First-year Pitt Med student Alex Zhang dabs clear gel on the skin of a 30-something-year-old actor (or “standardized patient”) and slides the ultrasound probe to the left of his sternum while Desireé Neville (Fel ’16), assistant professor of pediatrics, looks on. Turning the probe, Zhang peeks between the man’s ribs, revealing what, to the untrained eye, seems to be a hazy, two-toned maze on the screen above.
But it’s textbook: a parasternal long-axis view of the heart.
“Beautiful,” says Neville—and a point for Team 50 Shades of Grayscale!
In February, nine student teams competed in Pitt’s second annual SonoGames, a test of knowledge and skills in ultrasound. The event, sponsored by the Office of Medical Education, was organized by Caelie Kern, Ellen Ribar, and Harmony Yourish—students in the Ultrasound in Medicine Interest Group. Emily Lovallo, assistant professor of emergency medicine and assistant director of ultrasound services for the Department of Emergency Medicine, serves as the group’s faculty advisor.
Andy Henderson, a second-year student who competed last year as well, says that the group’s hands-on practice and one-on-one instruction panned out for him recently as a volunteer at the Birmingham Free Clinic. “A couple months ago, someone came in and needed a renal scan. No one there felt comfortable doing it. And I was like, Okay, I’ll give it a shot.” Successfully completing the scan was “really affirming,” says Henderson—who, by the way, took second place in this year’s SonoGames, along with Wesley Ramirez and Vu Dinh (their team name, WAVIN, is a portmanteau of their first names).
In the final Jeopardy! (style) round, the Acoustic Shadows—first-year students Elaina Anglin, Insiyah Campwala, and Anjana Murali—clinched the championship.