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First-year medical students selected to national Choosing Wisely STARS program

Two first-year Penn State College of Medicine medical students, Lindsay Buzzelli and Anjana Sinha, were selected to represent the College of Medicine in the Choosing Wisely Students and Trainees Advocating for Resource Stewardship (STARS) program. Two medical students from each of 40 medical schools across the United States were chosen to represent their schools in a one-year commitment to work with faculty in changing the culture of medical overuse.

All College of Medicine first-year students were invited to submit an application with their ideas on how they would increase awareness of resource stewardship at the College of Medicine. Buzzelli, a student in the University Park Curriculum, and Sinha, a student in Hershey, attended a national conference at Dell Medical School in Austin, TX, to kick off their one-year commitment to work with faculty to integrate Choosing Wisely recommendations into Penn State’s curriculum.

Since her return from the conference, Buzzelli has already started conversations with both academic and clinical faculty about integrating these concepts into both the curriculum and clinics. “As these concepts integrate easily with our health systems curriculum, my classmates and I have since already had discussions in class about concepts such as charge vs. cost and the Choosing Wisely guidelines for pre-operative care. In addition, we are in the early stages of planning to implement a Choosing Wisely activity in which students will be challenged to care for and diagnose a patient with only $1,000. This will prompt us to think about which tests and treatments are really necessary, will change our clinical course, and improve our patients’ outcomes. In my career as a physician, I will strive to improve patient outcomes while reducing costs as I remember the lessons learned during my impactful and thought-provoking weekend in Austin”.

Sinha is also enthusiastic about sharing her STARS experience. “As medical students we are taught the importance of delivering high value care and are reminded that health care spending in the U.S. is magnitudes higher than all other parts of the globe. The STARS leadership summit allowed me to interact with my future colleagues at different institutions to begin to understand how we can tackle such a daunting national challenge at a micro level from as early as our first year in medical school. Through small efforts like developing cost aware learning objectives in PBLs to larger promotions of bolder cultural shifts that more economical medical decisions can improve patient outcomes are ways that we can begin to shape a culture of higher-value care. We are excited to plan and begin implementing some of our ideas and welcome suggestions.”

STARS is committed to educating and fostering students to launch and lead local Choosing Wisely campaigns at medical schools across the United States.

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