Meet Liza Mann, M2

Liza Mann
Date: Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Liza Mann is an M2 at the Carver College of Medicine. This summer she participated in the Summer Research Fellowship Program which spans from June-August. This program, fostered through the Office of Student Affairs and Curriculum, provides an avenue for students to become familiar with the research process and explore different careers in academic medicine.

Liza offered feedback on her experience conducting research through the program, including advice for students interested in research and her experience working alongside a faculty mentor.

What is your hometown?

Ames, Iowa

What made you choose the University of Iowa for your studies?

So many things! I was mostly drawn by the people: the amazing faculty, OSAC and the students that I met along the way. Everyone was so immensely supportive and willing to talk about anything, especially all of the opportunities that Iowa has to offer for students.

Describe briefly what your study is testing, and how you hope to achieve an outcome.

My study is looking at how shared plans of care (SPoC) impact health outcomes for children and youth with special health care needs. Shared plans of care are considered a new tool for care coordination, which has been shown to better the quality of care that patients receive. SPOCs allow patients and families to make goals and store valuable information.

My study aims to retrospectively assess care of children with a mental health diagnosis and with a SPoC compared to children without a SPoC. I will look initially at healthcare utilization measures including: hospitalizations, primary care visits and ED visits.

What results are you hoping to find from your study?

In the literature there has been mixed data regarding various care coordination programs for complex children and youth. Furthermore, there is little to no data on children and youth with mental health diagnoses. We would hope to see healthcare utilization shift from hospitalizations and ED visits to primary care visits. This is one way researchers and insurance companies determine the quality of care as well as the severity of the patients receiving the care. 

What was it like working with a faculty member on your research?

I had a great experience working with Dr. Scholz (my faculty mentor). I had the opportunity to shadow him and talk to him about his role as a director of the child and community health department. I think that this glimpse into the diversity of the work that a physician does in an academic center was invaluable and will guide my decisions for my future practice.

What was your biggest takeaway from your summer research project?

My biggest takeaway would be that “research” doesn't have to be at a lab bench. It can be out in a community or within a clinical context.

What piece of advice do you have for undergraduate students, or anybody interested in medical research?

I would encourage people that don't particularly like classic lab research to consider clinical translational research like mine. I initially did not even consider the summer research program because of past lab experiences that I did not particularly enjoy. Although translational research still has frustrating moments, I enjoy the practical and direct application to programs that support real patients.