New To Presenting Your Research To Your Peers? Riley’s Experience As An MSI II On A Topic That Is Not Quite The Norm…
As a second-year student in the UBC Vancouver-Fraser Medical Program I find that there are seemingly endless opportunities to engage in meaningful extra-curricular activities. As we progress through our training, new opportunities that were previously unappealing can become something we look forward to each week. Even as some of my other interests are culled for others, Mass Gathering Medicine has remained a steady interest. I think part of this is because it is so approachable to many different types of people – I love that you can go to an event and see a friend who is interested in neurology or psychiatry, alongside nurses, or first-aiders with completely different day-to-day professions. My colleagues in MGM within my medical cohort have shifted to great friends, and I’m excited to see how MGM events link us throughout our career.
The Shambhala project represented my first (of hopefully many) MGM-related research endeavours. Working with the MGM team has been one of the most rewarding components of my training thus far. I feel like I’ve been invested in greatly and have been able to contribute meaningfully despite being a student. The poster represents one of the more discrete deliverables of this involvement and it turned out wonderfully. On a relatively short window of time, the team came together and made something I could present in the UBC Medical Research Forum.
Having little experience presenting at a podium and poster made this a great opportunity to get comfortable speaking about something concisely and publicly. A few of the presentations by other students were very discrete tests and outcomes: “We tested drug A on patient population B, and we saw C.” When I spoke about the relationship between harm reduction and medical services at a 5-day music festival, it was evident that I needed to consolidate something we have so much more to learn about with a few good take-aways for the audience. While my 1 minute presentation was perhaps not as clear cut as a few of the other hypothesis driven studies, the poster presentation is where the Shambhala study thrived best at the forum.
The interest of the audiences that kept milling up to our poster was less about what was known, but a keen curiosity about what was unknown – and that got people excited.
It prompted interest from multiple students and professors buying into the idea that harm reduction services embedded into medical services had potential for better outcomes but that more objective measures were needed to quantify the effect. One comment that came up in a variety of forms was, “There are likely a lot of harm reduction services that would help at bigger venues, but maybe they are afraid to adopt things that aren’t evidence-based? Maybe they fear the scrutiny that would come with that?”
That is one area I am interested in moving forward. How can we measure some of the likely meaningful harm reduction services being offered more objectively such that these practices may be adopted elsewhere if shown effective? I am encouraged by how receptive the audience was to some of the ideas presented. Hopefully moving forward MGM research like this can continue to make positive ripples in how we treat people at music festivals and beyond.
– Riley Golby MED II