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Topics: Clinical & Translational Research, Collaboration & Team Science, Diversity & Inclusion, Education & Training

A Summer of Clinical & Translational Research

Medical school students from across the U.S. arrive at Harvard Medical School to participate in an immersive research experience.

Photo: Ross O’Hagan, Darlington Pobee, Salma El-Behaedi, Alejandro Sarabia-Gonzalez, Daniela del Campo, Ryan Toledo

This month, six medical school students from across the United States arrived in Boston to participate in an immersive experience in clinical and translational science through the Visiting Research Internship Program (VRIP), offered by the Harvard Catalyst Diversity Inclusion program.

An eight-week, mentored internship program for first- and second-year medical students, VRIP is designed to foster interest in health-related careers, particularly in clinical/translational (c/t) research. The program works to expose underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students to clinical and translational research, and ultimately, enhance diversity in the clinical and translational science workforce.

This summer’s students hail from universities close to home such as Boston University School of Medicine, and from the south, such as Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso and Morehouse School of Medicine. The students have been matched with mentors and laboratories at Harvard Medical School (HMS), affiliated hospitals, and partner institutions, and they will attend a series of seminars conducted by HMS faculty. The structure and content of the program is modeled after Harvard Catalyst’s Fundamentals of Clinical and Translational (FaCToR) course.

The interns also take part in other events, such as networking dinners and career development seminars in Longwood and at the Harvard-affiliated departments of their lab hosts. This year’s mentors, who are based at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the Wyss Institute, play a key role throughout the summer as they introduce and guide VRIP interns through their unique research projects. In the end, participants complete an abstract, written report, and give an oral presentation at the closing ceremony which will be held on July 25 and open to the Harvard community.

2019 VRIP Interns:

Daniela del Campo, Boston University School of Medicine
Mentor: Michael Super, PhD, Wyss Institute**

Alejandro Sarabia-Gonzalez, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso
Mentor: Senthil Muthuswamy, PhD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Ross O’Hagan, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Mentor: Ronilda Lacson, PhD, MD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital**

Ryan Toledo, University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Science in Grand Forks, North Dakota
Mentor: Carmen Priolo, PhD, MD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital**

Darlington Pobee, Morehouse School of Medicine
Mentor: Meena Nathan, MD, MPH, FRCS, Boston Children’s Hospital

Salma El-Behaedi, UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine
Mentor: Irene Ghobrial, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

** indicates multi-year mentor

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