Our Labor of Love: An Undergraduate Pipeline for Diverse Student Scholars  

Allison C. Augustus-Wallace, PhD, MS, MNS,       
Assistant Professor-Research and Director of Undergraduate Pipeline Programs 

School of Medicine, Office of Diversity & Community Engagement

Over the past several years, the partnership between our Health Sciences Center’s Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Public Health, and Center for IPE has dedicated many hours towards the development and implementation of our LSU Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP). As a result, we welcomed two cohorts of students during the summers of 2017 and 2018, respectively, serving nearly 200 students.

Our scholars, who represented various two- and four-year institutions from throughout the state of Louisiana and the nation, were engaged for six-weeks in a combination of didactic, small learning groups, and laboratory settings. Consequently, it was determined that 100% of the scholars experienced an overall improvement or average learning gain of 20% for 2017.  For 2018, 100% of the scholars experienced an overall improvement/average learning gain of 25%.

We take this opportunity to reflect on our collective commitment and success to “our labor of love” and thank our administration, LSUHSC-NO professional schools’ students, and student-workers, as well as recognize our devoted 2017 and 2018 LSUHSC-NO SHPEP Faculty for their time and efforts with our scholars.

2017 and 2018 LSUHSC-NO SHPEP Faculty: 

Anatomy: Jay Mussell

Clinical Exposures & Workshops in Dentistry: Stephen Brisco and Suzanne Fournier (2017)

Clinical Exposures & Workshops in Medicine: Jamie Alleyn, Pierre Detiege, Jennifer Hart, Angela McLean, David Smith, Alan Kaye, and Patrick Greiffenstein

Clinical Exposures & Workshops in Public Health: Benjamin Springgate (2018)

Cultural Competency: Patricia Molina (2018)

Genetics: Fern Tsien (2018)

Health Policy: Dean Smith

Interprofessional Education (IPE): Tina Gunaldo, Sandra Andrieu, Shane Sanne, Shannon Mangum; Sonia Gasparini, Alison Davis, and Kari Brisolara

Medical Simulation Labs: Daryl Lofaso, Sergii Rusnak

Microbiology: Doug Johnston, Jennifer Cameron, Hong Xin; Graduate Students: Hannah Albritton and Diana Battaglia

Organic Chemistry & Physics: Arthur Haas

Pharmacogenomics: Paula Gregory (2018)

Pharmacogenomics Simulation Labs (Xavier University at Louisiana, College of Pharmacy): Christopher Williams (2017) and Tommy Morris (2018).

Physiology: Lisa Harrison-Bernard, Maureen Basha (2018), Michael Levitzky; Flavia Souza-Smith

Public Health-Epidemiology and Biostatistics: Ed Trapido, Tekeda Ferguson, Evrim Oral

As well, a special thanks to our LSUHSC-NO, SHPEP Fiscal Analyst, Emma Kostur, along with our colleagues in Sponsored Projects and Human Resources. A very special thanks to our academic health center partner UMCNO, which opened its doors to our student scholars to provide and invaluable exposure to clinical medicine. Finally, it is with great pleasure that we showcase several of our 2017 and 2018 LSUHSC-NO SHPEP Alumni:

2017 LSUHSC-NO SHPEP Alumni 

Pedro Jimenez Antenucci: Presently a junior majoring in Chemistry at Southeastern University of Louisiana (SELA) in Hammond, LA., who was selected during the summer of 2018, to participate in the National Science Foundation-Research Experience for Underrepresented Undergraduates (NSF-REU) at Pennsylvania State University. While there, he studied under the mentorship of Dr. David D. Boehr, Department of Chemistry and presented a poster presentation entitled, “Speed and Fidelity of the Poliovirus RNA Dependent RNA Polymerase”.

Tommy Giang: Presently a junior majoring in Chemistry at Xavier University, New Orleans, Louisiana. Mr. Giang was selected as a 2018 NSF-REU intern here at LSUHSC-NO and studied under the mentorship of Dr. Lisa Moreno-Walton MD, MS, MSCR, FAAEM UMCNO Emergency Department, LSUHSC School of Medicine. Mr. Giang presented a poster entitled, “Characteristics and Demographics of Patients Who Tested Positive for HIV in the University Medical Center New Orleans Emergency Department”.

Sam Henry: Presently a senior at Howard University, majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry, with medical career aspirations in orthopedics. Mr. Henry has been selected as a 2018 ARCHES Fellow, Georgetown University’s fellowship program that engages eight selected rising juniors and rising seniors interested in pursuing medical education. The experience provides access both to clinical and research activities at Georgetown University.

Aliyah Pierre: Presently a junior at LSU in Baton Rouge, majoring in Biochemistry, Ms. Pierre began her career in our pipeline programs as a participant in the Summer Science Program (SSP), housed in LSUHSC-NO, School of Medicine’s, Office of Diversity and Community Engagement. In 2018, Ms. Pierre was selected as an NSF-REU intern at LSUHSC-NO, where under the mentorship of Dr. Rinku Majumder, Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, she studies the molecular mechanisms involved in the Protein S (a natural anticoagulant) antibody on the plasma factor IX pathway. Her presentation was awarded second place among our REU students and third place at the overall summer student research symposium, in which 50 participants competed from throughout the LSU Health Sciences campus.

Ajah Smith: Presently, a junior majoring in Biochemistry at LSU in Baton Rouge, who has been selected as an LSU President’s Millennial Scholar, which is a programmatic initiative by the LSU, Office of Diversity, a division of the LSU, Office of Academic Affairs.


Caretia Washington: Presently, a junior majoring in Microbiology at LSU in Baton Rouge, who has been selected as an LSU President’s Millennial Scholar, which is a programmatic initiative by the LSU, Office of Diversity, a division of the LSU, Office of Academic Affairs.

As we celebrate the success of our former scholars, it is our hope that our efforts continue to support them and others of these two cohorts on a successful academic path that returns them to one of our LSUHSC-NO professional schools in the future.