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Utah StARR

Stimulating Access to Research in Residency


The Utah Stimulating Access to Research in Residency (Utah StARR) program is designed to prepare outstanding residents for a career in academic medicine and clinical investigation by providing them with opportunities to learn and practice clinical, transitional, health service, and community-engaged research skills during their residency training. Utah StARR will provide an early "on-ramp" to research careers for competitive academic faculty positions.

Participating residency programs:

Photo collage of the Utah StARR scholars and Program Directors

The program main components are: career mentoring, individual development plan, non-degree coursework,  research seminars, grant writing, pre-submission grant review, pre-award support and writing workshops. Click here for an overview of the Utah StARR resources.

Because the recruitment and training of clinician-researchers is such a high priority at the current time, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has implemented a loan-forgiveness program for doctors who commit to a career in clinical research. Individuals in the Utah StARR program may consider applying for the loan-forgiveness program when their residency is completed.

Additional information about the program or information on application procedures, please visit our application information page or email us at

You may also download and reference our informational slides for more information: /media/21071

Utah StARR Welcomes Three Exception Incoming Scholars for 2024!

UStARR Scholar Highlights

New Utah StARR Scholar Tracy Hunter, MD - Family Medicine Resident

Tracy Hunter is currently a family medicine resident at the University of Utah. She recently completed 10.5 years of military service during which time she researched gestational diabetes and postpartum physical fitness. Her current medical interests include obstetrics, women's health, healthcare disparities, trauma informed care and integrative medicine. Tracy intends to pursue research as a Utah StARR scholar studying healthcare disparities and trauma informed care. She hopes to create lasting work that will illuminate the undeniable connection between trauma/behavioral health and physical health with the goal of improving patient provider interactions and patient outcomes.

New Utah StARR Scholar Sonia Parra, MD PhD - OBGYN Resident

Sonia is originally from San Antonio, TX. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at Yale University. She then completed a Masters of Science in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Oxford before entering the MD/PhD program at Baylor College of Medicine. While there, she completed her PhD in Bioengineering at Rice University where she worked on developing low-cost technologies for cervical cancer prevention. She is now a 3rd year Ob/Gyn resident at the University of Utah. Her primary research interests include developing and testing medical devices and new technologies that increase access to women's health care in low resource settings.

New Utah StARR Scholar Tetsuyuki Kawai, MD - Family Medicine Resident

Tetsuyuki Kawai is an incoming first-year family medicine resident passionate about ensuring culturally competent and patient-centered palliative care is accessible for all ages and settings. During his studies at Texas Tech Paul L Foster School of Medicine in El Paso, he participated in research focused on both palliative care education and the specific needs of the Hispanic border population. This focus on inclusivity in palliative care informs his future research goals as a UStaRR scholar. View his ORCID profile here:

Access Archived UStARR News

UStARR Archive

UStARR Scholar Presentations

Utah StARR Scholar Shares Her Experience with the Program

Kayla Jordanova

Utah StARR scholar and Family Medicine resident Kayla Jordanova shares her experience in Utah StARR.

Utah StARR Scholars Lead an Internal Medicine Grand Rounds

Victoria Vardell & Alex Zheutlin

University of Utah Internal Medicine Grand Rounds - 10/27/2022 - Dr. Victoria Vardell and Dr. Alex Zheutlin present "Future StARRs: Highlighting the Work of our Senior Residents in the Utah StARR Program"

Meet the Utah StARR Program Directors

Molly Conroy, MD, MPH

Professor and Division Chief, Division of General Internal Medicine

Molly Conroy MD, MPH is a Primary Care Provider and General Internist at the Madsen Internal Medicine Clinic. As a General Internist, her clinical interests include physical activity and lifestyle counseling, weight management, cardiovascular disease prevention, hypertension management, and women’s health. Dr. Conroy received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and her MD from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed an Internal Medicine residency in the Primary Care Track at the University of California, San Francisco and a General Internal Medicine Fellowship at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital. She is Board Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and recognized as a Fellow of both the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association.

Joseph Stanford, MD, MSPH, CFCMC

Professor and Vice Chair of Research, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine

Joe Stanford, MD, MSPH, CFCMC, is the Professor and Director of the Office of Cooperative Reproductive Health at the UofU School of Medicine and is the Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. With expertise in reproductive epidemiology, restorative reproductive medicine, natural family planning, women's health, and periconceptional/prenatal origins of health, he has led five preconception cohort studies. Stanford has contributed to national scientific advisory committees, including for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the Food and Drug Administration's Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs. Dr. Stanford also serves on the board of the International Institute for Restorative Reproductive Medicine.

Questions? Contact Us.