“Today’s seeds…..Tomorrow’s plants”
Research is a cornerstone in the development of medical sciences and the promotion of healthcare delivery around the globe. It requires enormous collaborative efforts to meet the diversity and complexity of patients’ needs. Unfortunately, medical students do not always have the opportunity to participate in a research project while in medical school. This might affect their understanding of the importance of research and future abilities to conduct their own research projects. It has been reported that medical students who are exposed to research during their college life will show higher research productivity during their future careers. We, therefore, have taken the mission of advocating for research amongst medical students, facilitating students’ early exposure to real-life medical research, and building a generation of scientifically-oriented young physicians who will lead the process of medical development in the future.
Many obstacles have been reported to hinder students’ ability to conduct research. Some of these obstacles include the lack of proper mentorship, the lack of time to devote to extracurricular activities, and the lack of adequate research training. It is noteworthy that the lack of awareness of the importance of medical research served a key aspect that chained all these issues to one ground. Upon conducting individual experiments in different settings around the world, we concluded that once students get a sense of the importance of medical research for the present and the future they start overcoming all obstacles that used to hold them back. For instance, some students relied on online self-learning to compensate for the absence of mentors, others boosted their time management skills and started regarding research training as a must during their college life. We wholeheartedly believe that medical students are a vital force that can effectively participate in synthesizing evidence-based medical knowledge that can help to promote healthcare delivery worldwide. We also believe that building a generation of well-educated and scientifically-oriented future physicians will help battle the upsurge of public health threats that we are witnessing every day.
The first step towards achieving this is to raise awareness on the importance of early exposure to research, and to get students more acquainted with what can be done, and how to do it. Towards this end, the past Sunday, 25th of March we launched the first ever, week-long, “SCORE Awareness Campaign on the Importance of Research for Medical Students”. With an aim to engage as many students as possible, we posted daily infographics developed by IFMSA on a central Facebook event page. The materials highlighted several aspects including: the importance of research for the future of mankind, the importance of research for medical students’ future careers, the barriers that students may face during their journeys and how to overcome them, taking the first steps of an academic journey, and differences between several types of research designs and publication types. With the help of our NMOs and exchange officers, we reached out to 1500+ through our Facebook event, and many motivated students shared their experiences with research.
Ultimately, we highly-emphasize that research training and experience are a must for our doctors of the future since it has been proven that research-active healthcare providers appear to provide better care and achieve better patient outcomes. Join our campaign to raise awareness on the importance of research education for medical students for the present and the future!