Research Affairs

Timothy Broderick, M.D., Associate Dean

SMD 616: Research Learning Community 1

DEPARTMENT: Research Affairs

COURSE DIRECTOR & FACULTY: Amber McCurdy. Other faculty to be determined

TIME & LOCATION: March-May: weekly seminars in White Hall. June-July: research experience, location to be determined

PREREQUISITES: MS 1 in good academic standing


In March-May, students will attend 8 weekly seminars (including the Medical Student Research Symposium) that introduce them to the Research Learning Community (RLC) at Boonshoft School of Medicine. The RLC includes students and faculty engaged in a wide range of biomedical, clinical, translational, and medical education research.

The seminars will include training in basic research skills that will prepare students to contribute to a faculty research project. Topics will cover the responsible conduct of research, library and reference tools, human subjects research regulations, and strategies for participating in scientific meetings. Seminars will include written assignments, oral presentations, and discussion in a learning community  environment.

Students who enroll in SMD 616 are responsible for finding a faculty mentor prior to the beginning of the elective. The student and mentor will develop a suitable plan for the elective  research experience involving at least 40 hours of contact time. Plans must be finalized by the end of May. Research experiences will be completed in June-July.

For the purposes of this elective, a research experience means participating in some meaningful aspect of a faculty mentor’s research project. The research experience might include: conducting a literature search, drafting a human subjects or lab animal protocol, obtaining informed consent from patients, conducting retrospective chart reviews and other kinds of data collection and analysis, or observing and learning specific research procedures. While the experience is not expected to be a fully developed and independent research project, it could provide a pathway for developing such a project later in medical school.


  1. Participate in weekly seminars and skills training activities. (20%)
  2. Share and discuss assignments in an online learning community. (30%)
  3. Plan and complete a summer research experience under the supervision of a faculty mentor. (50%)


  1. Survey the kinds of research conducted at WSU Boonshoft School of Medicine,
  2. Acquire basic skills and certifications for participation in a research project. 
  3. Participate in an online learning community
  4. Plan and complete a faculty-mentored research experience.


  1. Students will receive a grade of Pass/Fail.
  2. Students will be required to attend monthly seminars.
  3. Students will be evaluated by the course director related to completion of assignments, level of engagement with the learning community, and development of the research experience.
  4. Students will be evaluated by the faculty mentor related to completion of the proposed research experience.


If you have questions about the research elective, contact Amber McCurdy,