CHEPS Pulse: CHEPSter to CHEPSter Med School Edition, February 2021

In This Issue

CHEPSter to CHEPSter: Med School Edition
An interview with Anna Rujan by Fumiya Abe-Nornes

Fumiya is a current pre-med biophysics undergraduate student who has worked at CHEPS since the summer of 2019. He spoke with Anna, a CHEPS alum, who is currently in her fourth year of medical school.

(L) Anna Rujan (R) Fumiya Abe-Nornes

Anna (Munaco) Rujan, a current 4th-year medical student at the University of Michigan waiting to match into a residency program, started working at CHEPS in the winter of 2015, which was her 3rd year of undergraduate studies at U of M. As she completed her engineering degree while also following the pre-med track, she worked at CHEPS for 2.5 years, right up until she started attending medical school. She explained how an internship in supply chain management between her sophomore and junior year of college left her feeling disappointed in the lack of human connection. After taking an IOE course and looking for a new perspective, she was introduced to healthcare engineering through the teaching assistant of the class. A thread of emails and a meeting with CHEPS Faculty Director Amy Cohn later, Anna found herself finding the best of both worlds at CHEPS where she could not only utilize her interest in IOE but then apply it to healthcare, medicine, and patient safety. Ultimately, she described the timing of meeting Amy as perfect. Coming from a family of physicians, pre-med and the anecdotal stories of inefficiencies in healthcare were always in the back of her mind, and CHEPS gave her the chance to further explore this avenue of opportunity and gave her the fresh perspective that she was searching for.

During her time at CHEPS, Anna worked on many projects, including Surgical Instruments, PEDs Roadmap, VA Community Living Center, Surgical Scheduling, STEREO, BMT, among a few more. When asked which her favorite was, she talked about the Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) project because it was a type of research that she was unfamiliar with so it served as a great learning opportunity. The project also required her to spend hours within the clinical setting, solidifying her confidence in the medical journey she was about to embark on. When asked if Anna had a “this is CHEPS” moment, she spoke highly of the people and community. She felt that her project members were more than just fellow researchers but were truly friends; the experiences of running into them all over campus, and the sense of family (faculty, staff, students) at CHEPS were some of her fondest memories.

CHEPS left a profound impact on Anna’s perspective in every way, inspiring some words of advice based on what she took away from the experience. To begin, she advised any CHEPSters that are interested in medicine to not be deterred from medical school just because of their academic discipline — everything you learn, no matter what your major is, will be applicable in one way or another. She also recommended that, whenever some meaningful experience happens, you write it down and have it ready to share as it becomes part of your story on your journey. Beyond just advice, Anna also reflected on some of the skills that she acquired during her time at CHEPS that helped her transition into medical school. The “team-based nature of the way things work at CHEPS is just incredibly valuable,” she explained based on her experience of working in many team settings through medical school. Even organizational skills, such as email writing and meeting minutes, have impressed those around her to the point where they get excited upon receiving her emails.

As a fourth-year medical student that is just a couple of months away from graduating, Anna also spent some time reflecting on her medical school experience. Ultimately, she explained how while the days could feel long, especially on those where the “imposter syndrome was on steroids,” the years felt short. To be able to look back and see the amount of growth, both personally and in her knowledge base, has served her as a good way to keep her chin up on those long days. Anna is currently pursuing a residency program in OB/GYN. The personal connection that gets built with the patient, whether it be during pregnancy or over a lifetime, during some of the most intimate moments of their life is what drew Anna to connect to the specialty. Outside of medicine, Anna is a big family person and loves to spend time at the gym. Ultimately, Anna emphasized how she can still see the impact CHEPS has had, and couldn’t be more thankful for the community it provided and the lessons it taught.

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Emmett Springer

CHEPS students blog to share life at CHEPS from the student perspective.

“I’ve learned that in this line of work (and especially amidst a global pandemic) it’s essential to adapt your work to fit the current (and often quickly changing) need, regardless of how much time or effort you put into a previous approach or project. At the end of the day, no work is wasted work because you’ve either learned a new skill, learned something new about the project, or both!” – Emmett Springer, Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate

Center for Healthcare Engineering & Patient Safety | University of Michigan
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