Earlier this year, Blair Ashley, a 4th year medical student, won the “Best Poster” Award on the annual Scholars Day for her project, “Impact of Formalized Calling Criteria for a Difficult Airway Management Team on Morbidity and Mortality of Patients with Difficult Airways,” which was mentored by Dr. Joseph M. Darby. Scholars Day, which showcases scholarly projects of Pitt Medical Students, was held on April 2.
Ashley’s study was executed over the course of three and a half years. In 2010, she took over the Difficult Airway Management Team study and her project proposal was accepted in early 2011. In October of 2011, Ashley won the Arthur Mirsky Award for Excellence in Clinical Research for the DAMT project, and was one of three second year medical students to give a podium presentation at the annual Fall Research Symposium. In addressing the impact of her project, Ashley notes that “there was not a single emergency surgical airway during the entirety of 2012.” The group was stopped in July 2013 and Ashley submitted her scholarly project shortly after.
Dr. Darby, who is a Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Surgery, Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, has been a mentor to Blair Ashley for eight years. She nominated him for best mentor, “given his continued dedication to my personal and professional success, his ability to push my thinking and to encourage rational/critical decision making, and his continued support throughout the scholarly project.”
Ashley plans to continue patient safety/QA/QI research when she matriculates to the University of Pennsylvania for a residency in Orthopaedic Surgery in the fall.