Why Medicine?: Video Transcript

Tiffany Campbell [honors senior double major in Psychology and Biology, Class of 2018]: My first week freshman year, I emailed Dr. Quinn. I found her research profile on the Miami psychology department website, and I was really interested in the kinds of work that she was doing with learning and memory and emotional processing. And so I emailed her and I said I've taken some psych classes, would you be interested in having me in your lab? And she met with me, and she talked about the different projects she was doing with memory reconsolidation and early life stress, and I was really interested in those, and so she told me that her lab was full, but she could squeeze me in, and I'm really grateful for that.

We look at memory reconsolidation, which ultimately we hope will be clinically translated into PTSD research and how can we develop drugs that will help, like, military members come back who have PTSD, how can we help ease those memories, those fear memories. So that's where that basic science research hopes to go in the clinical translation field.

That prepared me really well with the background for my research fellowship at Cincinnati Children's, which was sponsored by the Mallory-Wilson Center. I worked under Dr. Pennock here with that and Dr. Vadivelu there. I worked in the neurosurgery department studying quality of life outcomes, specifically mental health in children with a cerebrovascular condition called cavernoma. The age group is anywhere from newborns all the way up, but my study specifically is focused on children 4 to 17.

So cerebral cavernoma is the condition, and it can affect anyone. It's a cerebrovascular anomaly in the brain where the vascular tissue develops kind-of-like a raspberry shape, and it can be anywhere from really small to a couple centimeters in size, and the walls of the tissue are thin, so blood can leak out, causing a hemorrhage, and the hemorrhage can damage other parts of the brain. So it's usually found incidentally, when you're getting an MRI for something else or a CT scan for something else.

I work under a specific neurosurgeon, Dr. Vadivelu, but I would also go to the cerebrovascular research meetings and the cerebrovascular clinical huddles every week. So I got to see the clinical side of everything and the research side, which was kind of a requirement of the fellowship from Mallory-Wilson. So I would shadow on Tuesdays at the clinic and get to see children with these cerebrovascular disorders, and we would talk about their imaging with neurosurgeons, neurologists, neuropsychologists, all in the same room talking about every patient, which is super good to get to hear every perspective.

The basis of these experiences for me was answering the question, 'why medicine?' And I knew that I wanted to go into medicine, but I couldn't really answer the why. So having these research experiences and these mentorship experiences have really helped me iron out exactly what I want to do in medicine, which ultimately I think right now is academic medicine, probably in a neuro-related specialty. So having the research experience to get to see the kind of behind-the-scenes aspect of why certain treatments are recommended and how neurological processes unfold has really been crucial.

[November 2017]