Following protocol: Undergrads support clinical research efforts at St. Mary Mercy Hospital

May 4, 2015
UM-Dearborn participates in the Emergency Medicine Research Associate Program at St. Mary Mercy Hospital

A new University of Michigan-Dearborn partnership with St. Mary Mercy Hospital gives undergraduate students an inside look at clinical research. An inaugural group of seven UM-Dearborn students recently completed the yearlong Emergency Medicine Research Associate Program (EMRAP).

“EMRAP is an opportunity for undergraduate students to work directly with physicians in order to support ongoing research activities and quality improvement projects in the clinical setting of the emergency department,” said Debalina Bandyopadhyay, director of health professions advising within UM-Dearborn’s College of Education, Health, and Human Services. Bandyopadhyay worked with Dr. Daniel Keyes, an emergency medicine physician at St. Mary Mercy Hospital, to implement the program.

Typically, students worked 10 hours a week, screening patients to determine if they qualified for any of the studies being conducted in the hospital’s Emergency Department. They also met weekly to discuss research and medical topics. In doing so, they learned basic principles of clinical research design and result interpretation, as well as issues involving human subjects.

As the year progressed, students applied what they learned, working in groups to design their own clinical studies.

“The exposure you get to research and the clinical aspects of the emergency room—I think it’s one of the best experiences you can have as an undergrad,” said Jacqueline Vidosh, a fourth-year biology and political science student. “Getting the opportunity to design my own study and write up the protocol for it has definitely given me a jumpstart on my career.”

Vidosh will continue with the program next year as one of two students selected to act as a program chief. In this role, she’ll help select candidates for the program, organize weekly classes and guest speakers, and coordinate schedules and research shadowing experiences for the participants.

She said staying on with the program was an easy choice to make.

“I want to help out other students because I enjoyed my time in the program,” she said. “Plus, I really liked being in the ER and this will give me the chance to go back in there. It’s a great opportunity to continue my research study and build relationships.”

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