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Adventist students and researcher chosen to present at Harvard University


Annual science symposium features promising health and bio-medical research from around the world

February 21, 2018

Teresa Costello

Adventist students and researcher chosen to present at Harvard University

Identified as one of the healthiest groups on the planet by Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner[i], Seventh-day Adventists have long been known for promoting a healthy lifestyle. Four Adventist young people, and an Adventist researcher, will soon share the science behind this lifestyle in one of the most prestigious academic settings in the world.

Dr. Eddie Ramirez, Director of Research at Nedley Clinic, and four students from Weimar College in Weimar, California, were recently chosen to present their research at the Harvard Medical School’s (HMS) New England Science Symposium (NESS) on April 8.

The symposium, an annual event in its seventeenth year, is considered a showcase for health and bio-medical research with potential for future impact.[ii] Professionals such as Ramirez are encouraged to apply for the extremely limited oral presentation spots.

College, medical and graduate students as well as post-baccalaureates and postdoctoral fellows are encouraged to apply for the poster presentations based on research abstracts. The four Adventists chosen are all pre-medical students at Weimar College and include senior Lance Hofer-Draper, sophomore Monica Fukuda, sophomore Camille Krueger and junior Johanna Emerson. According to Ramirez, their research documents “how lifestyle interventions can help deal with common health problems such as heart disease and depression.”

Ramirez, as the Weimar College research methods professor and NEWSTART lifestyle program researcher, encourages his students to ,not only research well, but to submit their abstracts for events such as the symposium. Previously, two other Weimar College students were chosen as poster presenters with Hofer-Draper as one of them in 2016.  Ramirez also was chosen as a poster presenter in 2016. Weimar College did not apply in 2017 because the symposium was on Saturday, the Adventist day of worship, last year.

While 2018 statistics were not available at the time of this article, 12 oral presenters and 188 poster presenters were chosen out of 310 applicants in 2017.  The 2018 statistics are expected to be similar. The significance of this is not lost on Ramirez. “Harvard is one of the world’s leading institutions and to be able to participate in the presentation of these research projects is a great privilege. The fact that four students were accepted speaks very well of the quality of research that is taking place at Weimar.”

Dr. Neil Nedley, Weimar College president, adds, “We are so proud of these Weimar students, but also proud of one of the many unique aspects of Weimar higher education:  Providing students the tools to communicate with the highest levels of researchers in the world. In addition, they will now be able to further communicate in numerous ways through continued further research to make a difference in the world of health and medicine for the rest of their lives.” 

NESS is co-sponsored by the Harvard Medical School (HMS) Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership (DICP) and the Biomedical Science Careers Program (BSCP).

Weimar College is a self-supporting Adventist college located in the Sierra Nevada foothills. It offers programs in Business, Education, General Studies, Health Sciences, and Religion. Its Health Science majors include pre-nursing, pre-dentistry and pre-medicine. Its 2017 nursing class had a 100% passing rate on the NCLEX while recent pre-medicine graduates have been accepted into Loma Linda’s School of Medicine.

Weimar College[iii] is part of Weimar Institute which operates an elementary school, high school, veganic farm, health food store, and the NEWSTART lifestyle program[iv] as well as hosts the Nedley Anxiety & Depression Recovery program[v].

[i] Dan Buettner, (2008). Loma Linda, California: A community living ten years longer.  https://bluezones.com/exploration/loma-linda-california/
[ii] https://mfdp.med.harvard.edu/dcp-programs/medicalgraduate/new-england-science-symposium 
[iii] http://weimar.edu/
[iv] http://www.newstart.com/
[v] http://depressionthewayout.com/

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