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Jefferson Medical College Alpha Omega Alpha Guide to Research


Research is a great way to learn more about a particular specialty. If you are just beginning your medical education, a research project enables you to spend more time learning about a specialty and meeting physicians in that department. If you have already chosen a specialty, research helps you engage in current discussions about treatment options and outcomes and demonstrates your active participation in the field.

However, being undecided about your career choice should not prevent you from getting involved with research. Some students participate in research projects that are tangentially related to their field of interest, and some do research in a field that ends up being entirely different than the specialty they ultimately choose. Numerous residency program directors have emphasized that at this stage in your medical career, research demonstrates your ability to ask relevant clinical questions and think analytically about solutions regardless of the field in which it is performed. While some academic residency programs and competitive specialties might like to see that you have demonstrated a specific interest in the field by working on a research project, becoming involved with research will never be a wasted effort.

The physician you work with on a research project will be an important part of your research experience. There are several faculty members at Jefferson who are enthusiastic about welcoming student participation in research projects year after year. These physician-researchers are a tremendous asset to Jefferson, and are often some of the best-liked faculty members. Research can be a unique opportunity to spend individual time with these physicians and to develop mentoring relationships that will be important throughout your education.

AΩA has developed a Research Website to help you initiate contact with a department or find specific projects. Each department at Jefferson has provided the name and contact information for a Research Contact for medical students, which is listed on the Research Contacts page of the AΩA website ( The Research Contacts regularly provide information about ongoing projects in their department, which is posted on the searchable database on the Research Projects page of the AΩA website (

Once you have decided which department you would like to work with, search the Research Projects database to see if there are any ongoing projects that are suitable for the time you have available and your specific interest. You can then get in touch with the Research Contact to inquire about a specific project or discuss other options. Some departments may have specific instructions for medical students interested in research. If so, the necessary requirements are listed on the Research Contacts page of the AΩA website.


Figure 3: Steps for initiating contact with a department

Steps for initiating contact with a department

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