First-year medical student Gregory C. Ebersole recently received a 2012 Carolyn L. Kuckein Student Research Fellowship from the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society. The award, named after the late, long-time AOA administrator Carolyn L. Kuckein, is given annually to encourage and support student research.
Morton E. Smith, MD, professor emeritus of ophthalmology and visual sciences and associate dean emeritus, is councilor for the Washington University chapter of AOA. Susan E. Mackinnon, MD, the Sydney M., Jr. and Robert H. Shoenberg Professor of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, serves as Ebersole's mentor for the research.
Ebersole will use the $5,000 grant to study the responsiveness and validity of a postsurgical functional assessment survey (DASH) for cubital tunnel syndrome, a condition brought on by increased pressure on the ulnar nerve at the elbow. Cubital tunnel syndrome is the second most common neuropathy of the arm after carpal tunnel syndrome.
"All of our patients received an ulnar nerve transposition performed by Dr. Mackinnon to treat the disorder," says Ebersole. "We are comparing patient assessment scores pre- and post-operatively to look for trends in the data to guide future operations and to better describe to patients the expected timeline of their recovery."
AOA is a leading advocate for scholarly attainment and moral purpose in medicine. Currently, AOA has 120 chapters in medical schools throughout the United States and has elected more than 150,000 members since its founding in 1902.