McGovern internal medicine residents win the Osler Cup at the American College of Physicians annual meeting.
McGovern internal medicine residents win the Osler Cup at the American College of Physicians annual meeting.

The bracket was set. And 50 3-person teams from across the world descended upon San Diego ready to compete.

Drawn to the March madness and eager for a shot at the trophy, they came from such places as Tennessee, Wisconsin, Navy, Saudi Arabia, and, of course, McGovern. Over two days, the teams battled, knocking each other out one by one as they traveled down the road to the final five, leading to the last team standing, the 2017 champions.

But this competition, marked by a year’s worth of training, had nothing to do with free-throws and three-pointers and everything to do with the year blood screening for Hepatitis C virus became available in the U.S. (1992) and the skin infection caused by Kytococcus sedentarius (pitted keratolysis). Competing for the prestigious Osler’s Cup at the American College of Physicians (ACP) annual meeting, the internal medicine resident teams came down to the final buzzer with the McGovern team, representing South Texas, in the position to win it all.

“We competed against the smartest residents from all over the world, and we were able to bring the cup to our institution. This is just a reflection of the outstanding medical education we get at McGovern Medical School,” Dr. Alain Quintana Quezada said. “Being able to give something back to this great program that has given us so much has been one of the best moments of my career.”

Intensive preparation paid off for the McGovern team, comprised of Quintana Quezada and Dr. Uday Sandhu, both third-year residents, and Dr. Giovanni Davogustto, a fifth-year resident in the clinical investigator track, whose collective smarts and steel-trap minds helped the team reign victorious at the Doctor’s Dilemma competition, held March 30-April 1.

“It’s very hard to feel prepared in this type of events, you never know what to expect. Internal Medicine is so broad, and we get tested on very fine details about common and rare diseases. However, we had been practicing together for a couple of years, and we were confident that our commitment and dedication was going to pay off,” Quintana Quezada said.

The team was coached by Dr. Jeremy Ross, chief resident of internal medicine, and also received support from Department of Internal Medicine program leadership.

“Representing McGovern Medical School at a national competition was an honor,” Quintana Quezada said. “As preparation for this competition, we had to master a set of state-of-the-art knowledge in diagnostic and therapeutic strategies, uncommon presentations of common diseases, and common presentations of rare diseases. In many occasions while preparing for the competition, we have been able to directly apply this knowledge into caring for patients.”

“On behalf of McGovern Medical School, I extend my warmest congratulations to our internal medicine residents for winning the Osler Cup. What an amazing achievement. Winning the Osler Cup speaks to their dedication to their profession and to the well-being of their patients,” Dean Barbara J. Stoll said.

Also known as “Medical Jeopardy,” the three-day competition is a highlight of the ACP meeting, with each competing team representing an ACP chapter.  The McGovern team advanced to the national round by winning first place in Texas – beating out 16 teams – in November.

Each Medical Jeopardy round consists of five categories (with five questions in each) plus one final dilemma question. All questions are written by physicians in ACP’s medical education division.

This win signals McGovern’s first capture of the Osler Cup since the competition began in 1997. The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston is the only other Texas medical school that has won the cup – taking first prize in the early 2000s.

“Winning the competition was a surreal experience and by far the best moment in my professional career,” Davogustto said. “Imagine having a conference room filled with remarkable physicians ­– some of them being your role models — giving you a standing ovation. It is a memory I will cherish for all my life.”