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Match Made in Research

It’s important for future health care professionals to have someone who can motivate, challenge, and support them throughout their education. In an effort to establish and foster mentor/mentee relationships between faculty and medical students who are interested in clinical research, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Children’s National Health System (CTSI-CN) created the Mentoring Experience to Expand Opportunities in Research (METEOR) Program.

First-year medical students Yodit Tsegaye, Sophia Akhiyat, Eussera El-Magbri, and Nicole Findlay were selected to be the 2013 METEOR students
First-year medical students Yodit Tsegaye, Sophia Akhiyat, Eussera El-Magbri, and Nicole Findlay were selected to be the 2013 METEOR students

The program, now in its second year, matches newly admitted George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) medical students from underrepresented communities with mentors who specialize in clinical or translational research.

Nicole Findlay is one of four first-year medical students (the others are Sophia Akhiyat, Yodit Tsegaye, and Eussera El-Magbri) accepted into this year’s class. Under the mentorship of Gaby Moawad, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at SMHS, Findlay is working on the development of a randomized controlled trial to determine the efficacy of estrogen therapy in the prevention of intrauterine adhesions.

Working with Findlay has been a gratifying experience for Moawad. “It gives me a great sense of achievement to see a student like Nicole excel in an area that she is passionate about,” he says. Findlay, for her part, believes participating in this program has given her a head start in her medical education. “It is helping me fulfill my goal of getting my research published one day,” she says.

This year, the METEOR program is focused on expanding its scope by implementing formalized mentorship training for faculty members. “Similar to the way professors are trained to teach, we are teaching our faculty members to be effective mentors,” says Lisa S. Schwartz, Ed.D., associate director of research education, training, and career development at CTSI-CN and assistant research professor of clinical research and leadership at SMHS.

The program recently received an Innovation in Diversity and Inclusion grant from GW’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which will enable SMHS to evaluate and expand the program. The grant will support a workshop this spring featuring Lynne Holden, M.D., founder and president of the Mentoring in Medicine Program. It will cover many of the unique issues encountered in mentoring trainees from diverse backgrounds, for both the mentor and mentee, regardless of their field of study or career development stage.


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