It is important to identify a faculty member that is knowledgeable about your area of interest as early as possible. Having conversations with relevant faculty will help guide you toward greater clarity about the type of mentor that works for you, as well as your project focus. It is important for you to identify a mentor as early as possible, and it is equally important that your mentor is a good fit for you. That being said, medical school is a time of exploration and exposure to a lot of new information. We understand and expect that the process of discovering your areas of interest will evolve over time. In fact, your areas of interest might change entirely. Additionally, it is increasingly recognized that students may benefit from more than one mentor. For example, one mentor may provide research expertise, while a second mentor may offer clinical expertise.
There are a many ways to find out about research efforts and to find a mentor at Einstein. The Collaboration Zone on the Einstein website has a link to Einstein Research Profiles. The Einstein Research Profiles portal allows you to search by key words, a name, or a concept for associated publications and grants. In addition to reviewing publications found by using this portal, you can use PubMed to learn more about the kind(s) of research conducted by a given faculty member. The process of searching the Einstein Research Profiles and PubMed will allow you to identify faculty members whose discipline and research focus are aligned with your interests. It may also be beneficial to browse through Einstein’s academic departments and centers and Shared Facilities & Cores.
After searching for information, students are encouraged to contact relevant faculty directly in order to obtain additional information. For assistance with this, please click here: Departmental Contact Persons. Additionally, Dr. Schoenbaum (Clinical/Epidemiologic, firstname.lastname@example.org), Jill Raufman (Program Manager, Global Health Center and interim oversight of Global Health Program for Medical Students, email@example.com), and Dr. Berman (Basic/Translational, firstname.lastname@example.org) are key faculty that can guide you to mentors and discuss your projects.
Finally, the members of the Medical Student Research Committee are available to assist you in the process of identifying and contacting potential research mentors. This committee is co-chaired by Dr. Schoenbaum and Dr. Berman.
- As described above, the Einstein Research Profiles portal can help you to search for information about faculty research interests, publications, and grants. You can sort by concept (i.e., research focus), name of faculty member or free text. Once you find the names of some faculty members whose research interests you, review some of their publications. Reviewing faculty publications generally provides insight into whether they conduct clinical or basic science research.
- The NIH website page Thoughts on Choosing a Research Mentor offers advice about selecting a mentor.
Conferences between student and mentor should be scheduled throughout the course of the SP project. The project must be designed and specifically performed by the student with the advice and guidance of the student's mentor. The SP provides an unusual opportunity for tutorial instruction in hypothesis testing and critical evaluation. Mentors are also expected to provide all equipment and supplies necessary for successful completion of the project.
The mentor should make every effort to orient the student to a project that can be completed within the available time frame. Curricular time is made available to Einstein students during their 1st summer, during a pull-out year (usually after the 3rd year), and 5-7 months during the 4th year. In planning a project, it should be clear that the primary goal is to pursue, in as much depth as possible within a finite time period, the study of an area of interest and to learn the appropriate scholarly methods. The preparation of a written report suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, while not considered a primary goal of the SP, should always be considered within the realm of possibility.