Advances in the treatment of illness and disease occur only as a result of questioning the status quo and exploring scientifically-based alternatives. It is important that the next generation of physicians learns to critically evaluate their own approach to medicine and constantly update their practice through integration of the latest evidence. This skill is not something that is typically addressed during medical training. To address this gap in training, The Brody School of Medicine provides their medical students with the unique experience of the Summer Scholars Research Program. This program allows rising second year medical students to spend eight weeks during the summer performing medical research, under the direction of our clinical and basic science faculty at BSOM. The objective of the program is to provide BSOM students with the tools they will need to develop and answer clinical questions through research. The goal is to train students to identify research questions through every day practice, design a study that sufficiently answers the specific question, analyze and interpret data in a meaningful way, and effectively present results so that they can have the broadest possible impact.
During the course of the summer, students and participating faculty hold regular meetings where students give updates on their progress and discuss research-related issues such as IRB review, study design, statistical analysis and scientific writing. Their experience culminates with the Annual Medical Student Research Day during which all participants present the results of their scholarship to an audience of faculty and students from throughout the university.
Many of the projects the students undertake address health issues of specific importance to our region such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, health disparities and neurological conditions.
Since the start of this program, student involvement has steadily grown from 4 in 1997 to 27 in 2014. Overall, more than 200 students have completed the program and at least 80 of the student projects have resulted in national presentations or published manuscripts.
Beginning in 2015, BSOM will be offering students the opportunity to achieve "Distinction in Scholarly Activity" (Special Recognition for Scholarly Activity) which will be noted on their medical school diploma. The first step in this process is identifying an appropriate mentor and participating in the Summer Scholars Program. Students choosing this option will continue their research throughout their remaining years in medical school, and attend specified education sessions/seminars on their research topic. In order to obtain the distinction, the student must prepare a manuscript of publishable quality before the end of their 4th year.
More on this program can be found at http://www.ecu.edu/medicaleducation/rdt.
For questions regarding either of these programs, please contact Dr. Kori Brewer at firstname.lastname@example.org.