposium, which will mark its 10th anniversary on Dec. 5, 2019. She won the Outstanding Graduate Public Health Poster Award at the symposium in 2014 and the Outstanding Graduate Scientific Poster Award the next year. Her research experiences fueled her passions in podiatric medicine and public health and led to other pivotal experiences, including a summer research internship at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, during which she focused on age-friendly cities and communities.
“The Research Symposium is a really valuable building block opportunity for students to understand the importance of research,” she says. She recently completed a podiatric surgical residency at the Franciscan Foot and Ankle Institute in Federal Way, WA, and began a one-year fellowship at the Rubin Institute for Advanced Orthopedics in Baltimore. Over the years, she has researched topics ranging from podiatric surgical techniques to student performance to contraceptive accessibility in rural Honduras, and she’s had articles published in several peer-reviewed publications.
“All the reading and work you do in research makes you a better provider. Everything I’ve done in research has better informed what I do in podiatric practice,” says Dr. Millonig, who also participated in DMU’s Mentored Student Research Program in the summer before she began her studies in the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery.
Russell Hamilton is another DMU graduate who benefited from his research experiences, including presenting a poster in the inaugural DMU Research Symposium in 2010. He completed his master’s degree in biomedical sciences (M.S.B.S.) at the University in 2011 and went on to earn his doctor of osteopathic medical degree in 2015. He had his first experiences with cell culture in the lab of Marie Nguyen, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology, and then did his M.S.B.S. research project on multiple drug-resistant salmonella in the lab of Jeffrey Gray, Ph.D., a microbiologist/immunologist and vice president of research and global initiatives.
“I had done lab research prior to coming to DMU and my experiences working in Dr. Gray’s labs as well as other labs I rotated through, helped me improve the skills I already had but develop skills in areas I had not previously been exposed,” says Dr. Hamilton, now a staff physician and lead cardiovascular hospitalist at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. “In Dr. Gray’s lab, I was challenged in a variety of areas, not only in the lab, but also in public speaking, having delivered numerous talks throughout the program on various research topics.
“I think this experience really cemented the fact that I wanted to continue to be involved in research as well as mentoring those new to research,” he adds. “For me, the Research Symposium was always something I looked forward to. I knew a lot of the faculty, especially in microbiology and immunology, pretty well, and it was always nice to see how everyone’s research was going and what their new findings were. It also offered an opportunity to collaborate and discuss potential hurdles in your own research with others who may be doing something similar or using similar techniques.”
Come see how everyone’s research is going, learn about their new findings and enjoy collaborative discussions at this year’s DMU Research Symposium. The event is free and open to the public; registration is requested.