Massachusetts General Hospital, Division of Cardiology, Boston, MA
Throughout this summer, I worked at MGH Corrigan Minehan Heart Center’s Division of Cardiology, under the supervision of Dr. Erin Coglianese, Medical Director of the Mechanical Cardiac Support Program. The first project I was assigned to was to perform the data analyses for a project that evaluated the quality of life of patients implanted with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). The study used two standardized quality of life measures: the EuroQoL and the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ). My role in this research project was to focus on performing statistical analyses on data that had been previously compiled and documented by the clinical research coordinators (CRCs), which worked out perfectly since I am a mathematics major. The original hypothesis of the project was that the distance that the patients traveled to seek routine and other treatments for their LVADs was impacting the quality of life that they have experienced. Since the process of getting an LVAD implanted and becoming accustomed to living with the machinery is different for everyone, the research was conducted by repeating the quality of life questionnaires at various points throughout the patients’ recovery. After ruling out the distance that the patients lived from their closest treatment center as a sole agent in the differences in quality of life, we considered many other variables as the age, gender, and initial indication of the implantation. Further analyses gave way to many exciting findings to be portrayed in a near-future formal research paper that I am beyond grateful to be included in as a co-author.
The second project that I was assigned to was on creating a database to identify one or more reasons for the overwhelming inequality that exists in the provision of healthcare services to different patients of different races. To make the database, I used REDCap: a program designed in Vanderbilt University that has been adopted by clinical researchers for database creation and keeping. This project has three primary purposes: finding a potential root for the existing disparity, creating a stepping stone for further research on the topic, and setting a precedent for expanding advanced heart failure clinics around the Greater Boston Area. Since this project is still not concluded, I will be continuing my work with the team until a reasonable explanation for the phenomenon is met.
My time at MGH has immensely impacted my plans for the future. Now that I will be working with Dr. Coglianese throughout the semester, I am strongly considering re-applying for a full-time post-graduation position on her team in preparation for medical school. As of now, I am reasonably confident that I want to spend one to two years working in healthcare, likely as a clinical research data analyst. I am beyond thankful for the experience I have had this summer.