Ortho Summer Research Program Continues to Grow

Published January 5, 2021

story by bill bruton

The Department of Orthopaedics Summer Research Program, which began in 2014 as a program for Western New York medical school students, has grown to include students from throughout the U.S.

“Once we got a web presence, that’s what really caused things to explode — in a good way.”
Professor of orthopaedics

Students from 7 States, D.C., Puerto Rico

Robert H. Ablove, MD

A record 27 students from 11 schools, seven states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico took part in the 2020 program, which promotes access to hands-on basic biomedical, clinical or translational research to students who have completed their first year of medical school and are interested in a career in orthopaedics. 

“They are assigned a faculty mentor and a research project. Then they work on their project during the summer with the goal of obtaining either a poster or a presentation and eventually a publication,” says Robert H. Ablove, MD, professor of orthopaedics, who initiated the program shortly after his arrival at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He participated in a similar program in his previous position at the University of Wisconsin medical school.

Presence on Website Spurs Growth

Ablove says when the program first started, it was getting 10 to 12 students a summer. That all changed after the program was featured on the Department of Orthopaedics website.

“Once we put it on the website, we started receiving a lot of attention from medical schools that aren’t affiliated with orthopaedic residencies, like Eastern Virginia. We had a medical school in Puerto Rico that contacted us,” Ablove says. “Once we got a web presence, that’s what really caused things to explode — in a good way.”

This year’s program included 14 medical students from the Jacobs School and additional students from medical schools in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Nevada, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. A master’s student and an undergraduate also took part.

“It was pretty amazing. For the students who couldn’t be here, we had projects that were Zoom compatible,” says Ablove, who also directs the hand and upper extremity fellowship. “Most of the students have been incredibly productive, and a lot of my past students have had projects receive publication. It’s been a pretty exciting program.”

In addition, for each of the past two years there have been 10 chairman’s grants of $750 each awarded to successful applicants.