Student Spotlight: Nino Nastasi


In this edition of Student Spotlight, Nino Nastasi describes his experiences as a Johns Hopkins School of Public Health MHS student participating in the JSCOR Surgery Faculty-Student Mentoring Program.

I came to JHSPH immediately after graduating Hopkins as an undergrad with a degree in molecular and cellular biology. I worked in the department of surgery during undergrad on some projects related to venous thromboembolism, which really helped me decide on pursuing a master’s in epidemiology to get a deeper understanding of epidemiologic and clinical research. Also, to be completely honest, I felt like I was really limited in what I could contribute without statistical, methodologic, and clinical expertise. Given that I was not in a rush to get in and out of medical school, getting a master’s at JHSPH seemed like a great next step and, having graduated in May, I happily stand by that decision as it has made all the difference in how I see medicine, clinical care, and how I fit in to the picture.

While in the JSCOR mentoring program as a mentee and student program lead, I worked with Elliott Haut on a project examining the relationship between age and venous thromboembolism in adult trauma patients. It has been a wonderful experience and culminated in me having learned a ton, presenting at an academic surgical conference in Las Vegas, and the publication of the work. It was a great experience to be learning all of these amazing methods in my epi/biostats classes and having an interesting dataset and project on which I could use them. It accelerated my learning and quickly allowed me to develop into a confident, young researcher.

Next year I begin medical school at Stanford with an amazing skillset to not only ask the important questions, but answer them, too. This empowerment has changed how I see medicine and biomedical research and has shaped my career plans entirely. During my two years at JHSPH in the JSCOR mentoring program, I fell in love with biostatistical and epidemiologic methods and plan on doing a PhD as a result, which was something I had not previously considered. Exposure to important clinical resources and datasets as well as a hands-on experience in surgical outcomes research through my “capstone” project have been truly formative in my time at Hopkins and my career plans for the future.

POSTSCRIPT: Nino's paper on the relationship between age and VTE was recently published in the Journal of Surgical Research. During his time at Hopkins Nino also published a paper on breast cancer screening and social media. The references for these two papers are listed below. Nino was also involved in the Equality Study, a project aimed at understanding how ER patients respond to being asked about sexual orientation and gender identity. Study results were recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine (PubMed, Article) and were the subject of a New York Times article.

Breast Cancer Screening and Social Media: a Content Analysis of Evidence Use and Guideline Opinions on Twitter. PubMed Article

Nastasi A, Bryant T, Canner JK, Dredze M, Camp MS, Nagarajan N.

J Cancer Educ. 2017 Jan 17. [Epub ahead of print]

Characterizing the relationship between age and venous thromboembolism in adult trauma patients: findings from the National Trauma Data Bank and the National Inpatient Sample. Article

Nastasi AJ, Canner JK, Lau BD, Streiff MB, Aboagye JK, Kraus PS, Hobson DB, Van Arendonk KJ, Haut ER.

J Surg Res. 2017 Aug;216:115-122.

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