Clinical and Translational Research
The Scholarly Concentration in Research offers a longitudinal, in-depth research opportunity for GW medical students to form new mentors, explore new research areas, reinforce research skills and build new research competencies. Get involved with the William H Beaumont Medical Research Honor Society!
The general scholarly concentration requirements are outlined on the Office of Student Professional Enrichment website. The required application, summer research proposal, reflection paper, and scholarly projects are all completed in the Medical Professional Development (MPD) Blackboard site.
Clinical Translational Research Scholarly Concentration Objectives. The learner will:
- Engage in inquiry-based research under the guidance of a mentor
- Apply the principles of the scientific method in a guided research projects
- Employ professional communication skills in reporting research results
- Evaluate how research evidence influences clinical practice
- Value contributions of self and other members of the research team
Program Activities and Timeline
MS1: Explore and Apply to the Research Scholarly Concentration. Information sessions and orientations are provided in the fall to familiarize students with the program. The scholarly concentration application is due in the fall.
MS1: Begin training in responsible conduct of research. Like all medical students, scholarly concentration students must complete CITI training by April of the first year. See the instructions here for how to sign up for the CITI training. After you sign up, please complete the Biomedical Investigators basic course OR Social & Behavioral Research course.
Additional training is needed for pediatrics and animal studies. Faculty conducting clinical research must comply with GW Human Subjects research guidelines, including IRB application and approval. Those students performing research with faculty at either CNHS or the VA must comply with those institutions’ human subjects research guidelines. Students must verify that an approved IRB proposal is in place before their project will be approved. Access to SMHS or CNHS research facilities requires laboratory safety and facilities access.
MS1: Identify a research mentor for summer internship. Students are required to participate in a research project for at least 8 weeks in the summer after the first year of medical school. To identify possible mentors from among GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences faculty, please explore the Faculty Research Database, the Children’s National Health System and Children’s Research Institute Annual Reports. Please feel free to discuss mentor selection with Drs. Hall and Luban.
- Email prospective mentors providing them with some idea of your specific interest and skill set. Learn if they are willing to host a medical student and discuss possible projects -funding may or may not be available.
- Many students are interested in the same researchers; do not leave your match to the last minute.
- Some students may prefer to participate in research at the National Institutes of Health, or at another university/research facility, perhaps at an institution near a hometown. Consider using the winter break to visit and establish this opportunity.
- You cannot do a project involving human subjects unless there is an approved (not pending) IRB proposal in place before you begin. A research project without such evidence will not be approved.
- Please share the Mentor Expectations with your mentor
- Identify your supervisor in addition to the research mentor.
- Summer internship proposals are due in May.
- Review resources in Himmelfarb Library (including Research Guides: Systematic Reviews, Research Methods). Also see the Tutorials on different databases, study design 101, poster preparation and more!
- There may be additional research tools in the Clinical Translational Science Institute-Children’s National, a partnership with GW.
MS1: Consider winning a fellowship to support your summer research!
- There are numerous external fellowships available to support medical students in summer research (see Medical Student Fellowships and explore the Opportunities Database). Most fellowship applications are due in the Spring.
- You might consider a year-out at the NIH in the Medical Research Scholars Program. GW student Steven Langerman did in 2018.
- GW SMHS also offers the Gill and Health Services Scholarships.
MS1 and MS2: Lecture/Workshop Series. Students are required to attend the majority of the lecture/workshop series within their scholarly concentration area during their first and second years of medical school.
- Lectures typically take place once a month. Remember to sign in.
- In some cases, approved* lectures from other SC areas or programs may be sufficient to meet this objective. *It is strongly recommended for students receive confirmation from their Scholarly Concentration Directors in advance that an event outside of the series will count toward this requirement. Students will need to provide documentation of attendance.
- Second year students are required to participate in the Lecture/Workshop Series during the fall semester (not during the spring semester).
MS1/2 Summer: Following the Research Internship
• An abstract detailing the summer internship is due in August; a template will be provided.
• Students are strongly encouraged to prepare their research poster before the summer ends! The information will be fresh, and you won’t be rushing to make a poster while studying for Step 1. Plan to use that poster later during Research Days at GW or Children’s National in the spring semester (and win prizes!). There are numerous resources on how to write an abstract and prepare a poster.
MS2: Submit your project for publication in Fusion, GW SMHS’s medical student-led research journal.
MS3/4: Scholarly Concentration Elective. Scholarly concentration participants must complete a 4-6 week elective in the third and/or fourth year related to their chosen concentration. This might include continued or new mentored research, or completion of a related course.
- IDIS 363: to register for continued research with your research mentor during your scholarly concentration elective time.
- IDIS 370: International Translational Research
- IDIS 303: Introduction to Systematic Reviews, and others, upon approval
MS3/4: Scholarly Project. All medical students are required to propose and complete a scholarly project before graduation. The following are potential options to meet the requirement:
- A presentation of a primary research project at a local/regional meeting where the student is an author. Provide the name and date of the meeting and an abstract of the work. For a primary IRB-approved clinical or translational project, describe the function of the student in the IRB protocol.
- A research poster that has been accepted and presented at GW SMHS or CNHS Research Day or at a regional or national meeting along with its one-page abstract as an MS4. This is separate from any poster presented at Research Day as an MS2. No manuscript is required with the poster; a copy of the poster itself is required.
- A published or publishable systematic review of a specific clinical disorder or research methodology. This project must document the involvement of a Himmelfarb librarian and may involve established approaches for systematic review. When writing up the results of a systematic review, you must include detail about the methods you followed and decisions as to studies to include/exclude. The format should be Current Concepts in the New England Journal of Medicine; besides narrative, tables, figures, current detailed citation list are expected.
- A scholarly report on a case series or small group of similar cases including at least 5 patients, with a detailed literature review. Note that 5 patients will require IRB approval. See this video on how you choose a case to report. You may want to refer to this Sage research article on a retrospective study. The case series should be written up in JAMA or a disease specific journal format and indicate the journal format. It should demonstrate knowledge of the disease/ disorder, a rationale for why the case series was chosen for analysis, presentation of the cases with figures and tables, statistical analysis if required and a discussion section that highlights new knowledge gained with current, detailed references. A case report on a single patient will not satisfy the requirement.
- A peer-reviewed research paper in a professional journal. You may want to review these resources to help you write a paper and get it published in a journal:
Advice from an editor
- How to Write a Medical Research Paper - YouTube (Duke)
MS 4 and Graduation
All scholarly concentration requirements must be completed and approved before graduation. Graduating students may submit their research accomplishments for consideration for various prizes at graduation, including the Walter Freeman Prize.
You might consider ways to continue research in residency.
If you encounter difficulties, please feel free to contact the Research Scholarly Concentration Co-Directors, Dr. Naomi Luban, CNHS, firstname.lastname@example.org and Dr. Alison Hall, GW, email@example.com.
The NIH Loan Repayment Program can provide loan repayment if you continue in certain types of research.
See this article where additional loan repayment options are discussed.
Advice on writing a medical paper from an editor
American Physician Scientist Association
American Society of Hematology Education page has resources for medical students and residents.