Membership Discussion on Equity: Student Research and Leadership

At the upcoming October External Affairs Team Meeting, the Foundation Board will be discussing this topic. As members and friends of the Foundation, we are looking for your input for this discussion.

It goes without saying, please be courteous and respectful.

Statement from NWRPCA (Northwest Regional Primary Care Association)

Since residency matches have combined, Osteopathic students are now competing with MD students for all residency positions. Since Level 1/Step 1 of the boards is now pass/fail, residencies are putting more emphasis on research experiences, leadership experiences, and other parts of the application. MD schools, which are usually based at academic health centers, have an easy pathway for students to find research projects led by faculty to participate in. Most of our DO schools, being more community based, do not have as many ready research projects for students to get involved in. This means many students are left to find these experiences on their own, through family members, folks they have worked with in undergrad, or through networking. This may disproportionately disadvantage those who do not have physician family members, or who may not have had academic connections growing up.

Discussion Question

In what ways could the Foundation enhance some of the equity of Osteopathic students who come from less connected backgrounds by providing some connections/avenues to research and leadership opportunities to students? Please use the comments box below.


  1. I am newer to understanding what NWOF is capable of, but some ideas off the top of my head would be NWOF supporting a case competition – students write up cases and we have a small panel of judges to evaluate and set awards. We could test it out small with one category – examples: OMM cases, General Medicine Cases, ethics cases, etc. – and if successful and supported enough we could do several categories in a given year. Winning students could get a small financial award, and the honor of putting it on their resume.
    Another thought is supporting/encouraging students at schools or regional sites to participate in “Walk with a Doc.” It is already an established organization, but I haven’t seen it in many places. It is a great community program and students show leadership by organizing the program throughout at least a year.

  2. Great topic. A strong, consistently delivered development program is needed for both, coupled with role models who can encourage and support UR students using approaches that have been shown to have impact. I certainly support team-based research and creating opportunities for students to join, but promoting and supporting scholarship in the community offers an opportunity to elevate patient care (through quality improvement work), support the preceptors as they move through MOC/OCC, teach research principles, and connect OME/OM more closely to its base of operations. As for leadership, any programming needs to have both learn and do components and encourage a growth mindset.

  3. This is a great question since this is a topic of interest amongst faculty and students. Maybe having a list of connections of DO’s (and interested MD’s and PhD’s) who would be willing to collaborate on projects?
    Many of the larger organizations (like AOA and NIH) are requesting research projects to be a collaboration. Also, some schools do have office of scholarly activity that do help students in regards of different research.

  4. Increased foundation funding of the local schools lifestyle “clubs”. These are readily made for easy community activities for leadership and or research that could be done within the confines snd time of undergraduate medical education.

  5. Great topic. Many of my rotating students are interested but come from or are rotating in rural areas without resources to support research. A forum collaborating with the nw schools to offer guidance on writing an IRB, designing a research project that is realistic within the students timeframe, statistician support and paper writing techniques would greatly support those students rotating in rural community hospitals. It would also promote getting more research published regarding rural care practices and realistic resources.

    As far as leadership awarding students scholarships to attend meetings for which they get publications / posters/ presentations with the caveat that they attend meetings for young physician leaders within the speciality would really help them grow a network. I would be happy to support this for students interested in surgery.

  6. Facilitating a network that would enable students looking for research opportunities to connect with other students or physicians looking for help with their projects or just create research interest groups so that students can combine their interests and time toward a research goal that would be difficult to do on their own.

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