Eight OUWB students go ‘up north’ to present at orthopaedic conference
An image of Ethan Dimock speaking at the conference
Ethan Dimock, M2, presented a retrospective chart study. The conference allowed Dimock to expand on what he has learned during his time at OUWB.

Eight OUWB students recently took advantage of the opportunity to present their research at a conference held at one of Michigan’s most popular tourist destinations.

The students presented at the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island during a conference hosted by the Michigan Orthopaedic Society (MOS). The MOS Scientific Meeting was held June 7-9.

The conference allows attendees to absorb the latest developments in orthopaedics, including surgery methods, rare orthopaedic conditions, and studies on subspecialties such as pediatrics and sports medicine.

For students, they said it was an opportunity to expand on skills gained at OUWB while highlighting their interest in orthopaedics and other health care areas.

This process begins at the OUWB anatomy lab and the three partnering hospitals of the Corewell Health system.

“The anatomy lab on campus really sets the foundations for almost developing a roadmap,” said Matthew Cederman, an M2 student who presented several case studies. “Almost like with maps and driving — if you don't know where you're going, it's hard to drive properly.”

Ethan Dimock, M2, presented a retrospective chart study. The conference allowed Dimock to expand on what he has learned during his time at OUWB.

“It's one thing to learn about things in the classroom, which is definitely something that you need a hundred percent,” Dimock said. “But then getting to apply that to a real-world scenario, that's when you start to take that next step, and you get to advance your education to an even further point.”

An image of Avianna Arapovic speaking at the conference

Avianna Arapovic speaks during the conference.

That was the case for Avianna Arapovic, M3. When Arapovic isn’t in the classroom or hospital, she’s in the gym – as a personal trainer. Araopovic incorporated her love for fitness and nutrition into her research on total joint arthroplasty.

“My passion for nutrition stems from my background as a personal trainer, where I saw firsthand the significant impact that proper nutrition can have on physical health and recovery,” said Arapovic. “This passion naturally extended into my medical research, driving my interest in how nutritional strategies can improve outcomes in orthopedic procedures such as total joint arthroplasty.”

In the case of Cederman, attending the MOS meeting for a second time is what he hopes is the beginning of a career in orthopaedics.

“Anybody who knows me knows that orthopaedics is at the forefront of my vision,” Cederman said. “It’s been my driving passion for many, many years now; prior to coming into medical school.”

That passion not only drove Cederman to attend MOS, but it also led him to become the president of OUWB’s orthopaedics interest group.

Dimock shares a similar experience but is keeping his options open.

“I'm still really early in the process. I'm trying to keep an open mind to everything out there,” said Dimock. “It's an option that I think is outstanding because the people in the field are extremely knowledgeable and extremely well-versed in what they do, and I think it's the crowd of people that will kind of push you to be the best version of yourself.”

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The crowd that Dimock speaks of generously shared their knowledge, making the conference an excellent networking opportunity.

“[Networking] was an invaluable experience,” Dimock said. “After we presented, they were able to give us some feedback on our work, and for me, being a medical student, they've obviously been in their fields for a long time, so they're able to give a lot of valuable insight into things that I probably didn't even think of.”

Cederman, acquainted with some attendees after attending for a second time, mirrored these thoughts.

“I networked at some of the attendings at (Corewell Health William Beaumont University Hospital), and MOS and so from that there's one resident in particular that I work with pretty closely on projects,” Cederman said. “He was the one that helped lean me into both projects. Mentorship and networking definitely play a huge role in opening up opportunities.”

While just three of the eight that attended MOS, Arapovic, Cederman and Dimock represent what the Embark program and OUWB’s research coordinator Tracy Wunderlich-Barillas, Ph.D., want out of students. Wunderlich-Barillas was instrumental in Cederman’s journey to MOS.

“She’s incredible when it comes to all things research,” Cederman said. “She was a very instrumental part, not only in these two projects, but projects in the past and projects that I have going on currently as well.”

After conducting the research, being encouraged by mentors such as Wunderlich-Barillas, and then finally presenting, Dimock was left with one major takeaway.

“It was an opportunity to explore. Explore different people's research and different people's backgrounds,” he said. “People came from different backgrounds and different areas of expertise, but they are all passionate about the same field.”

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