New program incorporates research into medical training

April 16, 2015

Medical Research students UNTHSC

A new collaborative effort between UNT Health Science Center and Cook Children’s Medical Center is providing a unique learning experience for several UNTHSC first-year medical students.

Medical research has often been an under-represented component of undergraduate medical education. To address this need, W. Paul Bowman, MD, Chairman of Pediatrics at UNTHSC, and Don P. Wilson, MD, Medical Director of Medical Education at Cook Children’s, engaged a group of scientists, educators and clinicians to create a research elective with the goal of providing a mentored research experience for first-year students.

Twenty-five UNTHSC students were provided options to participate in various areas of Pediatrics, including Anesthesiology, Cancer, Endocrinology, Hematology-Oncology, Human Genetics, Neonatology, Neurology and Neurosurgery. The students were teamed with a mentor, who was either a pediatric physician or researcher.

They were tasked to formulate a research hypothesis, design and implement a research study, analyze the data collected, prepare a final manuscript and present an abstract to at least one medical meeting.

“We have found that medical students may be keenly interested in pediatric research and capable of undertaking successful projects under the guidance of committed mentors,” Dr. Bowman said. “A one-month summer experience provides only enough time for a preliminary experience, but may set the stage for continuing productive research in the ensuing year of medical school, as well as enhancing the student’s capacity to appreciate and critically analyze the research literature.”

The students have presented their findings at Children’s Oncology Group’s Fourth Annual Young Investigators Poster Session in Dallas; Texas Osteopathic Medical Association’s 59th Mid-Winter Conference in Dallas; 2015 Latino Medical Student Association Southwest Research Symposium in Fort Worth; PESTOLA 2015 (Pediatric Endocrine Society of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas) in Dallas.

Students also will be presenting at UNTHSC’s 23rd Annual Research Appreciation Day; Pediatric Academic Societies’ 2015 Annual Meeting in San Diego, Calif.; the 56th National Student Research Forum in Galveston; and the Texas and National Lipid Association in Chicago.

In the photo from left to right: Amol Patel (TCOM ’17), Knoelle Park (TCOM ’17), Peter Deleeuw (TCOM ’17), Sameer Prakash (TCOM ’17), Jennigale Webb (TCOM ’15) and Nayana Baby (TCOM ’17)

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