The University of Utah (UU) Health Sciences Center (HSC) has a strong commitment to basic, clinical, and translational research and a rich history of fostering medical student research. Since 1993, and with the support of this T35 grant, the UU has developed a structured Medical Student Research Program (MSRP) that provides a mentored, practical research experience for 15 medical students from the UU and University of Puerto Rico (UPR) during the summer between their first and second year of medical school. The MSRP is highly successful, as evidenced by the training records of medical student alums and corresponding faculty mentor participants. The UU MSRP is requesting continued support for 15 medical students to participate in the summer research program. In brief, interested medical students from the UU and its partnering institution, the UPR, identify an MSRP mentor and submit a proposal related to heart, lung, and/or blood research that undergoes a rigorous evaluation by an independent review committee. Students whose meritorious projects are chosen for support work in a laboratory under the guidance of their mentor and his/her team. Medical students enrolled in the MSRP are trained in the ethical conduct of research and they participate in a structured summer training program that includes classes on scientific writing, planning for careers in academic medicine, presentations from established physician investigators in heart, lung and/or blood research, and team lab meetings. At the end of the summer program, the students write an abstract and present their work in poster format at a fall scientific symposium at the UU. Students are also encouraged and provided financial support to attend and present at national meetings, continue working relationships with their mentors, publish their work, transition to the UU MD-PhD program, and in some cases, apply for extramural grants to further pursue their research. Importantly, analyses of the previous funding period revealed that UU medical students who participated in the MSRP have strong publishing records and excellent career placement. It is the goal of the MSRP leaders and faculty to continue this program so that UU and UPR medical students are exposed to heart, lung, and/or blood research and positioned for careers as physician-scientists.
The main focus of the University of Utah (UU) Medical Student Research Program is to introduce medical students to basic and clinical research. Medical students from the UU and University of Puerto Rico work with established mentors on heart, lung, and/or blood research generating results that are presented at local and national meetings and published in peer-reviewed journals. These experiences prepare medical students for futures in academic medicine.
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