‘Leveraging the COVID Research Spike’: SOM Students, Faculty   

‘Leveraging the COVID Research Spike’: SOM Students, Faculty Publish on New Elective

Given the spike in research needs and ideas across a major health network during the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty members at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine created a novel avenue to teach doctors-in-training how better to engage in future research.

The creation of a research elective which taught students how to be innovative physician-scientists in their future careers is described in a new paper published in the Elsevier journal Medical Science Educator.

The elective aimed to teach students how to critically assess COVID-19 research proposals by researchers and physicians from across the Hackensack Meridian Health network in New Jersey, in response to the needs presented by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. 

The students met with faculty in large and small sessions, grading the ideas and proposals using a modified NIH style peer review process to evaluate grant applications for their significance, innovation, and approach over the five-week elective. 

By exposing medical students to this process early in their training, medical schools may improve career satisfaction of medical professionals, address the lack of physician-scientist participation in biomedical research, and enhance health outcomes,” the authors conclude. 

Six students participated in the initial course. The physicians-in-training learned how to evaluate experimental approaches and better present proposals for funding and support, according to the paper. Due to overwhelming positive feedback from students,  faculty members plan to continue to offer this elective.

Three Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine medical students are authors on the paper: Lainey Bukowiec, Kristen Grotheer, and Tanner Corse, along with faculty co-authors Zhiyong Han, Stanley R. Terlecky, Vicki Coffin, and Linda D. Siracusa.

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