Wednesday, November 27, 2013

HMEF Student Project Prize Winners, 2013

1st Prize, Rukunya
Saturday morning, November 23 at 8:00 am, student groups are already busily moving about the classroom mounting their posters on the walls.  Some have as many as 20 full manila sheets Often it is hard to find the name of their site on the posters.  Their places have been assigned randomly in advance by Moses Ntaro, the assistant coordinator of the Community Based Education Program at MUST 
It seems the examiners are going to be the ones who have to move.   This will not be easy as the classroom chairs are welded together in sets of four.  Nonetheless there is a sense of excitement in the room, among examiners and students.  I make a mental note that we are going to have to limit the number of posters in future.  It is going to be hard to hear seven groups go thru the Challenge model, one after the other. 
2nd Prize, Kisoro Hospital
The six student groups selected by faculty examiners as the best in their group  are from: Kisoro Hosp, Rukunyu, Ruhoko, Kabuyanda, Bugoye B, and Rubanda PHC.  Our job is to select the top three to receive the Hillman Medical Education Fund prizes.  The prizes will allow them to present their project at scientific gatherings outside of th university.  This is the second year the prizes have been offered.  The first year, not all groups were aware of the prizes, but this year, the visibility of  last year’s winners have helped to spread the word and the competition has intensified. 
I missed the assessments done earlier this year but it is clear that there is more polish to the presentations this year.
3rd Prize, Kabuyanda
The community projects we will be evaluating have been done by groups of multidisciplinary students drawn from medicine, lab, pharmacy and nursing.  The students spent 5 weeks in rural field placements throughout the South West of Uganda.  They were attached to Health Center III or IVs. 
We are interested in learning if and how they connected with the community-based health workers at the site, whether they engaged the community in the project, how they dealt with any setbacks and their sense of commitment to the community.  Many of the projects have to do with sanitation and construction of Tippy Taps and latrine covers this year.
Best Diagrams
All group members are involved in their presentations.  Transitions move smoothly between them, each having an active role.  They are dressed up and professional in their presentations.  I am most engaged by their answers during the short question period.  One group is superb, as they tackle each question adroitly, we examiners find a more difficult one for them. Our questions just seem to bring out their best.  What magnificent skill!   The ability to anticipate and handle questions is an important part of research and we are going to have to give it more weight in future.  Also a couple of the diagrams and maps are excellent, vivid representations that deserve recognition
Quality Map
 A week or two prior to this event, two student groups, the Kabuyanda Group and the group from Bukoko, wrote up and presented their projects as scientific papers at the Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)Research Symposium.  They were the only undergraduates who presented and both did a spectacular job.  To do this takes a fair amount of time and commitment by their supervisor and one of the dynamic supervisors, Dr. Wilfred  Arubaker, assisted both groups. 

Latrine covers
At the same Symposium, I heard a well-presented paper on interocular pressure presented by former MUST student, now an Ophthalmologist, Dr. Simon Arunga.  Simon along with Dennis Mala facilitated a Cholera Workshop developed from their rural student placement a couple of years ago at the Towards Unity for Global Health (TUFH) International Conference when it was held in Kampala.  More than 30 people attended their workshop and they received rave reviews.  It’s a great reminder to me about how important student presentations are in developing skills that support us in our future careers.
Challenge Model
It is hard in such a group to pick winners, however when the scores of the examiners are tallied  1st prize goes to the Rukunya group; 2nd prize goes to Kisoro Hospital group and 3rd prize to Kabuyanda group.
The Kisoro group also a winner was last year.  Their faculty supervisor, Simon Rugera from Laboratory Medicine is justly proud of his groups.  It's a great day for celebrating the students, their supervisors and MUST University.



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