2017TPS student winners
Dustin Gulizia and Nujeen Zibari won first place in the medical student E-poster contest at the 2017 Texas Pediatric Society Annual Meeting in Plano, Texas.

Two fourth-year students at McGovern Medical School celebrated a big win at the 2017 Texas Pediatric Society Annual Meeting held Oct. 5-8 at the Renaissance Dallas in Plano, TX.

Dustin Gulizia and Nujeen Zibari won first place at the E-poster contest, under the guidance of their attending and clinical mentor, Dr. Monaliza Evangelista. The case focused on a 5-month-old girl diagnosed with hematemesis and was found to have duodenal web and near-annular pancreas.

Zibari said the rarity of their case made it stand out from the pack.

“In our literature review, we only found about five cases where a patient had both intrinsic and extrinsic congenital duodenal obstructions,” Zibari said. “Only 10 cases discuss a patient with duodenal obstruction presenting with hematemesis and even less with duodenal web presenting as such. We found no cases with duodenal web and annual pancreas presenting with hematemesis, so that definitely made ours stand out.”

“This makes it a combination of two different disease processes, which are rare enough as individual entities, much less together — Intrinsic and extrinsic duodenal stenosis,” Gulizia said. “I think it was also written in such a way that it efficiently gave the reader an overview of the disease, how to diagnose it, and presented the treatment options. Thus, it was useful and could be generalized to any pediatrician.”

Evangelista suggested the two write a case report about the patient, who was being taken care of by Gulizia, after they received the results of her upper GI series and endoscopy. After hearing about the poster competition, both students modified the report into a poster to present at the annual meeting.

“This also took a lot of editing and communication, and we submitted right before the deadline,” Zibari said.

Both students said they were excited when they received word they had won first place.

“I actually screamed and told everyone around me,” Zibari said. “We were so happy along with Dr. Evangelista and so humbled to win first place.”

“I was in kind of disbelief,” Gulizia said. “It was a surreal experience because everything seemed so quick. It was our first case report and first publication and it was quite an honor to have been recognized for the work.”

Even though they had never written case reports before, their experiences at McGovern Medical School and guidance from Evangelista were instrumental in receiving the award, they said.

“[Dr. Evangelista] allowed us to work through everything ourselves and provided input when needed,” Gulizia said. “Her mentorship was extremely helpful and what we have learned during the process can be utilized throughout our careers.”