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Vermont Medicine Magazine

Class of 2017’s Sooy Focuses Summer Research Fellowship on Pediatric Motivational Interviewing

Second-year University of Vermont College of Medicine student Meredith Sooy
Second-year University of Vermont College of Medicine student Meredith Sooy interviews a patient (Photo: COM Design & Photography)

Second-year University of Vermont College of Medicine student Meredith Sooy spent a lot of time in front of a camera this summer, but she wasn’t modeling or acting; she was conducting research. Her eight-week summer research fellowship, working with mentor Barbara Frankowski, M.D., M.P.H., professor of pediatrics, and videographer Marc Scarano from the College of Medicine’s Audio-Visual office, delved into the topic of Motivational Interviewing (MI) techniques in pediatrics.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, MI, which takes place during an office visit, is a proven, effective strategy to help motivate patients to make positive health behavior changes around diet, exercise, substance abuse and oral health.

For her fellowship project, Sooy researched how best to use MI techniques with an adolescent population and produced a video series – starring herself interviewing different adolescents – as well as several video shorts on different topics, including nutrition and physical activity. The programs will be shown on September 17, 2014 at the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program’s (VCHIP) CHAMP (Child Health Advanced Measured in Practice) network training on reducing childhood obesity, which opens at Pediatrics Grand Rounds at 8 a.m. in Davis Auditorium and then moves to UVM’s Davis Center.

The CHAMP network, which includes about 40 pediatric and family practices around the state, is directed by VCHIP’s Alyssa Consigli, R.D., C.S.S.D., and focuses on improving pediatric health around different quality measures. The annual trainings – now in their third year – are designed to give providers practical tools to use in their offices. Attending practitioners will be invited to share Sooy’s video shorts with their adolescent patients.

The UVM College of Medicine’s Dean’s Office supports the Summer Research Fellowship program, directed by Interim Senior Associate Dean for Research Russell Tracy, Ph.D. Students who are between their first and second year at the College of Medicine are eligible to submit proposals. Read a new blog post by second-year medical student Sarah Kelso about her summer research fellowship experience working with Mercedes Rincon, Ph.D., professor of medicine, here.