In an effort to expose medical students to the research conducted in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy early in their careers, faculty members, including William Hogan, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy; Melissa Bright, Ph.D., assistant research scientist in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy; and Lindsay Thompson, M.D., M.S., associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and assistant director of clinical research in the Institute for Child Health Policy, are offering mentored research experiences for medical students this summer through the College of Medicine’s Medical Student Research Program (MSRP).
The 10-week MSRP is part of the Discovery Pathways Program, an optional program for medical students to build a portfolio of accomplishment and scholarship in a defined track. Health outcomes and policy is one of seven offered tracks and focuses on how to evaluate and inform health care delivery systems, community-level interventions, and health policy.
“Enabling the medical students to have a structured research experience between their first and second years is a natural extension of the student pathways, as well as a pipeline to the future,” said Thompson. “I believe that a one-on-one or one-to-a-few experience is far more effective than any classroom experience.”
As part of these mentored experiences, Thompson and her two students are identifying an integrated approach to patient screening in an effort to identify best practices in pediatrics. Similarly, Bright and her team of three students are researching the role pediatricians have with patients who have had adverse childhood experiences, while Hogan and his student aim to improve the accuracy and usability of epidemic simulators, which are mathematical models used to simulate the spread of infectious diseases in a population.
While other departments participate in the research program as well, Thompson plans to give students working in Health Outcomes & Policy additional opportunities through regularly scheduled group meetings to allow for discussion of their research and brainstorming.
“I was fortunate to have phenomenal mentors during the early years of my research training,” said Bright. “I try and take every opportunity to pay that positive experience forward to the next generation of researchers. Also, in my experience, the medical students at UF are both intelligent and motivated — it makes for a fun summer of research.”