Research Opportunities

Check back often for various research opportunities through the UVA surgical department! We will be posting active projects that attendings and residents are running that require the help of medical students. Current UVA surgery residents

 

Project title: ENT National Survey Database Research

Investigator: Jose Mattos, MD, MPH

Description: The Department of Otolaryngology is seeking motivated medical students interested in national survey database research. Interested students would be joining an active, collaborative team of medical students, residents, and faculty. The program is now in its second year, and we are seeking to expand the number of investigators, as well as the number of databases that are currently being queried. Medical students have been the first authors in 90% of the projects generated by this collaboration thus far, and we have multiple projects that have been accepted for national conference presentations and publication, and several other projects are currently in development. National database research is perfect for medical students, since it allows significant flexibility to work on projects on your own time and almost always results in a finished project that is accepted for a national presentation, publication, or both. This is a great way to gain real research experience and to build your research portfolio and CV, which competitive residency programs value highly. Ideal candidates are self-motivated, goal-oriented, and have a strong work ethic. Experience with statistical software analysis (preferably SAS or STATA) and familiarity with national survey databases is preferred but not required. (POSTED: 8/16/2018)

Contact: If interested, please contact Dr. Mattos (jm6cb@virginia.edu) with a statement of interest, relevant experience, and CV if available.

 

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Maximizing your research experience

Now that you have your project identified, here are some tips:

COMPLETE your project. Your participation in research means little if you do not have an end result. This will leave your mentor unimpressed, your interest in the project unfulfilled, and a gap in your CV. You cannot talk about how great your research was if there are no results.

Choose a project that completion is feasible. Chart review and other clinical projects take less time than basic science or biomechanics projects. Keep that in mind when choosing. While you should not shy away from basic science/benchwork, particularly if you find it interesting, know that it will likely be several years before you see the fruits of your labor.

Discuss opportunities for publication before you start. It is very important to know what kind of recognition you will be getting for your work. While it is very difficult, and unrealistic, to be the first author as a medical student, it is certainly feasible to be a secondary author on publications as a medical student.

Getting your name on a publication should be the ultimate goal of your research. While many parts of your project, particularly if you do MSSRP, may not lead to publication, you should aim to get your name on at least one paper/presentation during your experience. This is the ultimate “proof” that you contributed in a meaningful way to a project that has value in its field. It is one thing to say you conducted research, it is another to say you conducted research that was determined to be of merit by the peer-review process.

Complete Institutional Review Board (IRB) application ASAP. If you join a pre-existing project, then IRB approval will likely have already been received. If not, get all required forms in immediately. Approval can take days to weeks depending on your application and the schedule of the IRB. UVA IRB information can be found here. You will likely also have to take CITI training and HIPAA compliance (both on the IRB website) prior to working with human subjects or protected patient information. You are ethically not allowed to begin collecting data on your research until IRB approval is received, so failure to submit all necessary paperwork can delay the commencement of your research considerably. Do not let paperwork errors put you behind!

Work hard and learn as much as you can. If you work hard and efficiently on your project, you are more likely to impress your mentor and be recognized by having your name on associated publications, as well as become someone they can go to for projects in the future throughout medical school. The more involved you are with your project, the more you will enjoy it and become an expert of your own research. Knowing the ins and outs of your research will be invaluable as you discuss it in interviews for new research opportunities, and ultimately, surgical residency.