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WRNMMC Recognizes Medical Researchers

Military personnel stand in front of window holding their awards Winners in the Research and Innovation Month medical research competition receive their awards. (Photo by John Fadoju)

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Face masks were the common uniform as 15 winners of Research & Innovation Month honors met in the atrium of Building 17 on June 4 to receive recognitions and awards from Army Col. Andrew Barr, director of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

First to receive their awards were winners of the first virtual Poster Week. Conducted via electronic posters this year, the event featured competitions for case reports, quality improvement, evidence-based practice, and patient- and family-centered care.

The second set of victors had emerged from an online Research Symposium held May 12 at Walter Reed Bethesda and from the Navy-wide Academic Research Competition, hosted virtually two days later by Naval Medical Center Portsmouth.

“What you’re doing is building the future best practices and future solutions for the operational space, the things that have an effect on our warriors,” Barr told the competition winners.

Barr presented each winner with an award certificate and a commemorative coin, enclosed in a plastic sheath open at one end, so the recipient could accept without human contact.

A pair of lucky honorees took home two certificates. Navy Lt. Cmdr. (Dr.) Eric Pasman, a pediatric gastroenterology fellow, earned the Bailey K. Ashford Award and the Robert A. Phillips Award, both for clinical research.

Pasman later went on to clinch the Navy-wide award for clinical research by staff. All three of his wins honored a project that aimed to measure the “tug sign,” a physical resistance to endoscopy in cases of eosinophilic esophagitis.

Army Maj. (Dr.) Lauren Vasta, a pediatric oncology fellow, also collected two awards. She shared the Paul Florentino Patient- and Family-Centered Care Award with coauthor Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Rich Zanetti. Their project documented an effort to better inform cancer survivors about their future medical needs. Vasta also earned second place for a case report by staff or fellows for her account of hypoglycemia linked to carnitine deficiency in a child who received chemotherapy for cancer.

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