From Healio

First-year med student earns first byline

Unique mentorship opportunity leads to collaboration on research commentary

August 03, 2021

For members of the medical education and research world, the publication of articles in research journals can be a mark of achievement, a sign that one’s scholarly work has undergone the scrutiny of colleagues and been found to address significant medical questions through scientific inquiry. It can take years of professional work before opportunities to be published may arise—so, why not get a head start in your first year of medical school?

In a way, that’s what first-year KPSOM student David O. Alfaro did. For his 2021 scholarly project, Alfaro wrote an article analyzing a previously published research paper on arthroscopic rotator cuff repair (a major shoulder surgery procedure). Alfaro was mentored in his work by Dr. Ronald Navarro, Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and the school’s Director of Clinical Affairs. The two shared a byline when the piece was published by Healio ( ), a non-peer-reviewed news and education website for the healthcare community.

“With Dr. Navarro’s encouragement I was able to complete a literature review on arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, analyze the paper in question, and provide my own unique perspective on the premise of the paper and its application to the real world,” said Alfaro.

The student and mentor connected through the school’s Orthopedic Special Interest Group, of which Dr. Navarro is an adviser and Alfaro a member.

“I am so proud of David,” said Navarro, who himself has published dozens of research articles in scholarly publications. “He took on the task and delivered information to me that we edited together for a cogent and helpful perspective or commentary on the actual paper. I think it is these types of sponsorship opportunities that will help elevate our students in comparison to other med schools, especially for later competitive residency application processes.” 

Read the article here .