My internship with Dr. Salmoirago-Blotcher and her research team has been such a wonderful and rewarding experience where I have gained invaluable skills that I will use in my future pursuit toward medical school and a career in medicine. Through the guidance of WOW, I set goals for my internship which I have been able to achieve in a number of ways. My first goal was to gain an understanding of the fundamentals of clinical research which I have achieved through weekly meetings with the research team and mentorship meetings with the PI. I have also been trained in Good Clinical Practice and Basic Human Subjects Protection where I learned the importance of safety measures, standard operating procedures, and consent documents when working with human study participants. My second goal was to gain an understanding of the principles of data abstraction and analysis which are crucial to know how to do in the field of research. I have done so by learning data abstraction, how to use REDCap, and analyzing data for a retrospective analysis. My final goal was to form lasting connections with the members of the research team and to stay connected even after my internship has ended. I am proud to announce that I have been extended an offer to apply for the student research assistant position for their lab beginning in September.
My internship has opened my eyes to the field of clinical research and affirmed my interest in going into the field of medicine. I learned that I really enjoy problem-solving and I have also discovered that when I put my mind to it, I can accomplish most tasks that are thrown my way, even if I have not attempted them before. This internship has also solidified my interest in gaining clinical experience with patients, as I hope to begin working with participants in the study in the coming months as the research assistant. Some advice that I would give to students interested in pursuing an internship in a similar environment to myself is to do your best to make those connections that will help you to stand out. It is quite difficult to find internships in the medical field and so it is extremely important to make a good first impression. In addition, it is good to try things that push you out of your comfort zone, as you will gain experiences that you may have never tried. For example, I was worried about doing data analysis and abstraction, however, I now have experience working with data and can use that in future assignments.
Upon concluding my internship, I am proud of many achievements that I have accomplished working with the research team at the Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine. However, if I had to choose, I would have to say that I am most proud of coauthoring an abstract submission investigating if the incidence of Takotsubo cases has increased during the pandemic period (March 2020 – February 2021) compared to the year prior (March 2019 – February 2020). We will not know if the abstract is accepted until the end of August or the beginning of September, but I am hopeful that more research will come out of this exploration.