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Medical students create first UA medicine research journal

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Two medical students and their editorial team in the UA College of Medicine have created the college’s first research journal.

Medical students Tania Hassanzadeh and Vicky Khoury are the editor-in-chiefs of the University of Arizona Journal of Medicine. Hassanzadeh completed her undergraduate degree at Duke University and Khoury completed her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley. Khoury said both of their undergraduate experiences placed an emphasis on the importance of conducting research.

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“Tania and I met at the first day of orientation in medical school and we just started talking about our background in research,” Khoury said. “We started talking to our peers and realized a lot of our peers had very heavy research backgrounds, and we wanted a platform to showcase the work of our peers and see what other research is being done on the University of Arizona campus.”

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This is a non-peer reviewed research journal, meaning Hassanzadeh, Khoury, or anyone else on the editorial team, will not be changing the content of work that students submit.

“We are very well-renowned for our primary care, but the research doesn’t get as much credit as it should,” Hassanzadeh said.

Hassanzadeh said they released the first print issue of the journal in February, but they’re now moving to an online platform. She said they made the first issue available to all UA students, staff and faculty on the website and all future issues will be available both in print and online for UA users.

“This is a medical research journal for and by medical students,” Khoury said. “That being said, we unfortunately don’t take research work done by faculty at the University of Arizona.”

However, the journal’s team includes five faculty editors and two faculty advisors. The process of content submission from other medical students requires all work to be reviewed by different people of the team.

“We try to divvy up the work based on the specialty of the faculty,” Khoury said.

The managing editors of the journal’s team include students Joseph Frankl, Weston LaGrandeur, Alex Liu, Maryam Gilpatrick and Rohini Patel. All members of the managing editors' team will graduate in 2018.

The associate editors include Blake Gibson and Kyle McKeown, both in the class of 2017, and Theodore Lin a member of the 2019 class.

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Khoury said the journal’s purpose is not just to showcase the work of its peers, but also to help students that are interested in certain topics navigate toward contacts in the medical research community that will accommodate those interests and collaborate on future work.

“There are a lot of students in our shoes who are very interested in connecting research, but don’t know who to contact and how to go about it,” Hassanzadeh said.

Dr. Marlys Witte , a professor of surgery, serves as director of Student Research for the UA College of Medicine and is one of the faculty advisors of the journal.

Witte said Dr. Charles Cairns, the Dean of the College of Medicine, approved the initial funding for the design and production of the first issue of the journal. Cairns provided the funding after the students had presented their proposal about “the value and importance of having such a publication,” according to Witte.

“This is entirely a student idea,” Witte said. “This is just something we didn’t have and the students took the initiative to start it themselves.”


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