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Student Rachel Bockol presented with leadership award

A team that leads National Curriculum Initiative in Developmental Medicine (NCIDM) grant activities at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine presented curriculum enhancement projects at the school and their impact at the 18th Annual American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD) virtual conference June 5 - 7.

In addition, Rachel Bockol, a member of the Geisinger Commonwealth MD Class of 2023 and president of the AADMD student chapter at the School of Medicine, won the AADMD Future Leader Baton Award. The award recognizes a student member for their contribution and leadership to advance the advocacy for people with an intellectual and developmental disability (IDD).

AADMD is a membership organization of interdisciplinary health professionals, including primary physicians, medical specialists, dentists, optometrists, nurses, and other clinicians, committed to improving the quality of health care for people with IDD.

The grant team includes Drs. Douglas Wells and Avisha Shah, both members of the MD Class of 2020; Emily Herman, a member of the MD Class of 2021; Tonoya Sengupta, an alumnus of the MBS program and a Geisinger Commonwealth research assistant; Michelle Cornacchia, MD, co-principal investigator and a physician at Geisinger Comprehensive Care Clinic; and Youngjin Cho, PhD, co-principal investigator and a medical educator at Geisinger Commonwealth.

Because the conference occurred virtually, almost all curriculum and research findings were presented as poster presentations. The Geisinger team won a first place award in the best poster presentation category. The winning poster was entitled, “Enhancing Medical School Curriculum on Care for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.” It examined five curricular enhancements incorporated at the School of Medicine:

  1. Patient presentations by individuals living with IDD to better understand the impact of the disease on quality of life.
  2. Standardized Patient Experience to practice obtaining history and physical exam skills with patients with IDD.
  3. Family-Centered Experience in which students meet with volunteer members of the community with IDD outside of a medical setting to help them better understand the socioeconomic aspects of their condition.
  4. Quality Improvement Projects: community projects involving individuals with IDD to understand barriers to care.
  5. Interprofessional Elective Course: Fourth-year students conduct a two-week rotation at Geisinger Medical Center’s Comprehensive Care Clinic to practice providing healthcare for children and adults with IDD.

Dr. Cho acknowledged that the team’s work was only possible with support and participation from all students and faculty at Geisinger, as well as community organizations.

Rachel Bockol, MD Class of 2023
Rachel Bockol, MD Class of 2023, won the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD) Future Leader Baton Award at the 18th Annual AADMD virtual conference.