The goal of the Pediatric Research Program (PRP) is to provide a unique learning experience for rising second-year medical students in the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.
PRP, a collaborative effort between UNT Health Science Center’s Department of Pediatrics and Cook Children’s Medical Center, offers students the option to participate in a variety of Pediatric areas. Those include Cardiology, Endocrinology, Critical Care, Genetics, Hematology-Oncology, Neonatology, Nephrology, Neurosciences, Palliative Care, Pain Management and Patient Safety.
New areas of research opportunity are identified each year.
Over the past three years, an average of 25 students has successfully participated annually in PRP. The students are teamed with a mentor, who is either a pediatric physician or researcher. They are challenged 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.
For many students this is one of their first opportunities to work in a clinical environment, so there is an emphasis on case studies that address challenges in diagnosis and management.
The students’ preliminary experiences are presented in a fall seminar series open to fellow students and faculty. A one-month summer commitment provides only enough time for an introductory experience, but may set the stage for continuing productive research in the ensuing years of medical school. It can also enhance the student’s capacity to appreciate and critically analyze the research literature. And it helps build mutually beneficial relationships between students and mentors that can grow in the ensuing years.
Many students have presented their findings at scientific meetings, have been honored for their research locally and in national settings, and have published papers in respected journals.