Prospective RVs

What is the HCMC ED Research Volunteer Program?

The Research Volunteer (RV) Program is an educational opportunity for undergraduate, graduate, medical students and post-graduate students to participate in data collection for academic research projects in the HCMC Emergency Department.

Research associates contribute daily to the innovation of medical training and practice. Our studies range from pharmaceutical trials and randomization of common sedation drugs to socioeconomic factors influencing medical decision making in a diverse urban teaching hospital. Our investigators also initiate studies to develop new and innovative teaching methods for the resident training. In addition to time spent in the ED, students are invited to attend the weekly department conference and lectures on selected topics in emergency medicine and clinical research. Studies published in prestigious academic medicine journals such as this one show that research associates may benefit from higher rates of medical school admission. Depending on the student’s home institution, course credit may also be awarded.

Who May Apply?

  • Medical students
  • Undergraduate students
  • Post-baccalaureate students
  • Pre-health professions students
  • Foreign medical graduates

RV Duties

As a Research Volunteer, students are afforded the opportunity to learn basic methodologies in clinical research, interact with patients, and perform research study procedures. Assignments may include:

  • Screening the emergency department for patients that meet study enrollment criteria.
  • Consenting eligibile patients for current studies
  • Collecting biometric and survey data for clinical studies.
  • Entering study data into databases for analysis.

Expectations and Benefits

  • Get a head start on using electronic medical records
  • One-on-one patient interaction
  • Observe trauma cases in the state-of-art Stabalization Room (Stab)
  • Solid introduction to clinical research and basic methodology
  • Secure letters of recommendations from our high-powered board of directors for medical school and other graduate-level programs (Please read the RA Handbook Manaul)
  • Attend lectures on various emergency medicine-related topics by experienced faculty physicians such as: Working with Doctors Without Borders, Emergency Airway Management, Informed Consent and Research Ethics
  • Attend our Critical Care Conferences (STAB) with residents and practitioners from other disciplines
  • Shadow opportunities available upon request
  • Get free access to online live streaming of weekly CME-accredited Critical Care Conferences (STAB) viewed online by clinicians around the world


The research associate program runs year-round with summer and academic year terms. Students are required to work 8 hour shifts per week. When participating in the program, RAs are also expected to work one overnight shift every month.

To apply, applicants must submit two academic or professional letters of recommendation along with an updated resume.


  • Applicants must be able to volunteer the minimum number of hours every week, as well as one overnight shift every month.
  • Applicants must be 18 years old by the time of the application deadline.
  • Applicants should express an interest in medicine and academic research.
  • Prior research experience is beneficial, but not required.
  • Applicants must be professional and possess good written and verbal communication skill

Selection Procedure

Applications are evaluated by program coordinators and the research directors using a rubric that incorporates the applicant’s applicable skills, professionalism, and letters of recommendation.

Accepted applicants must complete a background check and health screening.


All RVs must attend one orientation session at the beginning of every term. During the following two weeks, new RVs work closely with senior research associates (SRVs) to learn how to perform current studies. Senior RVs continue to train, mentor, and lead new and returning RVs over the course of the term.

Important Notes for Accepted RAs

We do require a background check for all accepted RAs. If, for whatever reason, you are not able to provide consent for this, we ask that you do not apply.

The HCMC Occupational Health & Wellness department requires all employees and volunteers to complete a comprehensive health screening process which requires proof of immunity via titers and/or vaccinations for MMR, varicella (chicken pox) and Hep B. If you found not to be immune to Hep B, you will have to complete a booster. Keep in mind that is a time-consuming process. We ask that you get started on this as soon as you are accepted. NOTE: Delays in completing health screening documents have caused RAs in the past to miss over two months of the term, including the most significant orientation period in the first month.