Summer Scholars: Meet Ricardo Caldas

The Medical Student Summer Research Scholars (MSSRS) Program is a summer research opportunity open to rising MS-II students only. The project period is 7 weeks during the summer, and students are expected to devote at least 6 full weeks to the project. Students attend weekly work-in-progress sessions and provide the opportunity for MSSRS participants to present their work to student peers.  A final report is presented in the form of a poster or oral presentation at a local, regional, or national meeting. The Interprofessional Education Symposium held each spring at Campbell University is an opportunity to present, and all MSSRS participants are encouraged to present a poster at the event

Name:  Ricardo Caldas

Hometown: Pembroke Pines, Florida

Life Before Medical School:  My family and I moved from Blumenau, Brazil to the U.S. when I was four, and I grew up in Pembroke Pines, Florida – the place I consider to be my hometown.  After high school, I completed my EMT-Firefighter training with the Coral Springs Fire Academy in 2007.  Then, I earned my paramedic license in 2009. In the years that followed, my love for working with patients intensified, and I decided to pursue a career in medicine. In 2016, I earned my BS in Biological Sciences from Florida Atlantic University, where I also performed one year of benchtop research centered on assessing the neuronal impacts of brevetoxicosis. Additionally, I served as a biology TA during my undergrad while concurrently working as a paramedic for the North Broward Hospital District. After leaving Florida, I graduated with my MS in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University in 2019, just prior to matriculating at CUSOM. Regardless of the field of medicine that I pursue, clinical research will remain my lifelong companion in evidence-based practice.

What is your research project?  With respect to the Summer Scholars program, I was matched to the trauma research division at WakeMed, primarily working under Dr. Mary Bryant and Dr. Jaclyn Tremont. I am a co-investigator in a study centered on evaluating the predictive and prognostic merits of early in-hospital end-tidal capnography measurements on trauma patient outcomes. My primary responsibility involved collecting and screening EMS and ER patient data from WakeMed’s EMR system –both at the hospital and remotely.

Project title: Does ETCO2 predict outcomes in all trauma populations?
Principle Investigator:  Scott M. Moore, MD
Co-Investigators:  Jaclyn Portelli Tremont, MD; Mary K. Bryant, MD, MSCR; Ricardo A. Caldas, MS, EMT-P

What have you learned from this experience?  The research I performed on behalf of WakeMed Health was, and continues to be, a rewarding experience. I was taught how to navigate hospital-based studies and learned the nuances surrounding IRBs and the data collection process. It also allowed me to build a rapport with some of WakeMed’s physician and nursing staff. I also learned how to better navigate an EMR platform that is widely used throughout various hospital systems.

Although my Summer Scholars contract has ended, I was given the opportunity to remain with WakeMed as a member of the research team for the rest of the year. To this day, I am still remotely collecting data for the third phase of our study as I make my way through second year at CUSOM.

What are your extra curricular activities?   I serve as the Research Chair of our CUSOM SGA. I currently live in Garner with my two little boys, Leo and Tristan, and my wife, Vanessa. When I’m not studying, I enjoy cooking with my kids, doing yardwork, traveling, and exercising.

What advice for MS-I’s would you like to share?  To all of our aspiring MS-I researchers, I highly recommend that you consider applying to CUSOM’s Summer Scholars program. The program offers various platforms from which to gain experience in research –from on-site laboratory to hospital-based projects.

Student Doctor Caldas and his family at White Coat Ceremony 2019