The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) Medical Student Training in Aging and Injury Research is a 12 week summer research training program to introduce ten medical students per year to injury control research in aging during the summer between their first and second years. The experience focuses on the impact and outcomes of injury through the lifespan, especially improving safety, health and quality of life for older individuals. Based in MCW's CDC-funded Injury Research Center, the program builds on a highly successful institutional summer research program infrastructure, and strong collaborations with Internal Medicine's Geriatrics and Gerontology Division, the Departments of Family and Community Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Trauma Surgery and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, to address injury prevention at every level. Seasoned mentors from basic, clinical and social scientist work together to create a rich learning atmosphere and translational environment. The program's goal is to increase the pool of students who will pursue careers in injury control research, with an emphasis on the impact of injury through the life stages. Specific objectives are to: 1) provide early exposure to injury research at a critical time in medical students'career decision-making;2) increase medical student knowledge regarding current investigative frontiers in injury prevention, treatment and policy;3) have students apply a geriatrics approach in their research, therapy and injury control efforts, emphasizing the special risks, needs and circumstances of the elderly;and 4) to stimulate and retain medical students'interest in research, injury control and aging beyond the short-term experience, by providing on-going support and strengthening their connection to the scientific community and future research pursuits throughout the medical school training. Trainees will be matched with experienced research faculty and research teams to work on injury projects relevant to aging and the aged, such as falls prevention, older drivers, elder abuse and patient safety. They will participate in enrichment activities including: 1) seminars offered to all summer research students, including training in ethical conduct in research, career development and presentation skills;2) weekly core seminars on injury and injury prevention, with attention to the special needs and considerations of the elderly, including Falls in the Elderly, Wound Healing, Quality of Life after Trauma;4) presentation of their work at an Annual Medical Student Research Poster Day;and 5) opportunities for continued research through on- going mentorship and an optional Research Honors track.
Injury and violence prevention is a major Healthy People 2020 goal, and the MCW IRC is committed to a public health model to reduce the burden of injury. Injury and violence are serious threats to the health and well-being of Americans ages 65 and older, a rapidly growing segment of the population. It is critical to examine the risks and mechanisms of injury and response to trauma and trauma care from a life-stages perspective, and to look at the unique needs of the elderly in injury prevention, acute treatment and rehabilitation.
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