Celebrating tomorrow’s researchers

On August 1, guests will celebrate students and preceptors at the 31st annual Student Education and Research Fellowship Program reception. The Student Research Fellowship Program (SRFP)* provides summer research opportunities for medical and undergraduate students in Fort Wayne.

The program matches students’ interests with basic science faculty members or physicians to provide hands-on research experience in bench or clinical research. SRFP sponsored research projects expose students to a large variety of medical and basic science disciplines, which have the potential to result in significant findings that can be published and incorporated into clinical practice. Undergraduate participants also receive expanded training in Institutional Review Board research study approval processes, research ethics, statistics, and presentation and writing skills that will improve their research skills and contributions to the projects.

We asked Josh Caccamo, medical student, and Daniel Filler, undergraduate, to share more about their experience this summer at the Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation.

What motivated you to participate in this program?

Daniel: When I joined the program two summers ago, I wanted to get experience with medical research. I wanted to learn proper research practices and make a positive impact on future clinical treatment.

Josh: During the school year we usually don’t have time for research, so I was looking for an opportunity to participate in research for the summer. That’s when I found this fellowship program. This has been an incredible way to get involved in the medical field and an invaluable learning experience.

How would you describe your experience with the program?

Daniel: My experience has been fantastic. I have learned many things, from scientific writing to data analysis techniques, which are not extensively covered in typical college courses.

Josh: This has been an amazing experience. This program is truly what you make of it. It gives you the opportunity to have a lot of clinical exposure, and the ability to work with and learn from physicians as well as other professionals. We have also gained experience in writing manuscripts, presenting and working within groups. Everyone in this program has been great to work and communicate with.

What makes this fellowship program so special?

Daniel and Josh: The SERF program is so special and unique because it gives students in school an opportunity during the summer to gain experience and exposure to research, while also potentially making a difference in the future of healthcare. Unlike other programs, it allows the students to volunteer or observe in a clinical environment and the preceptors are highly involved in the program.

What will you take away from your time at Parkview?

Daniel and Josh: First off, it has been absolutely amazing and a privilege to use the Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation this summer. It is a top notch facility that has provided us with all of the necessary resources that we’ve needed, which has truly made it easier to focus on our projects and work within our groups and with our preceptors. 

In our time at Parkview, we have gained critical experience in scientific writing, public speaking and critical thinking, which has helped us advance our project to the next level. This fellowship will help us succeed on our path to becoming the best physicians we can be. With this in mind we would truly like to thank IUSM, Parkview and Dr. Mirro for allowing us to have this incredible experience.

What would you tell someone considering the program?

Daniel: I would tell someone without hesitation to participate. I have grown tremendously as a result of my experience in the program. It is an outstanding opportunity to advance medicine and patient care.

Josh: I would absolutely recommend this program to anyone considering a profession in the field of healthcare. It is full of learning opportunities, clinical exposure, and it gives you the opportunity to actually work with your preceptor unlike many other research programs. It is definitely an invaluable experience.

What’s next for you?

Daniel: I am applying to medical school this summer and hope to matriculate in the fall of 2019.

Josh: I will be entering my second year of medical school.


*The SRFP arose through the vision of former Assistant Dean and Director of Indiana University School of Medicine-Fort Wayne (IUSM-FW), Dr. Barth Ragatz, and the Midwest Alliance for Health Education, developed by Fort Wayne Cardiology under the direction of Dr. Michael Mirro, Dr. Robert Godley and Dick Robinson. 

Want more information about the Student Research Fellowship Program (SRFP)? Visit the website or contact Gina Bailey at (260)481-6731, gibailey@iu.edu.


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