Southern Medical Program student represents UBC at national research competition

Southern Medical Program (SMP) student Kayla Korolek will represent the UBC Faculty of Medicine on the national stage at the Canadian Medical Student Research Competition on May 4th, 2024.  Hosted by the Canadian Federation of Medical Students, the event brings together medical students from across Canada for the annual research event.

Korolek is the sole UBC representative and will present her project Exploring cancer survivors’ perspectives of primary care provider involvement in post-cancer treatment in the BC Interior: a mixed methods study. Each student will have seven minutes to present and three minutes to answer questions from the judges.

Tell us about your research project.

As part of the FLEX (Flexible and Enhanced Learning) course, I was looking for a project that would allow me to get more involved in cancer research. I have a bit of qualitative research background, so I thought supporting a mixed-method study would add to my qualitative skills. I met with Dr. Christine Voss, my project supervisor, who is leading a broader cancer research project as part of the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management’s Clinical Research Incubator.

What was your involvement?

The larger research team had already engaged with family physicians and oncologists throughout the Interior region to gain their insights. My work was to help explore patient perspectives. We worked with the BC cancer registry to recruit approximately 500 participants. We collected qualitative and quantitative data through various interviews and online surveys. The survey and interview questions were put together in partnership with cancer survivors.

What did you learn from the experience?

I learned how trusting and thankful patients are for the system that provides them care. I also felt positive about the healthcare system and the power of resiliency in people. Our research will contribute to the overall process of developing new strategies to optimize primary care provider-led survivorship care.

Working with Dr. Voss, really helped me elevate my research presentation skills. She is such an expert at writing, ethics, and paying attention to the small details. She also has a strong group of students working with her. We all see her as a very valuable mentor.

How does it feel to be selected to present?

I was honestly very surprised. I’m excited to be a part of the competition and see research projects from across Canada. It also feels good to have our research recognized amongst my peers. I cannot wait to represent my research team, our participants, and UBC Medicine in May.