This is the latest post in our series exploring the successful AMSA chapter at Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine, which has an institutional partnership with AMSA. Want to know more? Check out our earlier posts on the chapter’s leadership, fundraising, events and community partnerships.
We sat down recently to talk with Araam Abboud (MD Candidate, Class of 2025), who serves as AMSAxBSOM’s director of research. Araam is the force behind Boonshoft’s new research collaborative that helps connect Boonshoft students with research opportunities in the Dayton area.
Araam earned her undergrad degree at Wooster College, where there was a strong focus on independent, mentored research. When she arrived at Boonshoft, she wanted to continue that and help other students create their own research projects.
“I wanted to create my own project because it was hard to get research and it was hard to bring my ideas to life,” she explained.
The collaborative created a database of research opportunities at Boonshoft and nearby hospitals in the Dayton community. It also offers peer-to-peer mentorship to help students who want to create their own research project but don’t know how.
Working closely with faculty and staff was a big part of what made the research collaborative so successful. Araam emphasized that the research collaborative is meant to complement – not replace – Boonshoft’s research department.
“Faculty and staff … are usually overworked. They can’t do everything, but students are always complaining,” Araam said. “So it’s not trying to say, ‘You’re doing a bad job,’ because they’re not … But saying, ‘We can help you out. We want to work with you, not against you.…’ We’re bridging the gap between the student body and the administration.“
Recipe for Success
So what advice does Araam have for other chapters that want to start their own research collaboratives?
- Find an academic adviser (separate from your AMSA chapter adviser) who believes in your vision. Having a faculty member on your side can help strengthen connections with other faculty and staff.
- Build a team. The research collaborative has an executive committee of six students, plus liaisons for each medical specialty who notify the collaborative about opportunities and contacts in that department.
- Make sure you’re in it for the long haul. “This is medical school. Students are all very ambitious. They all want to start things,” she said. “But [faculty and staff are] scared that once you go into clinicals and once you go into dedicated, that project is going to fade away.”
The next and final installment in our series will explore how Boonshoft’s AMSA chapter is creating a culture of activism. Stay connected via Instagram or here on ON CALL. Have questions? We’re here – members @ amsa.org.