Council Minutes for September 2011:

Persons in Attendence:

Vijay Pandyarajan, Meredith Sorenson, Tom Richardson, DaShawn Hickman, Anna Henry, Gloria Tavera, Bryan Benson, Abner Murray, Kirkland Wilson, Alex Tong, Jeff Krimmel, Pam Marcott, Alex McMillan, Zach Nevin, Heather Connelly, Grant Zimmerman, Charlie Wang, Andrea Cohen, Marisa Winkler, Emily Hamburg, Joe Vithayathil, Andrew Lavik, Teresa Evans, Paul Lin, Maritza Rosales, Chris Ryder, Cliff Harding



September 13, 2011



1.     MSTP Council committee appointments

2.     Committee reports from monthly meeting, website, summer retreat, and faculty council

3.     Winter retreat update


MSTP Council Officers 2011-2012


Executive Committee:

President: Vijay Pandyarajan

Vice President: Meredith Sorenson

Secretary: Tom Richardson


Class Officers:

Med 1: DaShawn Hickman

Med 2: Heather Connelly

PhD 1: Charlie Wang

PhD 2: Joe Vithayathil

PhD 3: Sungho Lee

PhD 4+: Chris Ryder


Summer Retreat Committee:

Anna Henry

Pam Marcott

Charlie Wang (Senior Advisor)


Intro to MSTP Committee:

Jeff Krimmel


Communications Committee:

Emily Hamburg


Community Service Committee:

Alex McMillan


Social Committee:

Gloria Tavera

Kirkland Wilson


Monthly Meeting Coordinator:

Vice President (Meredith Sorenson)


MSTP Rep to GSS:

Bryan Benson

Andrea Cohen (alternate)


MSTP Rep to Faculty Council:

Zachary Nevin

Marisa Winkler (alternate)


MSTP Rep to CME:

Joe Vithayathil

Maritza Rosales (alternate)



Grant Zimmerman


Recruiting Liaisons: TBA



MSTP Council dinner sign-ups:

October: Alex Tong, Jeff Krimmel


December: Alex McMillan, Bryan Benson

January: Heather Connelly

February: DaShawn Hickman, Anna Henry

March: Charlie Wang

April: Emily Hamburg

May: Joe Vithayathil



Committee Reports


Monthly meeting:

Vijay opened a discussion regarding changing the monthly meeting class assignments, since PhD 4 has little notice to organize a September meeting and PhD 3 currently has little to contribute to organizing the May graduation party. The suggestion to Council was to have PhD 3 and PhD 4 organize “wild card” meeting dates as they desire, but are no longer required to organize September and May monthly meetings. The MSTP women’s group has been active in organizing a September monthly meeting, and Council decided to have the women’s group continue to organize the September monthly meetings in the future.


Next, Council entertained discussion of having MSTP research mentors attend monthly meetings to improve faculty-student contact and introduce MD 1/MD 2 phase students to potential mentors. Teresa stated that faculty should not be part of MSTP monthly meetings held in conjunction with interview dates. Marisa agreed, stating that applicants will want some downtime, especially during dinner, where they do not need to discuss research with faculty mentors. Chris agreed, and also stated that students should have an informal session such as monthly meeting to feel open to ask questions of the speaker.


Heather recalled that few mentors had participated in an MSTP-organized social event, but believed this to be a one-time attendance issue and thought more faculty members would attend a regularly organized event. Cliff suggested that MSTP offer more than one faculty-student event in the future, so that more people can attend either session, albeit with the possibility of diminished interest in each individual event. Zach offered that something like the BSTP faculty poster session, where students can interact with potential mentors discussing their research, could be offered during the winter retreat. Meredith suggested that PIs or students in those labs present at winter retreat.


Cliff has tried to have MD 1/MD 2 MSTP students invited to BSTP events, such as the poster session, and events held by graduate departments and training programs, for example the Immunology Training Program retreat. Cliff also recognized that BSTP events are not scheduled with MSTP students necessarily in mind, nor does MSTP have any control over them, and recognized that BSTP events exclude the BME and Epidemiology training programs. Heather stated that the BSTP poster session should be scheduled such that MD 1 and MD 2 students can attend after their classes. Joe felt that these sessions are not the best opportunities to meet many faculty, but still worth attending. Meredith agreed, stating that the events are good for engaging faculty in person, especially since lab websites are not updated frequently.


