Research, primary care and medical education all get boost from NIH-funded familial hypercholesterolemia project.
Tyler Schubert had a solid medical school application — a degree from Franklin and Marshall College, time working in a behavioral health facility and basic research experience. So when he was ready to choose a medical school, Geisinger Commonwealth seemed like a good fit.
“The Abigail Geisinger Scholars program was the most notable factor that drew me to Geisinger,” he said. “And MyCode® was the second,” he added, referring to the system’s precision medicine project and its biobank of more than 300,000 participants.
Accepted to both the Abigail Geisinger Scholars program and the school’s Medical Research Honors Program, Tyler credits his first research mentor, renowned cystic fibrosis physician-scientist Ron Rubenstein, MD, PhD, for inspiring him to pursue genomics-related research.
“Ron and I were sitting at a lab bench one day, discussing my medical school decision,” Tyler said. “When Geisinger came up, he immediately mentioned MyCode as a distinct competitive advantage and encouraged me to get involved.”
Doing his research
Soon after his arrival at Geisinger Commonwealth’s campus in the fall of 2021, Tyler started looking for the right research opportunity. He found it in the work of Laney Jones, PharmD, MPH. Dr. Jones is co-principal investigator of a new NIH NHLBI-funded study, Collaborative Approach to Reach Everyone with Familial Hypercholesterolemia, or CARE-FH.
The purpose of the study is to build awareness and systems that will encourage clinicians to screen patients early for FH, a common genetic condition that can lead to early-onset coronary artery disease.
“FH is a common inherited cardiovascular disorder that isn’t regularly diagnosed,” Dr. Jones said. She noted that it’s often not diagnosed until after someone has a cardiac event. And she stressed the importance of screening.
“We need to get screening into primary care, because getting FH patients on therapy early works. Implementation science tells us how we can move what we know into clinical practice.”
A perfect fit
Tyler is helping Dr. Jones’ implementation science team analyze and synthesize qualitative data from clinician interviews and direct observations. His work will help identify potential snags in implementing FH screening into primary care.
It’s a win for her, but even more so for Tyler. He recently joined Dr. Jones at the National Lipid Association Scientific Sessions meeting in Scottsdale. While he was there, he also received training in clinical lipidology from experts in the field.
Dr. Jones looks forward to seeing Tyler’s passion for helping others and the new perspective he’ll bring. But what she’s most excited about is his future with Geisinger.
“From our talks, I know Tyler wants to do med-peds and incorporate genomics into his practice,” Dr. Jones said. “Geisinger is one of the best places to do this kind of work. And because he’s an Abigail Geisinger Scholar, our study directly relates to the work he’ll do when he comes back to Geisinger after residency. He's making great connections here and learning how we use genomics to facilitate better health. It all seems like a perfect fit.”