Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR)

Clinical Research

Ellie Schoenbaum, M.D.
Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Population Health


Medical students interested in Clinical Research as part of the SOAR program can opt for a research experience with established clinical research groups at Einstein or Montefiore.  Students will address a health or medical issue using epidemiologic, behavioral, or health services research methodology. The hallmark of the concentration is that the student will work in research settings in which a junior physician-scientist and his or her senior mentor/investigator are conducting research. These junior and senior researchers will comprise the student’s mentoring team. This environment becomes a research home for the SOAR student, where he or she can regularly interact with his/her mentors and other research staff, and maintain continuity with his/her SOAR project throughout the four years of medical school.


Research Opportunities and Activities

Students will have a large array of research opportunities to choose from.  Examples include the Division of General Internal Medicine’s excellent environment in which to study substance abuse and HIV, the Division of Critical Care’s strong research program related to sepsis, delirium (ICU psychosis) and health services research, and Neurology, where the Einstein Aging Study has years of follow-up on a population sample in the Bronx. As part of the application process students should meet with Dr. Schoenbaum in order to best ensure alignment of their interests with the right research team. 

SOAR activities begin in the 2nd semester of the first year. Students will familiarize themselves with their research environment, meet with their mentors, and plan their project. There will be SOAR seminars as well. The work accomplished in the summer between first and second year really anchors the SOAR project. These 8-9 weeks provide time to initiate the project and to begin to synthesize the relevant medical literature. Students will submit an abstract to a national meeting during their second and/or fourth year. An ideal meeting is the Annual Meeting of the Association for Clinical and Translational Science in Washington D.C. This is an excellent way to advance the project, receive a wide range of feedback and learn about related research in your area. 


Students are encouraged to maintain regular contact with their mentors during 2nd and 3rd year, with monthly meetings and emails. There will also be SOAR–wide seminars and workshops to attend, which will include critical appraisal of the medical literature, writing an abstract, advanced library search techniques, public speaking, student works-in-progress (with SOAR faculty in attendance), and social gatherings. These sessions are designed to impart skills as well as to provide a forum for networking and getting feedback on your work. Students will complete their SOAR manuscript during a 2-5 month research elective in the fourth year. A program highlight will be student presentation of completed projects at the Einstein Medical Student Research Symposium, also in the fourth year.     

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