Pictured left: Krista Stephenson (Class of 2017) presents her findings at the 2014 Medical Student Research Day. Pictured right: Brian McGrath (Class of 2017) at work on his research in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.
The Summer Research Program at USA provides research experiences for medical students prior to the freshman year of medical school and during the summer between the freshman and sophomore years. In 2014, forty medical students participated in the program, which provided stipends to participants and culminated with a Medical Student Research Day.
The program also serves as a foundation for medical students who are interested in gaining additional research experience during the subsequent years of medical school. These students are eligible to participate in the MD with Research Honors Program, which requires a six-month research experience on a specific project with faculty in basic or clinical sciences.
Participants of the MD with Research Honors Program have cited numerous benefits gained through their involvement.
Dr. William Gannon (Class of 2013), now a resident in Ophthalmology at UAB, gave the program his highest recommendation stating, "It has taught me the fundamentals of research, which I will use in residency and beyond, while allowing me the chance to get to know and interact with professors on a daily basis".
Dr. Luke Wiggins (Class of 2012), now a resident in Cardiothoracic Surgery at USC Medical Center Los Angeles, agreed. He noted, "This research experience has equipped me with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue future opportunities in research."
Dr. Russ Terry (Class of 2013), now a resident in Urology at the University of Florida, Gainesville, pointed to an environment which allowed him to "hone written and oral scientific communication skills during the process of manuscript preparation and defense."
Fourth-year medical student, Hayden Hundley (Class of 2015), wholeheartedly recommends the program to "all students regardless of future medical specialty or research aspirations. Even a project outside of your specific area of interest will broaden your horizons and teach you critical planning, analytical, and communication skills that will enhance a career in any specialty of the medical field."
In the video at left, first-year medical student, Haylie Reed, discusses her experience with the Summer Research Program.