Published June 21, 2019
Medical student Esha Chebolu has been selected to participate in a yearlong residential program that trains the next generation of clinician-scientists and biomedical researchers on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, Maryland.
She is a member of the 2019-2020 class of the Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP), which serves as a fellowship between the third and fourth year of medical school and places students in NIH laboratories and patient care areas, including the NIH Clinical Center, to conduct basic, translational or clinical research in areas that match their career interests and research goals.
MRSP scholars select a program mentor and create a career-development plan under the guidance of an assigned adviser. Mentors are full-time NIH investigators with established research programs.
In addition to a rigorous research agenda, scholars experience the full spectrum of medical research by attending lectures, seminars, clinical teaching rounds and other courses. They also highlight their research in formal presentations to the NIH community and at professional conferences.
Chebolu is one of 50 students selected out of more than 130 applicants for the 2019-2020 class.
“The NIH Medical Research Scholars Program attracts the brightest talent from across the country. These scholars are the future leaders in American medicine,” says Thomas R. Burklow, MD, director of the MRSP.
Chebolu, of Watertown, New York, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacology from Stony Brook University.
“I plan to enter into the field of emergency medicine,” she says. “I am excited to be a physician that will see many different kinds of patients from all different backgrounds.”
“I hope to use my research to better understand social determinants of health, health disparities and the relation to treatment outcomes in my patients,” Chebolu says.
“Our research was centered at a clinic that provided buprenorphine maintenance treatment (medication assisted treatment) to patients with opioid use disorder,” Chebolu notes.
“Specifically, we looked at the effect of various social factors such as socioeconomic status and mental health history on treatment outcomes in pregnant and parenting women with opioid use disorder,” she adds. “Our aim was to identify patient factors that correlated with positive outcomes, mainly retention in treatment and abstinence from illicit substances.”
The research was first published online in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment in November 2018.
Chebolu’s mentors on the study were:
Chebolu hasn’t chosen a specific NIH lab or mentor yet, but she is interested in working at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
“In line with my previous research work, I hope to continue to look at how social factors impact health outcomes in patients,” she says.
Chebolu is greatly looking forward to the opportunity the MRSP presents.
“The MRSP program at the NIH offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work closely with research mentors that are the best in their field, as well as extremely talented peers,” she says.
“After interviewing at the NIH, I felt it was an incredibly positive and supportive environment dedicated to helping young scientists reach their academic and career goals.”