By Wendy Sarubbi | March 7, 2016 2:22 pm

“FLAGSHIP: Medical Scholarly Proceedings,” the College of Medicine’s new online research journal channel, has launched, with topics ranging from a rare cause of ankle pain to a comprehensive evaluation of patient experiences in a free clinic.

The college’s official publication channel allows research by students, residents and faculty to appear and be searched on PubMed. Faculty peer-review the manuscripts and provide formative feedback throughout the writing process, which helps M.D. students learn the scientific research and publishing process before they ever graduate. Channel Administrator Monica Bailey ensures submitted articles move quickly through the publication process. So far, 23 research projects have been submitted for review, including studies by Florida Hospital radiology and internal medicine residents.

Antoinette Birs, a student in the Class of 2017, was the first UCF student to publish in FLAGSHIP. She worked with fellow students, faculty and leaders at Orlando’s Grace Medical Home to study incentives and barriers to optimal care in a free clinic. Her study, “Medical Care in a Free Clinic: A Comprehensive Evaluation of Patient Experience, Incentives, and Barriers to Optimal Medical Care with Consideration of a Facility Fee,” included surveys of almost 100 patients. Through a partnership with Grace Medical Home, College of Medicine students run the KNIGHTS Clinic, funded by the Diebel Legacy Fund at Central Florida Foundation, to ease the facility’s waiting list by providing comprehensive care. Through the research, Birs discovered how uninsured patients feel about their team-based primary care, how it has improved their health and their engagement in their own wellness, and that many felt that paying a small fee would help them feel more engaged and invested in their care. Such fees could also support the nation’s insufficient number of free clinics.

Birs said she was excited about being published in FLAGSHIP, noting that the open channel helped cut the “red tape” that often accompanies research submissions and can make harried medical students give up on publishing during their training. She said ongoing feedback and learning with her faculty mentor, Dr. Magdalena Pasarica, who runs operations at KNIGHTS and also holds both an M.D. and Ph.D., allowed her to learn with her teacher and understand how research can benefit others.

“It was exciting to find something I’m passionate about, learn a lot more about it and learn together,” she said. “Research makes you feel like you can contribute. You have contributed something to the literature that may affect another case, another patient and another treatment plan.”

FLAGSHIP encourages students to publish findings from their Focused Inquiry and Research Experience (FIRE) module, a two-year scientific study each UCF medical student must complete. The journal channel also can publish research posters, case reports – a summary of a rare or unusual patient or presentation – and literature reviews. Dr. Pasarica, the editor-in-chief of FLAGSHIP, said when students at the KNIGHTS Clinic or other clinical practice find a rare or unusual case, they excitedly share it with each other, ask further questions and look up research regarding the case. She advises them that such excitement can be multiplied worldwide when they write it as a case report for FLAGSHIP or any other reputable publication.

Dr. Juan Cendan, chair of medical education and oversight chair for FLAGSHIP, is an experienced researcher in addition to his roles as an educator and surgeon. He said physician researchers are keenly important in medicine because they advance science, often because of problems their patients face. “Physicians have traditionally had the biggest impact on translational research – research from lab bench to bedside – because they identify a problem in their patients, go into the lab to investigate, and then bring back something that can be a cure or intervention,” he said. “Caring for patients and being a researcher is a powerful mix.”

FLAGSHIP is in its earliest stages. Its leaders hope to get more student submissions after this month’s FIRE Conference and are planning a contest to develop the channel’s logo. For more information, please visit the FLAGSHIP page on Facebook at and visit the channel at



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