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Externship Was a “Phenomenal” Learning Experience for Tulane Med Student

(October 22, 2010) Beginning June 1, 2010, Jonathan Santoro, currently enrolled in Tulane University School of Medicine, came to Ochsner to earn more than 300 hours toward an externship in Infectious Diseases, working alongside Dr. Julia Garcia-Diaz. Prior to his externship at Ochsner, Jonathan had already gained extensive and wide-ranging clinical experience; he was a research assistant working on studies of addictive behaviors and biochemical analyses in Louisiana and Rhode Island, a neuropharmacology intern in Indiana, and a clinical research coordinator in Maryland. He also has extensive experience in speech pathology, having worked as a speech therapist for children with autism and developmental deterrents in both Louisiana and Rhode Island. Jonathan’s Ochsner externship was a valuable addition to his clinic-based studies.

“I first learned of Ochsner’s summer externship while doing a preceptorship with my mentor Dr. Julia Garcia-Diaz during the academic year,” Jonathan explained. “Like many other medical students, I wanted to be involved in a research project during my time off between my first and second years of school and thought this would be a great opportunity for me to become entrenched in solid clinic-based research.

“When I first began my project on sepsis mortalities and antibiotic de-escalation technique, I was completely unfamiliar with the literature on the subject,” Jonathan continued. “Over the first few weeks, I read nearly every article I could get my hands on, becoming more and more familiar with the material. As an additional way of learning, I also rounded with the fellows and residents in the afternoon in search of septic patients whom I could also see in person to gain a clinical aspect to the articles I had gone through.

“Eventually I created a database of over 600 patients from over two years, compiling data on everything from time of entry to the hospital for septicemia to the exact timing that they received antibiotics. Pouring through files on septic patients gave me a great understanding of the clinical management of sepsis from the infectious disease perspective as well as from the internal medicine perspective.

“Overall my externship was phenomenal due to the fact that I was able to gain laboratory understanding, clinical knowledge, and was also able to refine my research skills.”

Academic Outreach thanks Dr. Julia Garcia-Diaz who served as Jonathan’s mentor. If you or anyone you know is interested in having an educational experience similar to Jonathan’s, please contact EducationOutreach@ochsner.org.

Academic Outreach serves the community and maintains Ochsner’s position as a national academic leader by supporting educational development, providing unique academic resources, and connecting students and teachers with innovative academic opportunities.

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