Cliff suggested that students work closely with Kathy in planning MSTP faculty-student events, and include invitations from the students to attend. Vijay suggested having the MD 1 and MD 2 class officers become involved in drafting the official invitation. Pam wanted to ensure that all mentors continue to be invited. Andrea suggested two emails: one to all mentors, and one targeted to specific faculty members of interest to current MD 1/MD 2 students. Emily offered that the second message instead be targeted to departments that interest the current MD 1/MD 2 students, for example those listed on their applications or designated at matriculation; this approach would be simpler to plan and organize as opposed to a personalized approach. Anna reminded Council that if a student has a strong interest in a mentor’s lab, the student should simply get in touch and organize a rotation.


Vijay stated that the February monthly meeting speaker arrangement is already in progress: Arthur Gutierrez-Hartmann, the keynote speaker for Lepow Day. Cliff said that Dr. Gutierrez-Hartmann is head of MSTP at University of Colorado and nationally prominent in physician-scientist training. He organizes the annual national MD-PhD student conference in Denver. He has visited our program previously and knows the CWRU program through the previous director John Nilson. Cliff encouraged Council to make sure that MSTP students attend his Lepow Day keynote address. Cliff also encouraged that we arrange time on his schedule, including possibly the monthly meeting dinner seminar slot. The MSTP and Council should make the most of the opportunity to engage with Dr. Gutierrez-Hartmann.


The women’s group is sponsoring the next monthly meeting, scheduled for Thursday September 22 and featuring Amy Hise. Everyone is welcome to attend. The MD 1 women inquired about the women’s group. Teresa stated that the women’s group is mainly responsible for introducing women MSTP students to women physician-scientists. The current advisor is Marion Skalweit. The group has become less active recently, but is still an important student group. Cliff feels it is very important to have a women’s group. He noted that the women’s group is related to MSTP Council, but that there is no elections process for the women’s group in MSTP Council to allow the women’s group to be organized separately in a way that works best for the group. He encouraged continued participation and group activity. Gloria offered that she would be happy to help with the women’s group. Kathy is responsible for the women’s group email list and website.



Vijay noted that there have not been many updates to website pictures or the newsletter. Council should decide if MSTP should update these sections and if we should keep old material. Kathy also needs more volunteers for “ask a student.” Meredith clarified that ask a student volunteers have their pictures, class year, and contact information posted for prospective students to use when inquiring about our program. Vijay also reported that Kathy needs a general contact for the women’s group. Emily will update women’s group section of website.


Council discussed that the newsletter section can be replaced with different format, such as events we did from the past year; this would provide information on our activities to prospective students. Heather suggested that the class officers compile information from their classes, and post shorter, more frequent updates (such as once or twice a year) as opposed to the longer article format. Bryan offered that it would be easy to distill Kathy’s emails into information that is specifically relevant and interesting to prospective students. Vijay stated that the website should consolidate events that occurred throughout the year, and Meredith added that student-centered information and social events be added as well. Vijay also added that the benefits and MSTP life pages need updating. Zach proposed a reminder on how to update student profiles and access the MSTP Google calendar.


Summer retreat:

MSTP Council and the summer retreat committee need to start thinking about the retreat location and keynote speaker choices. Vijay stated that late planning does not work well for this event. Meredith offered that the summer retreat committee should coordinate with Kathy to send emails soliciting keynote speakers. Cliff stated that Kathy will help determine the retreat dates, and that the retreat should be during the first week of July before required MD 1 activities. MSTP also needs to select and book the facility early.


Faculty council:

Zach reported that the faculty council has not discussed anything directly pertaining to MSTP, but had interesting discussions regarding faculty salaries and possible dissolution of the Anatomy Department, which would lead to anatomy faculty being ineligible for tenure and would lead to cancellation of the anatomy PhD and MS programs.


Winter retreat update:

Vijay has invited Dr. Olufunmilayo Olopade from University of Chicago to be the speaker. Another choice is Dr. Peter Arvan from University of Michigan.



Action items


Vijay will follow up on Kathy’s plans and communications regarding the faculty mentor-student session from last year.


Cliff will coordinate with Kathy and BGSS regarding the BSTP poster session and faculty-student mixer schedule, especially to make sure that MD 1 students can attend.


Meredith will contact Nick Ziats to arrange MSTP events during the Lepow Day visit of Dr. Arthur Gutierrez-Hartmann.



Next MSTP Council meeting: Tuesday October 11, 5:45 p.m.


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