Medical Student Summer Research Program (Detailed Description & Goals)

Malini_for_web[1]The Medical Student Summer Research Program provides mentored research experiences for first-year medical students at Boston University during the summer between their first and second year of medical school. Students work full-time on their projects for 8-10 weeks in a variety of Boston University Medical Center (BUMC) departments including Medicine, Surgery, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, Cardiology, and Emergency Medicine.

The overall goals of the Medical Student Summer Research Program are to:

  • Identify and recruit motivated first-year Boston University medical students to participate in mentored research projects for 8-10 weeks during the summer between their first and second year of medical school;
  • Introduce/enhance medical students’ understanding of basic science and/or clinical research principles;
  • Provide a strong foundation in the ethical conduct of research;
  • Strengthen skills in critical evaluation of data and reinforce the concept of evidence-based medicine;
  • Broaden medical students knowledge of the role and relevance of research to clinical medicine; and
  • Facilitate the development of faculty-student mentorship and student professionalism.

Research scholars in the program work with faculty from BUMC within the context of ongoing clinical and basic science research. Students identify potential projects and mentors through a database of research experiences maintained by The Office of Enrichment at Boston University School of Medicine, or alternately, students identify projects by independently seeking mentors through various BUMC departments. Once a mentor and project are identified, the student submits an application to the Student Research Advisory Committee detailing the goals and objectives of his/her project; this deadline is early April of each year.

The advisory committee independently reviews student proposals and collectively decides on allocation of scholarships. Students begin their research experiences at the close of their second semester in June, and at the conclusion of the summer, submit summaries of their work, even if the project is ongoing. Work is sometimes continued during the school year if this is acceptable to both mentor and student. Both students and faculty complete an evaluation of the program.

A series of research seminars and a poster day were added to the program beginning with class of 2004 scholars. The “Summer Research Program Research Seminars” are eight one-hour seminars designed to introduce scholars to a variety of topics to supplement their research experiences; the topics include research ethics, project design, and writing skills. The seminars are taught jointly by faculty at Boston University School of Medicine and Public Health. The “Medical Student Summer Research Symposium” represents the culmination of students’s summer research and is held annually in Febrary. Students are required to develop a poster with the help of their faculty mentor; the posters are displayed throughout the day at the medical school for student and faculty viewing. The symposium allows the scholars to formally present their work and receive recognition from the medical center community. It also generates enthusiasm for fellow medical students who are considering summer research.

If you have questions regarding the Medical Student Summer Research Program, please contact Ana Bediako.