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Medical Is 600 hours of research enough to backup the claim I want to do academic medicine?

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TheBoneDoctah

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    I want to tell schools that I want to do research, but only have 600 hours of research that did not result in any pubs or posters or anything like that. The experience lasted for 3 years and I learned a lot from it, being one of my most meaningful experiences. I did produce a major checkpoint in a pilot study that I spearheaded and submitted an IRB proposal for it, but was not around for the data collcetion/analysis because I began a full time clinical experience. This isn't on my personal statement because it did not really influence my decision into medicine too much, but I discovered that I enjoy research through this experience. Is this enough evidence to claim I want to pursue academic medicine in medical schools and perform research?

    In addition to research, I also have another extensive teaching experience that has lasted about 3.5 years totaling 1000+ hours. As teaching is also a part of academic medicine. I plan on citing both these experiences as evidence for my interest in medical education and research.
    600 hours is a good amount of time as an undergrad to have in research exposure. I don’t think I would go in saying I want to practice academic medicine based solely off your hours because once you get into medical school, your goals and outlook on medicine will most likely change. As an undergrad, you really don’t know what you want until you go through it.

    Most of my friends went into medical school wanting to do specialty A are now doing specialty B. I went into medical school wanting to become an anesthesiologist and am now doing a surgical subspecialty. I think the focus of getting into medical school should mostly be about wanting to become a physician (but you can and should bring up your fascination with research as this is what keeps medicine moving forward).
     

    Goro

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      So in secondary prompts such as "what do you hope to contribute to medicine in the future" would talking about my interests in research/academic medicine not be recommended?
      You could say that you hope to make contributions to human knowledge.
       

      TheBoneDoctah

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        Would you say the "what do you hope to contribute to medicine prompt" is a place to potentially talk about specialties of interest? If not, what kind of content is recommended for this prompt?

        Like I said, talking about specialties is premature in my opinion. As a premed, you have no idea what the fields are actually like even if you have shadowed in them. I would like to see how the admissions folks on here view talking about specific specialties, but I feel it's better to talk about your motives and interests rather than specific specialties because they are most likely going to change and schools know this.

        For example, instead of stating you want to practice academic medicine (which you probably don't really know too much about what this actually entails...not trying to be mean here, but it's just the truth), just say you want to make an impact on advancing science and the field of healthcare so that patients in the future can be better served...or something of that flavor. I guess my point is to be less specific and make broader statements because you don't know where you are going to end up or where your interests will be come 3rd/4th year of medical school.
         
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        Goro

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          Would you say the "what do you hope to contribute to medicine prompt" is a place to potentially talk about specialties of interest? If not, what kind of content is recommended for this prompt?
          You have to come up with that.
           

          Goro

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            Like I said, talking about specialties is premature in my opinion. As a premed, you have no idea what the fields are actually like even if you have shadowed in them. I would like to see how the admissions folks on here view talking about specific specialties, but I feel it's better to talk about your motives and interests rather than specific specialties because they are most likely going to change and schools know this.

            For example, instead of stating you want to practice academic medicine (which you probably don't really know too much about what this actually entails...not trying to be mean here, but it's just the truth), just say you want to make an impact on advancing science and the field of healthcare so that patients in the future can be better served...or something of that flavor. I guess my point is to be less specific and make broader statements because you don't know where you are going to end up or where your interests will be come 3rd/4th year of medical school.
            In addition, people who are too overt in their interests in particular specialties without having shadowed in these come off as starry-eyed and naive.

            This is why we constantly point out that you have to prove that you know what you're getting into.
             

