GA-PCOM Med Student to Participate in Johns Hopkins’ Geriatric Research March 23, 2016
The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) is an organization that supports
the science of healthier aging. Partnering with the National Institute on Aging (NIA),
the AFAR conducts the Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) program each
year. The program awards short-term scholarships that allow students to gain experience
in aging-related research and geriatrics combined with the mentorship of experts in
This year, Georgia Campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM)
student Ashley Peterson (DO ’19) will participate in the 2016 MSTAR program at Johns
Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. As part of the program,
Peterson will spend eight weeks, from June 3 – July 29, participating in research
on geriatrics and end of life care. She will also present a poster about her research
project at the Annual Meeting of the American Geriatrics Society in San Antonio Texas,
May 18-20, 2017.
GA-PCOM alum Antonio Graham, DO, encouraged Peterson to apply to the program when
they met during a seminar at the college. Dr. Graham participated in the MSTAR program
in medical school and now works in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins.
In learning more about the MSTAR program, Peterson decided to try for the scholarship.
“I was inspired to apply because of my passion for working with the older adult population,”
she said. “This program allows students to dig deeper into geriatric-specific problems
and take a closer look at solutions and data. To make an even greater impact in geriatrics,
I am interested in combining academics and research in my medical career. I believe
the MSTAR program will be a great start,” she added.
After speaking to former MSTAR program participants, Peterson met Brian Balin, PhD, a PCOM professor who became her mentor and MSTAR institutional sponsor. Peterson
said, “[Dr. Balin] wants the best for PCOM students and is widely known in age-related
and Alzheimer's research … he works with elderly populations and has experience with
the MSTAR program.”
Peterson remarked that she is excited to go to Baltimore, to learn and conduct research
at the institute, and to interact with a patient population she enjoys. The student
doctor explained that volunteering with hospices and nursing homes developed her interest
in older adults and end of life care. She added that her grandmother has had a large
influence on her life – “She pushed me to achieve my goals and my dreams.” In the
future, Peterson hopes to pursue a career in family medicine with a specialty in geriatrics.
About PCOM Georgia
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated
to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied
history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and
physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science,
and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM
Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service
to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center,
an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment.
For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500.
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