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TDR2023-oppportunities medical students
Opportunities for Medical Students
A unique experience to strengthen your residency applications

Opportunities for Medical Students


The Summer Training on Applied Research and Service-Learning program (STARS) aims to provide medical students with the following opportunities:

  • To conduct health and wellness related research in underserved communities of Ecuador.
  • To conduct shadowing of health care providers in the context of private and public health care facilities.
  • To participate in service-learning activities that directly benefit the communities we will be working with.

Medical students are expected to engage with the Medical Spanish Club at the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (HCOM) and attain at least basic professional language skills.

Research topics for STARS could include: pediatric health, adult health, diabetes, nutrition, anemia, helminths, Chagas disease, mental health, access to health care, knowledge-attitudes-practices. social determinants of health, public health, etc.

Research Intensive or Research Assistance tracks

The program offers two levels of research involvement, Intensive and Assistance.

Research Intensive

Students work with faculty mentors to design a research project. Through remote interaction with international peers, students will outline project objectives and methodologies, seek Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) and Protection of Human subjects in Clinical Trials approval, and create budgets and research strategies. For this track, spots are limited.

To apply, please contact the Infectious and Tropical Disease Institute (check key dates). After approval, students must apply online in conjunction with applications to RSAF and other funding opportunities offered by HCOM.

Research Assistance

Students must attend organizational meetings, complete human subject research training, and understand the research preparation process. In the field, students act as research assistants with no further commitment after the program concludes.

No prior approval is required for this track. Funding support is available from HCOM, RUSP, and others sources.

Shadowing of Health Care Providers

  • Detailed explanation of the health-care system in Ecuador.
  • Visit to private and public hospitals in Quito, Loja City, and Cariamanga.
  • Shadowing private health-care providers in public hospitals and clinics.

Service Learning Activities

Multiple service-learning activities developed in consultation with the communities. These may include:

  • Educational talks related to nutrition and disease prevention.
  • Work with locals in organic gardening production.
  • Work with activities to empower groups of teens and young-adults to improve health conditions.
  • Assist in anti-Chagas home improvement activities.
  • Help to produce a theater play with the local school.

Key dates

  • Applications for STARS 2024: TBD

Funding Opportunities

Funding opportunities for our programs can be sought here

For more information about the program, please contact Dr. Mario Grijalva