What I Learned From MCMI



PETER WIRTH


I'm in the middle of med school.

I don't come from a family of doctors. Everybody in my family is in business so interacting with Dr. Berkner (MCMI president) was my first time outside of being a patient that I was able to interact with an MD or DO and he was able to help me and it was it was nice to be able to bounce ideas off of him because he was also pretty skilled in the basic sciences. So it was really cool to see his job.  He was an incredible resource.

Well, in undergrad, for people applying to medical school it’s common that you do research. I mean that's just one of those boxes that you need to check off for whatever reason. And the reason people are going to med school is to help people.

It felt like working (at Colby) with Mellissa Glenn and Dr. Berkner - they saw me as a colleague definitely. I mean it takes a little while; you can’t go in there your freshman year and tell them what to do.  By senior year they give you the ownership of your projects and your ideas and they are not there to try to steal it from you.

I was working with Melissa Glenn doing rat research and we developed a new model of traumatic brain injury - mild traumatic brain injury, a.k.a. concussion, which is what MCMI studies. So we developed a new model and that was recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience Methods.

The paper that we just published, I'm first-author, which in science literature, I’m sure you’re aware, is a big deal. They encouraged me to take ownership of that project and I think if I hadn't done that I would have been a lot more timid in approaching doctors here about what my research experiences because they kind of give it to you and say you are capable of doing this. So have at it. And then they're there to support you and help you guide you along the way.

So I was able to do basic science research and take that. And when I was feeling down or tired of sitting in the lab I could look toward MCMI as being like the parent of all of that and it brought us back as humans. And you know I would attend MCMI meetings talking about balance testing and very tangible things that actually impact people not just the rats in the lab.  It kind of reminds you of why you're doing this. All of that suddenly become really worthwhile and it's actually helping people your own community, which is really hard to find.