Vanderbilt provides a Medical Scholars Program whereby medical students may apply for a year of scholarly research. In keeping with collaboration between Meharry and Vanderbilt, the program is open to interested Meharry students. The scholars program is designed to foster interest in research with the hope that the research experience will lead to research in areas of health disparity. Meharry students may select a Vanderbilt or Meharry faculty mentor. “We have found that the program is a great opportunity to develop research interests and to work with a faculty mentor on topics, for which students have a passion,” says Tina Hartert, director of the Medical Scholars Program at Vanderbilt”
“We see the Vanderbilt Medical Scholars Program as a unique experience that allows students who may be interested in academic medicine to pursue a year of intensive research without committing to a prolonged dual degree program such as the MD/PhD program. The program adds an additional year to the traditional medical school curriculum, but we hope involvement in the program will ignite the interest in scientific inquiry of talented medical students early in their career which could alter their choices of residency and fellowship training programs.”
James Carlisle, MD, a former Meharry medical student was the first Meharry student to participate in the scholars program. ”In addition to the research experience, I was involved in several papers and posters. Two abstracts were submitted to the American Thoracic Society and two posters were presented at the society’s national meeting in San Diego. Working in a research environment was hard work and required a different way of thinking. The experience reinforced my problem-solving and trouble-shooting skills. I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside research professionals and to be a part of a research-oriented center. The experience definitely broadened my educational background and I would definitely recommend the program to other students.” Having completed his 4th year of medical school, Dr. Carlisle made residency decisions that changed his career path. He matched to the University of Texas Southwest in Physical Medicine.
In 2008, Tiffany Jones starts her year long Medical Scholars experience. She has a background rich in various research experiences and has an opportunity to bring her background to the the program where she will participate in cutting edge immunization research of national significance.
“I have been interested in research since a freshman in college and over the last seven years, I have been afforded wonderful opportunities to participate in various research programs. However, since my matriculation into medical school, it has been difficult to set aside time I could devote exclusively to research. I was originally presented with the idea of applying to the Medical Scholars Program after my first year of medical school. After some consideration and great advice from faculty members, I decided that the best time to do more research was after the completion of my third year. The decision was not hard and the advantages of participating in the program far outweighed the fact my graduation would be delayed a year.
The Medical Scholars Program is a brilliant program for those who are interested in research and want more experience in the field. In my case, I like the idea of spending one year completely devoted to my research interests rather than a three-month internship in which I feel pressured to complete a project. Within this one year of research, I can completely delve into my project and see all the aspects of translational research. The Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance was diligent in helping me narrow my interests and decide on a mentor. I chose to work with Dr. Kathryn Edwards of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Department and Department of Clinical Pediatric Research. She is a brilliant researcher in the field of vaccinology and I am already collaborating with other top-notch physicians. Lastly, I believe this is an amazing opportunity to facilitate in a groundbreaking vaccination clinical trial study that could benefit thousands of babies in the future from suffering from serious sequelae of Cytomegalovirus infection such as neurodevelopmental delays, motor disabilities, deafness, and blindness.
At the end of my tenure participating in the Medical Scholars Program, I hope to gain experience that will solidify my career choice of working with kids as a pediatrician and direction in pursuing a career in research. I trust to have gained an expansive amount of knowledge about developing and testing a vaccine and conducting clinical trial studies. Most importantly, I expect to have made a valuable contribution to the scientific research community through my diligent and passionate work.”
Usually the deadline for applications is in February or March for the term beginning June 30. An application needs to include a CV, transcript, Vanderbilt mentor sign-off, and a description of the research project. Since details of the program may vary slightly from year to year, Medical Scholars Program details are best explained by the program coordinator and/or director:
Donna Staed, Program Coordinator
(615) 322-8614 email@example.com
Lorraine B. Ware, MD, Director