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Michael Gunter, a first-year medical student at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, is currently attending the Center for Clinical and Translational Science Research Training Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The eight-week program provides mentored research training experiences in patient centered outcomes research (PCOR) and comparative effectiveness research (CER). Seven individuals from institutions throughout the Southeast were selected to participate.
As part of the program, Gunter is working in the research department at the Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham, a recreation and fitness facility for people with a wide range of disabilities. While there, he is assisting in administration of testing, helping with the facility’s summer camps, and recruiting people to participate in research projects.
“This experience is going to be extremely helpful in learning the entire research process, from submitting grants all the way to being published,” he said. “We have weekly seminars that focus on each step in the process, along with meetings with our mentors to answer any questions we have.”
Gunter’s research project involves finding difficulties that kids with spinal cord injuries have when playing active video games – such as Xbox Kinect and Nintendo Wii – so that modifications can be made in the future to allow them a better game play experience. He is also working on developing a survey that can report the health status of people with spinal cord injuries.
“I have never participated in research, so I am hoping to leave here with a great knowledge of the process, along with the potential of continuing to work with Lakeshore and be part of the publications that result,” he said. “I am thankful to have found this opportunity.”
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