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What are your thoughts when you hear the subject research? Are you
thinking, how in the world can I fit research into my already busy
schedule? Maybe you are thinking, I want to start some research,
but I just don't know where to begin? Maybe you are in the middle
of a research project and wishing you had chosen a different
project, a different mentor, or a different field of research.
Research can be a daunting task for all types of medical
professionals; however, research is the lifeblood of medicine. It
propels medicine forward to new life-saving technologies and
medications, allowing for innovation, quality improvement, and
safety measures that can impact the way doctors around the world
treat their patients. For the individual student, research can
bring great personal satisfaction, helping you achieve professional
goals, and also stretching you to understand medical issues on a
deeper level. So, how do you begin to sort through the who, what,
where, and how's of research? I hope to provide you with some tips
from my own experiences and others' that are tailored to the
general MD medical student as well as the various research track
medical students (i.e. MD/PhD, MD/MS, MD/MPH, etc.).
Before beginning to look for research projects, conduct a
self-evaluation. You want to know a couple of important things
about yourself that will guide you in choosing a project and
mentor. Ask yourself:
Research Speed Dating
Choosing a research project and mentor really is like choosing
someone to ask out on a date. The choice can definitely impact your
happiness (especially for medical students in dedicated research
tracks), it can help define your future path, and it can be truly
daunting. However, now that you know a little bit more about
yourself and your goals, you will be able to make better decisions
about what to do. Here are some tips:
The Long Haul of Research
Once you have chosen a project and a mentor, hopefully you will
enjoy the experience of conducting the background research on your
project, formulating ideas, testing those ideas, struggling through
the failures, and rejoicing in the successes. Here are some tips
for the journey:
Ultimately, research can be an amazing journey that does not
have to be overwhelming if you are prepared. Good luck and let me
know if you have additional questions on the subject!
Justin Peacock, PhD, 2nd Lt USAF HPSP
Council of Student Members, Military Representative
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine - Class of 2014
Disclaimer: The list of research fellowships does not
constitute endorsement by ACP or CSM. Please note that the links
may or may not work in the future and/or the programs may or may
not be available in the future. Also the list is by no means
comprehensive of all the research programs available for medical
October 2011 Issue of IMpact
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