Aug 11, 2020
In January, the 2018 Spencer Symposium welcomed Florida Southern alumna Dr. Jennifer Bruno Irick to present a talk on the importance of fundamental science in her chosen field of emergency medicine.
At the time, Irick was a senior resident in emergency medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C. She participated in the Spencer Symposium at the invitation of its organizer, Dr. Carmen Gauthier, Jessie Ball duPont Chair and Professor of Chemistry at FSC.
In an interview, Irick said FSC provided both the instruction and the guidance she needed to succeed. She was the 2011 recipient of the Honor Walk Award, the school’s highest student award.
“I want the students to know how what they are learning in class is applied every single day in clinical medicine,” she said. “What they are learning will be important later.”
Irick’s lecture, “From Biochemistry to Bedside: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology as the Foundation of Clinical Medicine,” explained how fundamentals of chemistry can influence the diagnosis and treatment of disease. She also spoke of her work in emergency medicine.
She credited Florida Southern’s small class sizes for her ability, as a student, to talk one-on-one with professors. Irick also made special mention of Dr. Robert H. Baum, professor emeritus of biology, and Dr. James M. Lynch, professor of athletic training, both of whom provided helpful advice about a medical career.
“Dr. Baum was a mentor,” Irick said. “He encouraged me to work at Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine, and that was integral in helping me realize I wanted to work in clinical medicine.”
Irick was part of a dual-acceptance program in which FSC pre-medical graduates who meet other requirements were automatically accepted into the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida. After completing her medical degree, she went on to the residency program at Wake Forest Baptist.
“A lot of the doctors there are leaders in the field of emergency medicine,” Irick said, calling it “an honor to train there.”
In August, she and her husband, Dr. Michael Irick — also an emergency medicine physician — took positions as attending physicians in the emergency department at St. Luke’s University Health Network in Bethlehem, Pa.
The Spencer Symposium annually celebrates the successes of FSC alumni in the fields of medicine and chemistry. The symposium is named for the late Dr. Jack Spencer, an FSC professor of chemistry who made major advances in the research and development of antibiotics.
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