• Scholarships

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    2017 Medical Student, Resident, and In-Training Fellow Scholarship Recipients

    Every year, AAST offers and awards scholarships for medical students, residents, and in-training fellows to attend the Annual Meeting.  Below are this year's scholarsihp recipients.

    For the third year, AAST partnered with the Association of Women Surgeons to award a scholarship to one of the association's members. The recipient of this joint sponsored scholarship is Dr. Christina Theodorou.

    Christina Theodorou, M.D.

    Dr. Christina Theodorou is a first year general surgery resident at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, CA. She is originally from New York City, moving to Chicago to attain her B.A. in Biological Sciences from the University of Chicago. She spent three years teaching English to students in rural Yamaguchi, Japan, before returning to Chicago to attend medical school at Northwestern University. She is interested in surgical education, trauma and critical care, and preventative measures. She has participated in research on resident education, pediatric surgery, and trauma surgery.


    The AAST Military Liaison Committee offered a scholarship this year open to medical students, residents, or in-training fellows within the military. The recipient of this scholarship is Marguerite Spruce.

    Marguerite Spruce, M.D.

    As the third of four children, I grew up in a loud, fun home in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri. I spent much of my childhood playing competitive sports, predominantly soccer. Towards the end of my undergraduate years, I followed in the footsteps of many of my family members and joined the US Air Force. After officer’s training, I began medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Promptly after graduation, I moved across the country to Sacramento, California to begin my surgical training. I was lucky to have my fiancé join me, and we were married this past December. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, floating, and spending time with friends. 



    We want to congratulate ALL of this year's scholarship recipients and we look forward to see them at the 2017 AAST Annual Meeting & Clinical Congress of Acute Care Surgery!

    Medical Students


    Katherine He, B.S.

    Katherine He is a 4th year medical student at University of Michigan Medical School. Originally from Northern California, she graduated from University of California, Berkeley with dual degrees in Environmental Sciences and French Literature. She became interested in trauma surgery and critical care following her third year surgery clerkship. She has found great mentors in Acute Care Surgery including Dr. Matthew Delano, Dr. Lena Napolitano, and Dr. Stewart Wang, who have provided both research and career mentorship. She is engaged in research projects investigating trauma outcomes in vulnerable populations. This upcoming year, she will be pursuing a Master’s in Clinical Research while applying to General Surgery programs.

    Priscilla Jarrin Jacome, M.D.   

    Recently graduated from the medical school of the Central University of Ecuador, athlete, passionate about trauma and surgery, trained in different areas of Ecuadorian hospitals during her student life, with experience in the emergency area and different departments including surgery. Her first rotation in surgery was in the General Hospital of Armed Forces in Quito, the largest hospital of the Armed Forces in Ecuador. Her last year of student training attended at San Vicente de Paul Ibarra Hospital, where she actively participates in surgical and emergency procedures. With the illusion of completing her medical training in surgery and later the specialization in trauma surgery in the best trauma centers, with great interest in the trauma in the military and emergency area.

    Tyler Zander, B.S.   

    Tyler Zander is a 2nd year medical student at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine where he was awarded full scholarship. He is currently involved in several research projects ranging from spinal cord injuries to quality improvement and resident education. With a lifelong dream of becoming a surgeon, Tyler became interested specifically in trauma surgery following a farming accident six years ago which took his leg and nearly his life. Since then, he has given dozens of motivational speeches and has become an advocate for trauma patients. He plans to earn a dual MD/MBA, pursue a career in surgery, and have an influence at the intersection of business and medicine.




    Theresa Chan, M.D.

    Dr. Theresa Chan is a General Surgery Resident participating in her second year of research in the Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, Burn and Acute Care Surgery at the University of California San Diego. After graduating cum laude from Cornell University with a degree in Biomedical Engineering, she completed her medical education at the University of Cincinnati. During her training, she has developed a translational research interest in understanding molecular mechanisms involved in surgical disease and discovering methods to modulate these pathways. Her current research investigates the systemic inflammatory response and the consequences of immune cell activation after injury. After completing her General Surgery residency, she plans to complete a fellowship in Trauma/Surgical Critical Care. Theresa hopes to pursue a career as an Academic Trauma Surgeon where she can teach and continue her translational research pursuits.

    Sameer Hirji, M.D.

    Sameer Hirji is a general surgery resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He has completed 2-years of his residency and is currently pursuing his MPH at Harvard School of Public Health. Prior to returning to Boston, he completed his medical school at Duke and undergraduate degree in Bioengineering from MIT. He is actively involved with the PROOVIT vascular trauma study, being a site investigator at the Brigham. He is also involved with medical student education as well as projects that aim to improve efficiency in acute care surgery.

    Katie Iverson, M.D., M.P.H.

    Dr. Katie Iverson is a PGY-5 resident in general surgery at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, CA. Currently in her second year of research, she just earned her M.P.H from Harvard and is a Paul Farmer Global Surgery Research Fellow in Harvard's Program in Global Surgery and Social Change (PGSSC). With the PGSSC, she works in Ethiopia on surgical system strengthening and monitoring and evaluation and in Peru on quality improvement in surgical care. She is originally from Arizona, received her B.A. from Ursinus College in Pennsylvania, and earned her M.D. from Oregon Health & Science University. In between college and medical school, she was a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, where she had the opportunity to travel internationally pursuing the independent project “Following the Footsteps of Mother Teresa.” Her interests include improving access to and quality of trauma and emergency surgical care globally. She is very grateful for this opportunity to deepen her knowledge in the field.

    Mehreen Kisat, M.D.

