Weekly Features


IU School of Medicine teams compete in fifth annual IUPUI Regatta

Sept. 26, 2013

Faculty, students and staff from the IU School of Medicine once again faced off in friendly competition with schools across the IUPUI campus Sept. 21 in an event that has become an annual tradition at IUPUI.

Ethan Morrical, front, a fourth-year medical student, and a teammate, row for Gubernaculum, winners of the 2011 IUPUI Regatta.

Ethan Morrical, right, a fourth-year medical student, and a teammate row for Gubernaculum. | Erik Markov

This year, four teams with IUSM members turned out to participate in the fifth annual IUPUI Regatta, an annual canoe race on the downtown canal sponsored by the IUPUI Student Organization for Alumni Relations.

Captain Hook of the Hamate, a team composed of all first-year medical students, took second place overall in the race's co-ed division. The team, a new contender in this year's race, had a time of 8 minutes and 32 seconds.

The overall winner of the event was the IU School of Dentistry, which took both first and second place in the male division for the second year in a row. But considering the busy schedules of its participants, the School of Medicine team felt they made a good show.

"This was a rough week with all of our exam blocks happening the week leading up to the event," said Michael Johnston, Captain Hook of the Hamate team captain and president of the School of Medicine Class of 2017. "We hadn’t really prepared for the race much; this race was the first time the team got together. We just jumped in and did our best."

Lindsay Lee, front, a first-year medical student, and Julie Welch, M.D., assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine, row for WIM for the WIN.

Lindsay Leech, right, a first-year medical student, and Julie Welch, M.D., assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine, row for WIM for the WIN. | Erik Markov

Captain Hook of the Hamate and Gubernaculum, led by Ethan Morrical, a fourth-year medical student, were sponsored by the School of Medicine through the Dean’s Office and the Medical Alumni Association. This is the second year in which the medical school provided two teams up to $140 each to cover costs such as registration fees.

The other teams from the School of Medicine were WIM for WIN, led by Julie Welch, M.D., assistant dean for faculty affairs and professional development and assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine, and a team from Children's Health Services Research.

In addition to Johnston, Captain Hook of the Hamate included Mary Hon, Anand Desai and Johnny Gerardot, all first-year medical students. Gubernaculum’s other members were Pat Kohtz, Ryan Kunkel and Bo Stubblefield, all fourth-year medical students. WIM for WIN's other members were Mary Wermuth, M.D., assistant professor of clinical emergency medicine; Lauren Bosshardt, M.D., a resident in emergency medicine; and Lindsay Leech, a first-year medical student. The Children's Health Services Research team members were staff members Htaw Htoo, Vickie Cater and Ashley Street, and Amy Lewis Gilbert, visiting assistant research professor of pediatrics.

Gubernaculum gives it their all during this year's regatta.

Gubernaculum gives it their all during this year's regatta. | Erik Markov

In addition, Leech, an avid sports enthusiast, was named the winner of the women’s division at the inaugural IUPUI Regatta 5K on Sept. 20, with a time of 20 minutes and 13 seconds.

“I think it's great the IU School of Medicine is showing its support for IUPUI through participation in the annual regatta,” said Welch, also co-chair of the IUSM Women's Advisory Council, whose team practiced on Geist Reservoir several weeks leading up to the big race.

"In a way, this event is similar to medicine: It's about individuals coming together for a common goal -- be it to compete or to improve patient health," she added. "Collaboration and camaraderie were really on display in the four teams we had compete this year, and throughout the regatta."

The regatta race route, which extended from Fairbanks Hall at the north end of the canal at 11th Street to the Walnut Street basin -- the location of the USS Indianapolis monument -- is a half mile.

Two years ago, Gubernaculum crossed the finish line in 7 minutes and 10 seconds to beat out the second-place finishers by a whopping 45 seconds. In honor of the 2011 win, the team’s names were enshrined on the IUPUI Regatta trophy, and each member received a commemorative wooden canoe.

A second-place finish in this year’s race by Captain Hook of the Hamate still places the team among the fastest at Saturday’s event, which included a record 112 teams.

Gubernaculum gives it their all during this year's regatta.

Johnny Gerardot, a first-year medical student, rows for Captain Hook of the Hamate. | Erik Markov

Still, win or lose, all student teams said that taking part in events such as the regatta provide an important chance to escape the demands of the classroom and the clinic.

“I think it’s really important to take part in events such as the regatta,” Johnston said. “As first years, it’s hard for us to get involved in outreach and engagement since we aren’t in clinics a lot. This is a great way to represent our school and get our mind off of coursework for a day.”

Morrical, whose busy schedule includes service as a student officer with the American Medical Association, president of the Global Health Student Interest Group, junior co-chair for the Office of Medical-Service Learning and rotations at St. Vincent Hospital, also acknowledged that it’s a challenge for medical students to find time to participate in extracurricular events such as the regatta.

But once they’re in, he said, medical students, faculty and staff are all in.

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