There are numerous research opportunities available to DGSOM medical students!
The following describes the research opportunities available to DGSOM medical students, broken down by year.
- Summer between 1st and 2nd year
- January of 2nd year
- Between 2nd and 3rd/3rd and 4th year
- Between 2nd and 3rd year
- January of 4th year
As part of the first-year curriculum, students are exposed to scientific inquiry and research concepts beginning in the first block of the curriculum. The majority of students become involved in research during the summer between their first and second year of medical school.
There are three categories of research opportunities available to medical students between their first and second year:
Students are encouraged to schedule appointments with the DGSOM Research Advisor to discuss any research related questions and/or issues which arise. These appointments are tailored to the individual students. Specific research opportunities are often discussed, as are application processes and a plan of action.
In Year 2, medical students are encouraged to continue research from their summer projects. Students are also encouraged to present their findings at regional and national conferences. To support this, when a medical student research is accepted for presentation by the student at a regional or national meeting, the Student Affairs Dean's Office will support costs of travel, registration and lodging ( see specific policies and procedures).
In addition to supporting student travel to regional and national conferences, DGSOM also supports second year medical students participation at the annual Western Student Medical Research Forum (WSMRF), the largest medical student research symposium in the United States. WSMRF is held in January in Carmel, CA, where students from 22 medical schools in North America gather to present their research. It is held in conjunction with the Western Section of American Federation for Medical Research (WAFMR), Western Society for Pediatric Research (WSPR), Western Association of Physicians (WAP), and Western Society for Clinical Investigation (WSCI). DGSOM supports student research at WSMRF by co-sponsoring the conference (with the University of Washington). Again, students work must be accepted for presentation.
Medical students are introduced to pursue a variety of one-year funded fellowships, both on campus with DGSOM faculty mentors and with outside institutions, e.g. other medical schools, National Institutes of Health, etc. Decision to take a Research Leave is important and students meet with our Research Advisor and the Dean of Students to be sure this makes sense for the student. Mentorship and administrative support to apply for extramural year-long programs is provided. Stipends for these programs are provided by the national program, and are set based on their program guidelines. DGSOM medical students have been actively supported and accepted to national year-long programs, including:
- Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (Two DGSOM students selected in 2010 - 2012)
- Center for Disease Control Applied Epidemiology Fellowship (Three DGSOM students selected in 2010-2012)
- Doris Duke Fellowship (Three DGSOM students selected in 2010-2012)
- Fulbright/Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars (Three DGSOM students selected in 2010-2012)
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute Medical Fellows and Research Scholars (Seven DGSOM students selected in 2010-2012)
- NIH Clinical Research Training Program (CRTP) (Three DGSOM students selected in 2010-2011)
In addition to summer and year-long fellowships, DGSOM has a pathway program which focus on research path within medicine:
- The Clinical and Translational Research Pathway is designed to train future physicians to move biomedical research findings from the bench to the bedside and then out into the community.
The MSTP program requires medial students to break between their 2nd and 3rd years in order to pursue a PhD. More information on the MSTP Program can be found here.
Students may design research electives in the fourth year for elective credit that may not exceed six weeks.
In addition to research electives, students in their fourth year are required to participate in a research or scholarly activity as part of the Colleges requirements. The research or scholarly activities culminate with “Senior Scholarship Day,” an event where 100% of all students are required to present their research and/or scholarly activity in a formal research setting (http://apps.medsch.ucla.edu/medyear4/schdayabstract/default.htm). Students’ faculty mentors are encouraged to attend Senior Scholarship Day to support their student’s research activities. Students are provided feedback on their scholarly and/or research activities via an evaluation form, which is completed by a faculty moderator assigned to the groups based on research specialty.
As part of the Charles Drew program and the Primary Care Clerkship, students are required to develop, design, and implement a research project during their Primary Care clinical rotation. Research focuses on medical conditions commonly encountered in primary care practice in an underserved minority and economically disadvantaged population. Students are required to develop their research into a medical thesis, to be submitted to a peer-reviewed scientific publication or as a presentation.