The AMA Research Challenge—the largest event of its kind—offers medical students, residents and fellows, and IMGs the opportunity to showcase their scholarly pursuits in front of some of the brightest minds in medicine. A call for abstracts opened recently.

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For those considering participating in the largest national, multispecialty research event for physician trainees, the final deadline to submit abstracts is July 12. Here are some key reasons you should join the event, according to a past research challenge finalists.

The research challenge is a poster board competition at heart. Getting recognized as a semifinalist or finalist can be a solid bullet point on your resume or CV as you enter practice or apply for residency or fellowship positions.

A soon-to-be graduate of Harvard Medical School, Priya Shah was a finalist in the 2021 AMA Research Challenge for her research on trauma-informed care education. The work came up often during residency program interviews.

“People were really interested in this topic. I was able to create a novel curriculum that was student-run,” said Shah, who will enter the Pediatrics residency program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Find out more about how to get published in medical school and boost your CV.



If you progress far enough in the AMA Research Challenge, you have the potential to present to some of the leading researchers in medicine during the final round. This year’s final round will take place virtually in December.

Shah found those interactions invaluable.

“One of the best parts of taking part in research is sharing your ideas, designs and outcomes with others,” Shah said. “And hearing their feedback—what they liked and what they thought could be improved upon—that is a really valuable part of the process.”

Meet the five finalists from the 2021 AMA Research Challenge.

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The AMA Research Challenge takes place in a poster-presentation format, but projects can evolve. Shah has found medical students and faculty members interested in continuing the curriculum and research project at Harvard after she leaves.

Since the AMA Research Challenge, “I’ve been able to consolidate that whole process to be able to write up my project and share about my experience,” she said. “I’m in the process of submitting a manuscript for publication. The goal of that is to be able to share the materials with a wider group so that hopefully this curriculum can be implemented at other institutions as well.”

Get guidance on how to get published as a medical student.

At every level of the AMA Research Challenge, participants are required to make a brief video that goes along with their poster. That allows participants to hone their presentations skills in a way that could be useful down the road in a format such as grand rounds.

“Being able to present my project was a great exercise,” Shah said. “I had to think about how to present the work in a succinct way.  It makes you look at the different aspects of your project and talk about them together cohesively so others who are less familiar with the topic can easily understand the entire process.”

Learn the four things judges look for in medical poster presentations.

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As was the case in 2021, the winning project of the 2022 AMA Research Challenge will be awarded a $10,000 grand prize, sponsored by Laurel Road. Learn more about last year’s winner, Marielisa Cabrera-Sánchez, a medical student at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, and her prize-winning research.

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