Honors Benefits: Whitney Souery Travel Award

This post was shared by junior biomedical engineering major Whitney Souery ’20 from Austin, TX.

During June to August 2018, I had the opportunity to work as a research student under the direction of Dr. Timmy Ho at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Boston Children’s Hospital through the Harvard Neonatology Summer Student Research Program. Our research, inspired by the nationwide lapses associated with the newborn screening process, sought to develop a new approach to tracking newborn screens (NBSs) within the BIDMC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The product of our research, an automated NBS tracking system, offers a replicable and effective approach to improving both the overall efficiency and timeliness of the newborn screening process at BIDMC by sending daily emails notifying NICU unit coordinators upcoming screens.

Our research was accepted for oral presentation at the Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference in San Antonio, TX during February 2019.  Presenting at the conference as one of only a few undergraduates was an intimidating yet rewarding experience because I had the opportunity to interact with many other healthcare professionals who face similar challenges in monitoring screening results, such as timely reporting blood test results for patients in the emergency department. After speaking with these professionals, I believe that our automated system can easily be adapted for tracking such screens, offering an efficient and versatile method of monitoring screening exams beyond just the NICU.

A woman in a white suit stands in front of a draped window by a screen showing a flowchart slide titled "Methods: Preintervention Flow Diagram of Pre-analytical NBS Process"
Whitney Souery ’20 presents at the 2019 Healthcare Systems Process Improvement Conference

I am incredibly honored to not only have been selected to present on our research findings but also share our approach with other healthcare systems engineers, physicians, and nurses. It is my hope that other medical centers and hospitals will be inspired to develop similar, automated newborn screen tracking systems using our own approach as a guide. I am extremely grateful for the funding and research encouragement provided by LAUNCH.


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