IUSM teams get into the spirit at IUPUI Regatta

September 25, 2014

The "Scalpel Jockeys" rode to a third-place finish in the men's division at the sixth annual IUPUI Regatta on the downtown canal Sept. 20.

Frank Duerson III, Johnny Gerardot, Michael Johnston, Brandon Kiel and Ross Schumacher comprised the team of IU second-year medical students who took the men's bronze at the annual boat race, which has grown into a major tradition on campus over the past several years.

"We take a lot of pride in the School of Medicine and were honored to represent IUSM in competition," said Schumacher, who served as captain of the Scalpel Jockeys. "We really want to make medical school participation in this an event an annual affair. It's great to feel a part of the whole campus -- and to earn a place in the finals."

Nor did the team take the campus-wide competition lightly, said Ross, who joked that everyone from the team of workout enthusiasts put in extra hours at the gym in the weeks leading up to the event.

The team also boasted a former Division-1 quarterback in Kiel, who played football for IU as an undergraduate. "We wanted to part the canal in one collective stroke," Ross said with a laugh.

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Also placing in the finals was Women in Medicine for the Win, or "WIM for the Win," a group of returning competitors who placed fourth overall in the women's division this year.

"There are up to 150 teams now, and we wanted to make sure the IU School of Medicine represents," said Julie Welch, M.D., assistant dean for faculty affairs and professional development and leader of the IUSM Women's Advisory Council, who  created the team last year as a way to bring together council members. "We're a huge footprint on campus, and what better way to put ourselves 'out there' than a big, campus-wide sports competition?"

WIM for the Win also brought together faculty, staff, students and residents at the school. Additional team members were Lauren Bosshardt, M.D., a third-year emergency medicine resident; Krista Hoffman-Longtin, Ph.D., director of programs and evaluation for the IUSM Office of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development; and Lindsay Leech, a second-year medical student.

Although they didn't hit the gym per se, Dr. Welch said the team -- which boasted two emergency medicine physicians, including an avid runner -- got together a week before the race for a practice run on Geist Reservoir.

"A little healthy competition is great, and it's such a fun day and festival-like atmosphere," said Dr. Welch, who also serves as an advisor of the IUSM Student Chapter of the American Medical Women's Association and an associate clinical professor of emergency medicine. "The whole day is really very welcoming. The university really puts its best foot forward."

Another IUSM team that went the "extra mile" to participate in the race was Terre Haute Medicine. The team from the IU School of Medicine's regional medical education center in Terre Haute took an early-morning, 90-minute ride into the city to participate in the race. Douglas Engle, Colin Ridenour, Jeremy Sherer and Hilary Whitsett, all second-year medical students, and Adam Rudolph and Paul Shen, both first-year medical students, comprised the team.

"The whole event's really a fun way for everyone to get into the city, as well as also meet some fellow students from other campuses," said team captain Whitsett, whose group also registered a booth at the event, using their time out of the water to engage members of the community in discussions about health and provide free blood pressure checks.

The final IUSM team to race Saturday was Team Riley, whose members were Richelle Baker, M.D., a pediatric fellow; Angela Dietrich, M.D., a pediatrician at IU Health; Jeni Oshimura, M.D., assistant professor of clinical pediatrics; Nicole Steber, M.D., assistant professor of clinical pediatrics; Michele Saysana, M.D., assistant professor of clinical pediatrics; and Emily Webber, M.D., assistant professor of clinical pediatrics.

"The regatta's really a wonderful event to bring people together," said Dr. Oshimura, who served as the team captian. "IUPUI encompasses such a large group of people from so many different walks of life and levels of training. It's great to see all the different people who are represented on campus."

Although the doctors didn't mention their participation in the race day to many patients, she said many nurses on their floors knew about the impending race and were cheering them on in the days leading up to their showing in the water.

"This is our first year racing, but I predict that we will be challenging some other faculty physicians next year," Dr. Oshimura said.

In addition to the race at the IUPUI Regatta, IUSM Office of Faculty Affairs and Professional Development hosted a faculty welcome and barbecue at the event, including a visit from IUSM Dean Jay L. Hess, M.D., Ph.D., who mingled with colleagues at the event.

For complete race-day results, visit the IUPUI Regatta website.