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METEOR Program Shines Spotlight on Clinical Research

Looking to offer more educational opportunities and increase the number of underrepresented minority students considering research as a career path, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Children’s National Medical Center (CTSI-CN) launched the Mentored Experience To Expand Opportunities in Research (METEOR) program this past summer. The program encourages newly-admitted George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) students from underrepresented communities to test the clinical and translational research waters by pairing them with a research mentor.

This program will identify and develop promising individuals in the M.D. programs, and encourage them to consider a career in clinical research,” said Lisa S. Schwartz, Ed.D., assistant research professor, Department of Clinical Research and Leadership at SMHS, and associate director of research education, training, and career development at CTSI-CN.

Mentors are chosen based on their research interests, as well as their desire to mentor incoming medical students. The goal is to match an incoming medical student with someone who would be committed to working with them for the duration of their medical education. “These mentors have made a commitment not only to providing enrichment in the area of research, which is the primary goal of the program, but also to act as academic advisors and to be resources for these students,” said Yolanda Haywood, M.D., associate dean for student affairs and associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at SMHS.

METEOR program students are immersed in research throughout their four years at SMHS. They are required to enroll in the research track of the medical school curriculum, complete an internship between their first and second years, and participate in a research elective during their final year of medical school. The program also takes advantage of GW’s location in Washington, D.C. by coordinating visits to the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center and the Food and Drug Administration.

Keith S. Boniface, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine at SMHS, was paired with Mark Hanna, one of three inaugural METEOR program students, along with Yushekia Hill and Eric Strong. Boniface and Hanna were matched because they both had experience in trauma and emergency medicine. “I think the METEOR program is a great way for students to get exposure to a variety of research environments, network with clinician researchers, and gain experience in clinical research,” said Boniface.