Research Opportunities

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In alignment with MSIH’s belief in harnessing the vast expertise that BGU has to offer in research, all students are required do research.  The student research project will be in one of the following areas: research in basic bio-medical sciences, clinical research, medical ethics, medical education, epidemiology, global health or another topic approved by the Research Committee. In addition, there is an option to participate in a 4-week research elective in the fourth year so students may work on their project.

We offer a team to assist you with the planning, execution, analysis and publication of your studies. Students also have access to the greater BGU community, which is engaged in researching a broad range of topics — including geopolitics, pollution and water management, health service management, personal well-being, and even robotics and cybersecurity.

What our medical students have worked on... and thoughts about their research

Advantages of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) in Left-Sided Breast Radiation Therapy
Submitted for review to Advances in Radiation Oncology, supervising professor Dr. Shira Galper

Although radiation is a key part of the treatment of many breast cancers, there is risk of radiation toxicity to nearby organs: the goal is to provide the highest dose possible to the target area while sparing non-tumor tissue. This is particularly challenging with left-sided breast tumors, due to the anatomic proximity of the breast to the heart and lungs. CPAP, a device typically used to treat lung diseases, works by expanding the lungs, which also pushes the heart downwards and backwards. As a result, there is less lung and heart tissue in the radiation field which should minimize radiation to the heart and lungs.

This project has been an immensely formative experience for me. It allowed me to explore the field of radiation oncology, which we don’t often get to experience in the standard medical curriculum. I learned how to contour and the basics of how to plan radiation treatments, as well as the decision making that goes into management of oncology patients. What is most rewarding about this project, however, is the possibility that we may have found a tool that can actually improve medical care. If CPAP can be used to maximize the therapeutic efficacy of radiation for even one patient, that would be amazing. It is an accessible tool, and to see it be repurposed in this way is very exciting.

Jensen Reckhow
M.D., MSIH, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Class of 2020
B.S., Environmental Engineering, Yale University
M.Ph., Epidemiology of Microbial Disease and Global Health
Current Resident in Obstetrics-Gynecology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Facilitators and barriers to smoking cessation among minority men using the behavioral ecological model and Behavior Change Wheel: A concept mapping study
Published on PLOS ONE, supervising professor Dr. Nihaya Daoud

Arab men in Israel have smoking rates twice as high as Israeli Jewish men. National public health measures for smoking prevention and cessation do not seem to be making the same amount of impact on Arab men. Public health intervention should be tailored to the sociocultural environment of the target population. This study identifies culturally appropriate strategies that can be used in a national intervention to improve smoking prevention and cessation among Arab men.

I believe that public health and preventative medicine are the foundation of the health of a society. I wanted to work on a project that would allow me to stay involved in the field of public health, even as I memorized my anatomy words and pharmacology facts. I also wanted to be involved in a project that would allow me to learn more about the health of a minority community in Israel. I really believe that research should involve the participation of the community it is intending to benefit as often as possible and was drawn to this project because of its community-centered approach and the impact it had to potentially inform national policies and health outcomes.

Grace Jung, MSIH Class of 2020
MD, MSIH, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Class of 2020
B.A. Public Health, Calvin College
Current Resident in Internal Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon

Sedated Ultrasound Guided Saline Reduction (SUR) of Ileocolic Intussusception: 17 Year Experience
Presented at the 2018 Radiologic Society of North America (RSNA) Conference as part of the Gastrointestinal Pediatric Series.
Supervising Professor Dr. Benjamin Taragin

This study presents 17 years of experience with acute intussusception treatment in a hospital setting. Intussusception (prolapse of one part of the intestine into the lumen of an immediately adjoining part) represents the most common cause for an acute abdomen in infancy. The research studies the use of sedated ultrasound guided saline reduction of intussusception. A total of 327 episodes were identified, of which 304 episodes in 264 patients were enrolled in the study protocol. There were 263 successful intussusception reductions, giving an overall success rate of 86 % with no instances of perforation. This study demonstrates that sedation improves the overall reduction rate without increasing complications and avoiding harmful ionizing radiation.

Intussusception is a medical emergency but the advancement of sonographic enema reduction has proved to be extremely important and reliable in treating young children with this diagnosis. For me, it’s interesting to see that there is still a debate as to whether ultrasound should be used over fluoroscopic enema for intussusception reduction even though the former doesn’t expose children to radiation and provides similar rates of success. I hope this study will add more evidence to support sedated ultrasound-guided reduction as the recommended technique in intussusception reduction moving forward.

Robert Sacks
MD, MSIH, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Class of 2020
B.A. Medicine, Health and Society, Vanderbilt University
M.A. Social Foundations of Health, Vanderbilt University
Current Resident in Neurology at SUNY Brooklyn, New York

Practice Cross-Cultural Medicine

M.D. in Global Health