Dean’s Certificate of Distinction

Program Overview and Goals
The Dean’s Certificate of Distinction in Research will provide future physicians with a background in clinical and translation research through on-line didactic modules based on the graduate course BIOM640 “Introduction to Clinical Research” developed as part of the Clinical and Translational Research Graduate Program and through active involvement in research. Research activities include engagement in the Research Interest Group, developing skills in critical evaluation of relevant fields of scientific literature, involvement in a research team, designing and/or actively participating in a research project, attendance and poster presentation at research conferences, and contribution to co-authored manuscripts. The program will help students understand the process of evidence-based medicine in validating treatments for patients, and to encourage them to engage as future researchers in various fields of medicine.

The Advisory Team
The Advisory Team will have initial meetings with students to assess their interest, guide them in feasible research areas and project directions, and recommend mentors within those areas. At regular meetings, they will assist students in the development of individual timelines and certificate completion plans, furthermore, monitor registered students’ progress in close contact with research mentors. The Team will address emerging problematic issues and identify alternatives, Importantly, they will evaluate the Certificate program on a regular basis, and make adjustments as needed. The Advisory team will keep records of students’ involvement and report overall progress in yearly summary reports and presentations.

Amy Brown
Dr. Amy Brown (Associate Professor, Department of Quantitative Health Sciences,, 692-0907) will oversee the required Didactic Core and the Didactic Elective online modules and monitor students’ progress from module to module including evaluations of quizzes. She will assist with helping students to find well-matched mentors, research projects in line with their career goals, engagement with the Research Interest Group, and assessing and improving their skills in critical evaluation of relevant fields of scientific literature.
Russell Woo
Dr. Russell Woo (Professor, Department of Surgery, will contribute his expertise in surgery and clinical research and advise students in developing feasible research projects with focused study goals and rigorous methods. He will help the students to identify local and national research resources and networks. He will provide support in connecting students with committed researchers and project-relevant research groups. He, together with members of the advisory team, will help students to prepare individual progress timelines to accomplish tasks and achieve overall certificate goals.
J Douglas Miles
Dr. J. Douglas Miles (Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine,, 691-9011) will support the required core and elective didactic courses and monitor students’ progress from module to module. He will assists students to find research mentors and establish research projects in line with their career goals and support students’ engagement with the Research Interest group. He will contribute to assessing and improving students’ skills in critical evaluation of relevant fields of scientific literature. He will help students with their milestones in accomplishing tasks toward their individually defined certificate goals.

Research Supervisory Faculty
Faculty with commitment to support and supervise student’s research projects will be identified from the list of experts listed in the IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), Opportunities for Aspiring Biomedical Researchers, Research Opportunities Database that includes faculty research areas with a primary focus on faculty at clinical and basic department at JABSOM, UH Cancer Center, and Queens Medical Center ( Specifically for JABSOM departments, the contact persons to support medical student research and assist in identifying the best mentors, are listed here.

The Advisory committee will assist the students to match their research interests with ongoing and supported projects lead by these faculty. Potential research project supervisors will be contacted by both students and the Advisory team to secure long-term mentoring commitment to oversee students’ involvement and active participation in ongoing projects. Faculty are not expected to generate and support new and individual student projects unless such project is mutually beneficial as providing an active research environment for productive student engagement with the students’ very limited research time already places significant burden on the supervising faculty. Faculty will be contacted on a regular basis by the Advisory team to monitor student involvement and consistent participation, and as needed, help to resolve any problematic issue.

Student Selection and Admission Criteria
Student applicants will be interviewed by the Advisory team and their commitment and overall research interest will be evaluated. As needed, students will be guided toward feasible projects within areas of the research expertise of participating faculty. Students will be expected to join ongoing research efforts, except in cases when a project is beneficial for both the student and faculty research project as determined by the supervising faculty. Students with a committed research supervisor will be to participate in the program. Based on prior experience, the number of students, determined by the available participating faculty and the relatively limited efforts the students can commit to a research project, is anticipated around 8-10 per academic year.

Educational Objectives
At completion of the Research Certificate Program the students will be able to:

  • Work with a research mentor and actively participate in a research team’s activities focused on a medically relevant topic.
  • Conduct thorough literature reviews with critical evaluation of articles’ weaknesses and strengths.
  • Prepare a research paper with an understanding of study hypotheses, aims, variables, data collection and quality, and interpretation of the results.
  • Describe various study designs applicable for medical research.
  • Demonstrate the basics of statistical analysis and sample size and power though independent study design.
  • Provide clear and focused research presentations.
  • Present a research poster or paper at a scientific conference.
  • Gain experience in mentoring 1st and 2nd year medical students.

Program Timelines and Options
Preferably starting within the first year, or possibly 2nd year, of a 4-year student enrollment at JABSOM, the program spans 3.5 years finishing in December of their 4th year. The didactic component is planned for completion within the first and/or second academic years with activities and research project milestones continuing through all years as detailed in the Checklist and Completion Form.