Participating in the Ideathon was an interesting experience. My perspective of interdisciplinary research shifted slightly because initially, I thought that our topic would have to be a very specific problem with clear associations to STEM, the arts and humanities, and the social sciences. However, the topic our group chose was pretty broad and encompassed all of our disciplines.
I did not have a lot of difficulties communicating with teammates who are involved in different disciplines, but that could be due to the nature of the problem we chose to address. However, I think explaining concepts in simple terms and avoiding discipline-specific jargon can be effective ways to communicate across disciplines.
The theme of the Ideathon was accessibility and equity, so I kept those ideas in mind when reflecting on my research project. One of the most interesting aspects of cardiac amyloidosis is the fact that some mutations are more prevalent in certain ethnicity. For example, V122I is estimated to be in about 3-4% of African Americans in the United States. Recently there has been a lot of discussions about access to health care and some of the inequities African Americans deal with when seeking medical care. I began to think about how those factors could delay diagnosis and treatment, or even lead to misdiagnosing for African Americans with hereditary cardiac amyloidosis. How would lower-income African Americans afford to be seen by a cardiologist who is experienced in recognizing the wide spectrum of clinical presentation of cardiac amyloidosis? I’m hopeful that these questions will be studied in the future, but it will take some time because many of the major advancements for this disease have been made within the last decade.
The Ideathon made me think of the variety of research methods other fields use to answer their questions. I enjoy seeing how people create and use innovative techniques or tools for their projects.