CHRISTUS Spohn Resident Research Exceeds Expectations

Making room for high-quality research during residency is paying off in a big way at CHRISTUS Spohn.

Graduate Medical Education (GME) Resident Research is an important component of medical resident training experience, but more than that it is showcasing some of the ways young doctors are expected to treat patients, practice medicine and become future leaders in their careers and communities.

“Exposure to high-quality research experiences during crucial residency training years truly allows CHRISTUS Health to prepare the best physician workforce of tomorrow,” said Pukar Ratti, CHRISTUS Health’s System Director of Research. “Our medical residents in CHRISTUS Spohn continue to raise the bar each year.”

As part of the American College of Graduate Medical Education curriculum, all medical residents are required to participate in research. The CHRISTUS Institute for Innovation and Advanced Clinical Care, in conjunction with local GME offices, promotes and supports medical resident research.

Many of the research projects undertaken by the medical residents will never make headlines in traditional news outlets or lead the evening news. However, the potential impact it has to the practice of  medicine in South Texas is worth taking a closer look.

Below are some of the big highlights from the residency programs at CHRISTUS Spohn.

“We are very proud of our residents’ successful research work and the recognition they have received from many prestigious organizations,” explained Ratti.

CHRISTUS Spohn Emergency Medicine Residency Program Research Projects

The Emergency Medicine (EM) Residency Program at CHRISTUS Spohn has a longstanding record of accomplishments.

The resident research projects have been consistently accepted for poster presentations as well as platform presentations, not only at local level, but also at the state and national levels. In medicine and science, a poster presentation is a popular and important method of presenting researching findings. On a poster, you summarize your research often using a mix of pictures, text and charts.

With the arrival of Peter Richman, MD, MBA, Research Director to the EM Residency Program in 2013, research success has grown exponentially each year.

  • During the last decade (2008-2018), more than 100 publications and presentations have been produced.
  • Twenty-seven medical residents published their research results in peer–reviewed journals over the last 10 years.
  • In the past five years (2013-2018), research work of almost every third year resident was accepted at regional or national meetings either for poster presentation or for platform presentation.
  • In 2017 and 2018, more than 80 percent of the residents’ abstracts were accepted and presented either at the Texas College of Emergency Physicians (TCEP) meetings or the national Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) Conference meetings.
  • In 2017, resident Nicholas Harrell, MD presented his research topic “Are Patients Transferred to a Trauma Center from Hospitals that Share Common Electronic Radiological Archives (PACS) less likely to receive repeat imaging?” His presentation received the award for best presentation at the TCEP meeting. His work was later also accepted for platform presentation at the 2017 SAEM meeting.
Harrell, M.D.
Nicholas Harrell, M.D.
  • In 2018, TCEP accepted nine third year residents’ abstracts for poster presentation. Resident Ben Kingsley, D.O., earned the award for the best abstract presentation at the TCEP meeting for his abstract “Transcutaneous US Guided Diagnosis of Peritonsillar Abscess”
Benjamin Kingsley EM
Ben Kingsley, D.O.

This was the second consecutive year that a CHRISTUS resident earned this award.  Additionally, the SAEM Conference accepted eight posters for poster presentation.

ED residency program annual research symposium
2018 CHRISTUS Spohn Emergency Department Residency Program Annual Research Symposium

CHRISTUS Spohn Family Medicine Residency Program Research Projects

The Family Medicine Residency Program, under the leadership of Dr. Kathy Soch and Dr. James Wilson, has excelled in research as well.

  • In 2018, 15 residents and fellows presented nine original research projects at the Annual Family Medicine Research Day regional conference. Four of them were selected for presentation at the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) Annual Conference.
  • In 2017, Dr. Alma McDaniel presented her poster titled, “Hurricanes: Are Our Patients Prepared?” at Family Medicine Experience (FMX), part of the annual conference sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Two projects have been submitted for this year’s conference, which will be held during Fall 2018 in New Orleans.
Alma McDaniel, M.D.
Alma McDaniel, M.D.
  • Second-year resident, George Liras, MD has had multiple publications related to his research on the safety and content of energy drinks. He presented his research results on this topic, and more research work on concussions in female athletes topic, at the FIFA: Football Medicine Outcomes conference  in Barcelona, Spain in June 2018.
George Liras, D.O.
George Liras, M.D.
  • The research project “Does Hyperglycemia affect the rick of PPIC- related upper extremity venous thrombosis?” by Dr. James Wilson, Dr. Brady Simonak (former resident), and Dr. John Wenhold (former resident) was published in May 2018.

Pictured From L to R: Wilson, Simonak and Wenhold

CHRISTUS Spohn ED Residency
2018 CHRISTUS Spohn Family Residency Program Annual Research Symposium


The CHRISTUS Spohn Emergency and Family Medicine Residency Programs have been training excellent clinicians in their fields. The program strives to be the best in the country by creating a culture of hands-on-learning and leading with medical resident research.