Fourth-Year Medical Students in Generalist Scholars Program Present Research Projects

June 1, 2023 by

Generalists Scholars Program 2023

(left to right) Will Ford, Abby Halm, Joey Michel, and Alexa Caffio-Learner

On May 2, graduating fourth-year medical students in the Generalist Scholars Program (GSP) presented their scholarship projects to GSP students and faculty, mentors, family, and friends at the annual GSP Scholarship Project Celebration.

Student Abby Halm interviewed physicians and advanced practice providers from Obstetrics & Gynecology, Family Medicine, and Pediatrics to identify educational and communication strategies to improve postpartum care of the mother-infant dyad. Will Ford described patterns in Early Intervention (EI) referrals and receipt of EI services among at-risk infants in Virginia and identified factors associated with being referred to and receiving EI services. Alexa Caffio-Learner’s project evaluated the current state of communication of behavioral concerns upon the transfer of patients between different pediatric units and used the quantitative and qualitative data she collected to make recommendations to refine the system. Joey Michel developed and alpha tested the Gender Expansive Teens: Affirming Future Fertility Intentions and Reproductive options through Movies for Education & Decision support decision aid (GET: AFFIRMED decision aid) to help gender-expansive teens seeking gender-affirming care understand and make decisions about their fertility and reproductive future.

The GSP is a four-year scholarship and mentoring program within the School of Medicine that develops student leaders who intend to pursue a career in generalist medicine. GSP students begin their scholarship work during the summer before matriculation into medical school, where they learn about qualitative and quantitative methods in primary care research. During their first year of medical school, students identify a primary care topic of interest to them. They work with members of the GSP faculty, the UVA medical school community, faculty and staff across Grounds, and experts in the field to refine their interest, identify research questions, and develop a data collection and analysis plan. Students begin data collection during the summer after their first year of medical school as they complete the requirements for the Medical Student Summer Research Program (MSSRP). They continue their work through the end of their fourth year, culminating in an oral presentation and writing of a paper of publishable quality. Students also present their work at various local, regional, and national professional conferences.

GSP Students are encouraged to follow their passion in selecting a primary care research topic. For some students, this interest is personal- an experience that they or a close family member has lived or an issue that impacts the community in which they are from. For others, this interest might be rooted in a talk given on Grounds or an issue discussed in one of their medical school courses.

We wish Abby, Will, Alexa, and Joey all the best in their residency programs. To learn more about the GSP, please visit our webpage at

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