Two doctors in
Amy Zidron, OMS
III, paused medical school to pursue her Ph.D.
through OU-HCOM’s Dual Degree Program
By Natalie Cammarata and Anita Martin
March 5, 2009
at OU-HCOM, Amy
Zidron, Ph.D., OMS III, has studied
the health of orphans in Kenya and childhood
obesity in Appalachia. Her days of treating
children as a family medicine physician lie
ahead of her, but there’s one thing that
separates her from most medical students: a
For most, one
postgraduate degree is plenty. Zidron, however,
wanted more. The Cincinnati native came to
OU-HCOM in 2003 to study medicine and earn her
fascinated by her biomedical sciences coursework
and early research, she felt compelled to study
further. By the end of her second year as a
medical student, Zidron entered the Ph.D.
program in Ohio University’s Department of
Degree Program allowed Zidron to put physician
training on hold for three years while she
completed her doctoral degree. When she finishes
her clinical rotations in the spring of 2010,
Zidron will become one of just five OU-HCOM
graduates to take advantage of the program.
“It takes a
special kind of student who’s willing to take an
extra three years to complete a Ph.D. in the
middle of a medical program,” said Zidron’s
advisor, Gillian Ice, Ph.D., associate
professor of social medicine.
doctoral dissertation, Zidron examined Luo
orphans in Kenya, their nutritional status and
depression risks. Zidron has traveled to Kenya
three times for her research and to assist with
Ice’s research. In fact, Ice’s early
encouragement helped inspire Zidron to pursue
her doctoral degree.
me the clinical side of the Ph.D. degree, beyond
the biomedical,” Zidron said. “That’s what I
wanted to do; I wanted to work with people.”
students interested in pursuing a dual-degree
path, Zidron emphasizes time management and
persistency. “No one’s really standing over your
shoulder, so don’t get lost in the shuffle,” she
Since coming to
Ohio, Zidron has collected numerous awards for
her research, including her third-place finish
in an international medical research contest at
an American Osteopathic Association seminar in
currently conducting her third-year rotations at
Marietta Memorial Hospital in Marietta, Ohio.
She is assisting with a research project
relating to childhood obesity, but her central
goals include finishing medical school and
publishing research related to her dissertation.
She is well on her way to meeting both goals.
A paper based
on Zidron’s doctoral research, “Does being an
orphan decrease the nutritional status of Luo
children?” was recently accepted for publication
in the American Journal of Human Biology.
She has submitted a second paper, “Health and
disease symptomatology,” to AIDS Care.
After her 2010
graduation, Zidron plans to pursue a pediatrics
residency. She also hopes to eventually return
to Kenya and continue her international work as
both researcher and physician.
recipients (biological sciences):
Oliver, D.O. (’93), Ph.D.
Advisor: Joseph Jollick, Ph.D.
Murray, D.O. (’98), Ph.D.
Advisor: Linda Ross, D.O. (’07),
Verdun, D.O. (’00), Ph.D.
Advisor: Ann Loucks, Ph.D.
Yoder, D.O. (’00), Ph.D.
Advisor: Kenneth Goodrum, Ph.D.