A Phenomenal “SUMR” in Health Services Research

Anthony Montes de Oca, COL ’25, Brick, NJ

Despite having conducted research at Penn before through wet labs, I was craving something to fulfill my curiosity in the realm of healthcare. That was until I participated in the Penn LDI Summer Undergraduate Minority Research (SUMR) Program. For the past 12 weeks, I had the pleasure of working simultaneously with two different principal investigators, absorbing the wisdom from multiple guest speakers in healthcare during weekday lunch sessions, and traveling to a conference in Seattle, WA.

For my research, I worked on two different projects. One of my projects was under Stacey Bevan, a fourth-year PhD student in the School of Nursing. I joined her ongoing qualitative project, Pathways to Autism Diagnosis: Lived Experience of Hispanic Immigrant Families, where we aim to describe the experience of Hispanic immigrant families who have a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through the US healthcare system. This is being done through semi-structured interviews, followed by qualitative coding of these interviews. I also had fantastic additional opportunities to work on a paper addressing clinical considerations for providers when coming across an immigrant family that has a child at risk for ASD and be a part of a separate sleep study, led by Dr. Margaret Souders, PhD.

In the second project, I worked under Dr. Meghan Lane-Fall, MD in another ongoing study, Handoffs and Transitions in Critical Care-Understanding Scalability (HATRICC-US), investigating the quality of care for vulnerable patients. Twice a week, I would collect data at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center’s TSICU on how clinicians interact during handoffs (meaning when the transfer of care occurs for a patient when they are brought from the OR to the ICU). Along with collecting data and creating case summary reports, I also got to work on a systematic review that explores OR-to-ICU handoff interventions and their impacts.

At the end of June, our entire program attended the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting in Seattle. It was my first conference ever, and I was able to see so much cool research and network with professionals in health services, as well as get to explore the beautiful city. In July, I was made aware that my project (Pathways…Families) was being funded by the Wharton Dean’s Office. Seven other scholars and I were deemed Wharton Dean’s Scholars and got to meet and take pictures with Dean Dr. Erika James, Vice Dean Dr. Nancy Zhang, and Deputy Dean Dr. Nancy Rothbard. At the end of the program, all of the scholars got to present our research during our SUMR Symposium. Throughout the next academic year, I will be continuing both of my projects. I am extremely appreciative of all of the memories, friends, career advice, and mentorship that I received from this pipeline program!

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2023 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here

By Career Services
Career Services