Institute of Medicine awards nine graduate summer fellowships for 2023

The University of Maine’s Institute of Medicine announced the recipients of its prestigious 2023 summer fellowship in May, recognizing nine outstanding scholars for their contributions to medical research and education. 

Institute of Medicine 2023 Summer Fellowship Awardees:

  • Lucas Bennett: Biochemistry Ph.D. candidate. Cellular receptor remodeling during viral infection.
  • Bailey Blair: Biomedical Science Ph.D. candidate.Identifying Candida immune evasion mechanisms.
  • Joshua David Hamilton: Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. student. Breast cancer study for NCI grant renewal.
  • Bright Obeng: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Ph.D. candidate. CPC effects on immune cell function.
  • Kathryn Patenaude: Biomedical Ph.D. graduate. Effects of glucose on Streptococcus agalactiae and Candida albicans co-infections.
  • Liz Saavedra Perez: Microbiology Ph.D. candidate. Chemokine signaling in immune response to Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection.
  • Krutika Rathod: Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student. Social determinants of substance use and sleep health.
  • Sean R. Sibley: Nursing Ph.D. candidate. Systematic review on student learning in family nurse practitioner education. 
  • Morgan Tallman: Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student. Mindfulness intervention for cognitive decline study.

Spotlight on Sean R. Sibley

A portrait of Sean Sibley
Sean Sibley

Among the distinguished awardees is Sean Sibley, a Ph.D. candidate in the field of nursing education, whose project garnered significant attention for its innovative approach and potential impact on nurse practitioner training.

Sibley, under the mentorship of UMaine School of Nursing Director Kelley Strout, leads a project that aims to assess the efficacy of specific simulation techniques in advanced nursing education—a field with limited studies compared to its medical counterparts.

The project uses Objective Structured Clinical Examinations and Standardized Patient simulations in nurse practitioner education. While common in medical training, these methodologies are relatively unexplored in advanced-practice nursing. Sibley’s systematic review investigates the impact of these simulations on learner knowledge and clinical competency compared to traditional teaching methods.

Sibley’s research led to what is known as an “empty review,” finding no studies that met the stringent criteria set for the review. This outcome highlights the significant gap in the existing literature and underscores the need for further research. It brings to light the necessity for more rigorous, controlled studies to evaluate the effectiveness of these educational tools in nurse practitioner programs, particularly in the family nurse practitioner specialization.

The implications of Sibley’s research are far-reaching, especially in the context of the current healthcare landscape. The United States, particularly states like Maine, face challenges in healthcare access, especially in rural and underserved areas. Sibley emphasizes the critical role of family nurse practitioners in addressing these disparities and the importance of effective educational strategies to prepare them for the field.

The Institute of Medicine’s recognition of Sibley’s work through the summer fellowship award is a testament to the importance of educational research in advancing healthcare outcomes. His work, soon to be published in the Nursing Education Perspectives journal, will influence future research directions and funding in nurse practitioner education.

Sibley’s journey reflects the dynamic intersection of healthcare practice, education and research. Though focused on a specific aspect of nursing education, his project has broader implications for healthcare delivery, particularly in rural and underserved communities. The University of Maine continues to be at the forefront of this endeavor, with its commitment to healthcare education and research that resonates with the state’s needs.