Research Opportunities

Rural Health Literacy

Summer Rural Fellowship:

The Primary goal of the Summer Rural Fellowship is to offer medical students exposure to the rural health care delivery system by placing them in community practices during a six-week, hosted summer elective.  Students also participate in research projects during the summer either by recruiting for ongoing projects or gathering data for health services research projects unique to the summer fellowship (Summer Rural Program).

Research Activities with Medical Students

We have a number of ongoing activities involving students in research. IAIHD will significantly enhance our capacity to train students to participate in service-learning and community research and directly involve them in data collection, patient recruitment, patient tracking, data entry, and results dissemination.

The success of each of our projects in Kansas Physicians Engaged in Prevention Research (KPEPR) has been attributable to student involvement. Since 1999, we have had approximately 25-40 medical students per year (approximately 300) receive research training and directly assist in data collection, subject recruitment, or direct observation of primary care. Each of these students receives the equivalent of a month long clinical rotation credit for participating in this "Family Medicine 905: Family Practice Research Elective." Medical student evaluations have been very positive and we routinely have 50 medical students apply for this elective each year. Students are very attracted to the hands-on clinical work they have done with experienced rural preceptors. They find the research activities and training a valuable part of the experience. New incoming classes often learn of the elective through discussions with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years who have had excellent experiences in the elective.

We have also had great success with the JayDoc Free Clinic, a medical student run clinic which operates two nights a week when all other Kansas City, Kansas safety-net clinics are closed. Drs. Freeman and Greiner, as co-faculty directors assisted students with development and resource procurement for this initiative starting four years ago. The program now involves Board of Directors of 8 students (rotating annually), and 80-90 percent of the entire medical student body assists as clinical volunteers, fundraising, or with committee work in support of the clinic. Board members receive elective credit for service-learning projects and portfolios they complete during each year and the program has received extensive local press and attention recently.

The Community Leadership Track, another elective program, is a selective leadership training program for medical students run by Drs. Greiner and Freeman. Approximately 10 medical students per year apply and are admitted and monthly guest lecture firesides, field trips, or mini-projects make up the core curriculum. Student leaders from the JayDoc Clinic, International Outreach, AMSA, and Rural Medicine Interest Groups make up the majority of the members.

Resident Research Activity

The Residency Program within the Department of Family Medicine has required a hypothesis-based research project for program graduation for over a decade. In the past, these projects were often initiated by residents with advice from assigned faculty mentors. In response to resident suggestions, we launched a new program in 2001 to bring these projects into the research division. Each resident now chooses one of the research division faculty to act as mentor and assist with hypothesis generation, literature searching, project design, human subjects approval, and project implementation. Two hours of dedicated residency curriculum time has been scheduled each week for a small group of 5-6 residents to meet with research faculty to discuss research and to co-learn about primary care research projects. In addition, another group of between 5-6 residents is allotted 2 hours each week to independently work on their projects. Residents are assigned these activities on a rotating schedule so all have sufficient didactic and practical experience over the course of their training. All residents are guided through an institutional online human subjects tutorial which certifies them for work on research projects. We expect IAIHD to draw from our residency pool and assist residents in joining a "project teams" and utilizing the IAIHD process to fulfill their scholarly project graduation requirement. We also expect, based on mentoring 6 cohorts through this process since 2001 that many residents will find IAIHD projects interesting and valuable as they will facilitate community connections and service to the underserved.

Last modified: Apr 24, 2014
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