Abigail Schirmer


Mentor: Dr. Lauren Berkow

College of Medicine

"The reason I initially wanted to get involved in research was to combine my love of basic science with relevant clinical questions to contribute to an effort that will impact the lives of others. I initially got involved in research the summer before my junior year of high school through Student Science Training Program (SSTP) when I worked in Dr. Todd Brusko’s Type 1 Diabetes Lab. I continued research in this lab when I transferred to UF, developing many lab skills and completing multiple projects. This experience sparked my love for research and my commitment to making a difference in my work as a researcher. As my experience in the healthcare field and academic endeavors grew, so did my aspirations to apply my research to my future as a physician. When I got involved with the Department of Anesthesiology, I wanted to make an impact in the improvement of patient outcomes and quality of care within the healthcare setting by identifying and reducing vectors of hospital acquired infections. I have been able to contribute greatly in this area at UF Health through leading and developing multiple projects: impacting practice in operating rooms, intensive care units, and interventional radiology suites. My most recent research project aims to implement sustainable practice and reduce pharmaceutical waste while benefiting the environment and economy. I aspire to be a physician who is able to positively impact the individual lives of my patients and contribute to improving medical practice for all patients through my continued research: moving medicine forward by reducing length of stay and improving quality of care."

Major

Microbiology and Cell Science

Minor

Nutritional Sciences

Research Interests

  • Patient Safety/Quality Improvement
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Sustainability in Healthcare

Academic Awards

  • Congressional Bronze Medal (2014)
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honors (2015)
  • 2nd Place Best Poster - Department of Anesthesiology Celebration of Research (2017)
  • University Scholars Program (2017-2018)

Organizations

  • OPS Student Researcher - Department of Anesthesiology
  • College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Leadership Institute Cohort VIII
  • TriGators

Volunteer

  • Malcom Randall VA Hospital Patient Transporter and Holiday Pianist
  • First Presbyterian Church of Gainesville
  • UF Diabetes Institute Brusko Lab

Hobbies and Interests

  • Swimming
  • Clinical and Translational Research to Improve Patient Outcomes
  • Classical Piano
  • Hiking and Traveling

Research Description

Propofol Waste in Anesthesia and Sustainable Solutions
The purpose of this research project is to assess Propofol waste and implement ways to reduce waste levels through provider education. Propofol is an analgesic commonly used prior to intubation in a surgical operation. While it is commonly administered, it is also commonly wasted due to common practice techniques. The term 'wasted' refers to the volume of Propofol which is not administered to the patient and remains in the vial once opened for use. The Persistence, Bioavailability, and Toxicity score, or "PBT" score, for Propofol is the highest possible score denoting it’s negative impact on both the environment and communities which can be affected by waste if not properly disposed. Additionally, Propofol costs $0.11/mL for the drug itself and $0.02/mL to dispose; an economic burden to the hospital if wasted. Baseline data of propofol waste volume will be acquired over a random two week period. Once baseline data is measured and extrapolated to represent annual values, education protocols will be implemented to change practice techniques for reduction of waste volume. Propofol waste volume will be measured post-education to analyze effectivity. Additional implementations of beneficial waste practices will be placed in UF Health's operating rooms to reduce negative environmental and economic impact and create a more sustainable culture.