The Research Volunteer Program in the Emergency Department (ED) at Hennepin County Medical Center hosts medical students, undergraduates, graduate students, and post-graduate students interested in medical careers to participate in data collection for academic research projects. As Research Volunteers (RVs), students are afforded the opportunity to learn basic methodologies in clinical research, interact with patients, and observe the practice of emergency medicine. The Research Volunteer Program runs year-round with students generally working 8 hours a week during the academic year. The summer program is an intensive twelve week program from June through August during which students are scheduled to work 12-16 hours a week. During all terms, RVs are also expected to work up to two overnight shifts every month. In addition to time spent in the ED, students are invited to attend lectures on selected topics in Emergency Medicine and research methodology.
The Research Associate Program began in 2000 with a group of ten undergraduate and medical students who were recruited to help collect data for headache, conscious sedation, overdose, and economic hardship studies. Today, the program has grown to a group of 50 students, who gather data on several studies ranging from shock to procedural sedation. Many past participants have cited the program as a pivotal experience when applying to medical school and EM residency programs.