3 keys to success from medical research competition finalists


AMA News Wire

3 keys to success from medical research competition finalists

Jan 29, 2024

As a finalist in the AMA Research Challenge, the medical students, resident physicians and fellows who get that far earn recognition as being among the most skilled researchers in the ranks of physician training—and the chance at a $10,000 grand prize.

AMA Research Challenge

Reserve your seat! Five finalists present their research to elite panel of judges. Winner of $10,000 grand prize will be announced live on Feb. 6, 2024!

What have past finalists learned from their experience in the competition and their scholarly pursuits at more broadly? Three past AMA Research Challenge finalists offered insight on the value of research during medical school and residency as well as how scholarly pursuits might shape your career down the road.

To see the next generation of top researchers, be sure to check out the 2023 AMA Research Challenge Finals. The event takes place Feb. 6, 7 p.m. CST, and will be livestreamed on YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn. In addition to offering insight on top research conducted by residents, fellows and medical students, the event offers the chance to learn valuable tips to enhance your research skills, refine your communication style, and master the art of effectively conducting and presenting your research.

Now a neurology resident at the Mayo Clinic Arizona, Aimen Vanood, MD, was a finalist in the 2020 AMA Research Challenge for her work examining the neurological manifestations of COVID-19. In thinking back on the process of doing medical student research, she highlighted the value of guidance from more seasoned researchers.

“During the summer after my first year of medical school, I worked with a faculty member at my now residency institution who introduced me to evidence-based medicine and how to write a scientific abstract—again, he was very patient with me as well,” Dr. Vanood said. “Working with the mentors I’ve had, I feel a lot better equipped to design, perform and publish my research. Research should be fun, and a great mentor is what allows it to be that way.”

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A pediatrics resident at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Priya Shah, MD, was a finalist in the 2021 AMA Research Challenge for her project on trauma-informed care in pediatrics. While she chose to train in pediatrics as a resident, she believes that the research process can translate to skills in the clinical realm in any specialty.

“An understanding of the scientific method and how research is developed is critical to any specialty; whether one chooses to then continue to perform research can be an entirely personal decision,” Dr. Shah said.

As she goes forward in her career, Dr. Shah added that “rather than pursuing basic science research or even clinical or translational work in the hospital, I see myself using research principles to guide and strengthen my interests in education and advocacy.”

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An MD-PhD student at Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Leela Biswas won the 2022 AMA Research Challenge for her research that validated a genetic biomarker tied to miscarriages.

As she reflected on the competition after earning the event’s $10,000 grand prize, Biswas spoke of the key role that finding research opportunities and connections through an organization can play in developing your skills and honing your professional identity.

“The AMA is nationally, and perhaps internationally, known as the most robust physician advocacy organization in the nation,” Biswas said, noting how the AMA has consistently and loudly advocated more Medicare-funded residency slots “so that we can produce more physicians.” “As a student, I think joining the AMA, connecting with other physicians, gaining some … professional development skills and doing things like the Research Challenge—taking opportunities to develop your research, learn how to present, gain feedback from other people, other disciplines—is so important, so impactful.”

Learn more with the AMA about research resources and programs that advance your work and bolster your CV.