            Mr.Smile12

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              Not every research experience is identical to each other. 600 hours in one lab may have a lot of accomplishments compared to another lab group, or sometimes within a project depending on the stage. I think the important piece is understanding that with research comes a lot of insight into detail, teamwork, communication skills, and organizational planning that will help you in medicine in general. Take a good look at the AAMC entering competencies and how specific situations you've encountered in your research experience can fit into some of those competencies. Remember we want to know your experience and how it ties in with those competencies upon your reflection, not a regurgitation of the competencies themselves. Show us, not tell us.
               

              lord999

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                By the way, using research as a means to a clinical specialty is a huge red flag that research is only a means to an end and is not an end in itself. If you are talking about a research specialty, then that is different and is acceptable in the application (although, it should not ordinarily be discussed on the MD side of the application). I'll give a couple of examples:

                "I want to go to HST's MEMPS program for the subspecialty in Biomedical Optics because this is the only program in the world that deals with imaging algorithms for those who have never had sight before an artificial eye" is a completely reasonable request as it is a research specialty that the institution offers that is distinguishable from its peer programs (not good or bad, just different).

                "I want to go to HST's MEMPS program so that I can gain understanding to get into Ophthalmology" is not a reasonable request and would be a red flag as there's no particular reason, and the MEMPS faculty would think that you were only using them to further a non-research end and have no real intention of doing research.
                 

                TheBoneDoctah

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                  In medical school you will see the difference. For example, students trying to get into orthopedics publish a lot (I had 5 publications) but they are not in high impact journals nor are they “big impact” work.

                  If you are serious about research, your work takes much longer, requires intensive mentorship, and they actually care where their work gets published.

                  @AlteredScale weigh in on this.
                   

                  AlteredScale

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                    I want to tell schools that I want to do research, but only have 600 hours of research that did not result in any pubs or posters or anything like that. The experience lasted for 3 years and I learned a lot from it, being one of my most meaningful experiences. I did produce a major checkpoint in a pilot study that I spearheaded and submitted an IRB proposal for it, but was not around for the data collcetion/analysis because I began a full time clinical experience. This isn't on my personal statement because it did not really influence my decision into medicine too much, but I discovered that I enjoy research through this experience. Is this enough evidence to claim I want to pursue academic medicine in medical schools and perform research?

                    In addition to research, I also have another extensive teaching experience that has lasted about 3.5 years totaling 1000+ hours. As teaching is also a part of academic medicine. I plan on citing both these experiences as evidence for my interest in medical education and research.

                    600 hours is fine. The quantity is not as important as the quality. Seems like you were involved in important aspects of research. Here are some questions:

                    1) if you want to pursue academic medicine, and research influenced that, is there a reason why one of your strongest experiences (IRB submission) isn’t listed on your PS?

                    2) you need to reinforce in your app and know WHY you pursued medicine instead of a PhD.

                    3) you need to know your project, your role well. And you need to have a good explanation as to why no output has come about yet. Have abstracts been submitted? Have drafts been written up? Just know this in case it’s asked on an interview. It’s not expected you have pubs for Med school, but def more so for md PhD programs.

                    1./2. As I've learned from the responses on this thread, it may be too extreme/preemptive to say that I want to pursue academic medicine. Instead, I will be careful to moderate my stance to that of wanting to contribute/explore further into research and the discovery of human knowledge in medicine. What drew me to medicine was not the research side, but rather the clinical side (hence why I'm not pursuing an MDPHD). Thus, my PS focused a lot more on my clinical experiences and why they drew me to medicine.

                    3. Yes, I can recite my role and project quite well and have prewritten some secondaries that ask for my research experiences. Essentially, I was solely responsible for designing a paradigm that was the core of our proposed study. This took a lot of trial and error to get right. For example, I would return a product and the PI or the grad student I worked with would suggest a tweak to make it more experimentally viable. This back and forth process (something described in the my primary) took a little over a year to get right for our pilot study. When it was ready to launch my product, I had already graduated and was getting ready to begin a full time clinical experience. So after submitting an IRB proposal, it seemed like a good time to pass the project off.

                    Before this, I would on another project doing a lot of data collection and analysis in a clinical pilot study for about a year and a half prior. For reasons unknown, they preferred that I did not work on any of the write ups (not sure if I should mention this). After a certain point, there was not much more I could contribute to this project, which is why I spearheaded the previously mentioned project. Had I understood the importance of publications when I started in this lab, I probably would have pushed a little more toward the direction of outputs, but I don't regret the experience as I learned a lot.
                     
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