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School of Medicine Student Research and Scholarship

The School of Medicine integrated curriculum provides opportunities for research and scholarship. The purpose is to promote medical students' independent investigation through the different phases of medical education, and to provide students an opportunity to define themselves through a portfolio of investigative experiences. The choice of a research project is to be selected based on each individual student's interests.


  1. Define one or more questions that guide your research.
  2. Work on a health care related project that includes a research component and leads to creation of new or markedly improved knowledge (scientific, clinical or educational) or innovation (clinical device, computer program, therapy or treatment approach).
  3. Present the rationale and results of your research to others.
  4. Effectively answer questions about your research.

Areas in which Scholarly Activity projects may be conducted

  1. Clinical
  2. Clinical Device
  3. Computer Program
  4. Education
  5. Innovation
  6. Laboratory
  7. Public Health
  8. Quality Improvement
  9. Therapy or treatment approach


1. Identify a focus for your research; consider which areas of medicine most interest you

2. Identify a project mentor; your mentor can be anyone who has the expertise and skills to guide you in completing your project; your mentor does not have to be a UU Health Sciences faculty member.

Your project should include:

  • Identifying a research question
  • Reading background information related to your project
  • Gathering data; for example, conducting experiments or surveys, or extracting data from databases
  • Analyzing and interpreting the data you have collected

3. Complete your project with your mentor.

4. Present your project in one of the following ways. The objective is for you to prepare your research for presentation to others and to respond to questions about your research.

  • Give an oral or poster presentation at a scholarly venue (you must be the presenter); all students are welcome to present a poster at the Medical Student Scholarly Activity Symposium, held each year.
  • Be the first or second author listed on a published paper or manuscript accepted for publication.

5. Submit a draft of a short paragraph summarizing your research for the Scholarly Activity section of your MSPE letter.

Earning Elective Credit for Scholarly Activity

Students may register for and receive elective credit for their Scholarly Activity research. Some departments or divisions offer research credit. This credit may be available to students in any year of medical school or only for MS4 students. Check with your faculty mentor's department or division to find out if research credit is offered. 

Programs That Support Student Research and Innovation

 The following programs provide research opportunities for students:

Programs at the University of Utah

Medical Student Research Program 

This program is a 10-week summer research program between MS1 and MS2 that provides a stipend for participating students. It is funded by NIH T35 grants; supports projects related to:

MD/PhD Program 

Bench-to-Bedside competition

Global Health Initiative

American Academy of Neurology Medical Student Summer Research Scholarship; contact Dr. David Renner

Medical Student Training in Aging Research; contact Dr. Mark Supiano

Public Health; contact Dr. Jessica Greenwood

Programs at Other Institutions

Summer research programs 

9-12 month research programs



Core Educators for Student Research

Anthea Letsou, PhD is a professor in the Department of Human Genetics and a member of the Workforce Development faculty in the Center for Clinical and Translational Research.

Albert Park, MD is the chief for Pediatric Otolaryngology at the University of Utah. He is the principal investigator for an NIH funded multi-institutional clinical trial to determine whether the antiviral drug, valganciclovir can improve hearing outcomes for children with cytomegalovirus (CMV), a very common and understudied cause of childhood hearing loss.


For any further questions please contact:

Kerri Shaffer
Director of Curriculum and Faculty Support