Sharing undergraduate knowledge: International Conference for Healthcare and Medical Students

The International Conference for Healthcare and Medical Students (ICHAMS) is a conference for undergraduate healthcare and medical students to present their research to peers and professors in the field, giving them the opportunity to receive structured feedback. Abstracts from the conference are published in a supplement in BMC Proceedings. In this guest blog, Co-Chairs Cara Coleman and Khushdeep Vig explain more.

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The ICHAMS 2016 Organising Committee
The ICHAMS 2016 Organising Committee

When we were elected as co-chairs for the 5th International Conference for Healthcare and Medical Students (ICHAMS) back in October of 2014 we had the goal of making it the largest, most international ICHAMS to date.

Our work began by recruiting an organizing committee of 19 students and one faculty member from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) to help us in this pursuit.

Over the course of the next year and a half we worked tirelessly, securing funds to support the student-run conference, recruiting highly accomplished members of the research community for our keynote speakers, and brainstorming workshops that would stimulate the scientific minds attending our conference.

More about ICHAMS

ICHAMS is a conference for undergraduate healthcare and medical students to present their research to peers and professors in the field. The mission is simple: to provide undergraduate healthcare and medical students the opportunity to present their research findings in an international setting with structured feedback.

We also aim to promote the exchange of research knowledge and experience among healthcare students from different countries, to encourage innovative thinking by exposing students to current cutting edge research topics, to educate healthcare students on the importance of research in the broader medical fields, and to expose students to future research opportunities.

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Any undergraduate healthcare or medical student is able to submit an abstract detailing their original research for review. The abstracts then undergo a rigorous triple review process performed by a scientific committee of RCSI faculty and staff that have experience in the world of research. The top scored abstracts are designated to oral presentations and all other accepted abstracts are designated to poster presentations.

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Peter Killeen, a medical student from King’s College London, presents his research entitled “Risk factors predicting prolonged intensive care unit length of stay after major elective surgery” during an oral session at ICHAMS 2016.
Louis Richter, a medical student from RCSI, presents his research entitled “Patients on aspirin: Too little or too much?” to a committee of judges during a poster session at ICHAMS 2016.
Louis Richter, a medical student from RCSI, presents his research entitled “Patients on aspirin: Too little or too much?” to a committee of judges during a poster session at ICHAMS 2016.

Poster presentations

A panel of judges are present for both the oral and poster sessions and presenters are expected to deliver a brief presentation of their research with time allotted for questions from the judges. Scores are given to each presenter, and the top three presenters in both oral and poster sessions are granted cash prizes.

Additionally, all presenters whose abstracts were accepted to the conference have the opportunity to get their research published in BMC Proceedings, an invaluable opportunity for anyone looking to move forward in the world of research and healthcare.

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ICHAMS 2016 Co-Chairs, Cara Coleman and Khushdeep Vig, award Alexander Dalphy with the prize for first place in oral presentations.

Watching the hard work unfold

Before we knew it, the 19 and 20 February 2016 had arrived and it was time to watch all of our hard work unfold. As delegates filed into the front hall of RCSI we were flooded by an overwhelming sense of relief and accomplishment.

Over 170 delegates attended the conference in the form of presenters, observers, workshop coordinators, keynote speakers, and committee members. It was a truly an international conference with participants from all over the world.

Besides presenting and attending the oral and poster presentations, delegates were able to listen to talks delivered by keynote speakers of the highest calibre, attend various workshops such as laparoscopy skills training to emergency medicine to anaesthesiology, experience the history and culture of Dublin via a walking tour, an organized pub crawl, and a concluding gala dinner.

The weekend was a whirlwind to say the least but it was more successful than we could ever have imagined. More importantly, we believe we set the stage for ICHAMS 2017 to continue on with our goal of being even larger and even more international.

Our hope is that ICHAMS continues to grow as a conference and continues to allow undergraduate healthcare and medical students the opportunity to share their hard work and research with like-minded individuals all over the world. We hope to see YOU next February at ICHAMS 2017!

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