TCOM student selected for prestigious MSTAR Fellowship

By Steven BartolottaTcom Student Imran Hs Fc Web

Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (TCOM) Imran Rashik was one of just 13 medical students from across the nation to be selected for the prestigious National Medical Students Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Fellowship. Rashik will spend eight weeks this summer at the UNC School of Medicine’s Center for Aging and Health, working in a structured research, clinical and didactic program. 

“After getting the offer of acceptance, I thought that I received a great opportunity to broaden my research interests,” said the TCOM third-year student. “Moreover, I felt grateful for having an amazing support system in my life. I have a loving wife who has supported me through all of my struggles in medical school and encouraged me to pursue my research interests ever since my first year in TCOM.” 

Growing up in Bangladesh spurred Rashik’s passion for medicine and geriatrics, but it wasn’t because of a friend or a mentor, it was because of how his parents were treated by physicians.   

“My parents often had negative experiences during their visits to our local primary care clinics,” Rashik said. “This is what made me want to pursue a career in medicine with a focus on improving care quality for older adults. My passion is to be involved in a variety of geriatric research projects to figure out what areas excite me the most.” 

The MSTAR Program provides medical students with an enriching experience in aging-related research and geriatrics, with the mentorship of top experts in the field. This program introduces students to research and academic experiences early in their training that they might not otherwise have during medical school.  

This will be Rashik’s third geriatric fellowship over the last two years, allowing him numerous opportunities to explore his passion while also making a difference.  

“In the first project, I created a survey to assess the satisfaction of virtual visits in older adults when COVID-19 created a barrier to in-person care,” Rashik said. “In the second project, I studied two questionnaire survey scores to look for a correlation between self-reported visual function and cognitive dysfunction. I found a significant association between the scores on the two surveys, which allowed me to posit ideas for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. During the summer of 2022, I plan to be part of another exciting project to mitigate fall risk in older adults residing in assisted living communities.” 

He is quick to credit his faculty mentors, Dr. Knebl, Dr. Jennifer Severance, Dr. Sajid Surve and Dr. Sima Mozdbar, for giving him feedback and answers to his many questions. Whatever his road ends up being, Rashik will be able to draw on his experiences from his childhood through medical school to help make him a better osteopathic physician.  

“I have been extremely impressed with his initiative and dedication toward research activities in addition to clinical care,” said TCOM’s Interim Chair for Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Dr. Janice Knebl. “He and another TCOM student partnered for the MSTAR 2020 project titled ‘Telehealth Satisfaction for Geriatric Patients’ and received three awards for this poster presentation at HSC’s Research Appreciation Day 2021. Imran truly embraces his education, takes advantage and pursues every possible opportunity. It has been such a pleasure for me to be one of his faculty mentors, and I know he is going to be an outstanding osteopathic physician.”

“TCOM has great faculty who are amazing mentors,” Rashik said. “I realized that getting accepted as a student in the Class of 2023 was one of the best things that ever happened in my life.  I believe all of these projects will help me decide whether I want to pursue geriatrics as a fellowship after I complete my intended residency in family medicine. I am very thankful to my parents for motivating me to pursue excellence in care for older adults.” 

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