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Medical Student Research Program

To increase medical education opportunities to students and rural community members, the RUUTE & Regional Affairs Program has worked to develop a 8-week research experience for current medical students to participate in. Students who participate in the program will develop critical thinking and research skills, create a research poster, and will understand how to present scientific communications to a variety of audiences. 

This research experience is available for current SFESOM medical students during their summer intersession between their first and second year of medical school. The emphasis of this program is to provide research opportunities for students from rural and underserved areas throughout Utah and provide opportunities for students to work on projects emphasizing rural and underserved health.

Program Details

    In order to apply to the program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • Be a current SFESOM medical student.
    • Able to find a research mentor/project to work on during the summer.
    • Able to commit approximately 40 hours per week of work on a research project with your mentor.
    • Able to commit to participation in a 1-credit research elective during the summer semester (MD 6001 – Research & Innovation: How to be an excellent and communicative researcher).
    • Preferred: Students who have a passion for rural or underserved medicine, and who are pursuing a project pertaining to rural or underserved health.
    • Time commitment: This is a full-time program. Selected applicants are expected to work approximately 40 hours per week on research and program-related activities for the entirety of the program. Specific details regarding project work with be negotiated with the student and faculty member.
    • Mentor Meetings: Students will set up recurring meetings with their faculty mentor to ensure project activities and work are met.
    • Elective Credit: Students will be required to take a one-credit summer research elective developed by the RUUTE team. This course is called Research & Innovation: How to be an excellent and communicative scientist (MD 6001).
    • Final Presentations: Students are required to develop and present their work in a poster format to the RUUTE & Regional Affairs program. This may also include participation in a Medical Student Research Symposium with other research programs.
    • Final Report: Students are required to fill out all RUUTE surveys regarding their experience. Further reporting may also be developed to capture student experiences.

    Students selected into the program will receive a one-time stipend for their participation in the program. This stipend can be used for student expenses and living accommodations. Please note this is not be a tuition scholarship. Students will also be able to highlight this on their Resume or CV.

    Application Details

    What you will need to apply:

    1. Contact information
    2. Personal statement of why you would like to participate in this program and why you would be a good fit.
    3. Research Proposal

    Research Proposal

    Your research proposal must include the following:

    1. Title
    2. Introduction/Background
    3. Research Question(s)
    4. Proposed Timeframe
    5. IRB information – IRB needs to be approved, or in the final stages of approval before the start of the program.
    6. Clearly outlined student role
    7. How the research aims to address a gap in the literature
    8. Mentor biosketch/statement of support

    2023 Participants

    Cody Orton

    Mentor: Dr. Randy Jensen

    Project: Comparison of Time to Receive Adjuvant Chemoradiation for Malignant Gliomas Between Patients from Rural and Non-Rural Areas Showing Populations at Risk for Delayed Treatments 

    Adriene Pavek

    Mentor: Dr. Bethany Lewis

    Project: Expanding the Reach of the University of Utah’s Dermatology eConsults Service: Improving Underserved Populations’ Access to Dermatologic Care 

    Hannah Payne

    Mentor: Dr. Jody Lin

    Project: Pneumonia Prevention in Children with Neurologic Impairment: Rurality and Social Determinants of Health 

    Rachel Thorpe

    Mentor: Dr. Natalie Justine Tedford

    Project: Social determinants, and Suicidality: Identifying Social Needs During Mental Health Related Pediatric Emergency Department Visits 

    Stormy Foster-Palmer

    Mentor: Dr. Lindsay M. Burt

    Project: Examining the Impact of proximity to treatment facilities, delays in care, and survival outcomes in and German trial cancer patients from small town 

    Adam Gaudin

    Mentor: Dr. Adam Douglas

    Project: Creation of Novel, Transgender Neck Line for Oxytocin Labeling in Danio Rerio 

    Medical Student Research Forum

    The Medical Student Research Forum was originally called the Frank Tyler Fall Medical Student Research Symposium and was named after Frank H. Tyler, M.D. , (January 5, 1916-September 7, 1994) one of the founding fathers of the four-year University of Utah School of Medicine and a truly distinguished physician-scientist. Dr. Tyler was the principal investigator on the first extramural research grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health. Funding for “The Study of Metabolic and Hereditary Disorders” began in 1946 and was renewed annually for 33 years.

    In 2018, the Frank Tyler Fall Medical Student Research Symposium evolved to the Medical Student Research Forum which allows students to present research data and findings obtained during the summer. The forum also allows students to gain experience in the presentation and discussion of medical research. This change also provides an opportunity for students to learn about funded research opportunities that they can get involved in.

    RUUTE Research

    Contact Information

    If you have any questions about the program, or any difficulty with applying, please reach out to Kacey Madsen. 

    To find more ways to donate towards rural medical student scholarships, please visit the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine Website.

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    Please contact the RUUTE Team with any questions, concerns, or suggestions.