Cieremans Named PCOM Student Researcher of the YearMarch 6, 2023
Selected by his peers for his contributions to clinical research and commitment to
the principles of osteopathic medicine, David Cieremans (DO ‘24) was recently named
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (PCOM) Student Researcher of the Year (SROY).
The SROY Award was created in 2015 by the AACOM Council of Osteopathic Student Government
Presidents (COSGP). The award recognizes osteopathic medical students with highly competitive experiences and advancement in clinical, translational, or
basic science research.
Student researchers are self-nominated for the SROY Award and receive consideration
for the national honor from a pool of students nationwide. The national awardee is
selected based on the student’s contributions to osteopathic research that align with
the mission of both the osteopathic profession and COSGP—to advance the philosophy,
practice, and science of osteopathic medicine.
For Cieremans, the path to realizing this achievement was not linear. A native of
northern New Jersey, he knew from an early age that he wanted to pursue a career in
medicine. Attending undergrad at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts, Cieremans
was a Classics major and member of the varsity crew team. After college, he accepted
a one-year position at his alma mater, Regis High School in Manhattan, where he worked
with students struggling academically and taught a medical ethics course to seniors.
“After that, I knew I wanted to get more clinical exposure,” said Cieremans. “I accepted
a position at Columbia University Irving Medical Center as a research coordinator
where I worked for four years in the department of neuro-oncology. I managed clinical
trials for patients with brain tumors and was able to get involved in research with
Dr. Fabio Iwamoto, Deputy Director of the department. Playing an active role in researching
new therapies for individuals with few options was a powerful and rewarding experience
for me.” During his time there, Cieremans also received his master's degree from Columbia
and was awarded honors for his thesis work on glioblastoma biomarkers.
With a particular interest in orthopaedic surgery, Cieremans has been able to engage
in research directly related to his interests during his time at PCOM. “I've been
able to really explore my passion for orthopaedics during medical school,” he said.
“After my first year, I was accepted to the Summer Medical Student Externship Program
in Orthopaedic Surgery at New York University where I studied under Dr. Joshua Rozell.
He has been an incredible mentor and has afforded me many opportunities to participate
both in research and in the operating room.” Rozell, an assistant professor in the
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, is a board-certified
hip and knee reconstruction specialist at the NYU Langone Orthopedic Center.
Following the summer program, Cieremans continued his research with Dr. Rozell and
Dr. Ran Schwarzkopf of the Division of Adult Reconstruction at NYU. There he has contributed
to a number of research projects, including the utility of prophylactic antibiotic
cement in knee replacements, the impact of patellar design on knee replacements, and
the long-term survival of hip and knee replacements in patients under the age of 65,
among others. “I've been able to immerse myself and grow not only as a student but
also as a researcher and contribute to the field of orthopaedics,” he said. In March,
Cieremans will present his work at the annual conference of the American Academy of
Orthopaedic Surgeons in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As an Ensign in the United States Navy, Cieremans has also demonstrated his commitment
to others through military research. Since his first year at PCOM, he has been working
on a project with Lieutenant Commander (USN) Andrew Olson of the Naval Health Research
Center and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. “We are developing a standardized
approach to modeling casualty condition status over time with the help of military
trauma surgeons,” said Cieremans. “Our goal is to better allocate resources and ultimately
decrease morbidity in the field.” Cieremans is attending PCOM through the Health Professions Scholarship Program and will serve in the Navy after residency.
“I'm very humbled to have been selected as Student Researcher of the Year,” Cieremans
said of his award. “I have had fantastic opportunities during school to study orthopaedic
surgery and bolster my passion for the field…and for that, I'm extremely thankful.
Conducting research has been a great parallel to my medical education in the classroom as well.”
Cieremans offered praise for the support he’s received from his advisors and mentors
at PCOM, namely Joseph Rosenblatt, DO, associate program director of the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program. “I rotated with Dr. Rosenblatt at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in October
and am currently working on a pediatric bunion study with him and Dr. Sara Ruzzi (PGY-1),”
he said. “He is an amazing mentor and has given me the autonomy to draft the IRB research
proposal, analyze films, perform statistical analyses, and write the paper for the
study. I truly appreciate his confidence in me and the opportunity to affect clinical
change in the pediatric orthopedic population so early in my medical training.” “Being
a PCOM student has enabled me to work closely with him and the orthopedic surgery
department, for which I am very grateful,” he added.
Asked about his plans going forward, Cieremans gave a preview, “I have a couple more
projects cooking right now and am excited to share their results. I’m looking forward
to applying for residency next year and serving our country proudly as a PCOM alum.”
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About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands
of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists
who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms.
PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic
medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in
applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic
medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, non profit leadership
and population health management, organizational development and leadership, physician
assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration.
PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service
to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care
to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.
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