Two doctors in one
Amy Zidron, OMS
III, paused medical school to pursue her Ph.D.
through OU-COM’s Dual Degree Program
By Natalie Cammarata and Anita Martin
March 5, 2009
Since enrolling at
OU-COM, Amy Zidron,
Ph.D., OMS III, has studied the health of
orphans in Kenya and childhood obesity in
Appalachia. Her days of treating children as a
family medicine physician lie ahead of her, but
there’s one thing that separates her from most
medical students: a dual-degree.
For most, one
postgraduate degree is plenty. Zidron, however,
wanted more. The Cincinnati native came to OU-COM in
2003 to study medicine and earn her
fascinated by her biomedical sciences coursework and
early research, she felt compelled to study further.
By the end of her second year as a medical student,
Zidron entered the Ph.D. program in Ohio
University’s Department of Biological Sciences.
Degree Program allowed Zidron to put physician
training on hold for three years while she completed
her doctoral degree. When she finishes her clinical
rotations in the spring of 2010, Zidron will become
one of just five OU-COM graduates to take advantage
of the program.
“It takes a special
kind of student who’s willing to take an extra three
years to complete a Ph.D. in the middle of a medical
program,” said Zidron’s advisor, Gillian Ice,
Ph.D., associate professor of social medicine.
For her doctoral
dissertation, Zidron examined Luo orphans in Kenya,
their nutritional status and depression risks.
Zidron has traveled to Kenya three times for her
research and to assist with Ice’s research. In fact,
Ice’s early encouragement helped inspire Zidron to
pursue her doctoral degree.
“Gillian showed me
the clinical side of the Ph.D. degree, beyond the
biomedical,” Zidron said. “That’s what I wanted to
do; I wanted to work with people.”
students interested in pursuing a dual-degree path,
Zidron emphasizes time management and persistency.
“No one’s really standing over your shoulder, so
don’t get lost in the shuffle,” she said.
Since coming to
Ohio, Zidron has collected numerous awards for her
research, including her third-place finish in an
international medical research contest at an
American Osteopathic Association seminar in October.
Zidron is currently
conducting her third-year rotations at Marietta
Memorial Hospital in Marietta, Ohio. She is
assisting with a research project relating to
childhood obesity, but her central goals include
finishing medical school and publishing research
related to her dissertation. She is well on her way
to meeting both goals.
A paper based on
Zidron’s doctoral research, “Does being an orphan
decrease the nutritional status of Luo children?”
was recently accepted for publication in the
American Journal of Human Biology. She has
submitted a second paper, “Health and disease
symptomatology,” to AIDS Care.
After her 2010
graduation, Zidron plans to pursue a pediatrics
residency. She also hopes to eventually return to
Kenya and continue her international work as both
researcher and physician.
recipients (biological sciences):
James Brent Oliver, D.O. (’93),
Michael Murray, D.O. (’98), Ph.D.
Ross, D.O. (’07),
Mark Verdun, D.O. (’00), Ph.D.
Brian Yoder, D.O. (’00), Ph.D.