It is a great privilege for me to serve as Guest Editor for the third issue of Clinical Connections whose theme is scholarship. Scholarship, very broadly defined, is all those non-clinical academic opportunities that can be part of a career in medicine, the other things that medical students and doctors do besides caring for patients.
As you may already know, I am a family physician in the greater Boston area. But what you may not know is that I’m a stereotypical New Englander and an avid scholar meaning that in addition to seeing patients, I love conducting research (secondary data set analyses? – count me in), giving conference presentations, and writing papers and grants in the fields of maternal-child health and medical education. That is scholarship in my own academic career.
I discovered scholarship when I was a first-year medical student. I wrote my first grant and it was funded! I have been hooked ever since which has, to date, resulted in more than 150 presentations, 120 publications, and 12 grants totaling over $2 million dollars.
Getting started as a new scholar is often the hardest part. In this issue, you can read about how your colleagues and alumni and even faculty members identified projects and found mentors across the AUC community to guide them. I recently attended the 2016 UK Symposium in Chichester, England and was completely impressed by the scholarship that clinical sciences students are doing in conjunction with our UK faculty – from chart reviews to case studies to designing physical examination curriculum to studying how teams function during emergencies. You can learn more about this year’s Symposium by reading UK faculty member and local conference chair Dr. Adam Stone’s update.
Since I joined the AUC family in 2014, I have noticed that more and more students and faculty are submitting their work to regional, national, and even international conferences which is wonderful. In addition to its importance in your own careers and communities, scholarship improves our university’s recognition and reputation which is a key priority in AUC’s strategic plan. As such, if you do have an abstract accepted (such as a poster or a presentation or a workshop), AUC will provide you with some financial support to attend the conference. Associate Dean for Clinical Student Affairs, Dr. Kimberly Kirkland, has provided further details about this opportunity in this issue.
And ideally, every project that is presented gets published. You can certainly aim for a traditional peer-reviewed manuscript. But also keep in mind that with scholarship in the digital age, there are endless opportunities for publishing. The majority of your writing then deserves a line item on your CV that is part of your residency application. These experiences will not only add depth to your application, they will provide valuable opportunities for professional and personal development on your journey to becoming a physician.
During your time as medical students, I hope that you will pursue some form of scholarship. Many of our clinical sites provide opportunities for research and publication on an extracurricular basis. Please let one of your clinical deans know if you ever need help formatting your CV. Congratulations to Dean Kirkland and the entire clinical sciences team who contribute to this semesterly newsletter. As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions for future newsletter topics.
Julie Taylor, MD, MSc
Senior Associate Dean, Clinical Sciences
Professor, Behavioral and Clinical Sciences