    Dr. Mehreen Kisat is a PGY-5 general surgery resident at the University of Arizona. She received her medical degree from Aga Khan University, Pakistan in 2010, post-doctoral research training in trauma outcomes at Johns Hopkins in 2011 and a Master’s of Science in Clinical and Translational Sciences from the University of Arizona in 2016. Dr. Kisat has published several studies evaluating trauma outcomes using national databases. More recently, she has conducted bench-to-bedside molecular diagnostics research to develop novel biomarkers for critically ill patients. She plans to pursue a fellowship in trauma and critical care after residency.

    Ara Ko, M.D., M.P.H.

    Dr. Ara Ko is a 4th year general surgery resident at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Religious Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. After college, she worked as a research associate in the pathology lab as well as in OB/Gyn. She participated in missions to Nepal during this time, developing her interest in global health. She went on to earn her M.D./M.P.H. degrees at the Tufts University School of Medicine, where she also had the opportunity to visit India and study their health systems. Attracted by the art, practicality, and tangible impact of surgery, she began her general surgery residency in 2013. Her desire to serve underserved populations both at home and abroad has led her to pursue a career in trauma and acute care surgery. She has published research on topics including improving outcomes in head injury, VTE prophylaxis in trauma patients, high value care in the SICU, and human factors interventions to improve trauma workflow. She aspires to provide excellent and compassionate care to individual patients in the clinical setting, as well as make an impact on the outcomes of populations through research.

    M. Victoria Purvis, M.D.

    Dr. Victoria Purvis is a PGY-2 resident at the University of South Alabama Medical Center. She graduated from Millsaps College with a BS in chemistry and defended a thesis in biology. While attending Millsaps, she also completed an EMT-Paramedic program and throughout the rest of college and her first two years of medical school, she worked full time as a paramedic with EMS agencies in the rural Mississippi delta. She later served on the advisory board and taught classes for the Holmes Community College EMS program. She was an active member of the Mississippi State Medical Assistance Team, sponsored by FEMA.  She is an ACLS instructor.Dr. Purvis received a full-tuition scholarship to the University of Mississippi SOM. She was inducted in the Gold Humanism Honor Society and completed three years of research with the Department of Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery. Recently, Dr. Purvis presented her four-factor PCC research at the Southeastern Surgical Congress.  Additionally, her research regarding the prehospital use of hydroxocobalamin was accepted for publication. She also placed first at her institution’s GME research exposition as a PGY-1. Dr. Purvis plans to enter the lab in July and, long term, to pursue an academic career in trauma and surgical critical care.


    Graeme Rosenberg, M.D.

    Graeme Rosenberg is a PGY-4 General Surgery resident at Stanford University. He is currently in the second of two Professional Development years. Graeme grew up in Upstate New York and later went to Middlebury College, VT where he studied neuroscience and was actively involved with ski patrol. He became interested in treating injured patients as an EMT and ski patroller. After graduating from college, he went to Yale University School of Medicine. During residency, Graeme has developed an interest in studying outcomes related to the acute care surgery and trauma populations. Specifically, he is motivated to understand long-term outcomes after injury with a focus on exploring the patient’s perspective. Graeme is dedicated to becoming an academic leader is surgery. He is committed to finding solutions what will make a large-scale impact in the quality of health care experienced by patients and his clinical interests in trauma, emergencies, and critical care are well-balanced with his academic interests of improving quality, clinical outcomes, and the patient experience. When not at work, you can find Graeme exploring the outdoors with his wife Corinne, trail-running, swimming, and brewing beer.


    Elliot Williams, M.D.

    Dr. Elliot Williams recently completed his third year of general surgery residency at the UC San Diego Medical Center in Southern California, and will be joining the Laboratories of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, and Burn Research for two years to work on projects centered around the inflammatory response to trauma. Originally from Northern California, he earned his B.A. in Psychology from UCLA before ultimately deciding to pursue a medical degree. He subsequently moved to Baltimore to pursue a Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical program at Goucher College followed by two years of research at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. He earned his M.D. from UC San Diego, and continued there for his residency in General Surgery. His other interests include woodworking, backpacking, and mountaineering.

    Cordelie Witt, M.D.


    Dr. Cordelie Witt was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, and received her undergraduate degree in neurobiology from the University of Washington. She attended the University of Michigan for medical school, where she developed an interest in trauma research. She returned to the University of Washington in 2012 to begin her general surgery residency. During residency, she completed a two year T32 research fellowship at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center and completed a Master of Public Health in epidemiology. Her research focuses on patient outcomes and quality of care in trauma patients. Following residency, Dr. Witt plans to complete a fellowship in trauma and surgical critical care en route to a career as a clinician-researcher.


    In-Training Fellows

    Parker Hu, M.D.

    Dr. Parker Hu is currently the Surgical Critical Care Fellow at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He completed general surgery residency, where he served as chief resident at the University of Missouri. Throughout his training, he has participated in both basic science and outcomes research involving traumatic brain injury, damage control surgery, and thoracic trauma.

    Husayn Ladhani, M.D.

    Dr. Husayn Ladhani is a general surgery resident at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Cleveland, OH. He grew up in Texas, earned his B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, and completed medical school at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX. He then moved to Cleveland to begin general surgery residency training and is currently a research fellow in the Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma, Critical Care, Burn and Acute Care Surgery at Metrohealth Medical Center in Cleveland. Dr. Ladhani developed a strong interest in the field of trauma, burn and acute care surgery during medical school. As a research fellow, he is focusing on outcomes for outpatient burn management, sepsis and the usefulness of various criteria in predicting infections in critically ill burn patients, and outcomes for emergency general surgery conditions. After completing residency training, he plans to pursue fellowship training in trauma, critical care and burn surgery, with ultimate goal of becoming an academic surgeon at a busy level 1 trauma and burn center.