Do I have to know what specialty I want in order to do research?

Discussion in 'Allopathic' started by sbuxaddict, 09.23.14.

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  1. sbuxaddict

    sbuxaddict 5+ Year Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm interested in doing research this summer, partially because I miss that part of science and partially because I know competitive programs like research. I'm a M1 and I'm trying to do well in my classes, but I have no clue about what specialty I'm interested in. People have recommended emailing department chairs about research but would it be weird to do that if I haven't decided on a field/their field? It just seemed like I had to be leaning towards a certain field in order to do that.

    I know the summer after M1 is a good time for it so I want to take advantage of that time.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    I wouldn't directly email Department chairs. That's not their job and they have much more on their plate - i.e. running the department as a whole. You could take a meeting with a particular faculty member or program director or research head in the dept. Or if you know someone who does research shoot them an email.

    Wash U, for example, has a centralized Office of Medical Student Research to help guide students in this area, but I realize all schools may not have such a resource.
     
    Winged Scapula likes this.
  4. sbuxaddict

    sbuxaddict 5+ Year Member

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    So you would recommend asking someone in a career office maybe? I'm just not sure how to present myself to a specific department about research if I'm not certain that's the field I want to go in.
     
  5. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    I would talk to your Student Affairs office about how to decide what specialty is right for you. They have this new Careers in Medicine thing that the AAMC put out. There are also online quizzes (one from UVa that's free) that might help you decide which specialty fits you as well.
     
  6. operaman

    operaman 5+ Year Member

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    While specialty-specific research is important in some fields, any research > none. If you have any inkling you'd like to match a competitive field, consider doing that. If you are looking at a couple of competitive fields, maybe find research that incorporates both. For example, derm vs ENT, you could do something involving skin cancers of the head and neck.

    Student resources are helpful if your school has them. Personally, I found faculty members who were doing things I was interested in and just cold called them. I've never met an actively publishing scientist who wasn't happy to have an eager young student wanting to get involved.

    You're a little early in the year to be worrying about summer stuff, but not by much. There are also bigger NIH and otherwise funded summer research opportunities for med students; most of those have deadlines in the spring, but you may want to work on your application over the holidays while school isn't in session.
     
    DermViser, cs24 and Winged Scapula like this.
  7. styphon

    styphon Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    Another option with be program receptionists - they often know which attendings in their department focus on research.

    I do think doing research in a competitive speciality you are interested in could only help you in the end (Even if you choose a non-competitive speciality, the research project will assist in getting the placement you want, and open doors for future research).
     
  8. sbuxaddict

    sbuxaddict 5+ Year Member

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    Thanks so much everyone!
     

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